Prodigal Son season 2, episode 2 recap – “Speak of the Devil”

January 20, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“Speak of the Devil” pits Malcolm against the Devil himself… or not, in the latest episode of Prodigal Son.

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3.5

Summary

“Speak of the Devil” pits Malcolm against the Devil himself… or not, in the latest episode of Prodigal Son.

This recap of Prodigal Son season 2, episode 2, “Speak of the Devil”, contains spoilers.


“Speak of the Devil” deploys an old classic of crime fiction – is the killer of the week possessed by a demon, or just a garden variety nutcase in a psychological tailspin? Spoiler alert: It’s the latter! But at least it gives Malcolm Bright a good opportunity to bond with his dad and Martin’s new prison friend, Friar Pete (Christian Borle).

The murder is the ritualistic and expert exsanguination of one Father Reyes, who Malcolm and co. – including a predictably excited Edrisa – find strung up by his feet and surrounded by all the usual paraphernalia; holy water, a crucifix, and a blood-spattered copy of Rite of Exorcism. Helpfully, Sister Agnes, who found the body, can decipher the Aramaic message left in the blood, which spells out Abaddon, aka Abaddon the Destroyer, of the Book of Revelation fame. The killer is the Devil himself!

Or not, obviously. Prodigal Son season 2, episode 2 is refreshingly skeptical about the matter and doesn’t really play with the idea that any of this might actually be the work of anything otherworldly. Instead, we get a lot of parallels between fervent belief and mental illness, and the obligatory push-pull between law enforcement trying to do a job of work and the church being dangerously secretive. You’d think they’d have stopped doing that by now.

Malcolm’s profile suggests that the killer probably identifies as a demon, which hardly seems out of the ordinary these days, but naturally, he needs a well-schooled exsanguination specialist to help him out. Needless to say, that’s Martin, who seems to have killed people in a variety of useful ways, and just so happens to have a spree-killing man of the cloth on-hand for Catholic consultation. Did you know, for instance, that a doctor has to sign off on exorcisms, thus perpetuating a deeply unhealthy relationship between medicine and radical faith-based nonsense? Well, now you do.

This leads Malcolm and JT to the home of a patient named Norman who was referred to Father Reyes by a doctor who considered him otherwise untreatable. His room is crisscrossed with lines of salt which Norman believes keeps a demon out, and when Malcolm crosses the line – literally, in this case, a joke that doesn’t go unremarked upon – Norman goes ballistic, starts hopping around in a horror-movie crouch, and accuses Malcolm himself of being a killer like him. This outburst convinces Malcolm that he’s not the killer, even if Gil and Dani are bizarrely insistent that he is (guys, it’s never the first suspect. You should know this by now!).

Martin’s recommended reading of a field guide to surgery, which details the exact 44-point procedure required to properly drain someone of their claret, leads Malcolm briefly back to Sister Agnes in a dream, which explains why he suddenly imagines her as his sister, Ainsley – lest we forget, he’s still struggling with having covered up her crime from last season’s cliffhanger ending. Ainsley, meanwhile, has virtually nothing to do in “Speak of the Devil” except hang around with Jessica and convince her not to ignore all Gil’s calls, eventually deciding not to move out since her mother is clearly struggling with… being Jessica, I guess.

On the subject of other subplots continuing on from last week’s premiere, JT having been almost killed by racist fellow cops continues to develop in Prodigal Son season 2, episode 2, with JT still fearful of repercussions if he takes the matter further, and later being outright ignored in a request for backup. This is only going to get worse, I imagine.

But anyway, a chat about Francisco Goya prompts Malcolm to determine the real cause of the so-called “possessions” – lead poisoning! And since Sister Agnes and Professor Shaw have been working on restoring old paintings together, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when we discover Agnes has been bound and gagged and Shaw has well and truly lost the plot. Who are you gonna call? Martin Whitly!

Yeah, Martin has a wealth of knowledge about lead poisoning, and Friar Pete has a good line on exorcisms, so the conference call is a frantic seminar on how to dispel evil spirits before a madman who believes himself to be Abaddon the Destroyer is able to close in on Malcolm and kill him. This isn’t to say that Shaw is actually possessed, obviously, just that he believes he is, and thus the exorcism will be the only thing that permeates his psychosis. And it works, though it does require a supplementary, secular knockout blow.

Are Malcolm and Martin getting closer, then? Not exactly, no. Malcolm definitely feels like he’s coming to terms with the elements of his father’s murderous legacy that he has inherited, but as a consequence, he’s also finding it easier to compartmentalize that part of himself and tune dear old dad out. Martin isn’t pleased to hear this, obviously, and as the episode ends he confides in Friar Pete about his need to be on the outside. Apparently, exodus might well be in his future.

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