This week, FOX's Prodigal Son detoured from it's usual deep dark and disturbing. Still maintain interesting twists and psychedelic turns, it was actually quite sweet and centered around friendship. "The Trip" was a good transitional episode, especially after last week's emotional turmoil – this was a nice pallet cleanser. I will say, the preview had me predicting Bright (Tom Payne) would completely come undone and lose his sanity – but quite the contrary. He got some sleep and made a genuine human connection and we might have possibly gotten a glimpse in to his future love interest.
The victim this week is a gang member, leaving Bright not much of a case to participate in let alone solve. He does realize that working homicides is the only thing keeping him sane and begs Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) to let him assist. A very child-like scene, almost like a little boy asking his father to take him camping. The victim's tongue is cut out and the suspect is a rivaling gang member. Dani (Aurora Perrineau) takes center stage as the victim is closely tied to her time spent as an undercover homicide cop. Dani is adamant that one of the suspects could not be the killer because he had saved her and she owes him her life.
Jessica (Bellamy Young) is depicted in a more positive light this episode, offering support to her son, and much screen time is dedicated to her charity work. Not sure if the expectation here is to paint her as a loving mother and philanthropist, I just feel she's overcompensating for the guild of having much involvement in her husband's murders. She's approached by a lawyer specializing in human trafficking who needs a backer, and gladly agrees to donate a hefty sum to the cause – requesting that it be anonymous. The lawyer a beautiful woman who Bright appears to be a bit smitten with asks Jessica a very interesting question, why she kept her serial killer husband Dr. Whitley's (Michael Sheen) last name?
Jessica affirms that he owes her that much since a lot of power and prestige came from wearing his last name. A very bizarre response. Anyone who has ever gotten divorced, mass murder aside typically doesn't wish to have that association lingering. Considering (according to her) she has spent years trying to protect her children and rid her family of his toxic presence, keeping his last name as a forever memory seems bizarre.
Bright partners up with Dani and much of the episode is centered around their developing friendship – genuinely very sweet to watch unfold. Bright does his best to support her on her quest to clear a suspect's name. In typical Bright fashion, he gets himself into some type of trouble, in this case part of a shoot out that leaves him high and tripping on drugs. As the hallucinations take over, Bright is forced to see himself in his father's shoes
Bright envisions he's in his father's cell but the person he is talking to is himself, frightened trying to get out of his hallucination helps him to stitch some memories together, specifically that he should look for his childhood shoe box that might shed light on the girl in the box. Dani saves the day: ending his trip by decking him in the face. Bright ends up grateful for getting his first five consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep, waking up refreshed and with a swing to his step.
Dani and Bright go on a stakeout and solve the murder while simultaneously allowing Dani to pay off a debt. The perp was a woman who killed the victim out of vengeance to punish him for her daughter's murder. A simple case that although took up much of the screen time, didn't deflect the main focus from the backstory of Dani and building relationships – specifically between her and Bright. Sometimes it takes getting knocked out by someone to realize you have more in common than you thought.
Out of the goodness of her heart Jessica delivers her son the 'shoe box' he has been after, I wouldn't necessarily consider that a kind hearted gesture, and made me wonder how much of the box she empties out before giving it to him. In fact, why did she even keep it – considering she allegedly burned everything else which held memories of The Surgeon? Bright finds an interesting photo in the box of him and his father in the woods. It seems that pieces of his memories are starting to come together. Was the girl in the box initially a girl in his father's trunk? How much did Bright have to do with her murder? Did Dr. Whitley take his son and show him the "right of passage" – turning him in to a "man"?
A very light episode in content, yet had a number of great moments which were necessary for investment into the characters of the show. I did miss seeing Sheen – he's quite a treat every episode and his interactions with Bright have become something I look forward to. Jessica is clearly hiding a lot and impatiently I need to know what it is. Interesting that Ainsley (Halston Sage) wasn't featured in this episode, possibly recovering from her face-to-face with her father. Hopefully the entire cast will be getting screen time on next week's Prodigal Son, and we will be delighted with a high-profile, detestable case – and more puzzle pieces coming together for Bright.