This midseason finale of FOX's Prodigal Son was sporadically good – but not at the level I was hoping for heading into a holiday break. The show is fantastic because of its unpredictability, so my expectation for "Silent Night" was to be left in shock and not being able to wait for it to come back of hiatus. Instead, while enjoying Ainsley (Halston Sage) standing up to her mother, Jessica (Bellamy Young) stealing evidence to promote her own agenda, and Bright (Tom Payne) getting kidnapped by Paul (Michael Raymond-James), I was still left feeling like there should have been 10 more minutes to go, to really get that "punch" factor.
Ainsley goes live with her story on Dr. Whitley aka The Surgeon (Michael Sheen), announcing that she is also his daughter to the utter shock and disdain of her mother. Great opening scene when Bright is watching the recap of the interview and from behind him a stiletto comes flying at the TV set. A beautiful moment transpires between mother and son, when Jessica admits she is so sorry for dismissing the existence of the girl in the box all these years contriubiting to Malcolm's psychosis. All is forgiven when he confesses that unfortunately irrelevant of that he can never live a normal life; Malcolm is still struggling with how things ended with Eve (Molly Griggs).
A new Prodigal Son cast member joins the team FBI agent Colette Swanson (Meagan Good) a rivalry of Bright's set on not only taking away the Junkyard killer case but also manipulating the members of the NYPD to turn against him. Trying first with Dani (Aurora Perrineau) by showing her footage of Bright talking to Paul in the tunnels, something he never owned up to, will Dani turn? Unlikely. The FBI is not making any headway with their serial killer, but a new case pops up on Christmas Eve for the NYPD – which leads them in a very interesting direction.
The victim, a cop found in a hotel room with a hooker. Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) is convinced it's an easy case of murder suicide. Turner killed the pro and out of guilt shot himself, Bright is not buying it. The veteran detective was a clean, good cop, things just don't add up, looks more like a double homicide, which means there was a third person in the hotel room. Malcolm plunges in to going through Turner's old case files, suspecting maybe one of the criminals he put away came after him. What he does find is an old photo of Turner and his partner – a man that petrified Bright as a child when he interrogated him about his knowledge of his father's murders. While horrific memories start rising, and Bright's hand shakes, him and Gil pay a visit to the fired crooked cop who opens the door pointing a gun at them.
The ex-detective has allowed his life to go down the toilet and spends his time drinking, Bright accuses him of being their prime suspect, in retaliation, he discloses to Bright and Gil that Turner was gay and would have no reason to be in a hotel room with a female prostitute – must have been some type of set up. Gil and the NYPD team track down the owner of the agency providing sexual services, but are lead down a path that doesn't help them narrow down their leads. The same can't be said about Bright who stumbles on a lead thanks to being stalked by the ex-detective.
Meanwhile, Jessica awaits her son and daughter for Christmas dinner and encounters a hostile Ainsley who is frustrated her mother is not supporting her going live with The Surgeon's story. Jessica is tired of having the media parked on her doorstep and feels like she is living in a perpetual nightmare. After a mother, daughter fight after Ainsley storms out, Jessica takes the initiative to go public with a photo of the bracelet taken from The Surgeon's last victim and promises a million dollars to anyone who can give insight in to her identity. If discovered, The Surgeon will maintain in his solitary cell for the rest of his life and the Whitley family might actually get a chance at a normal life.
Turner's dirty partner catches Bright on the street to tell him the victim had a hiding place where he stored certain evidence and paperwork on cases he worked – a shop of sorts and he can take him to it. Venturing to the middle of nowhere with a man who pointed a gun at him and not notifying anyone doesn't seem like a smart idea, yet Malcolm will forever be reckless. What they find in the bunker is years of info on The Surgeon case – Turner was trying to confirm what his partner (and lover) was saying all those years ago that Dr. Whitley had a "clean up man". So who is Paul? John Walters. Bright narrows down the suspect list and cross-references it with old case file suspects and he and Turners partner decide to pay Walters a visit.
Hello sweet, blind, little old lady! "Johnny" was raised by his grandmother after his mother a drug addict didn't want to have anything to do with him. Grandma suffered the loss of her husband after he had a freak accident and the car in the garage fell on him, she has had to raise Johnny all on her own. Offering Bright and the ex-detective some microwavable dinner and stories from her grandsons past along with a photo album with Johnny's face scratched out, Bright ventures to the bathroom as an excuse to snoop around. Poking in to Johnny's room, it has been preserved as a child's room, and Bright notices that the closet door has nail scratches on it, why?
Bright comes downstairs to find Turners partner dead on the table – Sweet grandma called Johnny to "take out the trash", clearly this serial killer was made with the support of his nana. In hot pursuit, again with no back up, Bright chases down Johnny aka Paul only to be clobbered on the head, and dragged elsewhere. So what now?
"Silent Night" seemed rushed and didn't have the feel of a midseason cliffhanger. The rivalry between Colette and Bright isn't as smooth as the other dynamics of the cast members…maybe she will grow on me over time. As reckless as Bright is, not calling in the murder at Johnny's house and chasing down Paul on his own, the man who has on several occasions almost killed him was too easy and stupid. He essentially served himself up to Paul to end of the episode. As a huge fan of the show, I might have wanted to see the crazy grandma angle played up, maybe have her drug Bright only to wake up in a basement somewhere with Paul sharpening his switchblade and Martin sitting down reading a book – ok, maybe that last part is pushing it.
So what's in store for Prodigal Son when it comes back from hiatus? What will Paul do with Malcolm? Kill his teacher's son? I don't think so. Psychologically torture him, give him some of his memories back, and possibly a taste of what it's like to kill someone? More likely.