I desperately needed some alone time after watching the winter return of FOX's Prodigal Son; in shock at the sheer craziness of the episode it left me with my jaw wide open and repulsed and horrified in a good way. As has been the case lately, once again trh series did not disappoint.
After leaving off with Bright (Tom Payne) kidnapped by the "Junkyard Killer" (Michael Raymond-James), what I wasn't expecting was Bright needing to pretty much destroy his own hand to escape and protect his family. Welcoming back Dr. Whitly (Michael Sheen) epitomizing the crazy and presenting himself in a new light, a lot of shocking information was dropped – including why a father would want to kill his own son.
Bright wakes up chained to a floor in the company of the "Junkyard Killer", in a humoristic tone, he begins to probe deep into his captors psyche trying to convince him that his urge to kill was made not born. Exploring his childhood, diving deep into his fear and agony of being disciplined rather harshly by his grandparents while his mother was off somewhere, Bright makes a statement that he doesn't have to do this.
John is thirsty for blood, as much as the profile is correct, and he feels he essentially was forced to kill his grandfather at a young age to protect himself, he knows that killing is his calling. While that reasoning goes to hell, Bright tries to re-strategize an escape route while also trying to get answers about the 'girl in the box'
Meanwhile, the Swanson (Meagan Good)-led FBI have teamed up with the NYPD to locate John, and I guess by default Malcolm; given Swanson's disdain for the man, doesn't seem she cares one way or another if they locate him while he is still breathing. Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) requests to notify Jessica (Bellamy Young) about her son being held captive, Swanson's bad feels run deep across the entire Whitly family and doesn't think it's a good idea.
John's insane grandmother is brought in for questioning, but she essentially spits in everyone's face while protecting her good little grandson. The FBI is left with a photo album of John's childhood as the sole means of figuring out where he can possibly be. Gil has a better idea, go see Martin, a puppet master must surely know the minions whereabouts.
Before making his grand appearance at the hospital, Gil detours to Jessica's house and updates her on the situation, she immediately loses it and summons Ainsley (Halston Sage) for support. Gil's care for her appears to be more than just NYPD duty – I'm wondering if they were romantically involved years ago.
One of the best scenes of the episode is Gil vs. The Surgeon – Dr. Whitly looks like solitary hasn't been sitting all that well with him; the crazy hair, the bizarre mannerisms and lethargic speech, Gil notifies The Surgeon that his protégée has his son, Dr. Whitly probably drops the best line of the entire season: "he's dead", smiles, and drops to the ground in cardiac arrest.
Is this a father showing care for his son? Is he truly devastated, or is this his plot to get out of solitary due to health risks? After Dr. Whitly comes to and is heavily sedated he doesn't offer much more than what the FBI has already figured out, the location of the cabin – but he does accuse Gil of sleeping with his wife.
Bright's interaction with John is not going anywhere good, John it seems has been harboring some serious resentment and rage against him. Shedding light on to the camping trip the three of them took when Bright was a little boy, the purpose of the venture was for Dr. Whitly to kill his son, not welcome him into the side business. At Bright's utter shock, John reveals a scar caused by a stab wound.
Little Malcolm retaliated and stabbed John after he tried to do what Martin couldn't. It's time to return the favor, in a very quick unexpected turn of events, John thrusts a knife in to his chest and leaves him to bleed out.
Survival and hallucinations kick in as Bright gets a visit from his child psychologist urging him to figure out a way to survive. She offers peace and safety and encourages in him the will to protect himself – summoning up the courage, he stops his own bleeding.
The FBI and NYPD close in on the cabin, surrounding the perimeter they enter only to find the house empty. Not really surprising, so where is Malcolm? Now the answer to that, is pure brilliance. Ainsley takes a look at John's photo album laying on the table, and a light bulb goes off as she notices a picture of an angel given to her by Mr. Boots (allegedly and imaginary friend). Ainsley confesses that she thought he was a ghost when she was a child because one time when she followed him he disappeared in to thin air, or, in reality a secret passage in the house.
"Here's Johnny!" An axe starts breaking through the walls and the power is cut. Mother and daughter run for their lives – why people don't try to run out the front door but instead venture further into the house is something I never quite understood. Ainsley gets hit but Jessica protects her girl, telling her everything is going to be alright
Except it's not. It's really not – and John will absolutely kill them.
Bright realizes where he is. His family being his weakness, he feels helpless… trapped… and what he really needs is motivation from someone who is ruthless and sociopathic…."Hello, Dad!". The Surgeon keeps it very logical: the cuff is 2 inches larger than the hand – so, Bright smashes his hand until he's free.
Coming to his family's rescue, the prey becomes the hunter. He lures John into a psychological fortress of despair, playing off his childhood trauma, stabs him, and tosses him in a trunk. A lovely family moment ensues.
Not a bad way to welcome Prodigal Son back. Limbs getting cut off, possible affairs, hallucinations, and general mayhem. Still not answers to the "girl in the box", but that rightfully takes a bit of a backseat when Bright finds out that the camping trip was supposed to be his last day on earth… and stabbed a man as a child.
Will this ease his "psycho" or make it work overtime? A more important question is, did Jessica know any of this? A secret lair in her own house used most likely to torture victims? Who was actually turning the other cheek through all of it? Ainsley saw Mr. Boots – yet no one else did? Let's see how long Prodigal Son makes us wait for the answers.