With this week's episode of FOX's Prodigal Son, I struggled to figure out if I enjoyed the episode or not. Although I understand why last week's episode was more subdued, and in fact was a great breather from the intensity of the rest of the season, "All Souls and Sadists" just didn't wow me.
Could have been that I went into it with the expectations of psychotic breaks, extended screen time of Dr. Whitley (Michael Sheen) – given the clear tittle of the episode, and an exciting homicide – 100 stab wounds seemed extreme. Instead, Bright (Tom Payne) continued on his quest in search of the station wagon featured in an old photo with him and his dad, Jessica (Bellamy Young) actually come on board with Ainsley (Holston Sage) doing a story on her father, the crime was uneventful, and Dr. Whitley is hardly present for the entire episode.
Ainsley came face-to-face with her father and genuinely seems petrified of him until he turned on the paternal charm. A woman desperately trying to seek answers, and clarity for how someone can kill so many people and feel no remorse. Dr. Whitley points out to her that she is seeking answers to much more than that, specifically, validation of her father's love.
Dr. Whitley spins it so well that Ainsley instantly develops love for her father. The entire experience is almost hypnotic, Ainsley confesses to Jessica and Bright that she met with him, and will move forward with his permission to do a story on him.
Jessica immediately forbids it and tries to pull strings to ensure that doesn't happen. Later on however, when she realizes that for Ainsley it is much more than a story but a connection she has been missing her entire life to her dad, Jessica seems to give up fighting the idea.
Not sure what is going on with Jessica the last few episodes, she has gone to great lengths to protect, shield, and detour her children from further psychological damage, yet she is giving her daughter the green light on a one to one with Dr. Whitley, being supportive to Bright and even delivering him a box of his old things. Has Jessica been seeing her husband secretly, and fallen in love again?
Bright is back on his child psychologist couch in search for answers of how to unlock his past. She urges him to tread very carefully, because he has built a life on repressed memories, so dragging them back up again might cause him to have a psychotic break and not only start hallucinating but disconnect from reality completely.
That in no way discourages him even after he start seeing a walking, talking, hallucinations of Dr. Whitley start popping up in random places. Bright seeks out used car lots to locate the car and even enlists Dani's (Aurora Perrineau) help with the NYPD to find it.
A victim is found in the woods with approximately 100 stab wounds – talk about a passionate overkill. Bright profiles that the killer was in rage, the kill was his/her first, and the individual is sadist. The victim's wife and he were separated and the widow didn't seem too upset about her husband's death, neither did their young son.
The NYPD investigate the mother's lover a personal trainer as the potential perp. Bright even goes undercover – a worthy scene to try and gage if the man fits the profile, which he does when he tries out some unnecessary brutal force on Bright. Turns out he is not the guy and the NYPD catches the victim's wife digging at the crime scene for a bloody sweatshirt. She confesses to killing her husband, but something just doesn't sit well with Bright. She clearly doesn't fit the profile.
While Bright is busy digging into his own past, his distraction screws his perception of the case. He fights so hard for answers to contradict what he probably believes deep down at his core – that he might be like his father and more than that had participated in some of his fathers "extracurricular activities" that he fails to see the victim's son as a sadist.
Once the reality sets and dead bunnies are found buried in the little boy's back yard the NYPD team go after him – not in time to save the personal trainer from getting his ankles slashed. In a dramatic one-on-one Bright relates to the boy, demonstrates empathy and paints a sociopathic future that can be avoided.
The little boy gives up the knife and surrenders peacefully. I was hopeful for something much more eventful and shocking which had been typical of Prodigal Son but instead we got a very conventional resolution.
The show continues to end on notes that have the viewer wanting to tune in for next week and this wasn't any different – at least they stuck to their standard in this regard. Bright with Dani's help tracks the station wagon to a junk yard.
When he opens the trunk and shines the ultraviolet light it lights up with overwhelming traces of blood. Although this episode of Prodigal Son proved predictable and seemed to only validate what Bright has been thinking all along, my curiosity lies in Bright's involvement in these killings and possibly others and just how many people did "The Surgeon" actually kill.