FOX's Prodigal Son does an amazing job taking the viewer on a roller-coaster of emotions, and Internal Affairs did not disappoint. After last week's intense and horrifying winter premier full of action, blood, and revelations, this week was all emotionally driven while highlighting Bright's (Tom Payne) skill set.
During a battle of wits, Bright yet again demonstrated that while being mentally unstable, suffering from trauma, hallucinations, and heartbroken about the knowledge that his own father Dr. Whitly aka The Surgeon (Michael Sheen) tried to kill him, he is extremely effective at what he does. No department shrink will take him off the case, especially if he is also the perpetrator. Internal Affairs really showcases Gil's (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Bright's foster type father/son relationship, and how Bright has clearly in his own unique way won the trust of the NYPD.
An incident occurs at the precinct, vague details, and subliminal messages imply that Bright is very much to blame. After a very public and heated argument between Gil and Bright, where Malcolm is told to get the hell out – a man that never listens to directions instead locks himself in a room with what look like an ECT machine; next, power in the entire building goes out and the precinct welcomes a police psychiatrist hired by Internal Affairs to investigate the incident. Everyone on staff is interviewed, and a lot of questions are geared towards Bright's mental state, Bright's fellow colleagues have a lot less than positive things to say about him; he's impulsive, self-centered, unstable, not a team player, he hallucinates, and is a tickingtime bomb waiting to explode – yet they all agree that he's quite brilliant as a profiler.
The police psychologist accuses Bright immediately of inadequately processing trauma: how can he possibly be effective at his job, when clearly he is not seeking help. On the flip side, Jessica (Bellamy Young) hires Bright a nanny to tuck him in to bed, ensure he takes his medication, and keep him elated on scotch. Forty eight hours earlier, itching to get back to work Bright overhears Dani (Aurora Perrineau) getting called to a new case and he can't wait to get his hands dirty, or rather just one hand, since the other was smashed with a hammer a few weeks earlier. Being warned to take time off after being held captive and tortured by the 'Junkyard Killer' (Michael Raymond-James), Bright shows up help solve a homicide.
The victim is found in a graveyard, an uninvited guest, strangled with burn marks at his temples. Bright feels that the crime is a contradiction. The disposal of the body is done by a professional, but the slaughter is one of passion, something is just not adding up; a possible cult victim? The NYPD track the deceased to Vosler Institute, a facility that many believe is not there to nurture and cure the damaged and lost, but rather create a submissive army.
So what does Bright do? He enrolls himself into the institute and willingly agrees to receive electroconvulsive therapy which is promised to erase trauma. Vosler administers the treatment in a very barbaric manner with no anesthetic, and I don't think I saw any cardiac monitoring pads, but why the hell not just go for it? Awaking to friend of the victim and fellow cult member Andy, Bright tries desperately to convince her to run away: nothing can be worse that being locked up like this. Unfortunately, while making their escape she gets kidnapped by deprogrammers.
Jessica assists Bright in interviewing the various deprogrammers, apparently it's an "elite trend" for children of the wealthy to run away and join a cult. They frequently will then hire these deprogrammers to kidnap their children and reverse the brain washing. During the interview process, Bright identifies one goon as possibly the culprit and drags him into interrogation. He seems like the disposal guy, not the brains of the operation… so who is pulling the strings?
Bright and the police psychologist continue to play musical chairs, the psychologist even admits to understanding trauma after losing his daughter in a car accident. Bright admits that he has been hallucinating a young him, being plagued by the child with the need for an explanation as to why his father tried to kill him. He admits to joining the institute to help solve the case, but that the ECT treatment really did help and that for awhile the hallucinations stopped. His psychological evaluation deems him unfit to continue working for the NYPD.
Bright figures out that the psychologist is the head deprogrammer who had the victim killed to get to Andy. How? The muscle had thrown out a pill bottle while in interrogation which listed him as the prescribing physician, brilliant. The entire sting, the black out, and even Bright's colleagues was all a rouse to get to him. Bright is a superior mind, furthermore the psychologists daughter didn't die in a car accident but rather a cult, and Andy reminded him very much of his daughter. Trying to "save" her was his own redemption. I was shocked, completely didn't see that twist coming – making Prodigal Son is by far one of the best shows on television.
In one of the most touching moments thus far, Bright admits to Gil that he's not ok! In a beautiful very father/son like moment, Gil commends him for the statement, and orders him to take a two week vacation. The simplicity and kindness of that interaction will hopefully get Bright and his parakeet to take a little "oosah time" and at least recenter back to pre-crisis mode. Because let's face it, Bright is most productive because of his trauma and instability. While on the couch, Bright hallucinates again, but the image vanishes after alerting Bright that although Dr. Whitly tried to kill them… he didn't.
Will Bright really take a vacation? If we've learned anything, it's that he never listens to instructions. In fact, it's pretty safe to say that when directed to do something, he will inevitably do the opposite and get himself in more trouble. Will he go to see The Surgeon to make peace with trying to kill him, desperate to hold on to the notion that in his own way, his father does love him? One thing's for sure, another homicide is on it's way, and it's a doozy – Count of Monte Cristo?