Prodigal Son is back, and there’s a lot going on this season already. But let’s be honest. We’re mostly watching to see Michael Sheen have the most fun playing a serial killer since Anthony Hopkins asked Jody Foster if the lambs have stopped screaming. Let’s get to it, shall we?
They Did Bad, Bad Things
I know we’re supposed to feel a little sorry for Jessica, when she overheard Gil saying that her family might be cursed. But aren’t they? Just a little? At the very least, the entire family is in desperate need of therapy. Yes, they’re already getting therapy (or at least Malcolm is). They need more therapy. Just give them all the therapy.
Honestly, the fact that Malcolm collects murder weapons (that he doesn’t lock up for some reason) and thinks that’s a totally normal hobby may be the most normal thing about any of them. And that’s even if you ignore the body count they’re wracking up between them.
Has there ever been a family who has ever demonstrated a greater predilection for homicide than the Brights? It will be interesting to see how far Malcolm is willing to go to cover up a murder committed by his sister, Ainsley. Of course, he’s not doing it entirely without help. He’s got a serial killer on speed dial!
With this family history, it seems strange to me that he’s keeping their mother, Jessica, out of the loop. Sure, she’s a little tightly wound, with a medicine cabinet filled with more pills than your average rave. But considering everything she’s already dealt with – and her obvious unconditional love for her children – she probably would be a greater asset than they’re giving her credit. I’m sure she’ll find out at some point this season, at which point they are going to be so grounded.
We at Fangirlish are big fans of Dani and Malcolm, but it’s really been wonderful to see how far this group has come as a team over the first season. JT has stepped into the leadership role during Gil’s recovery, and he seems to do a good job. Even if he’s not the most scintillating interviewee. But we’ll never get over how much we love seeing Edrisa walk a little on her wilder – and darker – side. It’s been a year, but her crush on Malcolm remains strong. Find you a girl who gets positively gleeful to discover a beheading, and you’ll have…well, interesting dinner conversation for the rest of your life, if nothing else.
The second season premiere does a good job of highlighting how much closer the team has grown with Malcolm over the past year, but let’s not kid ourselves. They still know he’s a single song verse away from snapping and cutting off someone else’s hand. They just don’t realize he’s a little afraid he might enjoy it.
Black Lives Matter
Particularly after a year like 2020, there’s always a question whether shows will try to reflect present day issues in their writing. Prodigal Son may have eschewed all reference to face masks, but they brought Black Lives Matter into the series when JT gets confronted by some unambiguously racist fellow officers. The experience had an effect on him (as it should) that will likely carry further into the season.
I’m always a little wary of shows tackling these real-world issues. Not because they aren’t important issues, but because shows often treat them as a one-and-done issue. “Here’s our one episode about how racism is bad. Join us next week, when we’ll pretend none of this ever happened! If you’re lucky, we might refer to the fact it happened once or twice in the future!” Writers may have the best of intentions (giving a benefit of the doubt that not all shows deserve). However, this “one-and-done” approach only serves to make incredibly pervasive issues like racism seem more topical than systemic. Racism isn’t a problem within society; it’s just a failing of these three cops!
I hope that this show handles the subject with more care. As much as I enjoy the show, however, I must note that the series can be a little heavy-handed at times. Including in the beginning of this episode, in trying to remind viewers of where we left off. So we’ll have to wait and see how this one goes.
Martin, Martin, Martin
As much as I enjoy Malcolm’s meltdowns, Jessica’s neuroses, and Edrisa’s darkness, the best part of Prodigal Son has always been Michael Sheen as the Surgeon. Dr. Whitly had a pretty cushy setup last season. That’s gone now, replaced by a roommate he didn’t ask for and can’t entirely stand. He’s in hell, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.
However, pro tip for future potential roommates? It’s never a good idea to anger a father who’s ruthless enough to commit murder and evil enough to enjoy it. Then again, if it means seeing his embrace his diabolical side more often, I say…go for it.
Prodigal Son airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Fox.