Prodigal Son just refuses to let up this season, doesn’t it? In the aftermath of the most recent episode, titled “Bad Manners,” we were left with numerous questions. Like “how does every school the Whitlys attended have so much murder?” I don’t remember murder being such a big part of my formative years. Also “how much caffeine will give you a heart attack?” Edrisa may soon fine out. And let’s not forget, “Is there anything creepier than a doll fashioned after a person?” No. No, there is not.
But there are some more pressing questions, too. Questions that have been growing since the start of the season. Let’s tackle some of the biggest ones:
Will Ainsley Remember?
The entire season, Malcolm has skirted the issue of the murder of Nicholas Endicott with his sister, Ainsley. She doesn’t remember that she did the deed in question, and he’s afraid they’ll lose her if she does. But Ainsley isn’t one to just let things go, as we’ve seen. She may not know there’s something deeper to the story Malcolm told her, but that hasn’t stopped her from digging. At least a little.
With a show like this, it’s not a question of if Ainsley will remember, but when. And, more importantly, what will she do when she does? In the first season, she was more of an outsider to the core Whitly drama between Martin and Malcolm. But even so, there were hints that things weren’t entirely right with her. These issues have become more glaring this season, most recently in her reaction to finding a dead body. She may be far more like her father than anyone ever suspected. Once she realizes homicide runs in the family, what will she do with that information?
How Far Will Jessica Go?
Honestly, Jessica is probably the strongest character on the series. Yes, she self-medicates with pills and alcohol, but it can’t be easy to discover the husband you adore is a serial killer. In the face of public humiliation, private shame, and ostracism from the high society world she had always known, she stood firm. She didn’t run away. She didn’t change her name. She didn’t move into a different house (even after discovering her house had its very own murder basement). She stayed, she held her head high, and she dared people to say anything about it. It’s almost strange that first person to really recognize her strength on the show is Martin, the man who put her in the position where she had no other choice.
There’s no doubt a great deal of her strength has come from love of her family, from a desperate desire to protect her children. But now she faces a new threat to her children’s safety: the murder (and subsequent coverup) of Nicholas Endicott. Jessica is scared. Scared enough to ask Gil if Ainsley was involved in the debutante murders (much to his confusion). Desperate enough to turn to Martin for help, asking him to be the man she married. Because, as much as he cares for the Whitlys, there are some things Gil simply isn’t going to be able to accept.
It seems likely Gil will eventually learn about what Ainsley and Malcolm did that night. Unfortunately, I can’t see that knowledge really strengthening the Jessica/Gil relationship.
What Happens When Martin Escapes?
In another “it’s not if but when” situation, Martin will undoubtedly become a fugitive this season. Since that plot first reared its head, I wondered why his family would ever help him evade capture. Malcolm and Jessica have a love/hate relationship with the former Whitly patriarch, repelled by him and yet unable to truly escape him at the same time. So it seemed unrealistic to me that they wouldn’t do everything in their power to put him behind bars if he ever did escape.
Until Jessica asked Martin for help, to save Ainsley (and Malcolm). If she’s willing to turn to a serial killer she detests for help, she’s willing to do anything to save her children. Including helping the Surgeon escape capture? Maybe. And that…that will be very interesting to see.
Prodigal Son airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Fox.