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Prodigal Son “All Souls and Sadists” Review

Halston Sage is Ainsley Whitly

There’s a lot to unbox in tonight’s Prodigal Son. Ainsley is finally getting some love, Malcolm’s on the verge of a real psychotic break, and Martin is…shy?

We start off nowhere near 20 years ago, which is such a relief. Instead, it’s one week ago and Ainsley is asking Martin Whitly if he would let her interview him. He’s…surprisingly reluctant. See, Martin is eager to have a relationship with his daughter – who he never got to know since Mom swept her away and out of his reach once he went to the slammer. However, he’s worried being interviewed about his “work” won’t go over well because the general public just wouldn’t understand it.

As for why Ainsley is so die-hard to get the interview, it could be she sees it as a boon to her career, but, as any good Catholic boy or girl knows: What happens when you make something off-limits? It becomes the only thing you want. You have to have it. Hell, you might even work your whole career just to make getting it possible. Is it possible Ainsley only became a reporter because it might one day give her access to her father? Yes. Entirely. Still, for now it’s only a theory. We do get a glimpse into her curiosity when she asks her father the question he knows she’s been dying to ask: Was it real? Did he really love his family? He appears to say yes, but when she tells Jessica, her mother is less than convinced. Afterall, Jessica knows how manipulative Martin can be, how charming. Did Martin really love his family???

It’s a decent question. Most people who hear the word psychopath assume a soulless, emotionless monster who just runs around killing people for the fun of it, but in truth psychopaths aren’t so cut and dry. Yes, they have a lack of shame and empathy, but they have also been proven to be capable of real relationships – albeit very few. A psychopath can truly love but it’s a case-by-case deal. Just like not all “normal” people are created equal, neither are all psychopaths.

ANYWAY…

Ainsley’s major hurdle will be Jessica who is determined to make sure neither of her children get involved with their infamous father. So far, she’s made Martin take Malcolm off his visitor list and pulled high school strings to get Ainsley’s story thrown out, but we all know those deterrents won’t work for long. Hint Hint: the preview for the next episode sees both the Whitly kids in dad’s cell.

The other part of Ainsley’s story is the peak into her love life – she’s dating her cameraman Jin (Raymond Lee). She also looks to be about as consumed by her work as the other Whitly’s (Jessica’s work would be philanthropy and her children, Martin’s would be murder and getting his family back, and of course Malcolm’s is profiling and figuring out what happened 20 years ago), which is a shame but at least it looks like Jin can convince her to take some breaks now and again.

In between the little tidbits we get of Ainsley as an actual person (nice to see Jessica breaks into her apartment too), the serial killer plot involves a man who was stabbed multiple times in the park. Malcolm must have been getting his ZZZ’s because he’s curious as to why Gil calls him in on the case whereas last episode, he inserted himself into a case that clearly didn’t require a profiler. But, Malcolm’s a team player and happily set his profiler eye to the scene.

We’re told the man, Gavin Parker, was murdered by a sadist – a budding sadists who is only starting to realize that hurting people gives him (or her, but they never say her, le sigh) joy. The victim’s name leads us to Crystal Parker (Katie Kreisler), the wife. When visited by Malcolm and Gil she doesn’t seem too upset her husband was murdered – this is because they were getting a divorce, and she’d already started to move on with Jake (Charlie Semine). Jake’s gonna play our red herring for the bulk of this investigation. He fits the part pretty well – definitely has a temper, loves to hurt people, and has motive! But, eventually we discover it wasn’t Jake or Crystal (who later confesses when she gets arrested at the scene trying to hide evidence) who killed Gavin, it was…wait for it…their son!

Hi, killer kid. You’re the third one I’ve seen so far. The one in Evil got murdered by his folks for attempting to kill sister more than once, and the one in New Amsterdam got treated (successfully???) by Dr. Iggy Frome (Tyler Labine) after nearly killing her brother. What’s Issac’s (Clark Furlong) story? His mom knows he’s got a problem – hi, conduct disorder! But, she’s insanely in love with him (but not in a gross way), so when he kills his dad, she’s fine with covering for him. Why did he kill his dad? Because Gavin found out his kid was a psycho and wanted to put him in a psychiatric facility. Sorry, Dr. Frome. Though, Malcolm does manage to get through to the kid so only one of the creepy kids this TV season dies.

Malcolm initially ignores the boy as a possible suspect not because of the usual bias of only seeing an innocent child, but rather the more specific bias of only seeing an innocent child around his age who also lost his father. Speaking of Malcolm and his dad, you didn’t think we were gonna let that station wagon go, right? Nah!

Thanks to Powell Malcolm is able to track down his childhood vehicle, but his shrink Dr. Gabrielle Le Deux warns him it’s not a good idea to go down this road. See, Malcolm’s memory block might be an act of protection; if he breaks that wall down his whole world could break. We see a sign of this when he has a non-sleep deprivation induced, non-drug related hallucination of his father at his mother’s house. Dr. Le Deux warned him about this, but will he keep knocking on that door? Given he tracks down the station wagon and is seen investigating it with the aid of a blacklight flashlight at the end of the episode, you betcha!

Additional thoughts:

Could not see any obvious connection of the title to anything in the episode, except of course for sadists. I guess All Souls is in relation to Halloween? Granted, it’s Nov. 2nd, so…yeah, I have no idea.

Nice to see Payne teasing at his martial arts skills – we don’t really get to see too much of sadly, but it does give those TWD fans a little homage to the Jesus they lost.

More importantly: Props to the television landscape for getting the message on being more diverse! I’ve been seeing a real uptick in the number of Asians in shows. 9-11 has “Chimney”, who, being part of an ensemble, has had several significant storylines. Fresh off the Boat gives us a family sitcom set around Asians (which honestly, took forever to come around again – hi All American Girl!). And, of course, Prodigal Son which has Keiko Agena, Lou Diamond Phillips (who checks off a lot of boxes), and now Raymond Lee (playing cameraman Jin) and James Saito (playing Martin’s prison therapist Dr. Higa). Granted, Phillips is the only real regular and prominently featured Asian, but I’m hoping Agena gets a bigger chunk of time in the future (being the show’s “kooky” M.E. she’ll always have a place, kind of the way Masi Oka’s Max Bergman did on Hawaii Five-0). Hey, it’s a start, and Prodigal Son also features African Americans and Hispanics on their roster, so not too shabby, especially for a show set in NYC! Take that, Friends!

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