What are we going to do with ourselves until the series returns?
They teased a must-see fall finale we wouldn't want to miss, and Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 10 delivered.
Malcolm is at the mercy of the Junkyard Killer, and given that he's the only one who seems capable of profiling him with success, will he be forced to save himself if the team can't get to him in time?
One of the most satisfying parts of the hour was considering Malcolm's profile and all we knew about the Junkyard Killer, the pieces clicked before the grand reveal.
Paul Lazar, the Junkyard killer, and John Watkins were the same.
Matilda and her husband taught John to loathe addicts like his mother. They were highly religious and hyperfocused on sinning and avoiding it, which coincided with John/Paul's mission-oriented killing that consisted of "cleaning up" the neighborhood.
Even John/Paul's penchant for locking people away in confined spaces was due to his experiences as a kid locked in his closet as punishment. And we can guess he killed his grandfather at the junkyard, right?
Everything clicked into place too late. Someone in the comments noted that it's hard sometimes when Malcolm, an expert profiler, misses signs until much later.
My Johnny takes out the trash.Matilda
Profiling isn't an exact science, and it's still reliant on naturally flawed humans. Malcolm is a flawed person whose hubris and self-doubt are in a near-constant battle with one another while working.
In this instance, his obsession with a case that was too personal for him blinded him to what was in front of him until it was too late.
Malcolm saw a lot of himself in Shannon, and by the end of the hour, you couldn't help but feel for Shannon when he ended up another Junkyard victim.
The best cases are the ones that tie-into the overarching mystery of Martin and Paul, so it was smart for the series to use the midseason finale to tie everything into each other.
Malcolm Bright is destructive. Don't let a man like that ruin your career.Colette
The FBI taking over the Lazar case meant the team had to focus on other homicides, but the deaths of Turner and the sex worker dovetailed right into the Lazar case before most of them realized it.
It's true that Malcolm wouldn't stop investigating the Lazar case anyway, but it just so happened that the Turner case became connected to the Lazar case.
It wasn't something he sought out, and Colette would have known that if she weren't hellbent on icing out Malcolm and sticking it to him whenever she got the chance.
Colette: Special agent, no, wait, that's not right. What the hell do they call you around here?
Malcolm: Hello, Colette. Bright usually works.
Colette: Not usually for me.
She blew into town with a whole lot of arrogance and attitude, and she couldn't temper it for anything in the world.
Maybe she's a nice person who is good at her job, but at the moment, she's a real beyotch.
It would be easier to accept her clear distaste for Malcolm if she didn't let it interfere with her investigation, but she has. If she's focused on catching the serial killer, then why not take advantage of all the information Malcolm can provide?
She shut him down and out as if he didn't have experience with Lazar and a working profile. He's an asset for her case, but she's letting her animosity interfere.
Colette: I don't think Malcolm has divulged the full extent of his relationship with our junkyard killer.
Dani: You don't need my help, you just need eyes on Bright. He would never let personal interests get in the way of a case.
Colette: And can you say the same?
Dani: Can you? Because I'm sensing that you came here to bury Bright. We're all on the same side, right?
Her first moments with Dani included trying to warn her against Malcolm and make her doubt him. How is that conducive to solving the case at all?
Dani was right; she's the one taking things personally and letting it interfere with the job.
Colette was pissed off when she found Malcolm was still investigating the case, but it's not like she fostered an environment where he would've been able to tell her his latest findings. She didn't even listen to him anytime he spoke.
She was too focused on tearing him down. Hell, if we weren't discussing grown adults, you'd be inclined to think she likes Malcolm with the equivalent of pig-tail pulling she was doing.
Jessica: Why didn't you tell me the girl in the box -- the memories, you have proof they're all real?
Malcolm: How did you? Gil.
We can assume that Dani and the team know more about Malcolm than Colette, or maybe it's what she's aware of that is clouding her judgment so much.
Colette might be judging Malcolm the same way Detective Shannon was judging him at the ripe age of 10 years old.
It was an intriguing parallel to Dani and Malcolm's relationship with Shannon and Turner. Dani sees Malcolm for who he is and trusts him. She knows he's off-book and doesn't play by the rules, but she compensates for it too.
If Colette thought she was going to drive a wedge between Dani and Malcolm, then she's wrong. We saw how Dani responded to a distressed Malcolm recalling how disastrous his experience was with Eve.
Dani: Whatever the problem is, I'm sure you can fix it.
Malcolm: The problem is me, and I can't be fixed.
Dani: I don't think that's true.
Dani is loyal and cares about Malcolm, so it's doubtful Colette can come between that.
It mirrored the relationship Detective Shannon had with Turner. The two of them ended up being an item at some point, so you can take with that what you choose to, but what was constant was that Turner never gave up on Shannon.
Shannon went from being most loathsome to a misunderstood soul who had a tough life.
Malcolm's flashbacks to being interrogated by Shannon were nothing short of infuriating. How did he get away with questioning a young child by himself with no supervision? It was right after they took in Martin, so the boy was traumatized enough as it is.
The cops on scene said they heard you and your father exchange some parting words. We're the same. What do you think that means?Det. Shannon
Jessica was probably in an interrogation room too, but it's more of a reason why a caseworker, or something, should've been around.
Shannon suspected that Malcolm knew more about his father's killings and that he had something to do with it. He used Martin's parting words to Malcolm that night of them being the same to press young Malcolm for more information.
The messed up thing about the situation is Shannon was 50 kinds of wrong for what he was doing to an actual child, but his hunch wasn't off. Malcolm knows now that there was something that happened, but he can't remember.
It makes you wonder why a seasoned detective didn't consider that maybe the child he was scaring the bejeezus out of was so traumatized he wouldn't be of use.
Smile, kid. This is the fun part.Shannon
Malcolm can never shake the fear that he's like his father. He spends most of his life trying to convince others that he isn't, while also trying to make himself believe it too.
Once he got past Shannon's rough exterior, he saw himself in the man. They were both obsessive when it came to this case and trying to figure out the truth.
Shannon figured out decades ago that Martin had help, and it cost him his career when he went to great lengths investigating it. He was onto the Junkyard Killer years ago.
How old is Paul supposed to be, though? My goodness! Initially, it seemed as though he was young 20 years ago, like, maybe he was in his early to mid-twenties, but he seemed more mature back then based on Malcolm's recent flashback.
Young Malcolm: What's in the trunk?
Paul/John: I'll tell you, but you have to promise to keep a secret.
Malcolm recalled Paul standing by the wagon, with a body in the trunk, outside of the Whitly home before their camping trip. He talked to Malcolm about the importance of switchblades and the quality.
Malcolm is still having brief flashes of Martin helping him cut into something, and Malcolm probably thinks it's a body, the girl in the box, but it's also possible it could be an animal, too.
We don't see enough in the frame to determine what it is, but it's not the first time he's had that brief flash, so it must be a real one for him.
Shannon still seemed shady for a bit, and when Malcolm accompanied him to Turner's storage facility alone, at night, without so much as telling anyone else where he went, it was another moment when you wanted to shout out the screen.
The boy has zero self-preservation skills, and worrying about him is exhausting. We have buddy systems for a reason!
Malcolm was able to get past the fact that he was posted on the case board a few times because of how fascinated he was by all of this information he didn't have before.
Shannon: Damn him for being a good guy, for being my guy.
Malcolm: You and Turner were in a relationship.
Shannon: I spent ten years of my life hating him for my career when all he was trying to do was save me from myself. And now he's dead. I just want him to know that. I want him to know ... .
Malcolm: He knew.
It was a meeting of the minds with old-school working along with new. Shannon was pulling out old paper case files, and Malcolm was scrolling through information on his phone.
Through their combined forces, they narrowed down to John Watkins, and they were able to track down his old childhood home.
Everything about their time spent at Matilda Watkins' home was so wonderfully bizarre. The TV dinners were vile, and as a foodie, it's disheartening that his final meal was whatever the hell that was.
Malcolm was positively giddy over wondering around the Watkins' home, and it's true; it's a profiler's dream. You can find out so much about a person in their childhood home.
Shannon: Why are you smiling?
Malcolm: This is John's childhood home. This is like the holy grail for profilers. Serial killers aren't just born. They're made, and John was made right here.
The longer they spent at the Watkins' home, the more likely it seemed something terrible would happen to them there, and it's a wonder Malcolm didn't tip Gil off to his location for safety.
But then, we're talking about the same guy who held a loaded gun to his head while profiling, so this is who he is, and we have to accept it.
Paul/John took out Shannon, but would he try to kill Malcolm too? It's odd how he views Malcolm.
Martin was his mentor, but he doesn't have a real attachment to him or what and who should matter to him. Paul/John isn't a sociopath, so it's hard to make sense of his relationship with Malcolm.
He's taking him away, and he'll probably drive him out to their camping location to see if he can trigger more of his memories.
Paul/John: We have to stop meeting like this. Remember me?
Malcolm: They'll find you.
Paul/John: They'll never find us where we're going.
Malcolm might get all the answers he was looking for, and it's doubtful he'll be appreciative of what he discovers.
While the others race to find him, he might find out what happened to the girl in the box.
Jessica has taken some initiative on her end. By now, it's apparent the girl was Paul's victim and not Martin's, but Jessica's bound to get some responses.
She and Malcolm remain incredibly sympathetic, especially in the aftermath of the Martin interview being released.
Jessica: I thought he loved you. That at least he took care of you and your sister. I'm sorry.
Malcolm: Thank you, but you don't have to say that.
Jessica: I really do.
Every day they have to walk around with their trauma. Martin's face plastered across the news and all forms of media were a trigger, and it's crazy how Ainsley doesn't consider nor care how that affects them.
She may resent that Malcolm is the favored kid, but he and Jessica share a traumatic experience Ainsley doesn't understand.
It remains troublesome and possibly telling that Ainsley can't process how her mother and brother are survivors. She doesn't think about the families of the victims at all.
Ainsley: Can't you at least try to be happy for me?
Jessica: I'm overjoyed. My home is surrounded by so-called journalists, your father has finally succeeded in making me a prisoner in my own home, and he had the assist by his overly ambitious offspring. Ambitious isn't a dirty word. It's the best thing about me, that and my hair.
It was the first time she seemed to consider them when Jessica brought it up, and then she was back to being defensive.
She sees her brother and mother as weak and victims and thinks the behavior she exhibits can be blamed on ambition alone.
She claimed she was telling her story, but it wasn't hers. She captialized off the family name for the attention, and she exploited her brother and exposed her mother again with no regard for their feelings and how it would affect them.
She's not the one dealing with reporters swarmed outside of her home. Ainsley doesn't know what it was like for Jessica and Malcolm 20 years ago; she was too young to remember.
Jessica: Your father destroyed us. Your brother and me and you put him on television and let him talk about it. You have gone and soaked yourself in blood. The press devoured us 20 years ago, and now they are at it again.
Ainsley: You're playing the victim.
Jessica: I am not a victim, but there are victims. Real ones. How do you think those 23 families feel when they see you on television, and why is the story never about them?
Ainsley: I'm not going to apologize for what I did. I used the media to direct the narrative.
Jessica: What does that even mean?
Ainsley: I'm telling my story not letting somebody else do it.
Jessica telling Ainsley about herself was gratifying, and holy cow, when doesn't Bellamy Young look stunning on this series?
Her dress was gorgeous and so distracting.
Ainsley seemed apologetic for like a second, but then went back to wondering why Jessica couldn't be happy for her, and the girl doesn't get it.
She doesn't get any of it. She's her father's daughter, and she relishes it.
Jessica: Wait, you're not going to help me.
Gil: This case has consumed Bright. I want to help by making sure it doesn't do the same for you.
Jessica: You don't get to make that decision
Somehow, she didn't take advantage of her name enough while rising up in her career, but she exploited it -- directed the narrative -- when the Junkyard Killer became known.
She wanted to break the story before anyone else could and take advantage of her connection to Martin too.
Ainsley is a typical reporter, and she's ruthless, but there's something more. She thinks people are judging her for being an ambitious woman when it's her lack of empathy and sympathy, among other things that are giving people pause.
If she can't scrounge up enough for her boyfriend, or her brother, or her mother, then what does that say about her?
Jessica has been itching to get their lives back under control, and she swore to it.
She's wracked with guilt about the years she spent denying what Malcolm said about the girl. She's disgusted by the role she played in exacerbating his PTSD and emotional well-being, and while it's not her fault what Martin did, it's nice that she apologized.
She and Malcolm's relationship remains a favorite. It's like the more time they spend together trying to resolve their respective issues, the closer they get. They seem closer now than they've been for most of his life.
It's easy to believe that Jessica wants to do something to rid their lives of Martin. She's earnest in wanting the best for Malcolm and herself. She wants them both to be free.
Gil: Let's get out of here. I got a bottle of bourbon in my drawer.
Jessica: How can a girl refuse? Oh please, Gil. I have to fix this.
Gil: You're always worried about everyone else. Let somebody worry about you for a change.
She took a big step with the bracelet.
It was also a nice way to stick it to her daughter by making a public statement to the reporters outside of her home instead of to her daughter.
It's no telling how Gil will react when he finds out she stole that evidence photo from his office. Their dynamic remains an intriguing one.
They care about Malcolm; they seem fond of one another, but they both aren't above playing each other too.
It was amusing when Gil took advantage of how he flusters Jessica, and her love of alcohol, to distract her from hyper-fixating on the case.
He almost had her, too with all of his physical affection and his disarming charm, but she caught on. He's genuine in wanting to protect her and prevent her from going down a rabbit hole as Malcolm does.
He has his hands full with Malcolm as it is, and he can't afford Jessica jumping in and getting reckless, too.
Malcolm: This wasn't a murder-suicide. It was a double homicide.
Gil: Prove it.
She offered a million dollars for anyone who can provide information about the identity of the girl in the box.
She probably made the FBI and the police's job a lot harder, but it's bound to be fruitful.
Eve was absent during the hour, and it sounds like Malcolm hasn't heard from her since he almost attacked her while sleeping. What if the bracelet is what will bring her back into their lives?
The hour also didn't show a trace of Edrisa, which is just criminal. She's going to lose her sh!t when she finds out Malcolm went missing.
They left us on a cliffhanger for the holiday season, but there's so much to discuss.
Hit the comments below with all of your thoughts, theories, and reactions!
If you need to catch up or relive this fun series during the hiatus, then you can watch Prodigal Son online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.