What an unexpected hour.
The series has its share of twists and turns, and sometimes they're successfully shocking, and other times they're predictable
.Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 12 is a time when everything about how the show unfolded was delightfully surprising.
Did you expect the Simon twist?
The hour picked up weeks after the events of Prodigal Son Season1 Episode 11, and once again, the series fast-tracked its way through some potentially compelling moments by doing so.
It's not unlike how rapidly the series sped through Malcolm's kidnapping and capture. The final moment of Malcolm hugging his family with the haunted look in his eye was enough to reel the viewer in wanting to see and know more about how he adjusts.
We still missed out on a reunion with his team members, who we're supposed to believe at this point are like friends and family to him.
The series is about Malcolm, and the majority of the intrigue is around the Whitly family. Malcolm's relationship with his father is at the heart of the series, and how Martin affected the other Whitlys is an immense focus of the show as well.
But Malcolm has also cultivated these bonds with those at the precinct. Gil is every bit the father-figure as he is Malcolm's team leader and boss.
I had been worried about Bright all day. Now, I was scared.Dani
He has gradually grown closer to JT despite their differences. Edrisa is, of course, head over heels for Malcolm, and Dani is, for all intents and purposes, Malcolm's best friend.
They are integral to his life and the series. But their responses and reactions are understated. We never got a response from any of then after Malcolm saved himself.
Character moments like that are tiny nuggets of goodness you crave, but it was lacking. But we had Dani taking Malcolm home only to face Jessica and the Olympian nurse she hired for Malcolm, Inga.
Jessica's crack about all of the women in his apartment being nurturers who want to care for Malcolm was amusing and Bellamy Young continues to make a character who could easily be offputting such a joy.
Jessica: Detective Powell. How lucky Malcolm is to be surrounded by this army of nurturing women.
Dani: I'm only following orders.
Jessica could level with Dani and recognized how she was the closest Malcolm has to a best friend, so it was through Dani that Jessica understood how determined Malcolm was to go back to work.
However, they didn't do anything to stop Malcolm from making his way to a crime scene, despite everyone's insistence Malcolm rest and take time off.
Multiple times others would elude to how worried Dani was about Malcolm, but it wasn't the best case of "show, not tell," and the most we got out of JT was during his portion of the interview session with Simon.
As usual, he was mostly good for a couple of funny lines. The joke about Malcolm being Florida if he were a state was hilarious, but they've worked toward building the bonds and relationships among Malcolm and his team.
Simon: Were you concerned about Bright's medical state?
JT: Of course, I was. If Bright's was an actual state, it would be Florida.
But save for the emotional, tense, and endearing moments with Gil, we didn't get any of them on display well.
The hour was one of those installments where the characters have to recall an event or what led up to a specific event with a third party, and we got everyone's perspective leading up to it.
Malcolm did something sketchy enough to require a sit-down with a psychologist who consulted with Internal Affairs. It turned out, the event in question was seemingly using electroconvulsive therapy on himself while locked in a room of the precinct.
He caused the entire precinct to lose power with his actions.
Gil: Are you ready?
Malcolm: Am I ready? I slept a full three and a half hours! OK, three. It was some quality REM mixed in there.
It was one more thing to keep the others worried about him. He came back to work too soon, and everyone knew it. But he refused to share with everyone what he was feeling.
All Malcolm would tell people was that he was fine when he was the very antithesis of it. The only person thrilled to see Malcolm back at work and who wasn't concerned about him was Edrisa.
You have to adore Edrisa. She's Malcolm-obsessed and went as far as looking up the case notes to find out the extent of his injuries, and she told him as much. Edrisa is the cutest.
The various responses in regards to Malcolm from the team members as Simon spoke to them were funny. The rest of the team can agree about matters such as how Malcolm inserts himself into things, whether they invited him or not, and Malcolm sees himself differently.
Simon: Right. You invited yourself. Is that something you do often? Insert yourself where you're not needed?
JT: Oh, yeah.
Gil: One hundred percent.
Malcolm: I'm always needed, not always wanted.
His first case back had him hyperfocused on Andy, the woman he connected with when he went undercover on his own at the Voser organization, which was the extent of a cult.
He was obsessive, more than usual, and it was evident he was throwing himself into the case to avoid something else bothering him. He wouldn't open up about what it was.
The case wasn't particularly gripping. It did give us Daniel Sunjata as a cult leader, and that was fun. It wasn't a fleshed-out case. Instead, it was something utilized to explore how Malcolm was not OK after what happened to him with Watkins.
He went into the organization undercover, and he took their exam to see if he qualified for it. He claimed he knew what to say and do to make sure he was a prime candidate, but honesty was all he needed.
Malcolm: Nothing is more important than the case.
Simon: Explain that to me.
Malcolm: I grew up inside a case living with a killer. If I had solved that one faster, more people would have been saved. When I put myself in danger to find a killer, I'm not thinking about me. I'm thinking about them, the victims.
Malcolm is someone who would be preyed upon by a cult. He's experienced tremendous trauma, and it's unresolved. He doesn't have many people who are close to him. He struggles with interacting with others and letting them in. The list goes on.
He got a ticket straight to electrotherapy. And he welcomed it because of it temporarily ridding him of his hallucinations.
John telling Malcolm that Martin was going to kill him was bound to affect him in some way. He saw hallucinations of his ten-year-old self mentioning Martin's plans or being buried alive.
You always want to reach through the screen and hug him. Instead of facing what his father said and the hallucinations of his younger self, he contemplated extreme measures to get rid of them, which is what led to the "incident."
He tried to kill us.Young Malcolm
Malcolm confessing to Gil later that he didn't know if he would've gone through shocking himself or not was a big step for him. It was a sign that he recognized he wasn't OK, and it was no sense hiding it from everyone or pretending.
The danger is in acting as if you're fine when you aren't.
But the path there was a rocky one for the Malcolm/Gil relationship. They truly embody a father/son bond, and the more time we spend with this series and their relationship, the more endearing their dynamic is.
Gil reprimanding Malcolm and constantly checking on him was from a place of concern. He loves Malcolm, and it's abundantly clear.
Gil: I brought you onto the case because you're the best at what you do, Bright. But not when you get like this.
Malcolm: Like this? I'm like this because of Martin whitly, because of John Watkins, because of you!
Malcolm: You asked for my help. You knew I couldn't say no, and you brought them all back into my life. You did that. You started this!
Gil: Get the hell out of my precinct.
But Malcolm, as kids tend to do, didn't take well to Gil's prying and prodding. It bothered him every time someone asked him if he was OK; it reminded him that he wasn't.
Their gasp-worthy moment was when he exploded after Gil told him that he's not at his best when he behaves erratically. Malcolm exclaimed that the only reason he's like that at all is because of Martin and John.
But then he added Gil onto the list of people who screwed him up, and it visibly caught Gil off guard. He recoiled as if someone had physically slapped him in the face, and he told Malcolm to get out.
The intensity of their spat was enough to wind you. Instinctively, you wonder how Malcolm could dare lump Gil into the same category as two killers who have done Malcolm harm.
Malcolm: Hey, Gil. I was wrong. It's not because of you. I'm sorry.
Gil: I know, kid. I know.
It was the most hurtful thing Malcolm could ever say to Gil. Gil looks at Malcolm as if he's his own son, and he has taken care of him and poured into him for 20 years. It's unfathomable that Malcolm could ever suggest such a thing.
It was the worst hurt he could have inflicted on Gil, and it showed.
But casting it aside, there was some truth in what he said. Malcolm has a problem. He's all-in when it comes to cases. He's obsessed with the work and this job.
Gil swooped in and offered him the chance to be part of a case, requesting his help, and he knew Malcolm couldn't and wouldn't stop there.
Gil: I gotta ask you something, Bright.
Malcolm: Can I stop you?
Gil: Nope. Are you okay? You freaked out Dani pretty good.
Malcolm: I'm fi- No. I don't think that I am.
Gil does enable Malcolm's obsession. Anyone who spends enough time with Malcolm knows he can't say no to joining an investigation.
It's like dangling candy in front of a kid and expecting them to have some self-control. It's rarely going to happen.
But Gil never comes from a selfish place or a bad one. Even when he brought Malcolm on, it was in part to get Malcolm on track and help him out.
Gil knows that Malcolm needs the work in his life. It's a coping mechanism, a bandaid for a sea of issues, but it's something steady that he can count on, and that means something.
You need real help, Malcolm. Not just a coping mechanism.Simon
But Malcolm also needs the allotted time off to get his head on straight, or as close to it as he can.
The interesting thing about Simon being the Deproggramer is he was a decent therapist, and up until the surprising moment when Malcolm called him out, the session he had with Malcolm was fruitful.
It was a blindside when they revealed Malcolm's therapy session with Simon was an elaborate ruse to capture the person behind the muscle who killed their victim.
He tapped into a lot of what was troubling Malcolm, and it was fascinating to have these two great minds, both skilled in psychology, battle it in a session.
Simon: I like to create a safe space.
Malcolm: I'm not sure I have a safe space.
Simon: You can have one, but it takes work. I specialize in the treatment of inadequately processed trauma.
Malcolm: Gotcha and got that.
Malcolm refused to cave for most of the session. They were both wrapped up in being the smartest person in the room.
Malcolm confessed about the hallucinations, and they have it on tape. So, even though Simon was the person they were after, wouldn't it mean Malcolm was unfit to work with them, or does his break make up for that?
After his time spent with Simon, some of what he took away from it stuck with Malcolm. He apologized to Gil in a scene that induced so many fuzzy feelings, and he accepted that he needed a reprieve.
Everyone else has to take time off after something of that caliber, so Malcolm wasn't exempt from it.
Malcolm: I know you're there. I get it. You're a manifestation of my subconscious. It's all so devastating. He tried to kill us.
Young Malcolm: But he didn't.
Malcolm: I'm a civilian now, Sunshine. We're going to have lots of time together. Just you, me, and ... we're going to be OK.
The final scene of Malcolm facing his younger version of himself, speaking to him and saying it'll be the three of them, and they'll be OK was a sweet scene.
Younger Malcolm reminded him that, yeah, Martin tried to kill them, but they survived despite all of this. Malcolm is stronger than he ever gives himself credit for, and some version of himself had to remind him.
His trusty parakeet Sunshine landing on his finger seemed like a sign of hope and light.
Right now, Malcolm has admitted he's not OK, and that's the most vital step.
Jessica: Something happened between Malcolm and Watkins underground. Something more than he will admit.
Dani: He didn't mention anything, but Bright has been through a lot.
Jessica: My son sleeps in chains, subsists on sparkling water and licorice, and can barely take care of a parakeet, but he is still here. Please, you might be his closest friend.
Hopefully, it's something that lingers for him instead of completely disappearing by the next installment and onward.
Sometimes the series doesn't give certain aspects of the story the time to breathe.
- Jessica said she was partly willing to help out with the investigation because of Gil. They're so cute, dammit.
- Jessica helping with the invesigation because of her extensive knowledge of where to contact deprogrammers and cult retrivalists was hysterical. How does one have a rolodex with something so specific?
- Electroshocking Simon was a great way to get out of being shot to death, but man, Simon came way too close for comfort.
- Edrisa's "he did what now?" in response to finding out Malcolm shocked himself was too funny. She's so obsessed with Malcolm, but she doesn't know half the things happening with him.
- Are we done with Colette? It's doubtful anyone will miss her, but she lacked presence overall when you look back on it.
- Do you think Eve will come back into the picture anytime soon?
- Will Malcolm continue to obsess over the Girl in the Box?
Over to you, Prodigal Fanatics! Hit the comments below with all of your thoughts, theories, observations, and more.
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.