Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20 Review: Like Father

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Can FOX PLEASE renew Prodigal Son already and put our minds at ease!

If we don't get a second season after this, it'll be a disgrace. Especially since Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20 was one of the best installments of the series to date, and it unquestionably left of us wanting and needing more.

Martin has a new apple of his eye, and it's Ainsley. In the words of Martin himself, when he uttered "my girl" with glee, it was quite a thrill.

Prison Orange - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

The hour was everything you'd expect a season finale to be, as it gave us some answers and closure, but it raised the stakes and left many of our beloved characters in dire situations and shrouded in uncertainty.

Malcolm came face to face with the Girl in the Box, but he's risking his freedom to protect her. Now, without any concrete evidence to clear him, he's still on the hook for Eddie's murder.

Gil is on an OR table fighting for his life after being stabbed in the gut. While it almost mirrors what happened with Malcolm's birth father, and we hope he makes it out alive, there's still a chance that the show could pull the unthinkable and pull the rug from beneath us.

Gil Poses - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

Martin is in gen pop at Riker's, and while he struck a deal with a fellow inmate, and he has the survival skills of a cockroach, there are still higher stakes with his new position. It also means he has more to play around with as he comes up with creative ways to survive prison.

As an aside, you can point out how the hour disrupted privilege and redistributed power, or more aptly, stripped the most powerful of some advantages and tossed them in the deep end of conflict.

Malcolm's connection to law enforcement, even his closeness with Gil and the others, didn't save him from being number one on the suspect list. If anything, his Whitly family history worked against him.

Looking at the Evidence  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

Endicott ripped Martin's cushy life at the psych facility from beneath him. What does Martin look like in a world where he doesn't have privileges? It looks entertaining as hell.

Endicott got his comeuppance mid-flex of power as Ainsley brutally killed him.

You killed Eve. Framed me for murdering her killer, and you may you -- may have killed Gil Arroyo. Now, you deserve to die, Nicholas.


Aside from the obvious, what makes this development so fascinating in the long-run is the ramifications of it. Killing Endicott has resolved a problem, but it hasn't eliminated all of their issues.

They're still left dealing with the effects of his power and reach and how it impacted their lives. It may have even made things worse for them.

Staring Down Endicott - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

They now have a dead body in the living room, and now they have to decide what to do about it.

What happens to them after killing one of the most powerful men in NYC? Will this make things better or worse for Malcolm, who has been accused of murder already?

How much reach does Endicott have, and is there a chance that others will come after them now that he's dead? Do they go to the police or cover-up the death?

Of course, there's also a matter of what was the nature of Endicott's influence on others?

Sterling was a good man; before Endicott made him defend Martin, he was on the right side of things as a civil rights activist. He was an attorney who advocated for the little guy versus the titans.

Wooing Jess - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

Endicott made him something he didn't like anymore, and he was stuck in this role ever since. At least he was able to help Malcolm in those last moments before he got shot.

If the people Endicott helped were those who were victims of blackmail and the like, then does that help them?

You know, you really are your mother's son, Malcolm. All smoke and no fire. She couldn't go all the way either. Which is a shame. She's brilliant in the sack. 


Some of us were wrong. Malcolm's arrest wasn't a ruse. And not only that, but the team had different responses to him. They were all doing their jobs by arresting him, but their feelings about the issue varied.

As expected, Edrisa was a fangirl who was firmly on Malcolm's side. Even though all the evidence pointed to him as the killer, she knew in her bones that wasn't the case. She didn't doubt him.

Malcolm's Fangirl - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

The Edrisa and Malcolm scene in the morgue was adorable. It was also one of those times when the dialogue was fun, snappy, and poking fun at the show within the series.

Yes, we're going to need that female friendship WHEN we get Edrisa and Dani back next season.

Edrisa: How much of that did you hear?
Malcolm: Enough.
Edrisa: And to think, I was just about to start a meaningful female friendship with Dani. Maybe.

Dani was hyperfocused on the case, and probably trying to keep her feelings at bay. It has to be hard when she opened up before about not having many friends.

Initially, you would think she would be the one most adamant about Malcolm's innocence, and JT would be more distant and pragmatic about it.

Maldrisa Hug - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

The role reversal was refreshing, and it also kept in line with their respective relationships with Malcolm and what they mean.

JT has become close to Malcolm, and he now sees him as a partner and comrade. You don't turn your back on your buddy no matter what.

Dani seemed as though she was trying hard to be as emotionally detached to it as possible. It was like she was preparing herself for the worst while also upset with herself for ever getting close to someone again.

Unshakable Bond - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

But while it technically put her against Malcolm, it's something he understood too. He even sounded proud of her for running down and following the profile.

Because if you can't trust anything, you believe in the profile.

Malcolm: I don't need a lawyer. I need to start solving this case.
Dani: You need to stop lying to us.
Malcolm: You need to start believing me.
JT: Um, do you guys wanna --
Malcolm: Talk about how I'm being framed? Yah.

The Dani and Malcolm friendship is one of the best things about the series, and while Dani has taken a backseat on the back half, the two of them sharing a moment of comfort at the hospital while Gil was in surgery was enough to give you all the freaking feels.

And that paternal side of Gil came through when he went from doing his job as expected to advising Malcolm to run since he would rather his pseudo-son be on the run than in jail pinned for a murder he didn't commit.

Loyal and True - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

The hour squeezed so much into one installment, and it felt like a mini-movie on top of that. No time was wasted on anything needless, and everyone played valuable parts in it all.

Jessica swooping in to have her son released and arming him with a legion of lawyers was so her, but she's not the same Jessica she was at the beginning of the season.

Stop talking to the police, Malcolm. They are not your friends. My attorneys are. Good thing I hire them by the dozen. Let's go. You're grounded.


She was also resigned to the fact that Malcolm was going to escape the ankle monitoring and investigate the case himself. She didn't like it, but she accepted her son for who he is, and she worked with him as best as she could.

Jessica accepted Nicholas' invitation hoping he would help Malcolm aligned with who she is as a mother. She was not without her badass moments too.

Phone Calls - tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

Poor Gil will have something to say about the Whitlys' penchant for wrecking his vehicles, but you have to love that woman for knocking Nicholas out, getting into an accident, and rescuing Gil. He foolishly went to save her, showing too much of his hand, and she ended up rescuing him. 

Sophie: I'm sorry. I didn't get your name.
Malcolm: Malcolm. Malcolm Whitly. Your nametag says Dr. Sarah. But that's not right, is it? You're Sophie Sanders. The girl in the box.
Sophie: And you're the boy in the basement.

She did it all without a hair falling out of place. She has changed so much, grown from the woman we first met.

And Ainsley is fabulous when the series knows how to utilize her. I appreciate all the little nuggets along the way that had us speculating about her being more like Martin than Malcolm.

It's something we've discussed often, and the show followed through with it.

The Whitly Siblings - tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

She wielded her skills and connections to her family's advantage, and isn't it the best when various combinations of the Whitly family come together?

The Whitly siblings meeting Martin at Rikers and working through Eddie's murder was one of the best scenes of the installment. They all bring something to the table, and when you cast aside all the other familial issues, they work together like a well-oiled machine.

Ainsley is such an enigma at times too, so when she had such a strong reaction to Martin's fear and refused to listen to him say goodbye to his kids in case it was the last of him, it made you feel something when she interjected.

Meeting with Dad  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

But then, I can't be the only one who thought she had double meaning behind demanding her father use his gifts to his advantage.

When they held each other's eye, and she clung to him, I thought she slipped him something. Martin responding with that smile made it more plausible, and yet when the riot happened, he wasn't brandishing a weapon.

Martin: I, uh, I love you both and being your father has been the best part of my life. You have been the best part of my life. 
Ainsley: Stop. I don't want to hear any last words from you. You are The Surgeon. You are the smartest one in here. Start acting like it.

The only thing he used was his mind.

The hilarity that can come from Martin Whitly in gen-pop at Rikers can almost make up for an absence of Mr. David. He was a fish out of the water, but he made it work for him.

Sitting Accused - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

It's no surprise that Nicholas had a bounty on Martin's head. It's also incredible how this series and Michael Sheen being, well, Michal Sheen, have made it where Martin is a monster, but he's our monster.

You recognize his despicable actions, but you also don't want bad things to happen to him. Our sentiments about this character are about as complex as those of his family.

Inmate: They won't take you anyway. No one will. Not with the bounty.
Martin: Bounty?
Inmate: Someone wants you dead, doc.

And there was a chance that they could kill him off. It would've been a shock and blow, but also not off the table. It also seemed likely that he would plan an escape.

Up until this point, he had no real reason to leave. He had a sweet setup at the facility, but he's at one of the worst prisons in the country now.

Malcolm's Future - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

A second season could explore Martin plotting an escape. Hell, now that he got that phone call, if he wanted, he could attempt now.

Martin spent all of this time pouring into his son -- obsessed with Malcolm and giddy over the notion that his son could be a killer like him, that he didn't think much of Ainsley.

How all of them missed Ainsley's Martin-like qualities is beyond me, but now, for the first time all season, Ainsley is on her father's radar.

He had high hopes for his son, but now that he knows Ainsley killed Nicholas, could he shift all of that to her?

Ainsley Held Captive? - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

If we get more of Ainsley and Martin playing off of each other, there will be no complaints. Dark Ainsley is more appealing.

It's something to explore with Ainsley without derailing Malcolm, and isn't it better if we shifted away from the narrative that Malcolm is like his father?

Martin: Don't worry about me. Things are looking up. I took Ainsley's advice.
Malcolm: And she took yours.
Martin: Really? My girl!

He'll always grapple with that, and it's something that will linger, so we'll never be free of him essentially blaming Martin for everything that has gone wrong in his life, but now he can wonder if Ainsley is the one who is more like their father and go from there.

Ainsley blacked out when she slit Nick's throat. She then stabbed the ever-loving hell out of him.

Tremors Back - tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

Is anyone else curious about what happened between Nicholas and Ainsley before Malcolm got there? She isn't one who is easily rattled, and yet she was crying and visibly perturbed by Nick in a way we don't expect from her.

He showed some interest in her, and the way he responded when Malcolm asked if Ainsley was hurt sounded off.

Nick's assessment of Malcolm is that he's too much like his mother. He has a flair for the dramatic, and he's all talk and no action. But Malcolm is capable of channeling a dark side too, and we're no closer to understanding when it kicks in and when it doesn't.

Martin: I may have started this, but you can end it. You stop Endicott, save our family.
Malcolm: How?
Martin: By killing him. It's the only way. In your heart, you know that.
Ainsley: He's not a killer.
Martin: He's a whitly. He'll know what to do.

His hand tremor was out of control, but he grabbed the gun and was still trying to work up the nerve to shoot Endicott. He was too worried about validating a fear that he's like his father, and unlike the situation with John, there was no way of wrapping Endicott up in a bow and shipping him away.

A Drink Between Enemies - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

Of course, he could've been reeling from meeting Sophie face to face. It was such a satisfying scene as the two of them realized who each other was, and they had a much-needed talk.

Malcolm could make peace with the girl in the box mystery. From her mouth, she told him he was only a kid, and there was nothing he could do to save her.

Malcolm: I'm sorry for everything my father did to you. For a long time, you were all I could think about. If you were real. If you were alive. If you were OK. And now I'm sorry that I couldn't save you.
Sophie: You were only a kid.

It'll talk a long time for the guilt he feels to subside. Part of him keeping secret that she's alive, well, and responsible for killing Eddie, is still some way of him making amends, but it's a start for him.

It's some form of closure for him. It's also nice to know that Sophie and Eve reunited and were able to spend four days with one another before Eddie killed Eve.

Dani Cuffs Malcolm - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

Do you think Sophie can sit back and let Malcolm potentially take the fall for something she did? What will happen if she finds out that Nicholas is dead?

For all that talk of information that could bring Nicholas down, she didn't have any.

And we have some closure, but there are still questions about the full extent of the camping trip, and Malcolm, Martin, and hell, John's role in everything.

Also, I wish Endicott was around longer. We could've kept him as an opponent for a while, and his arc was rushed, but given all the factors and the uncertainty of renewal, I'll take it.

Malcolm - # 1 Suspect - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20

The hour wasn't perfect, the series isn't, but that's also part of its charm. It was a pretty damn good season finale for this series that can be all over the place but also one of the most delightful offerings of the season.

So again, I say. Please, renew Prodigal Son. I beg of thee.

Malcolm: Gil's going to make it.
Dani: Sorry for doubting you.
Malcolm: I doubt myself all the time.
Dani: We're going to get you out of this, Bright. 

Over to you, Prodigal Fanatics. What did you think of the finale? Were you surprised by that cliffhanger? Should Martin stay at Rikers? Will Gil survive?

Hit the comments below, and let's discuss everything!

If you're anything like me and want to relive this series all over again, you can watch Prodigal Son online here via TV Fanatic. 

Like Father Review

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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (80 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You'll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on Twitter.

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Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 20 Quotes

I know that Malcolm didn't kill anyone. Just let me find a way to prove it.


Stop talking to the police, Malcolm. They are not your friends. My attorneys are. Good thing I hire them by the dozen. Let's go. You're grounded.