We took a deep dive into Malcolm's mind, and as you'd expect, it's a fascinating place.
If you adore "what if" installments, then Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 6 was a pure, unadulterated delight.
It had a similar shade of greatness that is so quintessential to this series, much like Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 13, and thus it was a fun, scintillating, and by the end, jaw-dropping hour.
After family ambush meetings of which both parents (gasp) were in agreement, scary close calls with Ainsley, and more, it took falling down an elevator shaft next to a 40-year-old skull in a haunted building and actually quite literally solving murders in his dreamscape sleep for Martin to realize that he should tell Ainsley the truth about that night.
What even is this show? Greatness. Purely and simply.
No one ever accused Malcolm of sensibility, so this tracks for our beloved profiler.
After introducing the setup for this case with a dead architect with a compass in his eyeballs and the artist who paid homage to her vagina, much to JT's confusion and our delight, and Wendell, the author obsessed With death, we knew this case would be a good one.
What one couldn't anticipate is that Malcolm would solve the entire thing in his sleep. He's such a damn showoff.
It did seem as though Ramone, the hotel owner, who wanted to sell the was the Big Bad. Ainsley had her sights on the guy too, and the victim was interfering with Ramone's ability to renovate the place.
It got a bit dicey a few times when it came to determining where the dreamscape begin and ended.
But after reassuring Ainsley, who was battling insomnia and having fractured memories of what happened with Endicott, Malcolm had a realization that took him back to the haunted hotel at night.
We have to give him credit when he communicates with someone andtells them where he is. Malcolm's phone call to Dani was great and necessary, given how the rest of the hour played out.
But of all the darkly wacky things to happen on this series, nothing quite prepared us for "Malcolm gets pushed down an elevator shaft by a creepy hooded person."
Oh, no, no, Jessie. Nobody likes a Monday morning accomplice.Martin
Did I mention how much I love this series?
The earliest moments of the dreamscape were the most confusing since they were deliberately misleading.
We were supposed to think that they rescued him then, and he got checked out and had a concussion, but as Malcolm does, he threw himself back into the case.
One of the best moments of the hour was Malcolm and Dani's tag-team interrogation of Ramone. JT was as impressed as I was over their natural chemistry.
Jessica: Your father and I have discussed it, and we think it's time to tell Ainsley the truth about Nicholas Endicott.Martin: Specifically that she killed him.
Malcolm: That's a bad idea. She's suffering from PTSD. Learning the full story will only make it worse.
Jessica: Not if we tell her as a family.
Martin: That way we can control the narrative.
Malcolm: Of course, it's about control.
Martin: Fine. Guide. Steer. Lightly jouge the narrative.
And the Brightwell chemistry is something that played out beautifully over an hour that gave any 'shippers a taste of what could be if the series ever chooses to go down that route.
Regardless of how one feels about the romantic tones of their relationship, it's not the least bit surprising that in a dreamscape, Malcolm's subconscious would cling to Dani as his girlfriend.
She's someone who is attuned to Malcolm.
Even before the fall, we saw her prodding him about his Claremont visit and sensing that he was a bit off. She hasn't known him as long as Gil, but she somehow knows him differently, and this entire time, it's felt as if she has discerned something isn't right with Malcolm, and she's waiting for him to confide in her about it.
You could see her recoil a bit when he dismissed his family issues and claimed he didn't want to bore her. It was a moment that paid out later when she told him that he never bores her -- something dreamscape Dani said too.
Dani: We don't keep secrets from each other. For one, I'm an amazing detective and it would be impossible.
Malcolm: Hey, I'm a detective too.
Dani: Mhhm, but I'm better.
Malcolm: I just have this nagging feeling. I'm with you and my family, and I'm happy. I have everything I want, but there are moments when I don't feel like I deserve it.
Dani: You deserve all of it, Malcolm Whitly. You are the best person that I know.
We don't know much about Malcolm's dating life, but he was reluctant to share things with Eve until he had no choice. Malcolm was his most comfortable in that relationship after finding out who she was and that he didn't have to shield her from his darkness and demons.
He holds on to the hope that maybe he can have a normal relationship with someone.
But there's always a fear of not getting to be his whole self with anyone else.
So far, even though he's kept Dani at arm's length in some ways, and he's not completely transparent with her, she is the person who has seen and experienced his darkness, flaws, and all of the ways he's screwed up from Martin and his experiences, and she's accepted it -- him.
Dani has seen him at his worst, his most vulnerable, his most unhinged, dark, and potentially off-putting, and she hasn't bailed on him. She's still always there and a grounding comfort and constant.
Dani: What about me? Was I different in your dream?
Malcolm: Yes, and no.
Dani: What does that mean?
Malcolm: Dream stuff, it's complicated. I wouldn't want to bore you with it.
Dani: The one thing you never do is bore me.
As we've seen as early as Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 1, she's always made him feel safe.
Dreamscape Dani was openly nurturing, comforting, and grounding for him. Malcolm's subconscious clung to her discernment and ability to read him well -- make him feel known and seen, and perhaps, when she said encouraging things to him, he actually felt he could believe it.
I suppose he wasn't lying when he said that Dani was the same in his dream, but different. It was a more exaggerated form of what some of us already see in their present.
Sometimes the best relationships are the ones shrouded in ambiguity and slip-slide between traditional labels and categories, and perhaps that's what Brightwell is for Malcolm and this series.
It'll be interesting how their dynamic plays out from this point forward.
Malcolm: How's it going today Mr. David?
Mr. David: Chimicanga day in the cafeteria.
Malcolm: Is that good or bad?
Mr. David: Ask me tomorrow.
It felt as if this was some form of awakening for Malcolm as if he realized something he hadn't considered before. And when Martin was attempting to lure Malcolm into staying in that headspace where "life is great," his first, compelling point was Dani. And while there was no way Malcolm would remain there anyway, it did make him pause.
Malcolm was vague with Dani about her portion of the dream, but you sensed that he thought of it fondly. Oh, Malcolm, you'll always have dreamscape.
Malcolm's conclusion that his dream represented what life would be like if he remained in the dark was intriguing.
It would mean that nothing prompted him to leave home, so he would work as a detective instead of attempting to be an FBI agent. Martin's arrest and psychopathy inspired Malcolm's pursuit of behavioral analysis.
Without that, he could've been anything.
I never would've guessed he still would end up as NYPD, working alongside Dani and JT.
Was JT the one running the team? It was hilarious when he and Martin bonded over golf and fist-bumped.
Martin set Gil up, and Gil ended up at Claremont rocking the similar hair and signature cardigan. Phillips looked as if he had an absolute ball playing a version of Martin.
Malcolm: Maybe you're right. Maybe I handle this all wrong from the start.
Martin: Or, counterpoint. Maybe you handled it wrong when you dropped the dime on dear old dad. I'm just saying if he's fine with murder coverups I could've done with a little of that energy back in '98.
Clearly, the role is a fun one for all. I loved the attention Phillips paid to detail, like his hand movements.
Malcolm's subconscious realized that even if he never found out about Martin, it wouldn't have changed that his father is a serial killer and did despicable things.
It doesn't even mean that he would never find out. Malcolm is naturally curious and a mystery solver. The truth would've come out anyway.Hell, even in a dreamscape, he was still relying on his father's prompts to solve the case. It's not lost that he can't seem todo any part of his crime-solving without his father's presence in some capacity.
Ironically, Ainsley was still in Martin's image in the dream. Apparently, Ainsley's journalistic drive is a result of Martin.
In the dream, she followed in his footsteps and pursued medicine, which gives us the impression that maybe Ainsley becoming like Martin is inevitable, or at least, Malcolm believes this deep down inside.
Ainsley: I've been remembering more from that night. Tiny things. They don't make any sense. I don't know why this is happening to me, why can't I remember anything?
Malcolm: But the truth is you watched me kill a man and no one should have to witness that.
It took all of this for Malcolm to recognize that shielding his sister from her actions and projecting a false story on her wasn't ideal.
It's not real, and one instinctively feels that. Ainsley would always feel like something was off. It didn't help her in any way.
They have all misjudged and underestimated how Martin affected Ainsley. She downplayed it herself.
But ever since Endicott, she understands her brother more than she ever has before. And she's been crying out for help while everyone else has decided what is best for her.
If Jessica and Martin both can agree about Ainsley knowing the truth, it speaks volumes.
Martin's sass was on full display during that trip, and you have to love him for it. From the quip about Malcolm historically going to the cops to the comment about covering up murders being an option for Malcolm, he was on fire.
And as much as Malcolm hates it, Martin was in the right, calling him out for his hypocrisy about lies and his erratic behavior as a result.
Keeping Ainsley in the dark has only hurt her, and now, it may have led to her causing harm to someone else.
Go figure, Malcolm worked up the nerve to tell Ainsley the truth about what she did that not, and she could barely process it since her news was more pressing.
Ainsley's blackouts have gotten worse, and it's probably because of insomnia she has developed.
JT: What is this supposed to be?
Karina: That is my vagina reimagined as a three-dimensional celebration of form and color.
Who knows what she has done or witnessed in her fugue state. It's a hell of a way to end the hour!
There's so much to discuss, so pretty please. let's talk all the Ainsley theories, Brightwell, and more below!
You can watch Prodigal Son online here via TV Fanatic.
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 X.