Prodigal Son – Season 2 Episode 1 Recap & Review

It’s All In The Execution

Episode 1 of Prodigal Son Season 2 begins with a dollop of heavy-handed exposition, catching us up with Malcolm as he tells rather than shows us what happened last season.

Midway through this scene, he breaks down the entire story of last year’s plot to the man standing next to him; a killer the police are after called the Penthouse Slasher. After a brief stand-off involving a knife, Malcolm and the others manage to apprehend their suspect.

Martin calls Malcolm from prison and reveals that he’s heading home. Well, home to Claremont anyway.

Back at the police station, Ainsley is working as a news anchor and heads in to interview JT who’s currently leading the team. She seems to be doing okay, especially after stabbing Endicott during the shocking climax to season 1. Malcolm however, continues to be haunted by this incident. It turns out Ainsley and her Mother have been quarantining, which seems to have helped her clear her mind for the time being.

Well, after these quick mentions of COVID, it’s onto some forced exposition about the current social issues in America, courtesy to Dani.

Anyway, Malcolm joins the others as they’re briefed on the next case they’re working on. The woman in question, Millie, has had her head cut clean off. This is the work of an old French guillotine but could also be the work of a surgeon. Well, I guess that gives Malcolm an excuse to see his Father!

At Claremont, Malcolm learns that Martin is actually sharing a room now with a man called Jerry, who’s mentally disabled. He’s certainly seems more insane than Martin, who’s not happy about Malcolm going cold on him. Given he was the one to help cover up the dead body, Martin doesn’t appreciate the radio silence.

Malcolm eventually finds out where the guillotine is located. It turns out an eccentric, flamboyant man named Izzy is the one who owns it. When the lights are shut off, blood spatters show up around the guillotine confirming it’s definitely the one that’s been used. Only, Izzy happened to be on a jet at the time of the incident. This means someone else in responsible.

Down in the basement, Malcolm finds Izzy’s sex dungeon completely bricked up. Millie’s boyfriend Boyd happens to be trapped inside, chained up to the wall. Malcolm eventually plays the part of the torturer after knocking the bricks down. He picks up various tools and manages to gain a confession. It turns out Boyd killed Millie’s husband and falsely accused a young caterer.

Meanwhile, the widow’s lawyer, Natalie Barba, just so happens to be the sister of the wrongfully executed. This certainly makes her a suspect but Malcolm decides to turn his attention to a literal executioner instead. In fact, that executioner’s name is Tom Henry Glanton and he’s currently in Malcolm’s apartment. He demands Natalie be let go and holds an axe up to Malcolm, claiming not to be a cruel man. He also admits to being the one responsible for everything that’s happened.

Well, it turns out Malcolm has been recording this entire incident on his phone and thanks to Tom’s confessions, back-up is on the way. That back-up goes straight after JT though and pins him up against the wall, with the officers calling him “boy.” Malcolm and the others arrive though and stop the officers from arresting the wrong man.

Back at the station, the gang promise to have JT’s back and claim there are “still good cops out there.”

Malcolm heads back to Claremont and meets his Father again, who holds his hand and thanks him for saving Ainsley. Martin also tells Malcolm that he knows what he’s going through, gleefully revealing that Malcolm probably feels good about getting away with murder. Malcolm’s expression seems to hint as much too, as he remains determined not to follow in his Father’s footsteps.

The Episode Review

Prodigal Son is back and much like the first season, this crime thriller gets off to a rocky start. While the by-the-numbers case was okay and did enough to keep the gang busy, the writing has always been a bit hit or miss in this show.

Last season, the second half felt so much more energetic than the lethargic first, doing well to condense down that last arc into a few episodes as Endicott met a grisly fate. Here though, the writing is pretty haphazard.

The biggest problem comes from the forced exposition at the start of the episode. It’s completely unnecessary and feels really clumsy. The first lesson of screenwriting is showing not telling. You could very easily have given us a recap through Malcolm Bright’s nightmares, with flashes of what happened last season interspersed with fragments of Malcolm moaning in his sleep and then waking up in a cold sweat. Instead, we just get a recapped monologue.

It’s still early days though but given this show ended with such high hopes last season, it’s a bit disappointing to see it strut indifferent back into 2021 with a hangover. Let’s hope the episodes ahead are an improvement over this one.

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