Speak of the Devil
Episode 2 of Prodigal Son Season 2 begins with Martin in therapy, discussing how his kids are in a good place now. Malcolm meanwhile, is troubled and unable to talk to anyone about his problems…other than his Father of course. Well, when Malcolm rings through to Claremont, his Father asks him to show up and talk.
Malcolm decides not to and instead sits with Ainsley and Jessica, eating dinner. Jessica’s perky mood suddenly has Malcolm’s alarm bells ringing, believing it’s because she’s dating Gil.
Anyway, Malcolm heads to church as there’s a brand new case to deal with. A dead priest called Reyes is strung up and left upside down. Sister Agnes was the one who found the body and she walks through what happened. They were restoring paintings and while she was gone, the priest was found like this. Agnes dodges around the questions but something more interesting piques Malcolm’s interest.
Hebrew words on the ground spell out a hint over who could have done this: Abaddon The Destroyer – angel of the abyss from the Book of Revelations. Well, it turns out Father Reyes was an exorcist during his tenure and his colleague is not willing to divulge any of the records.
At a dead end, Malcolm reluctantly heads into Claremont with Martin. There, he meets an old priest called Pete. Given Reyes’ body had 44 cuts, the methodical nature of this leads Malcolm to one of Reyes’ last patients, Norman.
Norman is clearly not of sane mind, kept in his room with salt lines across the ground. Malcolm and the others are told to stay well back as they discuss Father Reyes. It turns out he saw the priest a week back. Norman’s mental state definitely matches the culprit’s and he even outright confesses to killing Father Reyes too… after Malcolm antagonizes him and forces a confession. Case solved, right? Maybe not.
Given Norman’s blind rage, the method of killing Father Reyes is far too methodical for Norman who seems enraged and out of control.
Speaking of which, Prodigal Son returns to the shoehorned commentary as Malcolm heads home with Dani, discussing evil and society. “It’s always bad, the difference is that people are paying attention now. It’s like people only just realized the world is racist and cops target black people.”
That’s twice now Dani’s character has been caricatured to produce these crowbarred segments and it does her character absolutely no favours. Anyway, back to the church for now as Malcolm learns that Jonah is the one responsible for the killings. Only, he’s starting to hallucinate thanks to the lead paint he’s been exposed to. He calls himself Abaddon and stalks closer to Malcolm.
With Pete on the phone with Martin, Malcolm is forced to repeat the words and try to exorcise the demons Jonah thinks are inside him. It seems to work and Malcolm heads back to the station for more of this racist cop subplot with JT. Not long after, Gil heads over to Jessica’s but she decides to break things off as she doesn’t want to hurt him.
Malcolm heads back to Claremont and discusses Endicott and covering everything up. After a brief conversation, Malcolm decides to try and lock him out. Martin takes drastic measures though and decides to try and bust himself out of Claremont. In order to do that, he’ll be joining Pete’s exodus group.
The Episode Review
Last year, Prodigal Son delivered a campy, over-the-top, fun romp that blended some dark and intriguing cases with a complicated father/son relationship. With the mystery surrounding Malcolm’s past used to propel the show forward, there was always an element of intrigue to keep you coming back for more.
Fast forward to season 2 and everything’s changed for the worst. Look, I know it’s not easy with a certain virus outside but there are examples of shows excelling – mostly outside Hollywood and in the Asian countries – in the midst of what’s happening.
The writing here is pretty poor all round, with two formulaic cases in a row now taking cues from popular mainstream movies. This time around it’s The Exorcist.
The biggest problem though comes from the crowbarred social issues thrown in. With no references to the pandemic this week, instead we get a whole under-developed subplot for JT to deal with surrounding a racist cop. Instead of showing him as a confident, intelligent, brilliant detective that we know he is, JT is instead reduced to a scared and indifferent shadow of the man he was in the first season.
To make matters worse, Dani has been used as a commentary device rather than a multifaceted character, with last week’s monologue about the world followed up by an even worse, broad generalization about how cops in every country are racist. Regardless of how bad things are, there are still good police officers out there and this show is not doing itself any favours with sweeping generalizations like this.
For me, it reeks of studio meddling and I’d imagine the higher-ups at Fox have probably managed to infiltrate the writer’s room and butchered the scripts to add these segments in. While I do appreciate these are important topics, there’s a right and wrong way to do it and this is most definitely on the side of wrong.
We’ll have to wait and see if this show improves but in the meantime, Prodigal Son has not hit the heights season 1 managed to achieve.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|