Prodigal Son – Season 2 Episode 5 Recap & Review

Bad Manners

Episode 5 of Prodigal Son Season 2 begins in 1998 as Martin and Jessica discuss Ainsley’s mental state. The clock chimes midnight and they find her hiding inside with a haunted look on her face. It turns out she’s always had a sinister side to her persona, but it’s been hidden from view.

Back in the present we return to another bright and chipper Malcolm. There’s a new case for the team to deal with and this involves someone dubbed the “Bridal Butcher.” The bride in question is the second victim and with no JT or Dani, it’s just Malcolm, Edrisa and Gil left to try and piece together what happened.

With the body perfectly preserved and posed, Malcolm deduces that it could be a male between the ages of 30-40. It also looks like they have a serial killer on their hands.

Back at Claremont, Jessica shows up to meet Martin. She mentions Endicott’s murder, which Martin obviously already knew about, and they discuss what to do about Ainsley. Jessica wants to take her away, going cold turkey and refusing to let Martin see her from now on.

Back with the team, Malcolm and Edrisa conduct their autopsy where the former realizes that the killer is all about idealization. With one of the girls sporting two different coloured eyes, our killer has replaced one to make Alison look perfect. In fact, there happens to be a glass eye there instead.

On the back of this, Malcolm suspects they’re after someone with deep childhood trauma – but that’s not all. JT is back, and while he and Gil tackle a local dollmaker who could be connected, Malcolm is going back to Windsor. This happens to be the same school Ainsley attended, keeping everything very connected this season.

Well, Malcolm brings Ainsley along to Windsor house where they meet Ms. Windsor. With no warrant, Malcolm tries his best to convince the woman to see the class files.

Eventually his persuasive techniques work but in his peripheral vision, Malcolm notices a porcelain doll belonging to Rachel, Ms. Windsor’s assistant. Well, these dolls are the same ones from the dollmaker Trevor. As we quickly skip across to his workshop, JT and Gil find an unconscious girl in the back. Only… it’s not actually a girl, it’s a life-size doll.

Still, Trevor is taken down to the station for questioning where Gil shows a number of different pictures he had in his possession. It turns out these are research, mainly for creating similar life-size dolls. The one in question is called Dolores, at least according to Trevor anyway. Is this a cheeky nod toward Westworld? Well, when Malcolm finds out he realizes that the dollmaker is not their killer.

Ainsley’s investigation continues, as she creeps through the hallways of Windsor House for clues. She stumbles upon another dead body on her travels, this one with both eyes removed. Instead of phoning it in, she recklessly shoots a promo for the news. When Gil and Malcolm find out what she’s done, they berate and warn her, telling the girl to be careful. Ainsley scoffs at the notion though, telling them she wants to catch the killer.

That evening, Edrisa and Malcolm discuss the case and realize that Ms Windsor matches the description of the killer. Malcolm races out to meet with her but unfortunately she’s currently dining with Ainsley. Ms Windsor is smart to what’s happening though and seems to spike Ainsley’s drink.

In the middle of all this, JT and Gil attend their meeting about racism on the job and decide not to press charges. Well, that’s the end of that then. Anyway, the pair race up to see Malcolm, who’s currently in the middle of talking to Ms Windsor. It turns out the real killer is actually not her but the assistant, Rachel. She was the one who spiked the drink and readies herself to harm Ainsley.

Malcolm’s phone goes off though, prompting him to break cover and show up unannounced. As we soon learn, Ms Windsor is actually Rachel’s Mother and she pushed the girl to breaking point in her pursuit of perfection.

Rachel is killing off these girls who don’t meet that description. This distraction is enough for Ainsley to sit back up again and stalk her with a knife, ready to stab Rachel. Thankfully, Malcolm jumps in and stops this from happening at the last second. With Rachel knocked out, the trio charge out of Windsor as quick as they can as Ms Windsor turns on the gas and blows the place to smithereens.

With the case solved, Jessica and Martin discuss their children. She wants his help to save the kids and prevent them falling down this slippery slope. “There’s nothing I won’t do to save my family,” Martin smiles, as the episode leaves on an ominous note.

The Episode Review

Prodigal Son returns this week, bungling the racist cop storyline as quickly as possible. With no ramifications for the officer in question and JT’s PTSD from the incident completely vanished, we’re now back to old tricks with this crime drama.

Instead, the episode focuses on a creepy case involving dolls, I’d guess many people would have figured out the killer by the midway point where Rachel picks up the doll from the hallway. It’s a small piece of foreshadowing but an important one to mention as this sets her up for the rest of the episode. It also shows that Malcolm’s original idea of a male aged around 30 is way, way off. So much for the perfect criminologist!

The intriguing dive down memory lane is a good inclusion for season 2 but this episode does feel a bit too similar to Malcolm’s episode several weeks ago where we visited his school. While I appreciate this story is all about the contrasting fortunes of these two kids, it also feels a little too similar to really stand out.

Still, despite that the show continues to deliver an enjoyable enough slice of investigative drama. While this doesn’t compare to the excellent episode last week, Prodigal Son continues to deliver the goods nonetheless.

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