Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 8 Review: Family Friend

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Martin is out of comission for the moment, but Paul will keep Malcolm busy. 

Paul made a hell of an impression during Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 8.

He also may be the key to unlocking what happened to the girl in the box and whatever happened during that damned camping trip.

Finding Paul - tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 8

Michael Raymond-James is such a great actor, and his playing such a menacing and fascinating character only adds to appeal of this series.

Martin messes with Malcolm's mind, and he's no less effective in that. His psychological warfare is a significant part of what makes the show so addictive.

Malcolm: So you were his disposal man?
Paul: No, I was so much more than that.

However, he's locked away for now. He does a hell of a lot from the confinements of his cell, but it's different than someone on the outside.

Paul coming into the picture provides a good old-fashioned game of cat and mouse, and this is a chase that none of us want to miss.

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Malcolm knows very little about Paul, but Paul knows a heck of a lot about Malcolm. It makes their situation more intriguing.

Malcolm can rely on his skills to profile Paul and figure him out, but he doesn't have the upper hand here.

Paul: Why were you delivered to me, Malcolm? To help me, or to stop me? 
Malcolm: I just want to talk.
Paul: No, you're a cop. You just want to catch me. 

Paul is a formidable threat and a challenge for Malcolm. As much as he tried to reassure Gil that his focus is on capturing Paul, not pumping him for information in hopes of understanding his past, it's not all true.

Paul easily distracts Malcolm with little tidbits and comments. He throws Malcolm off of his game often.

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They are an engrossing match because of their elusive past. Paul can do what Martin does to Malcolm except out in the wind.

It's in that way Paul is a protege, but Paul and Martin have distinctive styles and are driven by different things.

Paul's phone conversations with Malcolm are curious. What is his current relationship with Martin? What's the extent of their mentor/mentee bond?

I get it, Malcolm, you think you need to know about your past, but what you really need to find out is your mission.


It doesn't look like Paul is fond of Martin or has a close enough bond to him to spare the Whitly kids or Jessica. He had no issue putting a hurting on Malcolm, and the Whitlys think he could pose a threat to Jessica.

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Oddly, neither Jessica nor Malcolm told Ainsley about Paul and his connection to their family.

She's career-oriented and in it for the story, but she still deserved to know for her safety.

Unlike Martin, Paul is a mission-oriented killer. His reasoning for murdering people has to do with cleaning up the streets.

Ryan: I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. How long do I have?
Malcolm: It's OK. You're safe.
Ryan: I'm not safe. You can't save me.

Everyone he murdered was homeless, an addict, or a sex worker. Dani is taking it personally that he's killing people in the Bronx, but in his mind, he's cleaning up the area and making it better.

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Paul thinks killing people is his calling. The near-religious connotations to his murders were so different than the other killers so far.

He feels like Malcolm was brought into his path again for a reason.

Malcolm thinks his purpose is to capture Paul, but it seems like Paul is another person trying to convince Malcolm he has a calling, too.

Now, it's not just Martin teasing Malcolm with the possibility of what he may be or is capable of doing. Paul is doing the same.

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He's telling Malcolm that what Martin does, and the way Malcolm understands the mind of killers goes beyond his studies and what his father told him.

Paul believes Malcolm can understand the mind of a killer because of him being one. He was willing to crush Malcolm to death until he said as much.

Malcolm: My dad, he told me all he knew about murder. That's how I know how you think, I am my father's son.
Paul: Some things you cannot teach. It's in your blood. There's hope for you yet. 

He wanted Malcolm to say that he was like him (and his father). We can't go a single episode without Malcolm almost dying, eh?

Saving Ryan  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 8

Somehow, knowing that Malcolm is a masochist makes his near-death encounters and injuries more nerve-wracking. The crunch of his ribs might go up there with hurling himself out of a window.

But enough kink-shaming.

Martin was evasive about what happened to the girl in the box, but Paul came right out and confirmed that the woman existed.

Paul: You think you can just be smart, figure me out like a problem to be solved? But your curiosity is the real problem. Bad things happen when you snoop. Like when you found that girl.
Malcolm: What girl?
Paul: The one in your father's trunk.

Malcolm was spinning in an attempt to process everything he believed -- the one crucial part of his memory everyone told him was a figment of his imagination -- it was real.

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Most of the people around him who have known him long enough don't flat out call him "crazy," but it's how they made him feel when they all insisted he somehow made this woman up.

For 20 years, this haunted him.

He wavered between knowing what he saw and others telling him it wasn't real. The confirmation is bittersweet, and it does nothing to reassure him.

Malcolm: She's real, Gil.
Gil: It's possible that Martin told him about your nightmare.
Malcolm: It wasn't a nightmare. All my life people have told me that she was just a figment of my imagination. A bad dream. But she's real, and Paul knows what happened to her.
Gil: I'm one of those people, and you're right, it's time I consider the possibility that I was wrong. I don't know what happened to her, Bright, but I do know you're not in this alone. Your team is here to help you.

Now, he knows the girl existed, but he's afraid of what happened to her, and the role he played in her disappearance.

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Paul laughed off the idea of being Martin's disposal man. He seemed entertained by Malcolm's missing chunks of memory.

However, he also seems more straightforward than Martin is about what he knows. He doesn't seem like he's dishonest for the hell of it.

He does seem like he's willing to play a long-game of "winning each other's trust" before he gives Malcolm the full-story.

Malcolm: I know he can be lying.
Gil: I've been telling you for 20 years she isn't real. I'm not going to tell you that tonight.

He gave him the bracelet that belonged to the woman as confirmation that she did exist, and he was part of whatever happened to her.

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Paul might be the one serial killer that eludes the team. Every time Malcolm thought they were ahead, he'd find out they weren't.

Malcolm thought they saved poor Ryan when he found him in the Winnebago buried in the junkyard, but Paul got to him anyway.

As an aside, Paul's ability to blend in makes him scarier than ever.

Gil: Edrisa, can you get an ID?
Edrisa: One nice thing about a severed hand is fingerprints. Perhaps the only nice thing.

Malcolm thought he did something when he saved Father Leo, but he only fell into Paul's plan to distract them while he killed Ryan.

Making Points -Tall - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 8

Paul has Jessica scared, and he almost killed Whitly. He has the team spinning.

As unfortunate as it is, the FBI taking over was inevitable.

We all know Malcolm won't sit the case out no matter what happens. It's doubtful the team will sit on its hands either.

Peter: Better if you leave me alone.
Malcolm: You know I can't do that.
Paul: That's not want I wanted to hear.

Malcolm did not leave the FBI on good terms. The woman leading the case was adamant about him not being part of it, and from the little we know, the two of them may have history.

Junkyard Case - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 8

Of course, it's not the fun kind.

The more we get to know Jessica, the easier it is to forget how shady she seemed. It's hard to shake suspicions, but she's coming into her own as a character.

She was terrified about Paul calling the house. Fortunately, the show both covered how the line was still connected all these years later and why she never left their home after what happened.

I was married to one of the most notorious killers of the 20th century. I can take care of myself.


It was her family home. She went on about the history of the Miltons, and if nothing comes from the constant name-dropping and bits of background about the Milton family, it would be a huge surprise.

Lady in Red - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 4

The team, namely Dani's reaction to both the Whitly home and Jessica was hilarious.

But the chemistry between Gil and Jessica is so intoxicating. They have chemistry, yes? It's not just me who is feeling it?

He's so compassionate and kind to her, and she's vulnerable with him and melts a bit with ease. It's like they have this unspoken understanding from how kind he was to her years ago, and their mutual love and concern over Malcolm.

She's more than just this stunning, well-dressed socialite who drinks too much and frets over her son, and when she shares scenes with Gil and Eve, you see more than just the mom.

Jessica & Gil - Tall - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 7

What is Eve's deal? I mean, outside of her Malcolm thirst?

She bogarted her way into Jessica's house even after Jessica canceled their meeting. Then, she listened to Jessica talk about Martin and how he has ruined her life, and she moseyed on over to Malcolm's place instead of calling.

Eve: I'm concerned about her. She was drunk in the middle of the day.
Malcolm: Oh that's not unusual.
Eve: And she was waving a gun around.
Malcolm: Okay, that part is unusual 

The going theory is that she's a relative of one of Martin's victims, and it's plausible, but what's her angle?

She went to Malcolm's house to give him a message, but it wasn't about Jessica. She wanted to see him, and the comments about seeing someone face to face to understand them were deliberate.

Finding Paul - tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 8

Malcolm didn't catch any of it then, but it'll come up later on, for sure. Eve has her sights on Malcolm specifically, and it's more than just wanting him to swing his broad ax her way if you catch my drift.

Malcolm's love life may or may not take off with Eve's thirst apparent, but Ainsley's is over.

Ainsley: Hey, how are you feeling?
Jin: Like I've been stabbed in the chest with a prison shiv.
Ainsley: So like six out of ten?

You cannot blame Jin for dumping Ainsley. She spent the time she was supposed to be by his bedside preparing her Martin piece.

She was chasing down the serial killer story the whole time she was at the hospital. Jin knew his girlfriend. He eyeballed the laptop and knew he had to see the footage.

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Sure enough, his girlfriend wasn't so freaked out about his near-death to stop recording his surgery.

You know Ainsley would've used the footage, too. She's relentless in her pursuit of a story. It blinds her to everything else, and she's willing to throw herself into danger in the same manner as Malcolm.

I understand that's just who you are but its just not the kind of person I want to be with.


Those Whitly siblings are a handful and a half, and 50 kinds of effed up. They have no self-preservation skills at all.

Ainsley's obsession and her ability to disregard people she cares about to focus on it seems like that Martin streak in her rearing its head.

In the Tunnel - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 8

She wasn't even upset about Jin dumping her, not really. She was moving on to a story in five seconds flat.

It remains captivating how both siblings exhibit qualities of their father that could be disturbing if directed at the wrong thing.

Dani: So, this is where Malcolm Bright grew up? It's nice.
Malcolm: Thank you. One day I'll give you the full tour. But the abridged version is that's where we usually have the Christmas tree. That is a portrait of my great Uncle Douglas. Oh, and right over there is where my father was arrested for killing 23 people.
Dani: It's a good looking uncle.

The two of them channel it into acceptable mores, but what would happen if they didn't?

Would they be like him? Are they like him? Are they just high-functioning?

The show somehow manages to play with this without doing a disservice to mental illness and contributing to stigmas, which is hard to do.

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But Ainsley, our dearest Ainsley -- she's the one everyone should probably be worried about when they're busy studying Malcolm and waiting for a break.

Additional Notes:

  • Edrisa's shady side-eye to JT for interrupting her flirt session with Malcolm was too funny for words. Let her be great, JT. 
  • Edrisa is going to be so annoyed when she finds out both Dani and Eve have been to Malcolm's house and eyeballed his restraints, and she hasn't. 
  • Even Sunshine was squawking at Malcolm and telling him going to see Paul was a terrible idea. 
  • The wardrobe department is the unsung hero of this series. Gil rocked another turtleneck and his cool shades. Malcolm always looks fashionable. Jessica can rock the hell out of leather skirts and gaucho pants.
  • Michael Raymond-James' voice. That's it. That's all that needs to be said. 
  • Martin hasn't said a single word to anyone since he's been in solitary confinement. He's such a sh!t, and I love it. 
  • Jin deserves better! 
  • Father Leo was the most Irish priest ever. Bless his heart. All he wanted to do was help people, and now some of them are dead, and he's missing a hand. He's going to need a bigger flask.

Over to you, Prodigal Fanatics!

What's your impression of Paul? How will Malcolm work around the FBI?

What's the deal with Eve? Hit the comments below!

You can watch Prodigal Son online here via TV Fanatic!


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Family Friend Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (16 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

Peter: Better if you leave me alone.
Malcolm: You know I can't do that.
Paul: That's not want I wanted to hear.

Paul: Why were you delivered to me, Malcolm? To help me, or to stop me? 
Malcolm: I just want to talk.
Paul: No, you're a cop. You just want to catch me.