Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16 Review: The Job

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We're making some serious headway with the Girl in the Box mystery.

The team members fell to the background during Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16, and Malcolm's personal, familial, and past life were front and center.

As suspected, Eve is related to the Girl in the Box!

Pretending to Make a Phone Call - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

Martin pulled a Martin and blackmailed Jessica and Malcolm into meeting his demands. He's such a wild card that you could never be certain he'd let Jessica go down for his stabbing.

Some time passed since the stabbing, and he was recovering at the prison. For whatever reason, Martin hadn't made his statement yet, though.

Martin wasn't going to turn on Malcolm. He's too obsessed with his son, and it's better to toy with his mind when he's outside of a steel cage, but it's hard to say if he would let Jessica go to prison.

Negotiation with Martin - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

He likes toying with her too, but it comes across as more of an afterthought, and despite their chemistry, you know he can go without her.

How much time does he need with Malcolm? He agreed to say the Carousel killer is the only reason Jessica stabbed him, and that it was under duress, and all in exchange for Malcolm visits twice a week.

Jessica: You need to make a statement to the police.
Malcolm: You're going to tell them that mom was forced to stab you by the real killer. 
Martin: But in fact, it was you, my boy. Or I don't say anything, and mommy dearest becomes Bedford correctional's newest inmate free to live out all of her sapphic dreams.

Martin's obsession with his son is intense. He knows the effects he has on Malcolm, but he doesn't seem to care. It's self-serving and has to be part of his narcissistic traits that he needs his son so desperately.

They have the strangest, most toxic, fascinating codependent familial relationship on the air. And yet, you can't turn away from it, and it's too good to pass up.

Jessica and Malcolm Visit Martin - Tall - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

They're so enjoyable together; their scenes are freaking magic, so you're left enabling this twisted familial bond for the sole purpose of it being entertaining as heck.

What's interesting is how Malcolm, whether he realizes it or not, is making some peace with who his father is. He's starting to accept him for all facts of who he is while being utterly terrified of being like him.

Malcolm: Maybe the problem was me.
Martin: Oh, don't beat yourself up. Trust me. You weren't the problem.
Malcolm. You're right. YOU were.
Martin: [chuckles] Walked into that one!
Malcolm: I didn't trust him, and that's because of you. 
Martin: C'mon, I mean how many problems in your life can you blame on me? No friends, night terrors; did I give you psoriasis to boot?

It's a reason Martin is who his psyche conjures up during the direst, life-threatening situations. It's a part of himself he taps into when he needs to, and as much as he loathes it, it's vital for him.

Martin will do anything to keep Malcolm in his life. Something shifted when he saw his son there when he woke up from his slumber, and it definitely was a change when his son stabbed him in the heart.

Malcolm at the Crime Scene - Tall - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

It confirmed something for Martin when Malcolm chose to do it, and he's more intrigued by his son than before. He was determined to use his new deal to put pressure on Malcolm.

He sure as hell doesn't mind holding it against Jessica's head. What is it about Michael Sheen and his ability to ooze charisma and have such much insane damn chemistry with everybody of whom he comes into contact?

Martin: What did you say to our son? Malcolm isn't answering my calls.
Jessica: I haven't said a word to him.
Martin: You know I'd hate to tell the police the true story, but my feelings have been hurt.
Jessica: Psychopaths don't have feelings.
Martin: Actually we do. Trick is we can turn them off whenever we want.

He and Bellamy Young play off each other so well, and their phone conversation was enough to reduce a girl to a giggle fit. Jessica and Martin hate each other, but it's true about there being a thin line between love and hate.

Every time they communicate with each other, it's like some twisted foreplay. Martin is suddenly acting as if he's ever the concerned parent.

Conjugal Visit? - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 14

He's taking this new deal as actual parenting of his son, and he's "turned on" his feelings for his son since he reminded Jessica that psychopaths have feelings. The only difference is that they switch them on and off at will.

It couldn't have been funnier when he attempted to commiserate with Jessica over worrying about their son, and she threw Gil up in his face. The battle of the dads continues.

Martin: So is this what it's like worrying about your kids? Thinking of all the terrible things that could be happening? Parenting is tough stuff. It's good to have someone to talk to. Someone who cares as much as you do.
Jessica: You're right. I should call Gil.
Martin: And she turns the dagger.

Oddly, Gil doesn't always come out on top. When Malcolm is going rogue, it's all his father, and everyone is starting to see that. Malcolm was leaning heavily into making his father proud this time around.

We got so many "my boys," you guys, so damn many of them.

JT and Gil  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

Martin couldn't conceal his pride when Malcolm blackmailed the neurosurgeon with information Martin provided him. Malcolm will stop at nothing to solve his case, so go figure.

The case wasn't too bad. Despite it being about a thrill killer, it wasn't particularly thrilling. At least it wasn't until Malcolm and Vijay were black-bagged and taken to an unknown site to meet up with the team of thieves.

How long have you been in love with Sheila, Pete?

Malcolm

The case was, more so, a gateway to introducing someone from Malcolm's past and giving us insight into how he was growing up.

It's no surprise Malcolm probably got a "D" in "Plays well with others," so Vijay was his closest friend at boarding school. Malcolm still went by Whitly, so everyone knew he was the son of a serial killer.

Dashing Vijay - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

Vijay's father was also in prison for drug trafficking. As Dani said, in one of the funniest lines of the hour, they were part of the same "bad dads" club.

Except, to Malcolm's recollection, Vijay stopped being Malcolm's friend the second his father got out of prison, and the other kids accepted him.

Malcolm: Vijay and I went to boarding school together. His dad went to prison for smuggling cocaine so ... Dani: Awww. You were "bad dad" kids.

They say there are two sides to every story and the truth is somewhere in the middle. Malcolm had his guard up; he wasn't sure if he could trust Vijay, and you could tell he had mixed feelings about him.

To his credit, he was right about Vijay going behind their back to make a deal with Cooper in exchange for the watches. A man's gotta eat.

A Motorcycle Gang Robbery - Prodigal Son

But Vijay's assessment of what changed between them rang true. He tried to get Malcolm to interact with the other kids, and he invited him to socialize with others, but Malcolm refrained, or he was so intense he turned people off.

Malcolm is still pretty damn intense, and he has a way of stripping people down onsight, he's better at managing it as an adult, but can you imagine how he was a teen?

Dani: What happened?
Vijay: We happened. The corner table boys. The bad seeds. We saved the day. I'm not under arrest, am I? 

It was nice to know that Malcolm did have a real friend growing up, and he wasn't alone the whole time. And it was enlightening for him that maybe he does stand in his way a great deal when it comes to communicating with others.

In that sense, it was a perfect followup installment to Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 15, where his current friends made Malcolm aware of his shortcomings and things he needed to improve.

Malcolm's Old Friend  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

Vijay wasn't the most trustworthy character out of the gate, and it did seem as if he would have a nefarious role in the investigation.

It was so fun to see Good Trouble's "hot Raj," Dhruv Uday Singh in a different role, and Vijay was obnoxious, but by the end, he grew on you.

Malcolm: Maybe the problem was me.
Martin: Oh, don't beat yourself up. Trust me. You weren't the problem.
Malcolm. You're right. YOU were.
Martin: [chuckles] Walked into that one!
Malcolm: I didn't trust him, and that's because of you. 
Martin: C'mon, I mean how many problems in your life can you blame on me? No friends, night terrors; did I give you psoriasis to boot?

Maybe he and Malcolm will cross paths again, and they will have a shot at a genuine friendship in adulthood. Malcolm could use that, and Vijay proved that he does care about Malcolm when he did everything to get back to him and saved his life.

Malcolm did most of the heavy-lifting, though, and his mental manipulation was the best part of the hour. He profiled the hell out of the crew, found their weak spots, and used it against them.

All Tied Up - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

Then, when he had them all at a standoff with each other, guns pointing at various members of their group, he gave a nudge, and they took each other out without him having to do it.

It was pure brilliance, and like Martin, it had me damn near gleeful. The mind is one's most powerful weapon, and Malcolm has shown that time in again.

Martin: Might want to run you through a CT scan if you survive this, killer.
Malcolm: I'm not a --
Martin: Killer? Murderer? Psycho? I beg to differ. Look at what you did, taking out four hardened criminals in one fell swoop.
Malcolm: I didn't shoot anybody.
Martin: Oh, you didn't pull the trigger or load the guns no, no, no. You loaded their minds. With fear. And anger, each one to the exact right amount. Oh, my boy, it was a work of genius. All this talk of friends is really beside the point. You don't need friends. You're just like your old man.

He outdid himself this time, though. He's not the one who pulled the trigger, but he did make sure it took. He had to do what he could.

And a figment of his psyche in the form of Martin was right there to praise his actions and allude to Malcolm being like him for what he did.

Holding Off - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

He called him a murderer and applauded his wiliness and creativity. Malcolm has to know better than to listen to that voice within him, but he's combatting it all of the time.

His usual daddy issues and his new path toward improving his socialization and communication skills had him making amends with Eve.

This phone is reserved for telemarketers and politicians. Identify yourself so I know how hard to slam the receiver.

Jessica

Jessica arranged it, as she's inclined to do, but Eve was eager to sit down with Malcolm. She's been a mystery, and most of us suspected there was something to her and her appearance in the Whitley's lives.

She insisted that Malcolm explain what happened that night. Her determination to get to the truth of what happened was suspect. Why did she need to know all the details?

Jessica's Persuasion - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

A simple apology for almost slicing her up wasn't enough. Malcolm's night terrors are personal, and it's an intimate thing to share things like that with someone. He didn't owe her an explanation in that much detail.

Did you catch Eve's expression when Malcolm was telling her everything? And what was with the way he looked back at her?

I know about your search for the girl in the box and you know my background. Please, let me help you.

Eve

It was almost like he was on the verge of picking something up, but then he got a phone call, and the moment was over.

Eve was too interested in everything he had to say. She was hanging on to every word he said, and if you didn't think she had a connection to all of this before, you did by then.

Eve - Tall - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 9

Malcolm said he tried to help the girl in the box, and something changed for Eve. She went to Jessica and offered her help.

It's ludicrous that Jessica left Eve alone long enough to wander to the basement. Did they break the wall down completely and never put it back up?

She knew where to go, and she wandered to his office and found the trunk. She was tearful when she touched the trunk; however, nothing topped her climbing inside of it and closing it behind her.

It was an eerie final scene, but what are we left to believe?

Jessica Makes a Call - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16

It seems like she knew the girl in the box, and she wondered what happened to her. She was related to her, maybe a younger sister or something, and she was clinging to the last moments of her sister/relative.

Maybe she climbed in to feel closer to her. But then it also seemed like she was reliving something with her actions. But that can't be right, no? She's too young to be the original girl in the box, right?

It was one of the questions we couldn't wait to ask the cast at SCAD aTVfest. Our TV Fanatic editor got to speak to Tom, Aurora, and Keiko about the series, so if you missed it, you can check it out.

Time to Ponder - Tall  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 7

They teased more information on the Girl in the Box mystery, and we're getting it. I cannot wait to hear all of your theories about this latest development, so hit the comments below!

Over to you, Prodigal Son Fanatics! Let's hear those new theories.

You can watch Prodigal Son online here via TV Fanatic.

The Job Review

Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (26 Votes)

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

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Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 16 Quotes

Malcolm: Vijay and I went to boarding school together. His dad went to prison for smuggling cocaine so ... Dani: Awww. You were "bad dad" kids.

Jessica: You need to make a statement to the police.
Malcolm: You're going to tell them that mom was forced to stab you by the real killer. 
Martin: But in fact, it was you, my boy. Or I don't say anything, and mommy dearest becomes Bedford correctional's newest inmate free to live out all of her sapphic dreams.