Malcolm has some of the best lines, and they aptly capture the essence of this series, too.
The series certainly is a psycho-rollercoaster, and Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 2 chose to lean into its supernatural elements with a case that heavily featured Catholicism and the occult.
As we know, horror elements and religion go hand in hand.
If you're a fan of psychological thrills and exorcisms, then this hour was right up your alley. Religion, faith, confession, possession, and all of that good stuff was front and center and weaved throughout much of the installment.
Malcolm has a lot weighing heavy on his heart, holding everything in with only Martin as his sin-eater is driving him mad.
He doesn't have anyone else to speak to about Endicott and his conflicting feelings about his actions. Everyone knows that something is going on, but he's too afraid, and with good reason, to confide in anyone. He's trying to protect all of them and Ainsley.
It places him in a troubling position where he's floundering by himself, and the only lifeline is Martin, a man he can't trust and who can't provide him with what he needs.
He can't unburden his sins and confess to Gabrielle, his therapist, and so he's avoided seeing her since everything happened. And he's not a religious person, nor does he feel comfortable confessing to a priest.
For Malcolm, the only solace he can find is in what he gives himself, and that's difficult for him to do.
Just the life of a serial killer's son. A psycho- Rollercoaster. You wouldn't understand.Malcolm
Malcolm is a man of facts and figures who doesn't have faith. Ironically, Malcolm had strong feelings during this case, but his profession faces similar criticisms along the lines of not being "real science."
It isn't the first case where they've had to deal with religion. Malcolm suffered from a bout of Catholic Guilt (you don't have to be Catholic to face off with that) because he was adamant about the murder featuring only a religious component without a medical/scientific tie-in. It nearly clouded his judgment.
Thank, um, God, for Martin and Friar Pete -- no, that doesn't sound right at all.
Father Reyes' death was a horrific scene, but it was the type of thing that had Edrisa enraptured. When will we spend some more quality time with The Driss? It was far too little of her.
Malcolm: Abadon the Destroyer? Angel of the abyss from Revelations? So now we know our killer's name.
Gil: Who is it?
Malcolm: Oh, you know, the Devil.
Death by exsanguination is medieval AF, and you can understand why the Murder Nerds were having a ball with this crime scene, to the point of disrespecting the house of the Lord.
Malcolm's gleeful exclaim that the Devil was the killer earned a snort. It was one of those cases where the actual killer was apparent from the second they introduced him. It was only a matter of how they'd go about getting to the revelation.
They at least attempted to steer us in a different direction for a brief second with Sister Agnes. And Norman only served as the perfect way to add some more horror elements into the hour and far from subtle Bates/Psycho callbacks.
The scenes with Norman and his mother were delightfully creeptastic, and it was all the better that Malcolm and JT teamed up for it. It's always a treat when they switch up the pairings and allow different characters to play off of each other more.
Norman: I knew it was you. You're a demon.
Malcolm: No, Norman, I'm not a demon.
Norman: I could smell it on you the moment you walked in. You're like me. That's why you came here.
Malcolm: What do you mean I'm like you?Norman: You are a killer, too. I did it. I killed him.
JT doesn't rein Malcolm in much at all, nor does he serve as the voice of reason. That's Dani's role when she's partnered with Bright. Instead, JT is the guy who is reluctantly dragged into or lured in by Malcolm's off-the-the-wall spontaneity and outlandish actions.
Without fail, Malcolm always leaves you thinking or saying "Malcolm, no," and he always says, "Malcolm, yes," and dives into something reckless for the hell of it.
You can't tell the guy not to do something. You may as well have said go for it. When he crossed the line of salt, it was enough to make you facepalm, but we wouldn't be near as entertained if Malcolm didn't disregard everything and go rogue like a shaggy puppy off of its leash.
Malcolm is a wild one, and his recent personal issues have made him more unstable than before. His nightmare with Sister Agnes/Ainsley rattled him, and I always feel for the guy when he falls asleep at the station.
Malcolm: Oh, I was, um, asleep.
Dani: yeah we noticed.
Malcolm: Why are you wearing body armor?
Dani: Because you fell asleep. Your nightmares are pretty epic.
Malcolm: Yeah, tell me about it.
Waking up to half the bullpen staring at you as if you're a ticking timebomb has to take a toll, not to mention seeing Dani, who tends to serve as the Malcolm Whisperer, easing toward him with a kevlar vest "just in case."
Seeing as he almost stabbed his girlfriend the last time he fell asleep and had a nightmare, the precaution was sensible.
While we didn't get as much of Dani this time around, their interactions remain interesting. If Malcolm is inclined to confide in anyone as a close friend, it's her, so part of me thinks that it's only a matter of time before she learns the truth about what happened with Endicott.
He went from telling JT that when he says he's "fine," it's a lie to repeating that fallacy to Dani when she inquired about his current state. They're both preoccupied with emotional baggage they don't want to discuss that much with one another, so it's working for them for now.
Dani: Are you any different? You've been on edge lately. Even for you. You want to talk about it?
Malcolm: I'm fine. Really.
Malcolm: How about you? It's bad out there.
Dani: It's always bad. Difference is people are paying attention. It's like they just realized that the world is racist and cops target Black people. JT and me don't get a pass.
Malcolm's comments about the best artist going mad because of their work aligned with how he approaches the job. Even without discussing the extent of what's bothering him, he still revealed a lot about himself.
But the best moments are when he has an epiphany about the case because of a personal conversation, and they take off with the lead.
I doubt Malcolm ever envisioned performing an exorcism under the guidance of Martin and Friar Pete. Lucky for us, the show gives us these fun moments.
Of everything happening during the installment, Malcolm's scenes with Martin were the most engaging. No matter what he says or does, he can't seem to stay away from Martin.
Both my kids are in such a good place. I've never felt prouder.Martin
All roads lead to Martin, without fail.
Friar Pete was a much better addition than Jerry. He at least contributed something to the case, and he's probably going to play a role in Martin's attempt to escape.
Martin's motivations, like most things, go back to Malcolm. Martin started the hour by claiming that his children were doing well and he was proud of them, even though they are the very antithesis of okay.
And he ended the hour plotting an escape because of Malcolm shutting him out. I previously pointed out how Malcolm looked to Martin for absolution and that Martin skillfully gave him solace and then snatched it away just as quickly.
Friar Pete: You look troubled, Martin.
Martin: It's my son, it's been my mission these many months to shore up our bond. But...
Friar Pete: What, my son?
Martin: My boy, he needs me now more than ever. There is nothing I can do in here trapped behind these walls. I got to get out of here. I gotta be free.
Friar Pete: I have a Bible study to serve the faithful who are interested in exodus. Perhaps you should join our flock.
Martin: Exodus. Perhaps I should.
During this installment, Malcolm did the same thing. He's capable of being like his father after all, but this time around, he's making peace with that and expressing that he intends to control it.
Malcolm took a step toward taking control back from his father. It's not convincing for viewers, but I'm proud of him for the attempt. Martin believes him, and that's what matters.
Martin is such an expert at f--king with Malcolm's mind, and ours too. He has such alluring moments of sincerity.
Martin saw that Malcolm struggled, and he spent most of the hour urging Malcolm to talk about Endicott and deal.
With Martin, you never know if it came from a real place of wanting to help his son or if it meant he wanted to commiserate with him and take delight in having his son be anything like him.
But once again, it felt as if Martin genuinely wanted to absolve Malcolm of his actions and take the full blame. His line about there being little distinction between possession and parenting was poignant.
And for once, when he was commenting that Malcolm had a bit of him inside, it didn't seem as though it was about a killer gene or urges but some of Martin's better traits.
And that's the crazy thing about Martin and what happens when you remember that even the worst of people are still human. Martin does have great traits, and Malcolm does share some of them.
Malcolm: I'm the one who decided to dispose of Endicott's body, to lie to Ainsley, cover the whole thing up. That was me.
Martin: Or maybe it was me.
Malcolm: Shows that you possessed me?
Martin: Isn't that what parenting is? Your mother and I, we have the power that compels you. I mean usually to brush your teeth or pay your bills, but you knew exactly what your sister needed. You knew how to save her because of --
Malcolm: You. You're a part of me.
Martin: Yes, I am. You haven't always appreciated that but uh...
Malcolm: I'm coming to terms with it, and that's a good thing.
Martin: Son, I'm, well, I'm speechless.
Malcolm: It's not a good thing for you, Dr. Whitly. See, I know you're there now, and I can lock you up, tune you out, even leave you behind.
Malcolm is cutting himself off from Martin, and he's gone back to referring to him as Dr. Whitly. Their toxic cycle consists of both giving a little to one another and taking it away.
Malcolm thinks by excising or exorcising Martin from his life, then his soul is cleansed, and he'll be better.
But in this case, he's only suppressing things. Removing Martin from the equation doesn't spare him from the emotional and mental turmoil he's experiencing because of his actions.
He still doesn't have anyone to confide in either, assuming that doesn't change when Ainsley starts remembering things.
It's Gil. Ask him about mom. Does he let you wear his Turtlenecks?Ainsley
She had to have noticed how squirrely Malcolm behaved when she told him she doesn't recall most of the night. Ainsley isn't the type to accept that her mind is protecting her. She's a journalist; she wants to know the truth.
She has come around to recognizing that, like her mother and brother, she, too, is broken. And she knows something is wrong, which is why she doesn't want to leave Jessica yet.
It's probably best that she and Jessica continue to live together. The mother-daughter scenes between the two were sweet, and it's nice to see that relationship on display more.
Sometimes it feels as though Jessica directs most of her maternal energy toward Malcolm, and there's nothing left to spare. I also enjoyed that they were able to talk about Gil.
Ainsley: When you're upset, you keep busy.. you're distracting yourself.
Jessica: Oh, that's absurd. What on earth am I distracting myself from?
Ainsley: Gil, I checked your phone. Seven missed calls from him?
Jessica: I can't believe you.
Ainsley: Okay. I shouldn't have snooped, but something is clearly going on, and we're just not going to talk about it?
Jessica: We're W.A.S.P.S. It's what we do!
Again, as devastating and harsh as those words were, it makes perfect sense that Jessica would hear them for what they are and distance herself from Gil.
They both deserve to be happy, and they have that with one another, but Jessica is terrified of how Gil can suffer because of his connection to her. I wish she'd realize that Gil chose her and the risks.
Gill won't ever be spared; Malcolm is in his life, too, and he's spent the last 20 years inextricably bonded to the Whitly family. He sealed his fate and made his choice the night of Martin's arrest.
The only thing Jessica and Gil gain from cooling down their affection for one another is unhappiness, and they both deserve better than that.
Gil: Jess what is going on here? We were talking. We had plans. I thought we had a real thing going. I know you came to see me at the hospital. You signed the guest book. What happened?
Jessica: I'm cursed.
Gil: You overhead Dani and me.
Jessica: She wasn't wrong. I'm broken. My marriage to Martin, this world I grew up in, it has shattered me. And anyone who tries to get close gets cut.
Gil: That's not true.
Jessica: Gil, you were stabbed because of me, and if we' were to try to do this for real, I would feel that worrying guilt every waking moment.
Gil: What guilt? Jess, Jess you saved me.
Jessica: Then let me save you again. You should go. Please.
JT deserves better too. I commend Frank Harts for what he's bringing to this storyline. His performance hits me in the heart.
I'll bite and echo some of the sentiments that many of you so passionately expressed about this storyline. The execution of it is off and needed more work if they wanted to tackle it.
JT has a lot to weigh here. We've seen similar things about the repercussions of speaking out on shows like Chicago PD. Unfortunately, you don't cross the Blue Line, and when you do, it costs you.
JT loves his job, and he has two families to consider. He has a pregnant wife -- a kid on the way, and, of course, he has his team.
JT: Every damn day for ten years I put my life on the line like any other cop here, but those guys just saw a Black man, and they put a gun in his face.
Dani: The union needs to hear that. This doesn't end unless we end it.
Malcolm: You're not alone JT.
JT: I have to protect my job, my family.
Dani: This is my family.
JT: I know. I'll take care of it.
He didn't know if he wanted to speak out about what happened to him or bury his head down, hoping it blew over. I would imagine the one thing he had going for him against the cop who roughed him up was his ranking.
He knows that he has the team backing him up, but no one has the answers regarding what he should do. Gil was honest about not knowing. Dani wants JT to go to the Union, but deep down, she probably knows that's pointless. All Malcolm could offer was platitudes.
But JT calling for backup and the same cop taunting him without sending it made me cringe. It didn't make any sense.
If JT reported the guy, called for action to be taken against the officers, and stirred up some tension between Major Crimes and the uniform beat cops, and then this was the response, fine.
This is a police channel. Impersonating an officer is a fireable offense, Detective Tarmel.Cop
But JT laid low and didn't do anything, so it wasn't vindictive retaliation so much as contrived, cartoonish antagonism.
And the cop's menacing line calling into question JT's status instead of perhaps making an idle threat about what would happen if he opened his mouth or something to that effect was bizarre. It feels like racist fraternity hazing of a superior unprompted.
Cops holding a grudge against a fellow officer for going against the Blue Line and not showing up for backup calls isn't new nor surprising, but the way this particular case of it played out didn't even make sense.
It's definitely a storyline that's garnering some mixed results. Some fans are frustrated that this part-cop show with good cops is "vilifying the police," and others are annoyed with the "performative and shoddy" execution of a storyline spotlighting systemic racism's role in policing.
JT: If I escalate this, who's to say things don't get worse? You think I'm wrong?
Gil: Can I be straight? I don't know. Nothing about this is right.
They may have swung and missed with this one. We'll have to see how it plays out, but, hey, they tried. I'm not mad at them, especially since the team's familial dynamic is pleasing, and JT getting more time to shine is more than welcome.
Over to you, Prodigal Fanatics. Go on and hit that SHOW COMMENTS button, and tell us what you think.
You can watch Prodigal Son online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.