‘Prodigal Son’ S1E2 “The Annihilator” Breakdown, Theories and Review!

Wow, this show is probably my favorite new show this season. I love a good murder show, but this one adds a dysfunctional family. Plus, the cast is still just amazing. In the last episode we saw Malcolm get fired from the FBI and work a case with the NYPD and old friend Gil Arroyo. This case was a copycat of his father’s murders forcing him to seek council from his father. I think one of the most important parts of the story is that Malcolm turned his father in, it let’s us know that while he is messed up, he is inherently good.

In this episode, we see more of his nightmares about the woman in the box. This really becomes consuming for Malcolm and his dreams. He tried to ignore his mother’s calls but she pushes for both him and his sister to meet for brunch. His sister is almost immediately called away for a story, she is a reporter, that involves a quadruple homicide. Malcolm’s mother, Jessica, takes this time to reiterate that she should not be looking to see his father. He denies that he has, but I did notices that when talking to his mother he shakes, much like he does when thinking about his father and the girl in the box, hmmm…

Malcolm does get called into this case by Gil looking for his insight. He is only supposed to be consulting which means no talking to witnesses, especially since he cut ones hand off in the last episode. The murder is of a man, his wife, and his two grown children. While looking at the scene, Malcolm is called by his father who wants to help with the case and see Malcolm. He attempts to push him off for now and continues working the scene. He determines that the killer poisoned the victims, but made the father watch them all die before killing the father. When the medical examiner Edrisa cuts the stitches, Black Mambas fill the scene. Malcolm helps with this to as he is familiar with snakes.

As Malcolm continues to build a profile his father calls over and over wanting to take this opportunity to work together. Malcolm doesn’t answer and puts together that the killer is someone that most likely wants to be part of the family but was rejected. JT investigates the possibility of another family member.

TJ finds another family member, a son, named Liam who is the black sheep of the family and has been estranged for many years. However, when talking to Liam he panics and runs into his warehouse which houses his black-market animal business. To get away he throws a snake at Malcolm. He is bitten and then needs to be hospitalized.

While in a medicated sleep Malcolm dreams again about the girl in the box, but this time adds that his father found him and drugged him. He wakes in the hospital upset that they gave him medication that made him stay in his dreams. His sister picks him up from the hospital and notices all the missed calls on his phone. She tricks him into getting his phone and discovers that his father is trying to contact him. He tells his sister about the new nightmares and she warns him not to let his father in.

However, Malcolm thinks that only way to get answers is to talk with his dad so he goes to see him. He asks about the girl in the box and while it is dismissed as a dream, he mentions the chloroform to his father. That is also denied as something that happened.  In the process of talking to his father though, he realizes that Liam is not the killer of his family. That the killer wanted the love of this family and Liam did not. He leaves there to call Gil to tell him, but it turns out that he is too late to save Liam. He jumped (or was pushed) off the edge of a building and killed.

However, Dani did say that when looking at evidence there were some anonymous payments that would support Malcolm’s theory that there was another person, like someone was being paid off like an illegitimate child.

Malcolm and Dani go to the Lawyer’s house to talk with him about the payment and who it was made to, but Malcolm notices that the lawyer is acting funny. When the lawyer walks away to feed his family, Malcolm tells Dani that he fits the profile. It isn’t until Malcolm notices that his daughter has Vitiligo, like the murdered father, that he puts together that the lawyer is the illegitimate child. Malcolm and Dani try to take him peacefully trying not to upset the family, not that it matters because he has already poisoned himself and his family. However, Malcolm though knows how to bring them all back before they die.

After solving the case, Gil and Malcolm share a drink which interacts with the medication they gave him at the hospital so Dani gives him a ride home. Here she gets a good look at his life, from his weapon collection, to his parakeet, to his restraints that he must sleep with. She even helps him secure them before she leaves.

In another dream, Malcolm remembers being carried to bed by his father after being drugged. Here he not only sees his dad, but his mom. This seemed like a weird scene to me, like she was concerned, but not and mentions that he should not have been in the cellar. When she leaves his father then drugs him again when he mentions the girl in the box.

Malcolm visits his father again, this time he makes it clear that these are memories he is seeing and not dreams. His father mentions though, how long was it from the time he saw the girl to when he called the police? maybe there was a lot of time, maybe people died in between the time he witnessed the girl and he called the police? How long was he blacked out? Maybe he doesn’t really want to know what happened. Obviously, there is more to the story, a big gaping hole. What I found most interesting about the scene though was that when Malcolm leaves, his father’s guard calls his mother to tell him that he has been visiting again. Something she is pretty upset about.

Theory Time!

I do have a theory, or maybe just an observation about the use of color in the cinematography. For the most part this show uses a ton of blue and grey tones. Malcolm and his sister, as well as most of the cast wear a large amount of blue and black.

However, in Malcolm’s memories his father is wearing red, which is often used in cinematography as a sign of danger and it fits with this show as well. He sees his father in his dreams as being a sign of danger, a predator for sure.

In current time his father wears white, a color of purity and innocence, he tries to pull Malcolm in by befriending him but check out the colors of the walls, red. He is luring Malcolm his predator trap by attempting to be innocent.

Now let’s look at Malcolm’s mom Jessica. In the last episode when she was trying to befriend Malcolm, she was wearing white.

At brunch she is in something a little different, animal print, like the cheetah that Malcolm sees in the black-market warehouse. Cheetah’s are obviously a predator, but with seeing one in the same episode it is not a coincidence. I think they are showing us that his mother is also a predator, maybe one that is being bound or caged in some way (a girl in a box?).

In Malcolm’s memories of his mother she is wearing white, a sign that in this moment she was innocent, or at least that is what Malcolm perceived or remembered.

But, in the final scene of the episode when we learn that she has Malcolm monitored, what is she wearing? Red!

I for sure think that Jessica was somehow involved in the killing his father was charged with, whether she was a participant or just knew about it is undetermined. I think this is why she does not want Malcolm talking to his father, fear that he will tell Malcolm her truth. I mentioned the girl in the box a moment ago when talking about Jessica and I wonder if maybe his mother wasn’t the girl in the box. Often with killers they like to act out their fantasies, maybe she was playing the victim? I am just throwing things out at this point. Something to think about though.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

This show has really piqued my interest. I love the characters and the writing of this show, as well as the fantastic actors. It has the “weekly” murder aspect to offer something new each week but then the complex backstory to make it personal to the characters. Definitely a must see!

Check Out All of My “Prodigal Son” Breakdowns!

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