“The Trip” Down a Drug-Fueled Memory Lane: ‘Prodigal Son’ Season One, Episode Five


“You’re gonna sleep, you hear me? Sleep like the damn dead.”
Yeah, no you’re not Malcolm, be honest with yourself.

A sleep deprived Malcolm is walking down the street when a parked station wagon catches his attention. We get a first-person viewpoint through the camera and see what appears to be a white sheet thrown in the back… and is it… moving? Malcolm turns and calls for help believing someone is shackled under the sheet, though no one else appears to be out. He spins back around to the car and is surprised when a Rottweiler leaps toward the window, chained up inside the, uh, Chrysler. So, not only was there not a person under the sheet in the car, there was no sheet at all and the car was not a station wagon.

Like Malcolm says, there’s only one thing that helps him: murder. Luckily there is a murder, a double homicide in fact, but Gil doesn’t think Malcolm’s skills are required for that one. “Would you believe that homicide appears to be the only thing keeping me sane?!” At this point, yes, we absolutely would believe that, but personally, I wouldn’t make that statement in the middle of a police station.

Image Courtesy IMDb.

Gil allows our favorite consultant to tag along to the scene and we meet our two deceased victims, a now tongue-less Jacques Desir and his bodyguard. Desir was a known pusher of several drugs including cocaine, which was presumably the white powdery substance dumped all over his body, and the potential motive behind the killings quickly becomes a source of tension. Dani believes that this is about drugs, either turf or product, while Malcolm believes it’s a vengeance killing, something much more personal than simply drugs. After realizing she had done a stint in narcotics, he turns to her and says, “Well, I’m not the expert you are…” at which point he is cut off by Dani saying, “Oh, we finally agree on something! You’re wrong.” Touchy, touchy!

In the following scene the team is walking into a church, a designated place for police and gangs to meet with no potential violence. Gil has arranged to meet with Desir’s rival Dominican gang leader, Saulo Reyes, hoping to ascertain his involvement in the murders. Reyes quickly points the finger at a member of Desir’s crew, Xavier Estime, but Dani quickly shoots this down, saying Estime isn’t violent and doesn’t even move product. Though according to Reyes, this is “stale intel,” that Estime had moved up the ranks. The scene’s focus switches from this ongoing conversation to Malcolm and the second it does, we hear chains moving. Just over his shoulder, lying on the pew, there appears to be a white sheet moving ever so slightly. As he tries to ignore it, the sound of clinking chains gets louder, and unable to ignore them for long, Malcolm reaches out toward the sheet just as a hand grabs the hanging chain. Understandably, he jumped from his seat, causing the bodyguards accompanying Reyes to reach for their guns. “Sorry! Sorry! I thought I saw a bug. I hate bugs!”

The scene immediately following begins to resolve the earlier tension between Dani and Malcolm. Dani remains adamant that Estime is not the killer, if Reyes doesn’t fit the profile, Estime certainly doesn’t. “Tell me why. Profiles are built on information, and right now our information points to Estime. But I don’t know him like you do, or did.” This, to me, reads as Malcolm extending an olive branch of sorts. He wants to help Dani prove Estime isn’t guilty of this crime, but he needs more from her to do that. She’s hiding something and that something could make all the difference.

Malcolm goes on to say, “I want to help you, but I can’t do that until you help me understand. I don’t know Estime, you do.” Dani seems to be on the edge of giving up whatever it is she’s holding back, but before she can say anything Gil and JT walk in with lab results. The white substance found on Desir’s body wasn’t cocaine after all, it was a mix of mushrooms and ecstasy. Now here’s where new, highly important information comes to light. The blood spatter pattern isn’t consistent with how they originally thought things went down. For starters, the bodyguard had blood all over him while Desir had none which leads Malcolm to point out the latter must’ve had something draped over him. Secondly, the blood transfer confirmed that Desir was killed first as they found some of his blood in the bodyguard’s wound. If you combine that knowledge with the fact that Desir never got out of his chair, things really don’t look good for Estime’s cllaim of innocence. They were friends after all, why would he have any reason to distrust Estime if he visited?

Ladies, gentlemen, and non-binary folks, please hold onto your hats because we’re momentarily switching gears and taking a hard left! We see Malcolm’s mother, Jessica, standing in a room with a table set for company. It seemed a bit odd for her to then call in her assistant and ask that everything be cleared. As she turns to pour herself a drink, the voice of another lady can be heard; that voice belongs to Eve Blanchard and she’s “here for your money.” Turns out Eve did not sneak past the housekeeper to attempt a robbery, she did it in an attempt to convince Jessica to help fund her fight against human trafficking.

Image Courtesy IMDb.

I really hope you’re still holding onto your hats because we’re taking a hard right to get back on track with the case! Malcolm and Dani both promised Gil they would wait for a warrant before attempting to make any contact with Estime, but *gasp* they didn’t wait? How shocking! Dani and Malcolm, separately, went to the club run by Estime, coincidently, at the same time. Estime had them both brought to his office where Malcolm points out, “there are a lot of drugs in that box,” after one of the girls in the room set it down on a side table. After Dani mentions Desir’s death, Estime denies any involvement. Does his physical reaction say the same thing though? He immediately gets fidgety and that, of course, doesn’t escape Malcolm’s eye. “Your posture, pretending to be hard because drug dealers are scary. Problem is you’re not a killer, Dani’s been telling me that all day, now I see it.” Again, this would not be the first thing to come out of my mouth standing in this guy’s presence, but hey, you do you Malcolm.

Suddenly screaming ensues downstairs and bullets begin to fly, shattering the glass of the office overlooking the club. Bullets aren’t the only thing that flies, so do drugs -a cloud of drugs from the box mentioned previously -right into Malcolm’s face. The police are quick to arrive and it doesn’t take long for Gil to realize that Malcolm is “high as a kite,” though according to Malcolm himself he’s actually “higher than a kite,” and as a punishment of sorts Dani is relegated to Malcolm-sitting duty and takes him home. Higher-than-a-kite Malcolm is very high strung, almost like a kid that’s had far too much caffeine, and his short-term memory is a mess. He completely forgot what he was trying to say to Dani while in the middle of his sentence, and as someone with ADHD, I can seriously relate. Malcolm decided to walk into the bathroom to splash water on his face, and that’s where his trip to CandyLand turned into his trip to Hell.

In the mirror behind him there is suddenly a man hanging in the shower with a large hook through his body. Malcolm walked out of the bathroom and sat on the floor by his bed, looked up and saw ‘the box’ (this box being the trunk he believed hid the body of a woman killed by his father). I’ll give you one guess who else decided to join the party… the creepy sheet hiding a chained up person? Yep. This was certainly a come one, come all hallucination. When the hand under the sheet actually grabbed onto his face this time, things got a little too real for Malcolm and he ran back into the bathroom, except, it’s not his bathroom anymore. He’s in his father’s cell but it’s not inhabited by Martin. He sees himself, or his subconscious representation of himself. “Buddy, I get it, these nightmares you’re having, they’re rough. Fragments of this, bits of that. That station wagon…. What you need is context, something to help you stitch all this crazy together.” A shoebox. All this to tell, well, yourself to look in a shoebox? Bit dramatic, but alright. Luckily for Malcolm, Dani broke through the bathroom door right about then and threw a punch to help break him from his own mind, knocking him out cold.

The following morning, Malcolm has come down from his high and he begins talking to Dani about her past. She was working undercover as a hostess girl when Estime made her but surprisingly didn’t out her, then he saved her life after she overdosed. Now we know why Dani was so sure Estime wasn’t the murderer.

During her interview with one of the other hostess women, we learn about Fabiola. “That girl could do hair like it was art. He (Estime) fell for her hard.” It turns out that Estime had bought a hair salon for her, but Desir wouldn’t give her up and she was ultimately killed transporting drugs. Now on a stakeout near the hair salon, Dani and Malcolm spotted Trini, one of the women from the room at the nightclub and they made their way across the street and into the building. Trini is preparing to give Estime a haircut but it took a backseat to the conversation that Dani has struck up. At the mention of Fabiola’s name, something about Trini’s demeanor changed. Malcolm walked over to one of the aprons, pointing out that they’re waterproof; Dani seemed to speak for more than just herself when she voiced her confusion. “Desir, his chest was clean of blood because he was wearing an outer layer when his throat was cut. He was wearing one of these.”

Image Courtesy IMDb.

In a twist I honestly never saw coming, Trini was Fabiola’s mother and now she’s holding a blade to Estime’s throat. She was out for revenge against the men that took her daughter from her, the men she believed put her daughter on a plane with poison in her veins. The only thing seemingly keeping Estime alive was his knowledge of the location of Fabiola’s remains, the one thing that mattered more to Trini than revenge.

Like other episodes, we are once again left with a cliffhanger. Malcolm retrieves the old shoebox his drug-fueled subconscious said would give him clarity on his flashbacks/hallucinations. In the box is a picture of Malcolm and Martin standing in front of… an old station wagon.

Tune into Prodigal Son Mondays at 9/8c on Fox!

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