‘Prodigal Son’ Season 1, Episode 17 Recap: “The Stranger Beside Me”

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Image courtesy Fox.

Well Prodigies, this week answered one big question while creating quite a few new ones. We got another twisty case, some Maldrisa hilarity, Ainsley showing her investigative skills, and answers about who Eve is … and what her intentions towards the Whitlys are. Read on to find out what happened in “The Stranger Beside Me”.

Image courtesy Fox.

We open with what is clearly a dream sequence as a happy Malcolm wakes up to Eve making breakfast. She offers him blueberry muffins, but he’s confused when he sees they are actually a different kind of berry. He wakes up in a cold sweat as Eve comforts him. She’s been sleeping over for the last two weeks and notes she’s seen worse. Malcolm leaves to meet up with Ainsley. He tells her about the dream and how he can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right with Eve. Ainsley thinks it’s his paranoia and inability to be happy talking, but she offers to look into Eve’s background. She reminds him that it’s her job to investigate people, and thinks this could be the ideal way to discover which of the Whitly siblings is truly the better investigator.

Image courtesy Fox.

Malcolm is called to the murder scene in a picture-perfect house. The victim, Ezra, was killed as a party in honor of his newborn daughter was being hosted downstairs. He was killed by having a broken champagne bottle plunged into his neck, so Malcolm theorizes this was a crime of passion and opportunity by a person with serious anger issues. Ezra and his wife are social media influencers in the “mommy blog” community, and it seems their whole life was designed to be a part of their brand. They speak to the wife and Christine, the couple’s nanny. Christine was the one who found the body, and as they talk Malcolm notices the wife has a cut on her arm that seems recent. As they examine the body again, Edrisa notes that any disturbance could make the cork still stuck in the bottle to explode.

Malcolm gets a call from Martin, who wonders why Malcolm hasn’t been by to see him. Malcolm accidentally reveals a little too much about his romantic life, much to Martin’s delight. As the two banter, the body is jostled and it appears Malcolm is in the path of the exploding cork. Edrisa, in a moment of perfection, tackles Malcolm to the floor, taking him by surprise. Back at the precinct, Dani is assigned to run a background check on Christine. Malcolm takes her aside and asks if she can also run one on Eve while she’s at it. Dani refuses, saying she doesn’t want to be the one to break them up.

Image courtesy Fox.

Gil and Malcolm head to a mommy group to talk to the nannies who may have known Christine. The moms are all rich and Instagram-focused (and insufferable.) They speak to one nanny who says all the women are “too crazy for Bravo crazy”. This nanny believes Christine was sleeping with Ezra, which could make her a murder suspect. At the Whitly’s house, Eve and Jessica are looking over the tips about the girl in the box as Ainsley enters (introducing herself as the “well adjusted Whitly”). Eve discusses one of the potential matches, and she seems to know a little too much about the victim. Ainsley notes this, and it seems to upset Eve. Jessica tries to reassure Eve, saying that “my children can be socially bizarre but it’s best to find it endearing and not deranged”. But when Ainsley pushes further, Eve leaves. Ainsley then turns to Jessica and says “we need to talk about Eve”. It sounds like Ainsley’s investigative skills have uncovered some new information.

Dani finds out that Christine doesn’t exist in any database: she must be using a fake name. They also discover that Ezra transferred $30,000 from his accounts. Malcolm and Dani go to talk to the wife, who is still nursing the wound on her arm. Malcolm wants to know if it’s possible that Ezra and Christine were having an affair. She denies that this could be possible. As they talk, they notice noises coming from the baby monitor. Christine appears and it looks like she’s trying to take the baby. As Malcolm and Dani rush up the stairs to the baby’s room, they find the window open and Christine gone, but the baby is safe in her crib. Why would Christine run? And why did it seem like she was taking the baby?

The police get a video call from Christine’s husband, who lives in Canada. He claims he’s been looking for her for a year and provides proof he’s her husband. He says Christine got in trouble with the law as a teen, and it seems she could have anger issues the killer was profiled as having. He claims he has no idea why Christine would have vanished, but there’s something off about him.

Malcolm goes to see his father to ask for his help with the Eve situation. He asks Martin how he became a good liar, and Martin notes that he didn’t lie, he compartmentalized. He was completely honest in his separate lives, but he never mixed the two. But he notes that keeping secrets is human, and that even if Eve is hiding something it doesn’t necessarily mean that Malcolm needs to break up with her. They also discuss the case, with Martin getting the line of the episode when he asks Malcolm if “they’ve ruled out the baby yet”. Malcolm has a revelation when discussing the wife’s wound. Martin tells him that diabetics have wounds that heal slower, and that if she has diabetes she may have had a higher risk pregnancy. But she had posted on social media like everything was fine, and Malcolm realizes she was never pregnant.

JT and Dani are sent to tail the mother, and when they see her drop a bundle into the river they panic, thinking it’s the baby. But it’s actually all the fake baby bump supplies she used to fake the pregnancy. When she’s interviewed, she says all she wanted was a child, but her body couldn’t carry one. So she and Ezra paid Christine to be their surrogate. The baby is biologically hers since it was her egg, but she didn’t want the brand to suffer by telling the truth about her fertility struggles. Maybe Christine killed Ezra because she wanted the baby.

Image courtesy Fox.

Malcolm heads home where Jessica and Ainsley are waiting for him (never a good sign). Ainsley reveals that Eve purposely targeted the Whitlys because she suspected her sister was one of the Surgeon’s victims. She wanted to get close to them in the hopes that she could confirm what happened to her. Malcolm notes his dream was right, while Ainsley says “either that or I’m a great investigative journalist but that’s neither here nor there”. As Malcolm begins to process what this means, Eve shows up. After Ainsley questioned her, Eve realized she had to tell Malcolm the truth. But when she sees Jessica and Ainsley, she realizes they’ve all made up their minds about her and her motives and leaves. Malcolm gets a call from Gil telling him they found Christine and goes to leave, once again burying his feelings in the case. Jessica and Ainsley urge him to deal with his feelings, but Malcolm brushes them off (as usual).

Dani and Malcolm meet with Christine, who has bruises all over and looks terrible. It turns out that the husband was actually abusive and she fled Canada to escape him. He’s in New York now that he confirmed her location and tracked her down. The baby is actually theirs, with Christine giving her up for adoption without telling Ezra’s wife. Ezra tried to pay off the husband, but it didn’t work. He wants the baby back, and killed Ezra in a fit of rage. Malcolm realizes the wife and the baby are in danger.

Malcolm finds the wife out shopping and notices the husband is tailing her. He asks her if she trusts him, and they formulate a plan. Ezra follows the mom into a furniture store as Malcolm hides. When he tries to attack her, Malcolm swings a lamp at his head … and misses. Classic Malcolm. When that plan fails, he tries talking him down, but this abusive man isn’t responding to typical profiling. When the husband makes a move for the baby, the wife bashes his head in with a glass decoration (gory, but effective). Malcolm notes that a mother will do anything to protect her child. Christine signs the adoption paperwork, officially giving up her rights to the baby.

JT and Malcolm discuss the case, with Malcolm realizing that JT’s wife, Tally, is pregnant. JT resents the intrusion, saying that “the thing’s barely the size of a peanut and you’re already trying to profile it?” But Malcolm reassures JT that he’ll be a good dad, and it’s a nice moment between them. Malcolm returns home, where Eve is just leaving. She wrote him a note thinking he’d find it when he got home, but since he’s here she explains herself. It turns out that Eve grew up in an orphanage with Sophie, who she considered an older sister. Sophie went to New York and disappeared, with Eve determined to find out what happened to her. She has become convinced that Sophie is the girl in the box, and sought out the Whitlys to confirm this. She didn’t intend to fall in love with Malcolm, but she did.

Malcolm offers to look at the pictures of Sophie to confirm she is the girl in the box, but Eve hesitates. She doesn’t want to re-traumatize Malcolm, and she’s not even sure she wants to know the truth. She’ll be devastated if Sophie really is dead. She also thinks this will end her relationship with Malcolm (I think that ship has sailed, honestly.) Malcolm tells her they need to face the truth, and he looks at the photo. He flashes back instantly, and it’s clear Sophie is the girl Malcolm saw all those years ago. He and Eve embrace, and it seems they might still have a relationship.

Prodigal Son airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

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By Jules
I am a nurse and dedicated nerd from Boston, MA. When I'm not at work, I'm rewatching old favorites like Supernatural or discovering my new obsessions (too many to count!). When not fangirling, I can be found reading, writing, or listening to a true crime podcast. You can find me on Twitter @juleswritesblog for more nerdy nonsense.
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