Nerds Rewatch: 5 Things We Noticed In ‘Prodigal Son’ Episode 2: “Annihilator”

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Image courtesy Fox.

In the second episode of the series, Prodigal Son really takes it up a notch. From venomous snakes to flashback nightmares to family annihilators, there are plenty of big moments to highlight. Check out our original recap here, and read on to see five things we noticed during our second #NerdsRewatchProdigal event!

Malcolm Opens Up About His Mental Illness

Image Courtesy Fox.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Prodigal Son is so good at presenting Malcolm’s struggle with complex PTSD. It all begins in this episode, where Malcolm is experiencing stronger nightmares than usual due to reconnecting with his father. It gets worse when he is sedated after an encounter with a poisonous snake and panics in the hospital, noting that he has to be able to wake up from his nightmares for him to feel safe. Tom Payne’s performance is heartbreaking, especially when he has a panic attack upon waking up alone, but it’s his frank discussions of his needs and experiences with Ainsley and Gil that make this episode stand out. He’s not ashamed of his nightmares and has found a way of coping that (mostly) works for him. You feel for Malcolm, but it also functions as a way for the audience to begin to see Malcolm’s PTSD as a part of him, but not all of him.

The Girl in the Box

Image Courtesy Fox.

The season long mystery of The Girl in the Box began in this episode as we saw Malcolm’s nightmares honing in on his memory of finding that box in Martin’s basement workroom as a child. It’s an integral part of what drives Malcolm to find the truth so much so that he turns to Martin, the person he trusts least in the world, for answers. Here we begin to see the psychopathic side of Martin as he manipulates Malcolm, hoping he will let it go. Of course, Malcolm only digs in harder but it’s clear Martin still has some hold over Malcolm. Martin twists the proverbial knife in the wound as he uses anger and guilt to manipulate Malcolm. The brilliant performances by Tom Payne and Michael Sheen make it tough to watch. Malcolm was just 8-years-old, yet his guilt over her fate is evident and Martin uses it against him. The mystery only deepens as the season unfolds and the relationship between Malcolm and Martin grows impossibly more complex.

Malcolm Opening Up to Gil, Dani, and Edrisa

Image Courtesy Fox.

It’s no question that Malcolm has gone through quite a lot already in his life. Since the day Malcolm called the cops on his dad, Gil has been the father figure he never had and the one he deserved. He’s starting to now open up to him and trust him, whether with work or personal issues, especially when he’s having nightmares. Dani is another person he’s opening up to. Their teamwork in this episode when they were dealing with the family, snakes, and Malcolm being drunk builds from the last episode. Letting her in and telling her something personal strengthens that friendship and relationship they have. With the nightmares Malcolm has been having, he’s almost been forced to talk about his past. With Edrisa, their relationship is still blossoming, but Malcolm can already feel like he can talk to her about anything because he cares for her. These three relationships that Malcolm has are with people he’s closest to, besides his mother and sister. Gil has been there for him almost his entire life and is making sure that Malcolm stays on the force even though his dad is a notorious serial killer. Dani is there for him when they’re working on a case, telling him to not do something stupid, making him work as a team, or even just off-duty helping him. Edrisa likes Malcolm and cares for him. They all want what’s best for him and Malcolm is starting to feel like he can count on them for anything.

Ainsley Is Incredibly Smart and Determined

Image Courtesy Fox

We knew going into this episode of Prodigal Son just how much of a genius Malcolm is, and to an extent, even his father. We also knew Ainsley is an incredible reporter. However, her scene in the hospital with Malcolm felt like the first time we really saw how smart she is. She figures things out just as quickly as Malcolm. She figures out that Malcolm’s nightmares and his many visits with their dad are related. She tricks him to get into his phone to listen to his voicemails. It is like she has this sixth sense when someone isn’t being completely truthful, and she knows just how to bring that truth to light – especially if her family is involved somehow. There is also this sort of determination you can see in her when she either finds something out, or makes her mind up about something. You see it a few seconds in to her listening to Malcolm’s voicemail. Her eyes just seem to set and focus, and you just know whatever she is about to say or do, there’s no stopping it.

Malcolm and JT’s Hilarious Showdown

Image Courtesy Fox.

JT has been very hesitant about Malcolm since Gil brought him on the team. Malcolm and the team are discussing the profile but JT makes a smart remark that makes Malcolm stop and divulge his history for JT to understand. Malcolm hilariously tells the history of his changed last name, his father and his father’s murders, how his father was seemingly the perfect dad, and how his father is a psychopath. JT, entranced, asks, “Was it weird?” Malcolm in all his sassy glory replies, “Having a serial killer for a father? Yeah, super weird.” It makes for a priceless exchange between these characters. JT and Malcolm sitcom anyone?

What else did you notice in episode 2? Let us know in the comments!

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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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