We all knew a Prodigal Son Halloween episode would be creepy, but this episode is downright scary. In “All Souls and Sadists,” Malcolm must confront a killer who clearly loves pain while also dealing with personal turmoil in the form of Ainsley deciding to interview Martin. We also get our first glimpse of the junkyard that becomes pivotal to Malcolm’s quest to retrieve his memories in future episodes. You can read our full recap of the episode here. Below, we’ve listed the top things we noticed during this week’s #NerdsRewatchProdigal!
With “All Souls and Sadists” being the Halloween episode, viewers were definitely in for a scary ride, from junkyard jump scares to creeping around a dark house chasing a suspect. But one thing we noticed during the rewatch was the deliberate homage to Halloween, specifically the character of Michael Myers. When Malcolm comes up the stairs to see Isaac holding the knife, the boy is silhouetted while wearing a mask – much like the iconic movie villain. Isaac even has long blonde hair reminiscent of the young actor who played Myers in Rob Zombie’s Halloween. There’s also a similarity between Michael Myers and Isaac in their character arcs: both are children who murdered their family members and ended up spending time in a hospital because of this. But in this case, Prodigal Son takes a more realistic look at Isaac and his mental illness and adds nuance to a scary character.
Ainsley Talks to Martin
This is the first episode that Ainsley visits Martin since his arrest. All she wants is an interview with him, saying she’s never asked for anything else. But when Martin asks her what the questions are and she tells him, he gets her to tell him the one question that is the most important one to her: Was it real? Did he really love them or was it all just some psychopathic act? Martin tells Ainsley he’s thought about her every single day since his arrest with birthdays and piano recitals. He tells her about a dream he’s had about her at a debutante ball and Ainsley laughs. It’s that moment that Ainsley still feels like she has a father. He says that imaginary life is the most real thing he knows, the one place he gets to be a father. He will never forgive himself for not being there and he knows that she and Malcolm deserved so much better than him. Even after everything, Ainsley is still holding on to hope that her father is her father, that he loves her. This moment could also be a turning point for Ainsley and a foreshadowing of what was to come later in the season.
Jessica Meddles with Ainsley’s Life
Up to this episode we have primarily seen Jessica “meddling” in Malcolm’s life. She tries to keep him from seeing Martin, get him to give up helping Gil with cases, and drop his investigation into the girl in the box. However, this episode we get to see Jessica attempt to do the same with Ainsley. When Ainsley announces at dinner that she is going to interview Martin, both Jessica and Malcolm try to tell her it’s a bad idea. Jessica outright forbids her to do so, but Ainsley is a Whitly, so naturally she ignores them both and pushes forward with her plan. When Jessica realizes this, she attempts to go over Ainsley’s head and meets with a network executive to shut down the interview, but little did she know that executive no longer holds any power and Ainsley already had her interview approved by the person taking over. It’s unsurprising that she’s just as involved with Ainsley as she is with Malcolm, though it’s a much different dynamic. Of course, this also makes for some pretty hilarious moments, like Jessica barging in on Ainsley and her nearly naked boyfriend. Jessica might be fighting to keep her children safe, but she also has a little fun along the way, and we love watching her embarrass them both wherever possible!
Malcolm and Isaac’s Connection
It became apparent in this episode that Malcolm was connected to Isaac, who lo and behold, was the killer. Isaac and Malcolm both had family issues, specifically with their father, and Malcolm seemed to see himself in Isaac. Malcolm understood how hard it was not to have his father in his life. He felt obligated to be honest with Isaac because that’s what all Malcolm wants in his life – the truth. At the end of the episode, we see Malcolm talking to Gil and wondering if he could’ve become like Isaac as a teenager. Gil lovingly replies, “Not on my watch.” It’s interesting to see how Malcolm and Isaac had similar family situations but had completely different outcomes. I applaud the show for making parallels to these characters and allowing Malcolm to become a voice for Isaac. Also, Malcolm calming Isaac down and getting on his level of understanding is heartbreaking given the circumstances.
Malcolm Losing Touch with Reality
For Malcolm Bright, the difference is what’s real and not has become paper thin. This episode highlights his grip on that slim difference as he goes deeper into his own repressed memories. As he finds out more information about the station wagon in the photo and that Martin liked going camping, the more he remembers what has been hidden since he was a child. Malcolm begins to lose his grip and start seeing hallucinations that also lead him to nearly setting himself on fire. Thankfully in the end, Malcolm is proven right and the car is real, showing he wasn’t making things up trying to fill in the gaps of his own warped mind.
Martin’s Therapy Group
This week, we meet a group of people for the first time who end up being important to the show – Martin’s prison therapy group. The other inmates have to listen to Martin’s personal dilemmas, making for a comedic situation. Martin also provokes other members of the group as the therapist in charge wants to explore signs of aggression for each inmate (and Martin Whitly loves nothing more than to get others to snap emotionally). We meet Tevin, another inmate with anger issues who pops up again later in the series. Tevin’s introduction also gives us one of Martin’s trademark one liners. As Tevin is being dragged away after exploding in anger due to Martin’s prodding, Martin quips, “Oh, I think that was Tevin’s sign of aggression.”
Malcolm’s Unnecessary Danger Count: 5 (For heaven’s sake, turn on a light when trying to apprehend the creepy child sadist!)
What else did you notice in “All Souls and Sadists”? Let us know in the comments!