“Alone Time” is one of those episodes with so many reveals we could barely keep up the first time we saw it. Even the second time through, we rediscovered new twists and turns, still jumping in fright during the climactic fight even though we knew what was coming. From Gil and Martin’s tense standoff to our first full look at the Junkyard Killer, read on to see what we noticed in episode 11 of Prodigal Son.
Gil and The Surgeon
Gil has always been like the father Malcolm never had since the day Malcolm called the cops on Martin, or The Surgeon. Since that day when Malcolm saved Gil from becoming The Surgeon’s latest victim, Gil never made contact with Martin, not once. However, when Malcolm gets taken by the Junkyard Killer at the end of the last episode, Gil becomes desperate and seeks information from Martin about John Watkins. Martin, at first sassy with Gil and not giving him straight answers about Watkins, breaks down when he finds out his boy has been taken. He knows that if Watkins has him, he’s dead, and has a heart attack. When Martin is better and on meds, Gil still pushes to get more information but Martin isn’t having it. He brings up the bond Gil and Malcolm has, how Gil has been some sort of replacement, especially to Jessica. Martin soon gives in, drawing a map of where Malcolm could be. This tense standoff shows how much Malcolm means to Gil and what Martin really thinks about him, as well as the fact that despite everything, Martin still cares about Malcolm, deep down.
Michael Raymond-James as The Junkyard Killer
This week saw the Junkyard Killer and Malcolm reunite as Paul Lazar, aka John Watkins, who was in the mood to reminisce and inflict physical and mental pain. John starts by jogging Malcolm’s memory that as a young boy he had stabbed him. Why, you may wonder? Oh yeah, your dad was going to kill you, surprise. With Martin out of the picture, he wants Malcolm to join him, but first, he has to survive the “trials” to transform into his potential as a killer. Step one, a stab in the side to match the Junkyard Killer’s wound. Keeping with the horror movie vibes, John has a The Shining moment when using an ax to break down the door to get to Jessica and Ainsley. Michael Raymond-James even had people feeling for his character when locked up in the box; you can hear and almost feel his feelings of fear as he is crying.
Gil Loses His Cool
We love “Dad Gil,” as mentioned before, but he really made an appearance during this episode. Malcolm had been kidnapped and Gil was going to find him, one way or another. Gil has been more of a father to Malcolm than Martin ever was. He has seen firsthand the effects of the trauma that Malcolm and his family had to endure (and still endure). Gil really exhausted all of his options. He tried interrogating John Watkins’ grandmother to no avail, he went to Jessica to see if she recognizes John Watkins from a photobook, and he reunited with the man who almost ended his life, “The Surgeon.” Gil has had enough and his determination in finding Malcolm would come before any of his personal feelings. If we’re being honest, we were slightly scared of Gil because we knew that no one was going to get in the way of him finding Malcolm.
Martin Planned to Kill Malcolm
When Prodigal Son returned following the midseason finale and one heck of a cliffhanger, we knew there would be some revelations as Malcolm attempted to outsmart Watkins and Watkins attempted to… well we weren’t quite sure yet. What we hadn’t bargained for was one of many plot twists! In the course of their conversation and Malcolm trying to get the full story from his childhood camping trip with Martin and John, John reveals that the true motivation behind the trip was for Martin to “take care of” Malcolm. That’s right, Martin planned on killing Malcolm. We know Martin is a serial killer, but it was still shocking to discover that Martin once planned to kill the son he now dotes on with constant refrains of “my boy” and “my son.”
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“Mr. Boots” Was John Watkins
In possibly the creepiest reveal of the episode, Ainsley realizes that her childhood imaginary friend “Mr. Boots” was not only real but also the Junkyard Killer himself. It’s a revelation that prompts a lot of questions, chief among them being how on Earth a grown man was able to hide inside the Whitly mansion with only five year old Ainsley noticing him. But it also goes a long way to explaining how Ainsley has been subtly affected by this for years. The adults in her life assumed he had to be an imaginary friend, not considering that she might be telling the truth or even displaying signs of trauma. Even Jessica assumes Ainsley is exaggerating her memories until Ainsley pulls out the angel statue he gave her. This recurring theme of dismissing Ainsley’s experiences and feelings around Martin will come back to haunt everyone later.
Cabin Misdirection and the Final Scene
While the team descends on the Watkins cabin the finality of Malcolm’s outcome begins to weigh on him. While our FBI/NYPD team searches the empty cabin, Watkins opens a pathway to escape, leaving Malcolm behind. Malcolm however, hearing the subway, realizes he is underneath the home he grew up in! He pushes away thoughts of psychotherapy and instead listens to the voice of his father, crushing his own hand with a hammer to escape the chains that bind him. Needless to say, no one messes with Malcolm Bright’s family. The cat and mouse chase between Watkins and Jessica/Ainsley is suspenseful, well written, and shows that Jessica is just as protective of her children than ever. Malcolm leaving an empty trunk in a room for Watkins to have a psychotic break however was brilliant, as that is how he ends up being contained in the end.
Malcolm Danger Count: Technically 1, since this episode was one continuous danger zone for him
Prodigal Son is available now on Fox Now and Hulu. Stay tuned for next week’s #NerdsRewatchProdigal!