This week, our Nerds Rewatch reminded us of how much the writers of Prodigal Son love throwing twists our way! “Stranger Beside You” might take the record for most twists in an episode this season, and that’s just the crime of the week. The big reveal about Eve and her true motivations sets us up nicely for the rest of the season, and we even get some fun in the form of Martin desperately trying to figure out the identity of his son’s mystery girl. Read on to see what we noticed!
Ainsley Investigates Eve
It should come as no surprise that Malcolm’s own subconscious refuses to let him be happy with anyone, and being the paranoid brother he is, he talks to his investigative reporter sister about it. Ainsley quickly teases Malcolm about his own inability to let things go, and that his dream is just a dream, that Eve is not hiding anything from him. However, she also feeds his agenda by suggesting that he works with the NYPD and has resources of his own, and if he wants, he can look into Eve’s past, as can she, challenging him to see who the better investigator is. Later at Jessica’s, we see Ainsley confront Eve regarding her adoptive upbringing with the Blanchard’s in North Carolina, discerning she is, in fact, from South Carolina, also questioning where the middle initial came from for Sophie’s mom in the file she’s presenting. Treating Eve like a Pulitzer Prize report rather than a person does give Ainsley an edge in the competition for who the better investigator is amongst these siblings.
Eve’s Big Reveal
At the end of the previous episode, Eve got on everyone’s radar, even more, when she found the infamous trunk that The Surgeon had put one of his victims in that Malcolm had found. Throughout this episode, Ainsley, soon joined by Jessica, digs deeper into Eve’s past, and they find out she lied. The investigation makes Eve open up to Malcolm, telling him she didn’t want to hurt him or Jessica. She just wanted to get close to her to see if she knew anything about her sister. Malcolm understands; he knows what it’s like. Eve tells him that Sophie was 16 when she ran away and had sent Eve postcards from New York until they stopped. Eve spent years searching for her, and then she read about The Surgeon. He was arrested a few weeks after her last postcard. If he had 23 victims, maybe there were more. Eve has a picture of Sophie in the file, and Malcolm tells her that if Sophie is the girl in the box, he can confirm it. If he does, Eve’s worst fear is true, and her sister is really gone. She’s seen what Malcolm’s repressed memories and nightmares can do. They have to face it head-on. Malcolm needs to remember, and Eve deserves the truth. It’s the only way. Malcolm looks at a picture of Sophie and remembers back to that night, confirming that Eve’s sister is dead and was the girl in the box. One of the biggest mysteries of the season has finally been revealed, and through rewatching the series, we’ve been able to piece together clues that we didn’t notice the first time around!
Martin Meddling in Malcolm’s Love Life
Martin meddling in Malcolm’s love life — try saying that five times fast. While we already knew that being nosy was a Whitly family trait, it was interesting seeing Martin meddling in Malcolm’s love life — not that we were exactly surprised; Martin loves inserting himself into Whitly family affairs. When Malcolm accidentally reveals a little too much about his budding relationship while chatting with his father on the phone, we find Martin digging for information on his son’s new love interest. It’s … interesting … that Martin automatically assumes that Dani is the girl Malcolm is infatuated with, but that’s something to speculate on another time. Throughout the episode, we see Martin continue to dig for information and eventually offer Malcolm advice on women — typical father-son things (though nothing about the Whitly’s is typical). Martin’s incessant digging and teasing jokes lent the episode a bit of levity amongst all of the mysterious plot twists for the crime of the week.
So Many Twists
We’ve come to expect at least a few twists in every episode, but the writer’s truly outdid themselves with all the twists in this one. First, we think it’s a third party, then Malcolm gets suspicious of Alessa, the mother. When she tries to dump evidence, we learn the pregnancy was fake, and they used a surrogate with Alessa’s egg. Just when we think it has to be Christine, the nanny and surrogate, it’s revealed the husband lied, and the baby is actually not Alessa’s at all but is Christine’s from an abusive relationship. Then we have the twists that realize Eve’s true identity alongside the murder investigation to really keep us on our toes. It’s safe to say this was easily the most twists of the season so far, and we were glued to the screen the entire time!
Malcolm’s Breakdown Over Eve
This episode came with several punches to the gut, and Eve’s identity reveal was no exception. Malcolm is reeling from this news, and it causes him to become overwhelmed with sadness and frustration. He grabs his head and then throws his phone across the room. It scares his mother, sister, and, honestly, the audience. Lately, Malcolm seems as though he has been handling his mental illness well, but this sent him over the edge. In this show, they are no stranger to displaying symptoms of mental illnesses, and it allows the audience to see vulnerability in these characters. This moment of weakness is powerful because he uses his weakness as strength in order to solve his case. What’s upsetting is that he feels as though it’s his fault because he knew there was something Eve was hiding. Regardless, it was a moving, heartbreaking scene worth mentioning.
Malcolm Profiling JT
The Malcolm/JT pairing is always great, and this week we got quite a bit of both of them as Malcolm works through his complicated emotions around Eve. JT gives Malcolm the advice to not investigate Eve as he almost lost his wife doing the same, but in doing so, he gives our expert profiler just enough hints to find out that Tally is pregnant. JT’s incredulous reaction to Malcolm guessing the truth is hilarious and makes us wish for even more of this duo in season 2.
Malcolm Danger Count: 1 (props to one angry mama bear for saving the day)
Prodigal Son is available now on Hulu and Fox Now, with season 2 set to premiere this January on Fox. Join us next week for another rewatch!