Prodigies, the wait is over! We kept you occupied with content all hiatus long with #NerdsRewatchProdigal, and now a new season dawns upon us. Prodigal Son has finally returned, and with the season premiere came a plethora of crazy moments. Without further ado, let’s jump right into what happened in Season 2, Episode 1 “It’s All in the Execution”!
The scene opens with a man edging around the corner of a ledge. He looks down, but before anything sinister happens, Malcolm appears, shouting, “Sorry, this ledge is taken.” The man, obviously confused, inquires about Malcolm’s identity. Malcolm proceeds to ramble about his “family issues” before revealing that he profiled the identity of the man, Chester, as the Penthouse Slasher.
Chester begins tussling with Malcolm. The two nearly plunge off the ledge before Malcolm is caught by a tether; Malcolm is the only thing keeping Chester from plummeting to a certain death. Dani exasperatedly yells that Malcolm was supposed to wait until he was anchored. Edrisa works to tether Bright to the radiator, citing she “went through a light bondage phase back in Hoboken” and is “great with knots” (insert scandalized JT face).
While dangling from the ledge, Malcolm answers a phone call from none other than Dr. Whitly, who has news; he’s heading “home” to Claremont (to the chagrin of Malcolm, who quipped “please say it’s cancer”) due to him successfully keeping COVID-19 from ravaging Rikers. The pair haven’t spoken in months. Martin, visibly twitchy, asks Malcolm how he is since their last conversation, to which he sardonically responds, “I’m hanging in there.”
Ainsley ambushes a camera-shy JT, the acting head of major crimes, with a news interview, which he absolutely butchers. Ainsley complains to Malcolm about missing Gil. The conversation turns into a sibling check-in, which Malcolm lies his way through as he flashes back to the events last seen in the finale. It’s revealed that Malcolm convinced Ainsley, who had dissociated during the event, that he murdered Endicott.
Malcolm jolts awake from a nightmare to Jessica jauntily playing the piano (her quarantine hobby) in his apartment. She reinstates brunch and Malcolm ribs her about her visiting Gil, who’s still in the hospital. Jessica reveals that the cause for celebration is Nicholas Endicott’s body turning up, prompting a flashback. Jessica can tell something is off, but Malcolm brushes it off, saying he needs a new case. His prayers are answered, but before he can escape, he reveals the news of Martin’s transfer.
We cut to Mr. David (yay!) escorting Martin back to his cell — except, there have been some changes. Malcolm meets Dani, who’s feeling pessimistic about all the social turmoil occurring in the country, along with JT in the park for the case.
The body of the week? Millicent Lee, wife to a late Texas oil tycoon. Enter “The Dris,” as our favorite M.E. dubbed herself, who reveals that the woman was decapitated. Malcolm and Edrisa go on to geek out about the precision of the cut, prompting Bright to start the profile: this was a controlled execution.
The team speaks to the vic’s local lawyer, who ID’s the body and points them towards Millicent’s Texan lawyers, speaking of rumors surrounding her late husband’s death and her live-in boyfriend. Combining his “justice seeker” profile with Edrisa’s findings, Malcolm determines that the weapon of choice was a guillotine. He’s excited at the prospect, spouting off guillotine-related knowledge, prompting one of JT’s famous looks. Malcolm sheepishly looks down and says, “that’s not weird,” concerning his weapons hobby, to which JT responds, “Sooo weird.”
Malcolm is forced to visit Martin, the last known person in possession of such a rare, dated guillotine. Martin excitedly greets Malcolm only to be interrupted by… a roommate? Jerry, Martin’s mentally handicapped roomie, was the big change Mr. David forewarned of.
Martin begins probing Malcolm about Endicott, which Malcolm shuts down promptly, turning to discussion of his current case. Martin, not feeling “appreciated,” is difficult, whispering “we were partners.” The scene flashes back to Martin instructing Malcolm how to properly dispose of Endicott’s body — the predictions were right, a coverup is afoot! Visibly agitated as Martin tries to compare them, Malcolm once again steers the conversation to the guillotine. Martin points him in the right direction before Malcolm beats a hasty escape as Jerry propels a shoe at him. Martin ominously glances at some electrical equipment that was used for a TV, as Jerry is restrained.
I really wish you hadn’t had done that, Jerr-bear.
Dani visits Gil during his PT appointment. The recovering cop inquires about Malcolm. Dani states that he’s been “more Brightish than usual,” amped up to 11. While telling Gil not to rush his recovery, she spots letters from Jessica.
Bright and Powell visit Martin’s contact, Izzy, who shows them the guillotine. Dani asks for the 411 about Jessica and Gil, to which Malcolm gives a noncommital answer. Luminol reveals blood all over the scene. Izzy, on a plane when the murder happened, is cleared.
Malcolm discovers a walled-in sex dungeon on the lower floor. Believing it’s an immurement, that someone has been entombed alive, he climbs right in (to Dani’s chagrin). Malcolm finds the wallet of Boyd Hicks, Millie’s boyfriend then stumbles along the man himself, who is chained and screaming nonsense, psychotic and dehydrated. His comments get under Malcolm’s skin.
Malcolm, who starts to appear very unhinged, begins to use the objects in the room to put himself in the killer’s shoes, picking up gloves and a whip, turning on music, and… grabbing a nailgun that was lying around?!? He begins questioning Boyd while shooting nails around him and dancing to Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” (continuing with unethical confession tactics I see), even going so far as to pick up an electric saw.
Terrified, Boyd confesses to killing Millie’s husband, who wouldn’t let Millie leave even though he cheated, threatening to kill her. Their young caterer ended up being wrongly executed back in Texas for the crime. Dani walks in on what appears to be Malcolm sawing Boyd but is actually just him cutting the chains.
Jessica calls to inform Malcolm that everyone, especially Gil, is worried about him. Malcolm, miffed that they were talking about him, ribs Jess about her noisily primping to go visit him. Jessica’s questioning causes Bright to hang up on her. Confronting Dani about her observation, Malcolm claims he’s fine (lies). In revealing that Boyd murdered Millie’s husband at her behest, the pair find out that Natalie the lawyer is from Texas.
JT questions Natalie, who’s revealed to be the sister of Diego Vazquez, the boy executed for Millicent’s husband’s murder. While she admits to searching for proof to absolve her brother, she maintains that she didn’t kill Millie, citing that she’d turned in evidence that would help clear her brother but that the lead detective buried it.
When Mr. David briefly exits Martin’s cell, Martin electrocutes Jerry with the power cords he was eyeballing earlier. Alarms blare, but Martin hides his equipment before Mr. David reenters. Jerry, still alive, is lucid, seemingly cured of whatever mental ailment was plaguing him.
Dani and Malcolm try to convince JT of Natalie’s innocence. Malcolm suggests investigating everyone that was involved in Diego’s case before making a logical leap that Diego’s executioner, “a student of the fatal arts,” might have committed the crime as justice for him taking the wrong life.
Instead of tracking the executioner down in Texas, JT reports to Ainsley on the news that Natalie is in custody, hoping to prompt the killer into action. Malcolm spills to Ainsley that Natalie isn’t the killer and is working with the NYPD and promises to give her the scoop as soon as they have information. Ainsley corroborates that Malcolm is a good big brother — if only she knew.
Simultaneously, Dani comments to Gil that Malcolm always gets crazier the closer they get to catching a murderer and that The Surgeon “really messed [the Whitlys] up.” She lectures Gil about his burgeoning relationship with Jessica, claiming she’s the reason he put himself in danger charging in solo at Endicott’s. Gil agrees that he made a mistake letting his feelings cloud his judgment, but that Jessica is still a good person. Gil says Dani sounds just like Jackie with her warnings to be careful, and admits that the Whitlys just might be cursed after all.
Dani informs Malcolm over the phone that the executioner, Tom Henry Glanton, is in NYC. An ominous creak reveals Tom to be in Malcolm’s apartment; having been watching Izzy’s place, Malcolm piqued his interest when he showed up. The executioner claims Natalie is innocent. Malcolm tries to bait him into a confession.
Tom plucks a scimitar and the infamous ax from Malcolm’s weapon wall, threatening Malcolm to let Natalie go. Malcolm believes Tom won’t hurt him because he’s innocent, but Tom suspects Malcolm is a killer like his father. He believes killing Malcolm will prompt the police to free Natalie.
Malcolm uses his “last words” to launch into a grim speech, complete with flashbacks to him disposing of Endicott’s corpse.
I used to think I was nothing like my father. But that’s not entirely true. The truth is, my father is a part of me. I can’t deny it. That’s how I undertand killers. I’m like you.
Right as Tom sentences Malcolm to death, Bright reveals that he never hung up on Dani; she’s heard the entire confession. She radios for backup, which is still a few minutes out, then charges in alone (Call. For. Backup). Tom, tired of Malcolm’s chatter, swings the ax. Malcolm dodges it and manages to get to the scimitar. A medieval weapons fight ensues. Malcolm dodges and weaves, slicing Tom quite a few times. Undeterred, Tom continues and is eventually disarmed and held at scimitar-point by Malcolm. Dani charges in and aims her gun at Malcolm, ordering him to drop the weapon.
JT arrives on the scene but is attacked by uniformed officers, who don’t believe his credentials. Held in a vicious chokehold against the wall and struggling to breathe as the white officer commands him to “stop fighting, boy,” JT shoves him away and immediately has multiple guns trained on him by the beat cops. Malcolm and Dani, visibly panicked, rush in and confirm JT’s credentials.
Back at the precinct, JT is panicking, believing that he will get painted in a negative light for the altercation that transpired. Dani urges him to tell his story, stating she and Malcolm will back him up. Gil shows up and informs JT that he knows the truth about what happened and has his back. He sends JT home, reminding him that no matter what people say, good cops still exist. Glancing between him and Dani, Gil states that he’s “looking at two of the best… and whatever Bright is.” earning him a slight chuckle from the tearful JT.
Malcolm visits Martin and notices Jerry’s absence, who is now being treated with ECT because of Martin’s experiment. Martin wants to use the privacy to discuss murder. Malcolm is disgusted by his actions covering up Endicott’s homicide, but Martin praises him, abruptly grasping Malcolm’s hand and profusely thanks him for saving Ainsley. He tells Malcolm not to torture himself over what he did. When that doesn’t ease Malcolm’s turmoil, Martin suggests that maybe the reason he’s in so much pain is that he loves the feeling of knowing that he’s capable of murder. He’s soon proved right as Malcolm is shown wondrously grinning while dismembering Endicott’s body with Martin’s spiel in the background.
People think we’re crazy. No one in their right mind would be a killer. The thing is, they don’t know the truth. Murder is the ultimate thrill. Or maybe you’re all torn up inside because getting away with murder didn’t feel bad at all. No, it felt good.
Whether Malcolm is remembering the traumatic event wrong due to his guilt is yet to be seen, but the closing scene does not paint a pretty picture for the profiler’s future.
MALCOLM DANGER COUNT: 4
The Danger Count is here to stay! The season premiere leaves us with a solid 4 — though at this point, Malcolm needs an entirely different count for putting others in danger.
We were promised an exciting finale, and FOX did not disappoint! Tune in next week on FOX at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT to see what happens next on Prodigal Son. To see all of our other show-related content, including our interview with the showrunners, click here.