Recap: A Murder at Claremont Means It’s “Take Your Father to Work Day” for Malcolm in ‘Prodigal Son’ Season 2, Episode 4


This week sees a murder right in Martin’s backyard, a dicey story about the mysteriously vanished Whitly rug, and so much more so let’s dive right in to “Take Your Father to Work Day.”

Martin wakes up at Claremont Psychiatric, going through his daily routine of making his bed, eating, stretching, and preparing for group therapy (all set to “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child, no less). In therapy, Martin talks about his newfound energy and making thinly veiled references to his escape plan. Dr. Marsh cuts him off and tells Jerry to share his good news. Jerry, cured thanks to Martin, is getting out in just a few days! Jerry excitedly shares his plans and the other inmates are obviously angry and envious.

Malcolm arrives at Jessica’s, summoned by an emergency text and finds a dramatic man asking if he knows what happened. Before he can answer, Jessica introduces Hans, who is helping her choose a new rug, and asks Malcolm to recount the story again. Malcolm explains that he and Ainsley opened a bottle of wine when they arrived home after Gil’s stabbing. Ainsley was tipsy (we flash to Ainsley from that night), reached for the bottle of 2007 Syrah (we flash to Ainsley grabbing the knife), and it fell causing wine to spill on the rug (yep, we flash to Ainsley slitting his throat). It was beyond saving. Jessica still seems suspicious, but agrees Ainsley’s clumsy.

In the courtyard, Martin plays basketball by himself when Jerry suddenly smashes into the concrete just feet from him. Not one to ever exhibit any concern for others he simply says, “Oh no, not Jerry,” in an extreme monotone. Gil arrives on scene where Martin is standing to the side, he and Mr. David are the only witnesses to Gil’s utter displeasure and Martin’s utter delight. Martin shares that Jerry was looking forward to his release, and eating lobster, so Martin believes suicide unlikely.

Martin: “I saw him land, but I did not see him jump. Suspicious, right? I have a few thoughts.”

Gil: “Don’t worry there will be an autopsy, and I will take exactly nothing you say into consideration.”

Gil checks in with Edrisa who found abrasions and plaster under his fingernails suggesting a struggle. Martin shouts across the courtyard that he concurs, and Edrisa tries not to nerd out as they chat about death and a recent publication on bone fragments. Gil reminds her he killed 23 people.

Courtesy of Phil Caruso/FOX

At Malcolm’s apartment, Ainsley drops by for a visit and he settles in for their chat with an Alka-Seltzer water (who can blame him). Ainsley wants to talk about it whether it’s with Malcolm or Martin, but Malcolm encourages her to move on. Her mind erased it for a reason and it’s better to focus on work. Right on cue, Gil calls and Malcolm says he’ll let Ainsley in on the case if she promises to stop asking questions. She agrees, and they quickly discover there has been a murder at Claremont and Martin is the witness. Ainsley is psyched for this scoop and jumps up to leave immediately. Malcolm chugs his anti-acid.

Ainsley is ready to leave home when Jessica charges in announcing she’s found the perfect new rug. It’s a similar pattern to the old one, so similar in fact that when Jessica shows it to Ainsley it triggers a small flashback of her bloody hands and a knife. She drops her papers and tries to brush it off when Jessica looks worried. She subtly asks what wine they spilled again, and Ainsley rattles off a 2007 Syrah and then bolts, leaving Jessica even more suspicious.

At the morgue, Edrisa fills Gil and Malcolm in on Jerry’s body. She finds bruising on his shoulders that indicate he was pushed and also confirmed the substance under his nails were paint chips. This is when Martin chimes in, on Edrisa’s phone. Gil and Malcolm are surprised and she quickly says she called to ask about the angle of Jerry’s fall and they “got to talking.” Martin thinks it’s an inside job and cites the rage from his therapy group. Gil hangs up the call without a word, but Malcolm theorizes the killer had abandonment anxiety.

In Martin’s cell, he tries to manipulate his way into the investigation, refusing to help because he doesn’t like the dynamics of Malcolm, Gil, and him chained up. Gil reluctantly agrees to let him be part of “the team” and they decide Malcolm should drop in on a therapy session where Martin and Malcolm will attempt to get information from the patients.

Shocking no one, this flawless plan doesn’t play out as Malcolm expected. Martin continually mentions Malcolm’s betrayal of calling the cops on him and the group gang up on Malcolm. When pressed, Malcolm snaps and argues that he didn’t hate Martin, he loved him and craved his attention. The only way to gain Martin’s love was letting him share his research with him, showing him grotesque things no kid should see. The outburst gains Malcolm the inmates’ trust, and Hector says Jerry must have had a card to access the roof. Friar Pete helpfully supplies that only the gold key card allows access everywhere. This is new information to Martin, still mid-escape plan, and he casually redirects the conversation to Dr. Marsh who is forced to show that he has a gold card. This sets off another inmate who attacks Dr. Marsh and therapy circle is officially over.

Courtesy of Phil Caruso/FOX

During questioning, Dr. Marsh spills that he gave Jerry the key card so he could tell his friends throughout the building goodbye in exchange for Jerry stating that Dr. Marsh’s therapy, not Martin, cured him. Outside Claremont, Gil escorts Dr. Marsh to a squad car where Ainsley tries to question him. Naturally, Gil only answers “no comment” and off record Ainsley asks Malcolm for better intel. He doesn’t think the doctor did it, but Ainsley redirects and asks Malcolm about her small recovered memory. Thinking quickly, Malcolm tells her that she tried to save Endicott and that’s how blood got on her but he refuses to discuss it further and heads back inside.

Back in his cell, Martin and Malcolm theorize if the doctor had motive while Malcolm flashes a gold card in front of Martin. He points out that Martin can’t stop looking at it, but he brushes it off “what lion doesn’t dreams of the savannah.” Martin redirects and Malcolm admits that Ainsley had a flashback but Dani arrives with information that Jerry used a key card on the fourth floor, the women’s ward. Dani and Malcolm head to the library, where they find scratch marks near a window. Sure this is the crime scene, Malcolm does some excellent deductive reasoning with the help of Andre the guard (dare we say he’s showing off?). He reasons that Jerry had a girlfriend, someone on the janitorial staff with library access (just four women), serving life (just three), who made Jerry feel like the alpha (ruling out 6’3″ Marianna, down to two), and is from somewhere with lobster (Jerry was from Kentucky, so why was he discussing lobster?). Thus, he narrows it down to Rhonda, who is from Maine, and Malcolm heads over to interrogate her.

Finally overwhelmed, Jessica calls Martin about the rug story. She thinks their ability to recall the type of wine is suspicious; who could recall that unless it was a rehearsed story? She says the night of the rug incident is also the night Endicott disappeared. He tells her to ask the question, but she can’t bring herself to say it. Martin gives voice to her innermost fear, and then laughs, painting an insane picture of their murdering Endicott, rolling him up in a rug, and shipping him to Estonia. She agrees it’s crazy, also commenting that they wouldn’t confide in him anyway. Anything remotely questioning his paternal abilities irks Martin and his parting comment piques her interest:

“Don’t beat yourself up too much, they are my children too, after all. Apples don’t fall that far from the tree.”

He quickly hangs up as Ainsley arrives.

In Rhonda’s cell, she’s visibly upset while Malcolm questions her. She wishes she had done something to protect Jerry who was terrified of an inmate pressuring him to aid an escape plan. That inmate is The Surgeon, and Malcolm is shocked.

He charges back into Martin’s cell, only to find Ainsley already there. He tells her again that she can’t talk with Martin, and gets her to leave by suggesting Martin killed Jerry. Sensing a possible scoop, she leaves. Malcolm lays into Martin about this escape plan and his ability to manipulate someone into killing for him, again. This triggers a shout match in which Malcolm vehemently yells he could never trust Martin. Martin screams back that if he was the monster Malcolm believed him to be he would hate Malcolm with a passion for ruining his life, Jessica’s life, and now Ainsley’s life. Then as if flipping a switch, the enraged Martin calmly says, “but that’s not me,” and moves on. Malcolm realizes Martin directly angered Rhonda because he was the one who cured Jerry, effectively taking him away from her. She wanted to frame Martin for the murder.

Gil questions Dr. Marsh about Rhonda, who reveals that she had a boyfriend, the guard Andre. As he says this we see Andre enter her cell, crossing that red line to embrace. “Make sure you watch out for the explosive rage,” he warns Gil. In her cell, Rhonda headbutts Andre and beats him unconscious, frees herself, grabs his gold key card and taser, and leaves.

Courtesy of Phil Caruso/FOX

Mr. David rushes Martin to his cell when Malcolm realizes Rhonda is loose in the facility and coming for Martin. The elevator won’t move and Mr. David steps off to check. As the doors close and the elevator descends, Malcolm realizes Rhonda is controlling it. They land in the basement where Martin observes, “Oh yeah, this is a good place for a murder.” Thankfully, Malcolm calls Dani for backup, but then heads off (with a wrench for defense) to find Rhonda. The second Malcolm is out of sight, Martin starts plotting. He frees himself with bolt cutters and dons a black leather jacket. He also finds a gold key card. Meanwhile, Malcolm is ambushed by Rhonda, who shoots him with the taser gun, repeatedly shocking him (a total of eight times. Ouch). Malcolm manages to say he’s Martin’s son and Martin is coming, but she hears Martin retreat and believe he abandoned Malcolm in favor of escaping. Luckily, Dani arrives on the scene and finds Malcolm still being tortured. Martin confronts Rhonda who has since confessed to killing Jerry because he was abandoning her. Martin’s distraction works and Dan saves the day. Martin scoops up the very wobbly Malcolm who thanks Dani for saving them, then cuffs Martin and makes sure to take away that key card.

Just when we think the drama is over, Jessica and Malcolm sit down for a little chat in which Jessica reveals her day. Her suspicions of that night led her to tear the living room apart, checking couch cushions, lamp shades, anywhere for evidence that Malcolm killed Endicott. In true Jessica fashion, she reveals that Malcolm missed a spot on a silver platter where the bottom of a book has a single blood drop. Malcolm confesses that he killed Endicott, but Jessica sees right through it and when he says he’s “protecting the family,” she pieces together that it’s Ainsley. He tells her she cannot confront Ainsley because she doesn’t remember, and if she does ever recall it, “we might lose her.” Meanwhile, we find Ainsley is in her room reading through one of Martin’s journals that he either gave her or she stole off his bookshelf.

“When you see your victims blood for the first time it’s exhilarating. Like touching down in Oz. Everything’s suddenly in color.”

Hours later, Jessica is still shaken as she lies awake and is startled by Ainsley appearing in her doorway saying she had a nightmare. She crawls into Jessica’s bed, who offers no comfort but stares worriedly at her as she falls asleep.

Malcolm Danger Count: 3

Courtesy of Phil Caruso/FOX

Prodigal Son airs Tuesdays on FOX at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. C, and make sure to check out our brand new podcast Call For Backup for all our latests theories and discussions!

Brianna works full time in the publishing industry, passionately building books to bring to the masses. Her first fandom was Harry Potter, which she joined at age 11. Her love for books took her abroad to earn her Masters Degree at University College London, after which she lived in New York City, and now resides in Austin. She loves all things fandom including Supernatural, Doctor Who, and more. Ever the introvert, she can usually be found reading, playing with her dog, listening to music and practicing yoga. Brianna joined the Nerds and Beyond staff in 2018 where she unites her love for all things "nerd" with her passion for writing. Find her on Twitter here: @bookbag09

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