Recap: Down the Rabbit Hole We Go in ‘Prodigal Son’ Season 2, Episode 6 “Head Case”


After last week’s episode of Prodigal Son, we were left with tons of questions. With a Jessica/Martin team up looming on the horizon, accidents waiting to happen, and certain members of the Whitly family slipping further and further off the rails, it seems that a whole lot of trouble is about to head our favorite profiler’s way. Let’s jump right into what happened on this week’s episode!

Phil Caruso/FOX

The scene opens with Malcolm visiting Martin at Claremont only to see … Jessica? She and Martin have come to the conclusion that Ainsley needs to be told of what she did to Endicott. Malcolm doesn’t think this is a good idea. His parents believe that by getting ahead of it and telling her together, they can “control the narrative.”

Malcolm vehemently protests this plan and tries to explain to Jessica, who’s still upset that they didn’t go to the police in the first place, that even if he handled the situation wrong, he was protecting his sister. Of course, Martin has to interject “I’m just saying, if he’s fine with murder coverups, I could’ve done with a little of that energy back in ’98.” As the two continue to try and convince Malcolm, a text from Gil comes in alerting him to a case.

Phil Caruso/FOX

Malcolm inquires about the vic on the scene — overenthusiastically if JT’s “Damn, Bright,” was any indication. The creepy Canmere Hotel boasts an architect, Lyle, who has been murdered, left with what according to JT is called a ball-bearing compass (or as Bright relatably calls it, a circle drawey thing) jammed in his eyes. The architect was set to renovate the building.

Phil Caruso/FOX

Noting that there were no fingerprints but that the kill was precise, Bright profiles that the team is dealing with a “good old fashioned psychopath,” as the killer stayed calm and collected though the murder was impulsive.

Phil Caruso/FOX

Outside, Malcolm spots Ainsley interviewing Ramon Vieja, an investor who sunk a large sum of money into the renovation. When Ainsley brings up criminal accusations that leveled against him, Vieja gets cagey. When Gil and Malcolm try and speak with them, he points them towards his lawyer and “those Bolsheviks on the eighth floor.”

Phil Caruso/FOX

Malcolm walks over to Ainsley, asking how she is; she coldly dismisses her brother and walks away, obviously peeved at him. Malcolm, Dani, and JT go to the upstairs loft Vieja referred to, where a group of artists are furiously working.

As the team stares at a sculpture, Karina Petrovic, the artist in question (who says the piece is a reimagined sculpture of her lady parts) and another eccentric worker, Wendell, tells them all about Vieja’s endeavors to evict everyone in the building; evictions, lawsuits, and refusing to fix the elevators were only some of the tactics the wealthy investor resorted to. Wendell and Malcolm also geek out about the hotel’s deep history, from Duke Ellington’s stay to the Bowery Ripper’s victims. As Malcolm questions the pair further, he observes their behavior.

As they wait for the elevator, Malcolm and Dani conclude Karina is hiding something and Wendell is protecting her. The rickety elevator opens, inspiring JT to take the stairs while Dani and Malcolm brave the contraption. During the ride, Dani asks if Malcolm is ok, citing his visit to Claremont for her worry. While he opens up a bit, he shuts down as soon as she asks why his parents were upset, unable to give Ainsley’s secret away.

They lapse into awkward silence as a lady, Greta Swan, wheels her father, Rupert, onto the lift. She tells them they overheard the architect and Ramon arguing about the broken elevators, which the architect fixed.

Back at home, Malcolm asks a still-peeved Ainsley for her interview footage of Vieja and asks if she’s upset with him. She tells him she hasn’t been sleeping and that she’s been remembering snippets from the night of Endicott’s murder. In what would’ve been the perfect moment to tell her the truth, Malcolm lies yet again, saying that no one should have to see someone kill a man. While they hug, Malcolm notices Vieja was missing a cufflink in the footage, calling Dani and asking her to meet him back at the hotel.

Bright examines a hallway, finding spilled paint and the cufflink. He calls Dani, telling her he thinks he can link Vieja to a cut on the victim’s face when someone darts past. Of course, Malcolm investigates. The elevator mysteriously opens, and Bright peers in … only to be pushed, plummeting 3 stories down the elevator shaft.

Malcolm groans as Dani holds an icepack to his head as she asks how he feels. JT enters and after ribbing Malcolm, says that Vieja’s been linked to the cufflink. Dani and Malcolm interrogate Ramon, realizing he’s not their guy.

The pair come out of the interrogation. Malcolm declines a call from Claremont and crumples over from a sharp pain in his head, hand trembling. Dani and JT send him home to family dinner. Malcolm enters the Whitly mansion to find Jessica, Ainsley, and… Martin?!? Malcolm suffers another attack, getting flashes of the elevator shaft and feeling something isn’t right. Martin and Ainsley, having followed in Martin’s footsteps becoming a doctor, think he’s experiencing jamais vu (the opposite of deja vu) brought on by a concussion.

Malcolm gets another call from Claremont. He gets flashes of Gil in Martin’s cell before he shoots awake, with … Dani there comforting him? Malcolm says “I’ve got to get out of here. Or I’m gonna die.” When Dani asks him “get out of where?”, Malcolm can’t recall and believes it’s a nightmare.

Dani and Malcolm sit on the couch, Dani asking him about what’s wrong. He responds that he feels like he has everything he wants, but doesn’t deserve it. Dani reassures him that he does, and the two kiss. Malcolm’s hand begins to shake again, and with it, his surroundings. The two get a call saying Karina was spotted at the hotel.

They go to check it out and question Karina, who denies trying to kill Malcolm or Lyle. She specifically says “I don’t fit your profile,” making Malcolm jolt with awareness — though this passes. Karina points the detectives towards Wendell, who’s in love with Karina. However, when they get upstairs, Wendell’s been slain.

The confidence with which Wendell’s murder was carried out leads Bright to profile that they have a serial killer on their hands. Another call from Claremont comes, and Malcolm answers; Mr. David says that someone there has all the answers. In a scene hauntingly reminiscent of Malcolm’s first visit to Martin after 10 years, he enters the cell to see none other than Gil Arroyo.

In this timeline, Malcolm called the police to report Martin, but he didn’t stop Gil from drinking the tea Martin offered; Gil “woke up 3 days later stark raving mad.” Malcolm starts suffering another episode before Martin enters. Martin and Gil begin to argue while Malcolm continues panicking, finally realizing he’s still at the bottom of the elevator shaft and that everthing was “all in his head.”

Malcolm rushes back to the hotel elevator, trying to make himself wake up so he doesn’t die. Martin continues to try and convince him that everything is just jamais vu. Malcolm thinks if he solves his case, he might be able to wake up. Martin resolves to help him even though he thinks he’s acting crazy.

Malcolm frantically begins to try and analyze the clues he’s encountered. Seeing bloody bootprints on Wendell’s papers, Malcolm remembers that the woman on the elevator, Greta Swan (as Karina’s changed sculpture prompts him to remember), was wearing boots. Malcolm’s realized that he’s kept seeing swans throughout the entirety of his hallucination.

Martin tells JT he thinks Malcolm’s having a psychotic break and he needs his help, but before they can subdue him, he’s slipped away. Malcolm’s gone to confront Greta at her apartment when her dad wheels up to him, saying she’s not there and that he’s very protective of her. Seeing the man’s boots, Malcolm realizes that Greta’s father is the Bowery Ripper, a serial killer that was never apprehended.

Everything starts to add up. Martin finds Malcolm but before he can properly warn him off, Rupert stands up and holds a knife to Martin’s throat.

Phil Caruso/FOX

Malcolm tries to get Rupert to release Martin while trying to figure out why Rupert started killing again. It seems that Lyle was going to expose Rupert’s secret. Remembering that in his dream he’s a detective, Malcolm pulls a gun and shoots Rupert, sending him careening down the empty elevator shaft as Martin ducks out the way.

Malcolm stares at the gun in his hand, wondering why solving the crime didn’t liberate him from this dream sequence. Martin tells him “you got the killer, saved my life, and now everything’s ok, isn’t it? Isn’t it, my boy?” The two hug as Malcolm agrees. Suddenly, they’re back celebrating with the Whitly clan. Malcolm’s headaches have stopped … is he giving up on waking up, enamored with this fantasy life he’s found himself in?

Malcolm briefly stares at an open door leading to the basement. On the premise of replenishing the snacks, Malcolm goes down to the room where he found Sophie, flashing back. Martin asks him why he’s so determined to wake up when he has a good life in this dream. Malcolm explains as everything begins to shake.

“Because it’s all a lie. This dream, vision, alternate reality, whatever. I thought it was what life would be like if you weren’t a killer. But it’s not. It’s what life would be if I never found out … Suffering is real. Even if I don’t open the box, the woman in there is still in pain … This is who I am Dr. Whitly. Even in my wildest dream, I’m still a detective. I need to seek the truth, no matter how painful.”

As Malcolm starts to opens the box, Martin tries with one last-ditch effort to keep him there. He cites that Dani won’t be there in the capacity that she is in the dream, saying “Stay for her. A partner you can actually be honest with? You’ll never have that if you open the box”. Malcolm tears up and declares Martin made him the way he is, to which dream Martin responds, “well you can point fingers as much as you want, but when you’re miserable and alone, remember you had a choice”. Malcolm responds “no I didn’t”, throwing open the box and waking up.

At the bottom of the elevator shaft, about to be crushed by the descending cart, Malcolm finds the skull of an old victim. He jams the elevator’s progress with an old tool he finds on the floor, escaping peril yet again (how is this man still alive?).

Battered and bruised, Bright hobbles out into the lobby where he’s greeted by JT and a worried Dani, whom he stares mournfully at. It’s only been 20 minutes since their phone call. He informs them that he knows the killer’s identity.

The team goes to the Swans’ apartment and confirm Rupert is the Bowery Ripper before arresting him. Back at the precinct, Dani checks up on Malcolm. She comments on how he managed to solve a case while unconscious and the craziness of his dream.

Sherlock Freud cracks another one.

Dani turns to leave but asks Malcolm if she was different in his dream, to which he cryptically responds, “yes … and no.” Malcolm tries to brush her off, saying he wouldn’t want to bore her when she inquires further, leading her to repeat something she said in the dream (“the one thing you never do is bore me”) before bidding him goodnight. Bright stares plaintively after her.

Malcolm returns home to find a blank looking Ainsley on his couch, having asked her to meet him. Likely influenced by his dream realization, he tells her that she killed Endicott. He reassures her that everything is going to be alright, but she shakes her head blankly before saying “no, it’s not”. Malcolm jumps away as she opens her coat to reveal her blouse splattered with blood; she’s blacked out again … and doesn’t remember what happened. As Malcolm panics, wide-eyed, Ainsley apologizes, saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t know where else to go” before the screen goes black.

Malcolm Danger Count: 5

FOX said that there would be a twist; they did not disappoint. What this means for the Whitlys remains to be seen. Catch Prodigal Son on Tuesday nights at 9/8 CT on FOX.

Kenedi is a college student with her sights set on attending medical school. When she isn't hard at work, Kenedi enjoys reading, watching her favorite shows, and listening to music. Some of her favorite fandoms include Supernatural, One Tree Hill, Bones, Abbott Elementary, Percy Jackson, and Scrubs.

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