‘Prodigal Son’ Season 1, Episode 15 ‘Death’s Door’ Review: Necrophiliac
BY Stephanie Larson
Published 3 years ago
Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen) is certainly going to be happy to know that nobody really wants him to die. Seriously, the guy’s a psychopath, but it’s not Prodigal Son without him. Malcolm’s (Tom Payne) definitely taking the brunt of the guilt of everything though. Even though the guy scarred him for life, it’s still so wrong to stab your father. Plus, if Dr. Whitly dies, it’s going to be a whole set of legal trouble for the Whitlys.
Fortunately, there’s a little bit of a distraction from all that. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s less messed up though. This week on Prodigal Son, the team is dealing with a necrophiliac killer. It’s not as disturbing as any of the movies featuring necrophilia that have come and gone. But, still, it’s something else altogether in the world of murder. Also, we get to see a new side to our favorite medical examiner Edrisa (Keiko Agena). From examining the dead, the woman actually saves a life. Here’s how that all went down in this week’s episode of Prodigal Son.
Preserving the Dead
After the events of the last episode, Jessica (Bellamy Young) has made it clear that she’ll be taking the fall for what Malcolm did. Unfortunately, the carousel killer wouldn’t corroborate her story. And if Dr. Whitly dies, Jessica might go on trial for murder. Given that, she has to find the best lawyer she can. And it might just be the second-worst person in her list: her husband’s lawyer The Devil a.k.a Sterling.
On the other hand, Edrisa has found the team a new case. The victim Kevin Bagley was found in his home, perfectly preserved and embalmed. He was even wearing makeup and was posed on the couch like he was sitting with someone. Seriously though, the sight is hella creepy. And as Malcolm deduces, it’s more about what happened after the kill rather than before. It’s like the killer took a great deal of time, care, and affection to stage the body and the house that way. More than that, Malcolm is sure there was a great deal of physical contact with the dead body. And as he concludes, much to everyone’s disgust, they’re dealing with a necrophiliac.
Strangely enough, Malcolm’s not as bothered as everybody else. As he explains, the urges of necrophiliacs come from a fear of rejection and a need for connection. And doesn’t everyone have that?
After the autopsy, it becomes clear that they’re looking for a well-trained funeral director. The embalming was done professionally and only funeral directors have that kind of training. Fortunately, Edrisa has connections and she gets the team into an annual convention for funeral directors.
Business for the Dead
At the convention, Dani (Aurora Perrineau) and Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) arrive with a lead. As it turns out, Kevin invested in a group of Long Island funeral homes. But, a year ago, one of the funeral homes burned up and the deal burned up along with it. This narrows down their search from 3000 people to Kevin’s two business partners Tilda and Dev.
Upon entering the convention, Malcolm is overwhelmed with the sight of urns and caskets along with the thoughts of his dad dying. Dani tries to comfort him. But, in turn, Malcolm acts like an ass. He goes ahead and pushes her away before discovering that Dani also dealt with the death of her dad at 16. And she can even pinpoint the exact casket model they buried him in.
A few moments later, they meet Tilda. She freely tells them that she was sexual partners with Kevin but, it was nothing serious. When they mention that he was embalmed though, she freezes and tells them to talk to their other partner Dev. As it may, JT (Frank Harts) and Gil are already on the guy. But, unlike Tilda, he’s a lot more nervous and closed off. Edrisa discovers that the guy was using the same foundation used on Kevin though.
However, later on, when the team sets off to bust Kevin in his hotel room, they find him poisoned and barely alive. Everyone turns to Edrisa for her medical knowledge to save him. But, she starts to panic. As calm as she is with dead bodies, she’s a complete mess with living people. Malcolm could barely talk to her properly. But, he manages to guide her and save Dev’s life.
The Secret Partner
After a quick search of Dev’s contacts, JT finds that Tilda was the last person he called. But, in the end, she was just covering for someone. As it turns out, they had a secret partner, Lean. She was an excellent embalmer. But, she didn’t get her license because she didn’t pass her psych eval. And, of course, she had her necrophilia. Apparently, she was also the cause of the fire. And while the others moved on, Lean couldn’t.
With their suspect marked, Malcolm turns to apologize to Edrisa for pressuring her with Dev. But, when he calls her, he notices something odd. First off, Edrisa didn’t want to talk to Malcolm. That never happens in Prodigal Son. If that wasn’t strange enough, her voice was also shakier than usual. Noticing that something’s off, Malcolm heads down to the lab and finds Edrisa being held at gunpoint by none other than Lean. The woman has come to take her Kevin. And it seems that she plans to continue to enjoy her time with him.
Malcolm immediately calls for backup then straight up barges in. Despite his instructions, Edrisa refuses to hand over Kevin’s body. As she reasons, with great conviction might I add, it’s not just a body. They’re people. And to her, it’s a great privilege to be their last witness. Now, she won’t be letting anybody dishonor that. Even though the last part was meant for Lean, everything else was clearly meant for Malcolm. Earlier with Dev, he sort of implied that she wasn’t helping live people but, now, she has regained her honor back.
The Prodigal Son Faces Relationships and Death
With Edrisa’s continuous refusal, Lean gets antsier. So, Malcolm offers they all go look for Kevin’s body. There, Lean reveals that her problems started when she was just a kid. After she discovered her mom died in her bed, she climbed in under the covers with her. And the feeling of a cold body has stuck with her ever since. That’s why she does embalming. She wants to give the dead back a life where they can’t leave her.
Realizing that, Malcolm starts talking her down. Drawing from his own current struggle with the prospect of his dad dying, he tells her, “Real relationships can be hard as hell. Life is full of risk and death is messy. But, we can’t run away from it…I can’t run away from it.” Just as the talk starts getting Lean to lower her gun, Edrisa quickly slams her with a tray. And just on cue, JT and Dani burst in to arrest her.
While the others file out, Malcolm holds Dani back and apologizes. Everything that she’s been telling him all day – death, relationships, letting go – finally settles into his head and with the help of a killer no less. Dani hilariously sums this up saying, “Only you would find it therapeutic talking to a killer.” But, Malcolm does promise to do better.
Jessica Whitly Gears Up
On the other hand, Jessica has been quite caught up with the whole lawyer thing. And Ainsley (Halston Sage) takes it upon herself to invite Sterling to meet her mom. Let me tell you, the man is a freaking snake. But, if you need someone to play dirty for you, he’s the guy to do it. He freaking got a serial killer carpets and books instead of the electric chair for Pete’s sake. But, in the end, Jessica turns him away. Instead, she hits up an old contact, Eve Blanchard (Molly Griggs). Remember her, the girl Malcolm hooked up with and scared away with a sword? Yep, she’s back.
More strangely though, none of the Whitlys are celebrating Martin’s condition. Malcolm is Malcolm. But, even Jessica who you’d think would be the first person to rejoice in Martin’s death isn’t happy. In one of their mother-daughter session, Jessica admits that she’s afraid that if he dies, he’d haunt her forever. At least if he’s in prison, he’s staying put in one place. For Ainsley, she still has compassion for her father and she doesn’t want him to go this way.
The Nightmares of a Psychopath
Elsewhere in the episode, Martin is having his own nightmares. And it’s none other than the girl in the box. In his dreams/ nightmare, he meets this runner who sprains her ankle. He takes her back to the house so she could call for someone to take her home. And that’s when he drugs her. Jessica arrives home a little bit too early though so Martin stuffs the girl in the closet.
Then, the dream shifts. Martin is talking to the girl while she’s in the box. But, when he opens it, she’s gone. He rushes up back stairs to see the same scene repeating. This time, she manages to call someone. She even thanks Martin. Then, when she gets close to him, she starts stabbing him. As he lay on the ground bleeding to death, the girl threatens to pick off his family one by one starting with Malcolm.
The next time the dream resurfaces, Martin is in Malcolm’s bedroom. And the girl has the boy in her hands. She starts demanding to know why he did what he did to her. And Martin starts to panic and prattle of a list of possibilities. Then suddenly, something clicks. It’s his nightmare. And he isn’t like any other people. In fact, one of his defining features is that he’s always in control. Seriously, the strength of his psyche is amazing and horrifying at the same time. To be able to turn the tide of your dreams is something else.
With that realization, Martin turns the tables. And just as he’s about to stab the girl, he hears Malcolm’s voice call out to him. He glimpses Malcolm come into his room and he decides that he needs to go back to his family. That’s when Dr. Whitly wakes up and greets his son with his trademark words, “My boy.”
Prodigal Son continues Monday, March 16th, with “The Job” at 9/8c on Fox.