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‘Prodigal Son’ Season 1 Finale ‘Like Father…’ Recap: My Girl

BY Stephanie Larson

Published 4 years ago

'Prodigal Son' Season 1 Finale 'Like Father...' Recap: My Girl

Holy moly what in the absolute hell!! This Prodigal Son finale has me all over the place! Who would’ve thought? Who would’ve freaking thought? All this time, we were looking at Malcolm (Tom Payne) like he was the bomb that’s about to go off. All this time, we were looking at the wrong freaking Whitly.

Prodigal Son really fucked with our minds this time. It’s amazing how they did it all. Kudos to the entire team behind it because damn, that was one fine plot twist. Then, there’s that beautiful moment of catharsis between Malcolm and the girl in the box. Then, there’s Jessica (Bellamy Young) bringing out her badass Whitly for Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips). Wow. It’s just a tumble of emotions all around! And I think I’d need a good week to process it all. Before we all get carried away, let’s dive in once again to the shocking events of the season 1 finale of Prodigal Son.

Nothing Stops Malcolm

As you’d expect, Malcolm’s arrest from the last episode doesn’t last very long. He’s quickly bailed out but with a condition of house arrest. But, again, this is Malcolm Whitly we’re talking about. When has this man exactly stayed put?


Keiko Agena and Tom Payne in Prodigal Son Season 1 Finale


After figuring out a way to get rid of his tracker without tripping the alarm, Malcolm heads to the morgue. Together with Edrisa (Keiko Agena), he figures out that his DNA must’ve been planted somewhere between the hospital and the morgue. This leads him to a laboratory. And guess who’s the outside consult? The devil himself, Martin’s lawyer Everett Sterling (Brian Stokes Mitchell). If there’s one man that connects Martin (Michael Sheen) and Nicholas (Dermot Mulroney), it’s him.

Using his powers of convincing, Malcolm actually gets through the devil. He finds out that the DNA results we’re switched out in Nicholas’ lab. More than that, he discovers that Sophie stole documents from Nicholas, documents that she could’ve shared with Martin. That’s why Eve had to die. If she found her sister, she would’ve found the documents. Before Sterling could say anything more, a man shoots him from outside the office.

When the Bluff Comes to Pay

Malcolm gets home just in time before Gil, Dani (Aurora Perrineau), and JT (Frank Harts) come bursting in bearing the news of Sterling’s shooting. There they are, Malcolm, Ainsley, and Jessica, all poised to lie through their teeth and almost getting away with it too. But, when Gil refuses to involve Malcolm in the case, Malcolm admits the truth. He and his brilliant mind think that by admitting it, they’d take him in. Strangely enough, it works.

After laying everything out for the team, Malcolm realizes that Eddie might’ve been dead even before he entered the room. He didn’t even go near the man. Seeing the bloody bandages and remembering how The Surgeon squeezed his eyes out was enough to stop him at the door. With the DNA link solved, the only missing piece of the puzzle to Malcolm’s freedom is who’s the killer?

Tom Payne, Halston Sage, and Aurora Perrineau in Prodigal Son Season 1 Finale


Their best chance of finding out was to consult The Surgeon himself. After all, he’s the only man Nicholas fears. However, Nicholas had him transferred to the general prison. Nicholas even topped it off by placing a bounty on Martin’s head. Even Gil couldn’t get Malcolm in there. Fortunately, there’s one other Whitly who has a knack for getting to places like those: Ainsley (Halston Sage).

Disappointingly, Malcolm and Ainsley’s visit to their father was all for naught. As it turns out, Martin was bluffing all along. He had nothing on Nicholas. He can’t even help Malcolm figure out who killed Eddie. Now, he’s reduced to a terrified blubbering mess. And his advice to Malcolm to end it all? Kill Nicholas. Ainsley’s not standing for any of this bull though. So, she gives her own advice to her father. “You are The Surgeon. You are the smartest one here. Start acting like it.”

The Damsel Saves Gil

Back at home, Gil warns Malcolm that they’ll be filing charges that night. And he tells the boy to run. In turn, Malcolm leaves Jessica at Gil’s hands. Apparently, Jessica has accepted Nicholas’ dinner invitation. She probably thought she could outsmart him. We all know that that’s a hard bet though not that Jessica doesn’t stand a chance. Nicholas is simply too cruel.

Bellamy Young in Prodigal Son Season 1 Finale


The thing is, this cruel cruel man is indeed head over heels for Jessica. And he offers her a deal. In the middle of it though, Gil comes knocking at the door. And after a little man to man standoff, he makes it clear to Nicholas that he’s not leaving without Jessica. That’s when Nicholas gives the cue to his valet and the man stabs Gil in the gut.

Jessica sees everything. When Nicholas comes back to the table, she slams his head with a plate. She runs downstairs, picks up Gil’s keys off the floor, and drives the car out. And without hesitance, she slams into the valet’s car that was about to take Gil away. Without wasting a second, she frees Gil from the trunk and rushes him to the hospital.

Freeing the Girl in the Box

On the other hand, before Malcolm leaves home, he listens to Eve’s last voicemail one last time. That’s when he notices the strange animal noises in the background. After asking Dani to track it down, he ends up in a vet clinic in Connecticut. There, he finds the ghost that has been haunting him his whole life: Sophie Sanders.

Malcolm came looking for a killer. And find he did. Eddie’s murder was personal. That’s why Malcolm’s the prime suspect of the case given his relation to Eve. But, there is another person who loved Eve just as much to extract that kind of vengeance, her sister Sophie. But, Malcolm doesn’t hold it against her. He understands.

Tom Payne in Prodigal Son Season 1 Finale


Finally coming face to face with the girl that’s been haunting him all this time, Malcolm’s guilt and emotions overwhelm him. He apologizes for what his father did to her. He lets out all the guilt he’s been feeling all these years. And he apologizes for not being able to save her.  But, Sophie knows there’s nothing to forgive nor to apologize for. “You were just a kid,” she tells him.

With that, Malcolm decides to let her go. Even if it means that he might go to jail for the rest of his life, Malcolm lets go of the girl in the box.

A Whitly Indeed

In prison, Martin’s life hangs by a thread as the inmates start closing in on him for the bounty on his head. One inmate, in particular, the leader, lays his claim on him. Just as the guy’s about to gut him though, Martin decides to take his daughter’s advice. Using his medical expertise, Martin diagnoses an underlying lesion or tumor in the man. It buys him time. But, when the other inmates realize that their leader wasn’t going to go through with it, they attack. And the prison is embroiled in a riot.

Dermot Mulroney and Tom Payne in Prodigal Son Season 1 Finale


Meanwhile, Malcolm joins Dani, Jessica, and the others in the hospital waiting on Gil. But, his night isn’t done. There’s one other Whitly unaccounted for – Ainsley. And Nicholas has taken it upon himself to take her hostage and force Malcolm home.

Malcolm tries to bluff it out again with Nicholas. But, the man makes it clear that he has tendrils even in the justice system. He basically owns it. Seeing no other solutions, Malcolm pulls a gun on him. As furious as he is though, Nicholas knows Malcolm can’t do it. He’s just as he says. He’s not his father. It’s someone else who is.

Nicholas starts gloating. But suddenly, a hand grabs his head, and a knife slices deep across his throat. Nicholas turns around to face the Whitly he made the mistake of underestimating – Ainsley. Then, she continues her onslaught. Stab after stab after stab, not stopping until Nicholas’ body hits the floor.

Dermot Mulroney and Halston Sage in Prodigal Son Season 1 Finale


A few moments later, Ainsley seems to wake up from a daze. “What just happened?” she asks her stunned brother. Before Malcolm could come to his own senses though, a call cuts through the air. Malcolm answers it to find Martin on the other line.

“I took Ainsley’s advice,” Martin tells his son pleasantly. “And she took yours,” Malcolm murmurs back.

As realization takes hold of Martin, pride fills his face. A smile lights up his features as he declares, “My girl.”

‘Prodigal Son’ Season 1 Finale Overall Verdict

What a damn fine finale. That Ainsley turn really had me. All season of Prodigal Son, she’s been the most in control Whitly. She’s the last person you’d think of to go on a gore spree. But, looking in hindsight, we did actually glimpse a hint of this side of her. Remember the episode when she did the interview with The Surgeon and they got locked in and her ex was bleeding on the floor? Back then, her actions could’ve been chalked up to being highly ambitious and greedy for career advancement. But, the way she looked at the scene with such fascination. Could it have been the first glimpse of her psychopathic tendencies? Whatever it was, that sick, gory twist is still one for the books. It’s probably my favorite moment in the whole show.

Aside from that, I absolutely loved the moment between Malcolm and Sophie too. All that mystery about the girl in the box was beautifully capped off by that tender moment. It was a heartfelt moment of them facing their pasts. And now, they’ve come to terms with their ghosts.

Now that the moment has passed, it’s sad to realize that there won’t be any more moments like these to look forward to for a while. Prodigal Son has certainly exceeded all expectations with this one. In the beginning, I couldn’t help but compare it to Hannibal. But, Prodigal Son quickly proved that it’s its own show altogether. It has been very easy to become enthralled by it. The cast, the writers, the directors, and everyone has done a supremely mighty fine job giving us this twisted family story. Now, all we need is a renewal. And we need it fast.

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