Tuesday, October 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'Prodigal Son' - Bright Worries About a Mystery From His Past Concerning His Murderous Father in 'Annihilator'

FOX's Prodigal Son - Episode 1.02 "Annihilator"

Bright jumps at the chance to help Arroyo solve a quadruple homicide for the NYPD. As Bright slips into the mind of this serial killer, he finds himself dealing with the repercussions of seeing his father for the first time in years. Tormented by the terrors of his childhood, Bright is faced with a question: are his dreams just nightmares or did they actually happen?

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of FOX's Prodigal Son.

"Annihilator" was written by Chris Fedak & Sam Sklaver and directed by Adam Kane

For a notorious serial killer, Dr. Martin Whitly sure has a lot of access. He is still allowed to see patients and he has phone privileges. He leaves Bright seventeen voicemails in the span of a couple of hours. He is overwhelmingly trying to enter his son's life once more. He doesn't want their conversations to be stunted once more. He wants an open line of dialogue. Of course, the show also firmly states that nothing he says can be trusted. He is a manipulative monster always trying to get a reaction out of his visitors. He is really only interested in how any particular action affects him. This hour does draw a little more attention to the fact that he is supervised in this prison. He does have a guard monitoring his calls. However, it's a very inactive role in the corner of the room. The show points it out just to call attention to the fact that this person also happens to know the secrets being discussed between father and son. That also means it's a little transparent when the episode closes with a major reveal about this guard. He calls Jessica to tell her that Bright is once again seeing his father. She presents as the overbearing mother frustrated at her children's ongoing fascinating with murder. They would much rather run off to gruesome crime scenes than have brunch with her. She may genuinely want to protect them. She understands Bright's night terrors better than anyone else. He pushes her away though. He and Ainsley understand that they can't tell her anything because then she'll be worried and even more present in their lives. That is already the case. Plus, her final frustration shows just how hard this hits her. She doesn't want anything to do with her former husband anymore. She wants her children to have the same mentality. It's frustrating that they don't. Bright is going to see his father though because he is desperate for answers. Everyone keeps telling him that he only imagined seeing a woman in a trunk in the family basement. He wasn't actually drugged by his father to make it all seem like a wild dream. Of course, the show is articulating that there is missing time in Bright's life that he needs to understand. As such, this season may be entirely about analyzing the past. Did The Surgeon only commit 23 murders? Or are those the only ones the police can connect to him? He certainly operates with the confidence that the police know everything that he did as a serial killer. That's unlikely though because Bright is determined to prove that there is a missing piece of the puzzle that only he can solve. That is his current relationship with his father. He doesn't trust him but he'll tease him along long enough to prove that he is even more dangerous than anyone previously thought. It's a burden he carries by himself though. Sure, some people are aware of the physical symptoms he has as a result of this key trauma. He can certainly make light of the situation when it comes to building camaraderie amongst the team. However, he is continually putting his own health in danger. That's a destructive pattern that could grow old and repetitive after awhile. Gil doesn't see any problem with Bright cutting off a man's hand in the premiere. And now, Bright presents himself as a valuable member of the team who knows exactly how a killer thinks. If he didn't solve this case, then the police would have thought that it was the black sheep son of the family who killed four people. Instead, it was the illegitimate son who will have to face the punishment for his crime. That's just as important. Bright could easily let this man die because he has poisoned himself. He doesn't though. That may prove that Bright is different from his father. He is still incredibly reckless though. That too runs the risk of growing incredibly annoying especially when each episode is seemingly devoted to a case-of-the-week structure. The character drama is simply more engaging than the procedural aspects.