Tuesday, October 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'Prodigal Son' - Jessica Reaches Out to Everyone to Persuade Malcolm Against Seeing His Father in 'Fear Response'

FOX's Prodigal Son - Episode 1.03 "Fear Response"

Malcolm gets his dream interview opportunity when the NYPD zeroes in on one of his and Martin's favorite psychologists, who may be involved in a homicide linked to an LSD-laced psychology trial. As his night terrors continue to evolve, Malcolm checks in with his trusted childhood therapist to discuss new theories on what exactly he witnessed as a child. The consequences of Malcolm's visits with The Surgeon begin to add up when Gil, Jessica and Ainsley catch wind that he has been seeing his father.

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.

"Fear Response" was written by Lisa Randolph and directed by Rob Bailey

The flashbacks and night terrors have proven to be a consistent component of the drama across these early episodes. They are fundamentally different from one another. However, they are being used to inform some sense of larger mystery at play here. The procedural aspects are what largely define the bulk of each specific episode. However, the show wants to reassure the audience that something more is going on. The viewer should be suspicious about what exactly was done in the past. Malcolm can't seem to let it go. Everyone essentially knows that he is traumatized by these night terrors. This hour begins with him essentially flinging himself out of a window. That's absolutely terrifying. It shows that he may not be safely secured in that bed after all. It could be problematic that he sleeps on an elevated level. However, he is trying to exert some kind of independence and privacy as well. His mother continues to pry into his life. She knows that he has been visiting his father in prison. She pledged that she would never return there to see him again. She saw him once after he was arrested. She did so with full certainty that they could never go back to the life they knew before. And yet, she does wind up in the facility that now houses him. Her influence has already been felt in this place because she has gotten close with the guard watching over Martin. This is her first visit in 20 years though. It is to tell Martin to stop all of his communications with her children. She doesn't want to be defined by the past any longer. She doesn't want to be perceived as the wife who had no clue what her husband was doing. He terrorized people and even claims that she knew it but never pressed for clarity because of the happiness in their lives together. She may always choose to be oblivious in that way. She does deflect from embracing the hard emotions and truths of the past. She doesn't know why her children are obsessed with death and wanting to know their father. It should be enough for them to know that he is a killer. And yet, the situation is much more complicated and nuanced than that. Malcolm seemingly gets more clarity over the past. His final night terror here reveals that it may have been Jessica who caught him snooping through his father's belongings. That may infer that she knew about the woman's body in the basement. That could be a damning piece of evidence. One that proves she was complicit the entire time. She can't be numb to the world. She can't simply move on from all of this. She claims that Martin took away everything from her except her children. That's not entirely true based on the lavish lifestyle she still lives. She has always been wealthy. She continues to have a great deal of influence. However, she can't convince anyone to tell Malcolm that his visits with Martin are a bad idea. He already knows that. He is more enticed by the central mystery of his upbringing. Martin is at the heart of that. He is terrified whenever his father calls asking to team up on a case. He wants to provide insights on the latest murder in the news. However, it's a case that Malcolm largely gets to solve on his own. It's fairly standard and familiar material as well. It once again features Malcolm talking in elegant and clinical terms about the killer the team is searching for. That doesn't make all of this easy to grab ahold of. Instead, it makes it seem as if the drama is phoning it in to provide some sense of purpose. The true drama lies at the heart of the Whitly family. The damage they do to one another is severe and has major consequences. They are mostly only looking out for themselves as well which is a pattern that extends to all of them so far - except possibly Ainsley.