Tuesday, October 15, 2019

REVIEW: 'Prodigal Son' - Malcolm Looks Into Jessica's Past and Her Potential Complicity in Martin's Crimes in 'Designer Complicity'

FOX's Prodigal Son - Episode 1.04 "Designer Complicity"

As Malcolm's childhood memories start to take shape, he realizes his father's killing spree may not have been a surprise to everyone in his family. While Malcolm continues to investigate his past, the murder of a famous model and social media influencer sends him, Gil, Dani and JT on the hunt for a stalker with a creepy eye for design.

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.

"Designer Complicity" was written by Leon Ichaso and directed by Wendy Calhoun

Is Malcolm Bright's self-destructive and compulsive nature sustainable over a long period of time? It seems fairly unlikely. It may create a compelling episode now and then. But it also runs the risk of growing tiresome and annoying rather quickly. The season so far has featured him suffering from these night terrors and numerous other physical ailments as a result of the mysteries plaguing his mind. He continues to operate as a man desperate for answers and the boldness to pursue them even at a great personal cost. He doesn't really have a sense of wanting to live. He has been so cavalier about life and death. The show keeps throwing him into situations where he is all alone with killers who may actually give him the release from life he clearly wants before his partners in the NYPD show up to seemingly save the day. It may showcase how Malcolm is calm under pressure. It's used as a tool to show how he really is a good profiler. He understands human psychology better than anyone else on the force. He has proven effective at capturing killers. But again, everything has had a clear-cut ending with the procedural aspects of this narrative. Malcolm spiraling out of control at the moment doesn't seem to impact his ability to solve the case of a social media influencer's murder. Sure, he may present as more reckless. And yet, it's hard to say if he is operating more out of bounds now than he has been for the past few episodes. Again, this is the way he always comes across. So, it's difficult to understand at what point people should be worried about him. Right now, everyone should be very concerned about his physical health. He compromises himself in numerous ways but remains determined to solve the answers of the world around him. He is hellbent on proving that something more nefarious has long been going on throughout his life. He refuses to see his mother as anything more than manipulative and complicit in his father's crimes. Yes, the show certainly manipulates the audience's expectations in that regard as well throughout this hour. It presents a flashback in which Martin seemingly provides a choice to Jessica about how badly she wants to maintain her perfect life. She thought she was confronting him about an extramarital affair though. That's what she suspected when he was gone for long stretches of time. She was too concerned about her public image to push any further to unravel the truth. That's the clarity that Malcolm gets at the conclusion of this hour. It's a massive relief to him. Him viewing that old police tape provides him with a clear resolution that he can accept. He can trust his mother no matter how intrusive she might seem. She truly does care about his well-being. He sees that now. She was the one who actually raised him and his sister. She is always trying to protect them from their sociopathic father. She may have exposed them to his influence for a time. Malcolm stepped up when she was too drunk to see the true extent of Martin's actions. She is grateful for that. Hopefully, this is the start of a new relationship between mother and son. One built on trust and understanding. Of course, a show always has to provide the viewer with some reasonable sense of trust. It can't pull the rug out from underneath the audience too many times. Otherwise, the viewer will continually question everything. Yes, what Jessica knew is a sustainable and tantalizing question for an hour. Now, the narrative can move forward with Ainsley exploring her own relationship with her father in the hopes of it boosting her career. The family is still connected to Martin in prison even though they pledge to never let him come between them again. Again, all of this has the potential to be very precarious and thrilling to watch. But it already seems like the show is falling into a pattern. One that aspires to deceive the audience and make us question what is truly going on. That can be a solid basis for a show. Here, it mostly presents as the show going for the cheap thrills to entertain the viewer for an hour and nothing more.