Tuesday, October 22, 2019

REVIEW: 'Prodigal Son' - Malcolm Learns More About Dani When a Murder Becomes Personal for Her in 'The Trip'

FOX's Prodigal Son - Episode 1.05 "The Trip"

Malcolm searches the depths of his mind to unravel the mystery of "the girl in the box," but with his night terrors and lack of sleep increasing, his real life becomes more and more of a blur. When the NYPD investigates a homicide they assume is linked to a drug cartel, Malcolm discovers a secret about Dani's past that draws them closer together.

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.

"The Trip" was written by Jeremy Carver and directed by Omar Madha

Throughout these early episodes, Malcolm Bright has been very confrontational. That's his natural impulse in this world. He has an aura of superiority to him. Some people are impressed and welcome his intellect and insight on the vicious world of depraved killers. Others are annoyed by his sheer presence and the condescending way in which he contributes to the conversation. He inserts himself when he isn't wanted. Plus, people should be very concerned that he only feels relaxed and comfortable when he has a murder to solve. That isn't healthy in the slightest. It highlights a truly disturbed mind. And yet, Malcolm sees it as the only solution to his insomnia and night terrors. He views New York City as the place where he will never run out of active cases to investigate. It's a city swarming with perverted minds and psychopathic killers. It's home for him. He needs to be focused on a murder investigation in order to avoid reverting back to his own traumatic upbringing. Of course, he is more defined by his serial killer father than anyone else in his family. Jessica explains here why she never changed her name after that scandal and how it soured her philanthropic pursuits. Meanwhile, Malcolm actually did change his name but still finds himself tortured over the past. His mother doesn't know why he keeps inflicting more and more pain lingering over the details of what could have happened all those years ago. They are comfortably in each other's lives now. They support each other and have an interest in what happens within this family. However, no one checks in on Ainsley. She is the one actually visiting Martin now. That will inevitably be a shock. Right now, Malcolm and Jessica are in the dark though. Instead, Malcolm finds himself incapable of sleeping which forces hallucinations onto his regular life. His night terrors are infecting his actual reality. Many of them could be seen as empty teases. The show needs to provide some sense of momentum in order to reassure the audience that all of this is going somewhere interesting. Progress may be slow for awhile though. Malcolm was sidetracked by the idea that his mother was somehow involved in his father's crimes. He is now convinced that she wasn't. But this hour also closes with the suggestion that something lethal happened during a father-son camping trip. Malcolm still has to remember what exactly though. The pieces of the puzzle are only slowly coming into focus. This is the main narrative drive of the series though. The show is a little more playful with it here because Malcolm is accidentally exposed to a high amount of drugs on the job. It means he is tortured by his own subconscious. The audience could read into that by saying that he fears of ending up just like his father. In this instance though, he may actually believe in the information the person in the jail cell is giving him. It's easier to trust himself than the man who has been proven as a liar. But it's much more effective to see the show start to grow the bonds amongst the characters. Sure, the mystery of Malcolm's upbringing is engaging but it apparently isn't enough to fill an hour of content every episode. So instead, the show becomes a procedural. The murder case here helps flesh out Dani's backstory in a way that brings her closer to Malcolm. She was an undercover cop who got addicted and had to fight her way back to the job. She has managed to do so because of Gil's support. She is the one who ultimately drives the investigation forward. That too is crucial because it makes her an active character. The show doesn't have to solely be about Malcolm and his need to solve crimes - even the most personal to his family. This episode pushes the boundaries a little bit in that regard though it still remains largely fixated on Malcolm's pursuit of the truth as well. Malcolm needs support from friends and family in this profession. That's the only way the show can actually function in a rewarding way over the long term.