Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 7 Review: Q&A


Is there another word to describe Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 7 other than thrilling? It was the most suspenseful hour of the series to date.

As in, there's not a hint of hyperbole in saying it probably left you breathless and on the edge of your seat leaning into the screen and distraught when the hour came to a close.

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The installment left us with so many questions. Where do you begin with them? 

Will Ainsley be an asset or a liability in getting the upper hand on Martin? Did she give Martin the flattering exclusive he craved?

Related: Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 6 Review: All Souls & Sadists 

What exactly happened on the infamous camping trip? Did Malcolm take part in a murder or something else nefarious with his father and his father's mentee?

Daddy's Girl  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 7

Is Malcolm a killer too? Are those flashes repressed memories or his brain playing tricks on him?

Who is the new serial killer taunting Martin on The Surgeon's phone? Did, and this cannot be stressed enough, did they just bench Martin?!

So much excitement happened in this hour, Malcolm isn't the only one who's hands are shaking.

Well, as I live and breathe. We got ourselves a family reunion.


Oh, this dark and twisted family dramedy is quite the addiction.

Another Killer  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 7

We have another serial killer on our hands, and it's Paul Lazar. Unlike the murderer on Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 1, Lazar isn't a copycat or Surgeon fanboy.

No, Lazar is a Bronx-bred mentee of the Surgeon himself. Somehow, it makes him all the more terrifying.

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Not even the sexiness of Michael Raymond-James' voice could make the phone call any less chilling.

Lazar: I was wondering if anyone would answer.
Malcolm: Who is this?
Lazar: An old friend of your father's.
Malcolm: Who are you? Why are you calling?
Lazar: It's good to see you in that junkyard, Malcolm. It's been too long.
Malcolm: What do you mean? How do I know you?
Lazar: You don't remember? It was a hell of a camping trip.

Malcolm could barely process finding his father's station wagon covered in blood before he was being shot at by the person who owned the junkyard.

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Now that we know it's Lazar, and we're aware of the connection he has to Martin, it makes sense how the station wagon sat there for two decades like a shrine or commemoration of whatever happened that night.

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But dear heavens, Malcolm can't go one installment without his life in peril. Can they wrap the man in bubble wrap for OUR sanity?

It's no wonder Jessica self-medicates the way she does since caring and loving Malcolm is stressful as heck.

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It was not the time to indulge in some pizza while enjoying the first few moments.

Unless, of course, you're as unfazed as Edrisa by bodies smashed to smithereens.

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Edrisa's nerdy cuteness knows no bounds and extended to using pizza tools to handle bodies.

If you don't love Edrisa to pieces (pardon the pun), you're wrong. It's not up for debate.

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Malcolm knew Martin was connected to the murders, even if he didn't perform them himself. Gil's concern over Malcolm's near manic state meant he needed to be convinced.

However, as the evidence poured in, and Edrisa backed him up too, he confirmed it was.

Gil: Bright, it's time we say what we've been avoiding.
Malcolm: We have a new serial killer.
Gil: He's not new. He's been killing for years, on my watch.
Malcolm: That stops now.

It was Edrisa bringing a switchblade Malcolm recognized from his youth and that damn camping trip that prompted him to crash Ainsley's interview with Martin.

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Ainsley didn't have as much presence in the first handful of episodes, but she's well on her way to becoming one of the most fascinating.

The Ainsley debate leading up to her interview had some thinking she would either fall victim to him or get the upper-hand.

In reality, it was a combination of both.

Jessica: Thinking you are more clever then Martin Whitly, that's the worst mistake you can make. He'll exploit you. He'll find a way to come off sympathetic, and you will be left sitting there like ...
Ainsley:  Like what?
Jessica: His accomplice!

Jessica and Malcolm were worried about Ainsley confronting her father, and they should have been. The issue with Ainsley was she took it as an insult to her competence and not as a warning of how powerful and manipulative Martin is.

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Ainsley tends to treat Jessica and Malcolm as if they're somehow weak, and she's exempt from her father's manipulative mechanizations. By the end of the hour, he played her like a fiddle, too.

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The best part about it is discovering that even the moment we assumed she had the control was hindered by Martin's plan.

You had a plan. It's good to have a plan.


He had orchestrated Tevin's attack and the lockdown from the second he knew the interview was going to happen.

Chess Master  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 7

Martin is a diabolical genius and seasoned mastermind. If he weren't, you know, a serial killer, you'd want to lavish the man with praise and be in awe of his skills.

Every scene with Martin and his family is like a game of chess unfolding. They have to choose their words carefully and listen to his intently.

Martin: I'm not a perfect man, it's true. I'm in a psychiatric hospital after all, and sadly, the amenable stigma that still plagues people with mental health --
Ainsley: I hardly think that --
Martin: I was sick. I was sick. My brain was diseased now that diagnosis is as real as cancer and lupus. Please, let me finish. Um, what consoles me in the darkest of nights is that as a doctor I saved thousands of lives, so if we're judging the worth of a person based on the mark they leave on the world, mine is a net positive. By a lot. How many people can say that?

Everything has a double or ulterior meaning. It's always wordplay and psychological mind games with Martin.

He gets a thrill out of it, too. Malcolm knows his father does it with all of their interactions, but he can't help but fall into his web anyway.

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The relationship between the two of them is the most complex Whitly bond of them all. We know it's partly due to Martin's attempts to groom Malcolm to be like him.

And whatever their past is together in the darkest moments of which Malcolm can't recall.

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Martin is obsessed with Malcolm as he is with him.

Ainsley: You claim to care about your son, but what you did to him, harmed him, irreparably.
Martin: That's not true.
Ainsley: Isn't it? He's been diagnosed with Complex PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, night terrors... Dr. Whitly, do you know what happens to the human body when it withstands that much stress for that period of time?
Martin: I'm not sure that's relevant.
Ainsley: He was fired from the only job he was ever good at. He hasn't been in a stable relationship for years, and the ten years he went without seeing you were by far the healthiest, happiest of his life. What can that say about you, except that you are an absolutely terrible father?
Martin: I'm not.

He seems to appreciate his daughter, but he underestimated her too. She switched up the questions she planned to ask him. She thought her method of doing things would work to her advantage.

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She wanted to make a real show of getting the message across of how dangerous Martin is and to nail home how he's a serial killer.

To her frustration, Martin adjusted to the switch-up, and he played it to his advantage. No matter how many times Ainsley brought up his victims and the lives he took, as a surgeon, he could reference the many lives he saved.

Martin: You're very good at your job, sweetheart. Your mother and I couldn't be prouder, but have you ever saved someone's life?
Ainsley: This isn't about me.
Martin: No. No, it's about legacy. Did you know they named a medical procedure after me?

Based on the direction their chat was going in before Malcolm got there, Martin, a mass serial killer, came across like a life-saving doctor who is trying to break the stigma of mental illness by discussing the unfortunate effects of his disease via murder.

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He was charming and funny; he came across sincere, and he'll probably have more fans if the interview airs. Martin played Ainsley with ease, and despite the nature of what he was discussing, it was impressive.

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However, Ainsley was quick on her feet and noticed the way Martin and Malcolm interacted with one another. She figured out she could use that to get ahead of Martin. The Whitly men are mutual triggers for each other.

Ainsley: He just wanted to love you, and you caused him so much pain.
Martin: Stop it!
Ainsley: What kind of father does that Stop it I was a food father dammit. Say it again. Say I was a terrible father!

Martin remains a narcissist, the discussion of his misdeeds is something he gets off on anyway. It's an acknowledgment of his work.

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He could control the narrative and spin it however he pleased while discussing the murders. He couldn't do the same thing when Ainsley threw him a curveball and mentioned he was a terrible father.

It was a blow to Martin's ego. He has always maintained that he's an exceptional dad, minus the pesky murder business.

Don't punish a woman for having ambition, Mr. David. Time's up!


Ainsley saw the real Martin and what he's capable of when she goaded him using Malcolm. It was disturbing how she was willing to expose her brother and exploit his poor mental health and more to do it.

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Did anyone else's heartbreak when she bluntly described the plethora of issues he's afflicted with including his inability to sustain relationships or the job he loved?

Ouch, Ainsley!

What an eventful day we're having.


In those split seconds, Malcolm looked like a vulnerable, embarrassed child.

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Martin takes a twisted credit for Malcolm being the way that he is, and up until then, Malcolm's copious mental health issues and effects of trauma were something Martin didn't mind exploiting too.

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If his argument for being a serial killer was that it's a mental deficit or anomaly, then Malcolm's PTSD and other things, to Martin, coincide with Malcolm being like him.

Ironically, throughout their interview, Martin was telling Ainsley everything she needed to know. Like most narcissists, he likes the idea of his work living on in some fashion.

Malcolm: Our camping trip, what happened there, Dr. Whitly?
Martin: Perhaps we better table this for now. Seems like you're taking up all or your sisters time. There's only so much dad to go around.

He's caught up in legacy. He's fascinated with Malcolm taking on his legacy of a murderer, but he's Martin. He always has a plan.

His plan came in the form of Lazar. He's the back-up plan. For Martin, Lazar is his legacy.

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He can look to Lazar as an extension of himself.

Martin didn't know Ainsley well, but he figured her out anyway. She's ambitious and willing to do anything for a good story and soundbite.

Ainsley: Thank you, really.
Martin: Aww, my pleasure sweetheart.

He knew if she saw some action at the facility, she would want to report on it. He also realized if her life was somewhat in jeopardy and he could pose as a hero, he could win her over.

Reassurance Again  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 7

It was something very paternal about Martin wanting to be his daughter's hero.

It could not have been more fortuitous that he arranged for Tevin to force the facility to go into lockdown and stab Ainsley's boyfriend, Jin.

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The Whitly children were stuck in the room with their father, and he was able to put on a show.

Yes, there it is. Twenty years, and it feels like yesterday. Let's get to work!


It couldn't have worked out better for him. The drama and intensity were too much.

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Martin was the only surgeon in the room, thus Jin's life was in Martin's capable but deadly hands.

He had to have known Malcolm was susceptible to having flashbacks or something in the presence of Martin.

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Martin spent hours teaching young Malcolm all sorts of things so talking him through the procedure would've been nothing.

Martin: People who suffer from our sickness have a tendency to find others who suffer from it too. Sometimes to enable or, uh, admire. In this case, I was, um, a mentor of sorts.
Malcolm: For who. What's his name

Unfortunately, Malcolm choked. His memories got the better of him, and the tremor was back. He couldn't perform anything while his hands were shaking.

Presenting Something  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 1

It left no choice but for Martin to be unbound and given a scalpel. He was in his element and living for the moment.

It was evident we lost Ainsley when she turned the camera on to record everything Martin did.

She gave him the type of attention he longed for and fed right into the narrative he was pushing. Now the story is about how Martin's career as a surgeon who saved lives supersedes the murders he committed.

Jessica: So, you're saying that my children went to see their serial killer father in serial killer prison, and it didn't go well? I'm shocked. Truly.
Malcolm: Please enjoy your I told you so, but even you could not have foreseen this.

The entire scene was brilliant, and everyone played their roles to perfection.

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Ainsley didn't even realize she had fallen into her father's trap, and it was after she gave him a run for his money and caught him off guard.

Malcolm looked on frazzled, fragile, and horrified. He watched his father manipulate Ainsley, and he knew the exact moment Martin became "The Surgeon" Ainsley was distant with to "Daddy."

Jessica: This is what he does, Malcolm. He draws people in, gains their trust, makes them love him, and then when he has all the power? He ruins them.
Malcolm: Yes, I know that story.
Jessica: Yes, he ruined your childhood, but he did not ruin you. You are made of tougher stuff.

It was what Malcolm feared, and there was nothing he could do about it. You sensed he was upset with himself too. He couldn't overcome his reactions to his father to protect his sister.

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It was delicious drama, and the whole time Martin was delivering those trademark humorous lines with that incredible delivery that has become a staple for Sheen.

Again, Martin has no business being this freaking funny no matter the circumstances, and yet, he makes you giggle in glee.

Well, as I live and breathe. We got ourselves a family reunion.

He was ecstatic to get a scalpel in his hand, and he ate up the camera time and the look of gratitude and adoration in his daughter's eyes.

Martin is an evil genius.

Chess Master  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 7

He also took pleasure in sticking it to his son. He wouldn't give Lazar's actual name. He name-dropped St Edwards instead of telling Malcolm flat out what was happening.

He knew he would face repercussions, such as solitary confinement, once they discovered he orchestrated the lockdown.

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It meant he wreaked havoc, likely signaled Lazar to stir up trouble and guaranteed he was inaccessible to Malcolm.

Dani: I am taking this personally.
Malcolm: I get it. It's your hood.
Dani: Don't -- don't say that.

He did all of this while giving clues and making implications again that Malcolm did some unspeakable things on the trip.

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He took pleasure in reminding Malcolm that the switchblade belonged to him, and he hid behind Ainsley's presence "tabling" the camping trip conversation for later, despite knowing damn well the "later" wouldn't come anytime soon.

When it comes to Malcolm, Martin is like a cat with a rat.

He likes to play with his food, and Malcolm makes it easy for him. Now, he's confident in his legacy.

Ainsley, if you do not have a plan to make him look bad, he will look good.


He has a clever daughter who still exhibits some traits that make him proud. He has won her over, so his family isn't at a loss, and she's going to share with the world an image of her father as the complex individual he is, who killed people, yes, but also saved them.

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He also has a serial killing mentee out there to keep Malcolm and the team going, and his protege learned from the best.

Then, of course, there's Malcolm whom he looks to as another extension of himself.

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Martin is in solitary confinement in a mental facility, but somehow, the man is always winning.

Somehow, it's enjoyable that he is.

Team Assignment  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 7

But, does this mean they've benched Martin? For how long? Will we still see Sheen in flashbacks?

While we've learned the show does well on its own, and everything does not hinge on an affable Sheen, the Martin withdrawal will be a struggle regardless.

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But, we have Paul Lazar to look forward to, and anyone familiar with Michael Raymond-James' work knows he's going to kill this role.

Lazar: I was wondering if anyone would answer.
Malcolm: Who is this?
Lazar: An old friend of your father's.
Malcolm: Who are you? Why are you calling?
Lazar: It's good to see you in that junkyard, Malcolm. It's been too long.
Malcolm: What do you mean? How do I know you?
Lazar: You don't remember? It was a hell of a camping trip.

He's another fantastic addition to an already strong cast.

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The rest of the team members weren't as present during this hour, but it worked best that way.

We all know they'll be having their boots to the ground in search of Lazar.

Like Dani said, it's personal for all of them now. She's invested in a case involving people from her hood (bless Malcolm's heart trying to sound cool while saying it).

Dani: I am taking this personally.
Malcolm: I get it. It's your hood.
Dani: Don't -- don't say that.

Gil not only has taken it personal that another serial killer was under his nose the entire time, but as Malcolm's pseudo-dad, he wants to put this to bed from that angle too.

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Is anyone else picking up on the vibes between Gil and Jessica? With each passing installment, Jessica has grown distant from Martin's actions.

It could mean she didn't have any role in it at all, or they could be luring us into a false sense of comfort. It's hard to say, but if Jessica is on the up, which is what's suggested, then we can enjoy the chemistry between her and Gil.

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Gil will be Mr. Steal your Girl and Steal your son. When will we get a Gil and Martin showdown? It's bound to be epic!

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Q & A was an exciting and suspensful hour, and it felt like a game-changer too.

The next installment cannot come fast enough.

Over to you, Prodigal Son Fanatics.

There is so much to discuss, so hit the comments below and let's hear from you! See you in the comment section.

You can watch Prodigal Son online here via TV Fanatic. 


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