What in the bloody hell happened during that camping trip?
Once again, Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 5 left us with more questions than answers, but would we have it any other way? Nope!
The hour also solidified the Prodigal family vibe. It’s official; Papa Gil and his collection of misfit ducklings can warm the cockles of any cold, dead heart.
The series is slowly answering our prayers by filling in some background on the other characters outside of Malcolm. It was a Dani-centric hour, and our girl has grit, fire, and she has overcome a troubled past.
Not to mention, she and Malcolm can officially break out the friendship bracelets. As if some of us weren’t already weaving Malcolm + Dani = Forever bracelets since Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 1.
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The Dani and Malcolm starter pack includes but is not limited to Dani calling his name with concern, Malcolm making sassy quips, and Dani taking care of high Malcolm in his apartment. It also includes them being reckless together, dancing, grilled cheese, and Earl Grey.
We now know why Papa Gil’s youngest and most impulsive kiddos in his brood had an instant connection. They were both saved by Gil. They value the relationship they have with this man who looked beyond their past and demons and took them under his wing.
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Gil Arroyo is the best, and if this hour didn’t do anything, it makes you long for more information about this kind, paternal figure.
Malcolm: What did I say?
Gil: Lay off the Dani profile. Not everyone is keen on revisiting their past.
What is his story? What motivates him to gravitate to young, troubled souls who need a break?
Why must he look so cool all the time? No one should be able to pull off turtlenecks like that!
But Perrineau, of course, was the shining light of the hour. She captured the complexity and vulnerability of her character, and if you didn’t love Dani already, you do now, and the rest of us love her more.
Up until this point, we sensed Dani had a story, but the case of a dead drug dealer and the many connections from it shed light on what lies behind Dani’s tough but sincere exterior.
The hour did a lovely job of showing the viewer before telling them things about Dani.
Malcolm: Are you sure this is about drugs?
JT: He’s literally covered in drugs.
Malcolm gleaned she worked in Narcotics based on her verbiage and expertise at the crime scene when running down what she thought happened.
We knew Estime was someone important to her — that he had helped her in some way, or she benefited from his kindness based on how protective and defensive she was of him.
We could conclude Dani had a history of substance abuse based on the exchange between Gil and Dani at the club.
Dani: Estime’s stash exploded on him during the gunfight.
Gil: What about you?
Dani: I’m fine.
Dani: I promise.
Despite Malcolm (his other pseudo-child) being high as a kite after the drugs exploded in his face and how protective he normally is of Mal, it was Dani who had his undivided attention.
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He wanted assurance and then reassurance that she wasn’t affected by it, and Perrineau and Phillips’ facial expressions and body language built upon the untold story that the dialogue itself merely teased.
It was less clunky than what occasionally happens when Malcolm goes on one of his tangents explaining his profile.
The hour also sets the tone for Dani taking the case to heart by having her guarded the second Malcolm arrived at the crime scene.
She is typically the one more gracious with Malcolm’s presence, but she was in a foul mood at the sight of him and snippy.
Malcolm: You wanna dance?
Dani: Bright, I’m about two seconds from kicking you in the business.
Malcolm: The business is good.
She likely knew Malcolm would profile the heck out of her throughout, and if he stayed away from the case, he wouldn’t get to know her.
It’s something about Dani that came across as if she would rather not be known, and the hour confirmed as much. The case took the team into the drug-dealing world and amidst warring competitors.
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It’s ideal but unrealistic for law enforcement to expect to eradicate the business in its entirety and stop feuds, but Gil’s efforts to have the church as common ground has probably spared many lives and violence.
Dani: People change for better and for worse.
Estime: You forget what I did for you?
Dani: Why do you think I’m here? I’m trying to help you, but if you don’t tell me the truth, cops are going to be all over you.
Speaking with the rival gangs in a safe place confirmed what Malcolm was saying about the killer being known and trusted by the victim.
Dani in her gut probably suspected the killer was someone in the same crew, but she didn’t want to consider it was Estime.
She owed him her life. But in the years since she left Narcotics, Estime climbed the ranks and was the secondhand.
Dani probably shouldn’t have been working the case at all; she was too close to it. Gil is always willing to give his team the benefit of the doubt, though.
He should have anticipated her defying orders, and she should’ve known Malcolm would show up expecting her to be there.
Malcolm: Are you sure that guy’s not dangerous? Because in my experience people who lurk behind giant windows in nightclubs are up to no good.
Dani: You’re profiling a window?
Malcolm: That’s a bad guy window.
He doesn’t play by the rulebook either. It wasn’t ideal and led to a shootout and high Malcolm again, but it got Malcolm on her side.
Poor Dani is the official Malcolm wrangler. She’s always playing babysitter to him, and this time it served as some form of punishment.
It was a blessing in disguise, though. For one, they were some of the best moments of the installment.
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High Malcolm taking her for a spin was adorable. It’s too bad she didn’t let loose a little. His spiel about desire raised a few brows and elicited a chuckle or squeal.
Malcolm: You know what? I will never forget this.
Dani: I’m pretty sure you will.
Malcolm: Thank you for taking care of me.
Dani: What are friends for?
Malcolm: Wait, we’re friends, really?
Dani: No, but really — well, not yet.
Malcolm: I’m out of practice with friends — with companionship.
Dani: It’s alright, I don’t have a lot of friends either. I got issues with trust. I don’t really go there anymore.
Malcolm: You can trust me.
And Dani slugging him to stop his night terrors, especially his response to it, was a highlight too.
Their conversation was endearing. As assumed, Malcolm doesn’t have many friends or experiences with them. Dani admitted it’s an area she struggles with as well.
She doesn’t trust people easily, but she trusts Malcolm and vice versa.
The unique friendship and the potential for it were present since the pilot, but this hour solidified it.
I want to help you, but I can’t do that until you help me understand. I don’t know Estime, you do.
It was the same with their final scene together with the tea. Two loners became friends. They’re great partners too.
They worked seamlessly together talking down Trini. It was a surprising twist having her be the one responsible for the murder of her daughter rather than Estime.
Fabiola’s death was heartbreaking. She was a tool used against Estime by Dasir. Instead of running her own hair salon, she was used as a drug mule like many of the other girls who were being trafficked.
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It’s interesting how Malcolm jumped on board a case that consisted of human trafficking when Jessica has agreed to work with Eve.
Gil: I can’t help you, Bright.
Malcolm: Come on, there has to be something. Nothing that requires a profiler? No murders? No kinks? No boiling bunnies? Nothing deviant? Come on, this is New York!
Cases center him in a way he cannot find with other avenues. It has been that way since he was a young kid on stakeouts with Gil.
Malcolm’s insomnia was disconcerting. It contributed to his hallucinations during his waking hours.
They were creeptastic, and Payne sells the hell out of the horror element of the series.
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His visions are giving him brand new information, and the shoebox his mother caved and gave him offered more to the mystery.
Malcolm: Good morning.
Jessica: Don’t lie to your mother. You look exhausted. If I have to take you to the hospital my whole morning is shot.
It was surprising that Jessica kept the box at all given she burned everything else and has worked toward exorcising everything Martin related from their lives.
The family went on camping trips. The station wagon, chains, maybe the hand touching his face, they all link to this camping trip.
Did he take one alone with his father, or did they only take family trips?
Does this mean Martin and Malcolm took a trip together to dispose of the girl in the box?
What did dad do? What did we do?
Malcolm has blocked out those camping trips, so something traumatic had to happen.
His nightmare of facing himself as his father had to be terrifying for many reasons. His deepest fear is that he’s like his father, and there he was in dream form wearing that cardigan and speaking like Martin.
But what Dream Malcolm was saying got to Malcolm most. He taunted him and sent him spiraling wondering what he was forgetting.
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Why couldn’t he remember? But the line of “what did we do” was striking.
It implies that Martin and Malcolm did something together. The thing is, with this dream, it wasn’t Martin taunting him, it was a version of himself. It was his subconscious speaking to him.
The show is slowly teasing that Malcolm had more involvement with his father’s killings than he realized. It could explain why Jessica is adamant about keeping them apart.
The hour lacked Martin (not to mention an update on Ainsley), but his presence was felt. Malcolm is digging into the past, and maybe it would serve him better if he stopped.
Eve: I just. I have to ask. You were a Milton before you married. That’s practically royalty in this city. Why did you keep it, Whitly? His name.
Jessica: Well, I had been a Whitly longer than I had been a Milton, and I did a lot of good as a Whitly. I let that man take so much from me. I wasn’t going to give him that.
Does anyone else wonder how the new lawyer, Eve, will factor in? She and Malcolm had a spark, and Jessica noticed it. You know she’ll be trying to set them up in no time. But Eve is hard to place.
She wandered into Jessica’s home uninvited and jumped right into working together with her.
She is working in human trafficking, and she knows about The Surgeon and is OK taking Jessica’s money anyway.
Do you think she’s connected to a victim of Martin’s? It already feels like she has an angle.
Malcolm: Dani is right. He didn’t do this, but I have a question. Why is everyone moving in slow motion?
Gil: You okay, Bright?
Malcolm: When my father was arrested, you helped to fill that void. You showed me what a good man looks like. What a good man is.
Gil: He’s high as a kite.
Malcolm: I’m higher than a kite.
I did like that she asked Jessica about the name change. Jessica tried to sell a heartfelt response about not letting Martin take that from her, but it didn’t make sense.
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It was his name, not hers. Shouldn’t her name matter more? Wouldn’t it carry more weight if her charity work was related to the esteemed name from her family?
We have some new information to process, and the mystery continues.
Any new theories, Prodigal Fanatics?
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Sound off below!
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