I thought we could do with a more whimsical subject after the last miseryfest of a blog and it’s been a very long week (check on your friends with strong willed daughters who don’t like home schooling, they are not okay). So I figured I’d cheer myself by writing about a subject that is very dear to my heart.
What’s your favourite (it’s not misspelled, I’m British, live with it) show? I’ll tell you mine. It’s ‘Prodigal Son’. In a year that has, truthfully, seen me sat on the floor sobbing because my four-year-old shouted at me when her learning assault course wasn’t exactly right, this show really made me smile and that has given it a disproportionate sense of value. Made yet greater by the fact that my husband announced that he didn’t like it, so it was elevated yet further to the status of ‘Mummy’s little treat’. To be indulged in only when the house is empty and I can curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea in my hand and an excited little ‘Eeep!’ in my heart.
If you’ve not watched it, it’s about Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne), the son of a serial killer, Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), who grows up to be a manic and traumatized criminal profiler, who solves crimes while battling PTSD. If you think that sounds rather dour, you’d be dead wrong. (Equally if you haven’t watched, don’t read this, it’s overflowing spoilers). If this show was a dessert, it would be a knickerbocker glory, and I would be in need of a whole new wardrobe. ‘Prodigal Son’ is infused with a joyful, deranged exuberance, Sheen plays the world’s most lovable psychopath, while Payne flies from hand tremors to one liners with the skill of a circus performer on the trapeze. I love this show. Love it. The fact that I am intensively parenting my way through a second British lockdown in the knowledge that season 2 is showing the US, as we speak, and I won’t get to watch it for months, feels like a monumental injustice (I hear it’s on hulu, I don’t even know what that is). This blog is a self-indulgence. An opportunity to think about what I might have to look forward to when it finally crosses the pond.
Where to start? So much to say and so much space on the page…..
I guess the obvious place to start is how on earth is Malcolm going to wiggle his way out of this one? We left him framed for the murder of his former girlfriend’s assassin. We know how he was framed and, indeed, Malcolm has been able to track down the real culprit but he won’t turn her in, for she is the girl in the box herself. The one he was told didn’t exist and who has haunted his dreams and hallucinations for much of this first series. Can Edrisa (Keiko Agena), the medical examiner, possibly pull another cat out of the bag? Or will the girl in the box turn herself in for the sad eyed boy who’s tortured himself, for most of his life, with the thought that he couldn’t save her? I know what I would do if I was her. I’m hoping it’s the latter. I think Malcolm deserves for someone to save him for a change.
Of course, then there’s Gil (Lou Diamond Philips (how cool is this guy?)) in hospital having been stabbed in the stomach. Obviously, he can’t die. But then stranger things have happened (that horse becoming pope (if you get that, you’re my people)). I wouldn’t usually worry but, just before being stabbed in the stomach, it looked as though Gil might finally be getting it together with Jessica Whitly (Bellamy Young), Malcolm’s mother. There’s a beautiful poetry to that and a kind of justice in seeing Malcom finally get the parents he deserves but…but…it looks like a happy ending and the trouble with happy endings is that they usually come at the end. The end of what though? The end of Gil is unacceptable. Possibly the end of Gil’s time in the police force? That would be interesting and a new level of tension would be created with the arrival of a new team leader. But what would Gil do with his retirement? Or maybe the path to true love has a few more bumps in road with the real happy ending can be found?
We can’t possibly forget the potential fate of Malcolm’s sister, Ainsley Whitly (Halston Sage), we left her saying ‘What just happened?’ (as well she might, I was thinking the exact same thing, love, and I read the spoilers) having just brutally slashed a very bad man’s throat. I’m not sure if there is any way that she can use a self-defense plea. Is she going to be reunited with Daddy in prison? Is she going to start hallucinating like Malcolm? Are we going to start finding out about the repressed memories that she doesn’t yet know she has? Can’t really remember anything about her Dad, huh? We shall see. One way or another I see her storyline becoming a lot more interesting.
Martin Whitly himself was left in the process of more or less stirring up a prison riot. Michael Sheen was the big draw for me when I first turned on and he is epic (not enough to get me to watch ‘Good Omens’ though, It was my favourite book ever when I was a teenager and I’m just so scared in case I don’t like it). Just thinking about him saying ‘My boy’ starts the little ‘Eeep!’ building in my belly and makes the smile spread across my face. But I find I have no idea what to wish for. Further exploration of the dichotomy between his apparent love for his family and his evident cruelty and psychopathy. More time to explore his relationship with Jessica? Obviously, more time with Malcom. Maybe just more? He’s brilliant.
What of the rest of the team? My sincere hope for Dani (Aurora Perrineau) is that she doesn’t become romantically entangled with Malcolm. I’m aware that this might be an unpopular view. They are both beautiful people, who like each other, so obviously it must be true love. Let’s just apply a tiny bit of emotional maturity to that for just a second. Malcolm is an emotional mess. There is no future in any relationship he has right now. Yes, of course, it’s wonderful to think that that one special someone could kiss it all better but that simply isn’t true. Dani may well be one of those people who long to fix a wounded soul but those people often break themselves in the process. I think we can all, wholeheartedly, say that we want something better for her. Not to mention the fact that she is an awesome character in her own right and does not deserve to be turned into a bit player in his story. She hasn’t yet had her time to shine. There is a lot more that can be done with Dani far beyond anything that we could achieved by turning her into a love interest. Equally if she isn’t a fixer, then she’s excited by the crazy itself and that would be disasterous for them both, mutually assured destruction, she won’t help him heal, she’s throw fuel on the flames. Not because she means to but because she won’t be able to help herself. If that hasn’t convinced you, then I refer you back to my earlier point about happy endings, they come at the end for a reason. Happiness is boring. Not, of course, to those who are experiencing it, but definitely to those who are watching it. Good narrative is based around tension and conflict, even if you are entirely sold on the Macolm/Dani story, the buildup will be far more interesting than the consummation, I promise you. Personally, I think what Malcom needs right now is a friend and she has that written all over her.
I hope we don’t find out JT’s (Frank Harts) name. It’s too much fun not knowing. I’m sure that we’ll run out of potential options eventually (unless it turns out to be Jamface Turtleneck, no one’s ever going to guess that). I hope JT also gets to do a bit more. He’s very likeable, and every show needs an everyman, but it seems unfair in the face of all these overblown characters that he’s so very normal. I also hope he has a healthy baby, and one that sleeps well. (I have two that still don’t. They’re adorable, mostly, but if I could only find the off switch…)
Then there’s Edresa, her longing for Malcom is like a character in its own right, following him around vaporously, hanging on to his ankles when he tries to leave the room. The writers have created more to her character than that but it often it comes back to swooning and making a tit out of her herself. I really hope that series two finds her a nice boyfriend. Maybe it’s because she reminds me of myself as a teenager and she’s awoken a weird sense of anxiety that maybe it’s not emotional maturity that has saved me from that kind of embarrassment in adult life and that, instead, it’s just the fact that I’ve only been single for about two months in all that time. There but for the grace of god go I. Poor, poor woman, please, please put her out of her misery and throw her a bone. (No. That pun wasn’t intended but it’s far too good to take out now. If you’re giggling like a child, you are also my people).
And back to Malcolm. Apart from getting out of a murder charge, what do I hope for Malcolm? I would say that I wish he would find some inner peace but where would be the fun in that? No, lots more juicy murders to solve. That’s my wish for him. That and digging up some more of his hidden talents, last season it was snake charming and ballet, maybe this season it can be hot wiring cars and shiatsu massage? Because why the hell not? Otherwise, while I am totally against his getting together with Dani, I would, instead, be interested in meeting some former girlfriends. His sister said he hadn’t had a relationship in years, not never. I do wonder what kind of girl would have stuck around with a boy who gets shackled to his bed each night for long enough to be called a ‘relationship’? On the flip side, I do also hope that we can perve over him just a little bit less. It must have been around the second or third time he was being hit on by a random supporting character that I started to think that maybe this was all getting just a little bit creepy. We are talking about a character who has a resident swooner. I’m not sure I’ve seen this much attention drawn to character’s sexuality outside of James Bond. Yes, yes, I had noticed, hard not to really, but the same could be said about my boobs and that doesn’t make the attention they’ve gotten over the years any less, well, creepy. I can’t help but think that the poor boy has enough problems without adding sexual harassment to the list. Just sayin’.
Anyway, that’s quite enough of that. Three pages devoted to a TV show must be some kind of record and I have to protect at least some of my dignity. (‘Haha, what dignity?’ I hear you cry). I have really enjoyed writing it though and it has really wetted my appetite for what is to come. I have no idea when the second series of ‘Prodigal Son’ will finally wend its way over to the UK. Until then, I’ll be waiting, with a little excited ‘Eeep!’ in my heart.