It was Ainsley’s time to shine, and Halston Sage had a blast.
For probably the first time in her life, Ainsley was on the entire Whitly family’s mind on Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 5.
And Ainsley herself summed things up well when she told Malcolm that she’s allowed to be messed up too.
Now everyone is worried about Ainsley. Unless you’re like Martin, and you’re waiting for her to come into her own as a killer.
Malcolm and Ainsley’s interactions were captivating. For Malcolm, he was on the other end of the spectrum for a change. He got a front-row seat to what it’s probably like for those around him worried about his mental health state.
All of his lecturing and prying was particularly rich given the source. He was far from subtle, and even though (that we know of), Ainsley is unaware of why everyone is suddenly treating her with kid’s gloves, she’s smart enough to read between the lines.
It doesn’t sound as if any of them ever considered that Ainsley could be like Martin. It’s something they were in constant fear of with Malcolm, and every microexpression and statement was worthy of scrutiny.
Ainsley’s rapt interest in the murder investigation and solving the crime had Malcolm and Jessica reading into her every action, and no doubt, they fueled one another in their paranoia.
The implications behind Malcolm’s constant inquiries as he tried to determine if she was sympathetic for the victims or showed the appropriate emotions for each situation didn’t escape Ainsley.
Malcolm: There are two dead women, Ainsley. How does that make you feel?
Ainsley: Terrible. Why would you even ask me that?
If anything, Malcolm and Jessica’s actions, but namely Bright’s, seem as if they may trigger Ainsley in some way. She didn’t have any reason to consider if she was reacting to things appropriately or if her brother thought she was capable of murder until now.
And we know how Ainsley operates. Similarly to Malcolm, if you tell her not to do something, then she’s running headfirst into it anyway. Jessica and Malcolm have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want her involved in investigations, but now she wants to see the appeal of them.
It was the perfect case for her to get involved since it involved people she knew and an area she’s knowledgeable in –etiquette. Ainsley took it as a bit of sibling competition, but her seeming callousness over the ordeal had Malcolm concerned.
Martin: She’s made of tougher stuff.
Malcolm: Because she’s your daughter?
Martin: Because she’s your mother’s.
But the nerve of Malcolm, right? He started the hour elated that they had a new case. He practically geeked out at the crime scene. He’s often excited and eager, chasing the high of cracking a case. It gives him the dopamine boost that his candy does.
He of all people should’ve understood that, and yet, he spent most of the hour afraid that Ainsley’s interests meant something sinister.
The most eyebrow-raising moment for Ainsley during the investigation was when she broadcasted live from the crime scene she discovered before the police got there. It was insensitive and gross.
Unfortunately, it also wasn’t unlike what you’d expect from an ambitious journalist. But everything else was a matter of Ainsley channeling Malcolm. She had some of the same methodologies and a similar knack for recklessness.
Malcolm is fascinating; he often acts as if he has a monopoly on the trauma of being associated with Martin.
Even with everything that Malcolm has gone through, he doesn’t seem to make the connection between things he has experienced and what he’s doing to Ainsley.
The doll case was creepy, and the result of Windsor’s secret daughter serving as the killer was a nice twist.
You had this woman who lived in secret with a mother who refused to claim her in public. Secrecy and lies destroyed Rachel, and Malcolm acknowledged that for the case, but he has not reached the same conclusion with Ainsley.
What if hiding the truth hurts people, turns them into something they’re not?
The longer they hide the truth from her, the worse off she is. They aren’t doing her any favors by keeping her in the dark. If anything, they’re delaying the inevitable.
It often feels as though they’ve taken for granted that she’s supposed to be the well-adjusted one. And now everyone is spazzing out after she killed someone and showed that maybe she isn’t.
She’s showing some curiosity in things, and her new habit of spending time in Martin’s office is a bit alarming. Could it be that she’s starting to take an interest in learning more about her father and what happened? What’s weird is, I can’t say it brought her and Martin any closer.
Ainsley: Why are you looking at me like I’m the debutant slayer?
Malcolm: It’s not that.
Ainsley: Exactly. I’m the kickass reporter who stopped the killer. With your help of course.
Malcolm: You put yourself in danger.
Ainsley: But I had to figure it out. Not who did it but–
Malcolm: Why she did it. Yeah, I get it.
Ainsley: My father was a serial killer, too, Malcolm. I was young, but I have a right to be messed up too.
But Jessica’s terror is a whole other breed. What did you make of her dream? Was it a nightmare prompted by everything that happened, or was it based on memory?
Young Ainsley was skilled at playing hide ‘n seek, and she had both of her parents worked up over where she was before Martin figured out something was off with the grandfather clock.
If we’re to believe that there’s some truth to that, does it mean that Ainsley may have witnessed things? What if Malcolm wasn’t the only one who saw the girl in the box? What if Ainsley saw something too?
And if that’s the case, then perhaps there are more memories she has repressed. It opens up possibilities for Ainsley, and they’re interesting.
Martin: Ah, here she comes. My beautiful bride.
Jessica: Mr. David, may we have the room. Oh, please, I promise. No stabbies.
It seems as though Jessica may know more than we do about Ainsley’s susceptibility, and it’s why she’s the one who is the most freaked out right now.
She even went to Martin with her concerns, and she typically tries to avoid him like the plague. It’s easy to blame Martin for everything, and he invites some of it when his reaction to his daughter’s deed is that of a proud father.
It also bothered her that Malcolm turned to Martin for help rather than tell her the truth. But Jessica thinking she could keep an adult woman away from her father or whisk her away to rehab, and that’ll resolve the issue, is unrealistic.
As Martin said, you can’t rehabilitate murder. The real concern for Ainsley should come whenever she remembers what happened. Or perhaps if Endicott’s murder closes in on them.
Martin: What do you need from me?
Jessica: A partner. Help me save them.
Martin: Of course, and we will. Even these chains can’t stop me. No, there’s nothing I won’t do to save my family.
Jessica wants Martin to help her save Ainsley and their kids, but I have no idea what she’s expecting. Is she referring to covering up the murder, or is she talking about their souls?
If it’s the latter, how does Martin help with that? She’s trying to protect them, but it’s only so much she can do to save them from themselves if she thinks they’re predisposed to Martin’s dark urges.
And since he was thrilled at the news that Ainsley killed someone, then isn’t he the last person to be of help? His final words with Jessica displayed his undeniable love for his children but only served him.
He’s using that to fuel his desire to escape from Claremont. Something tells me he and Jessica have differing opinions on what it means to save their children.
Jessica: You are a cancer, Martin. And the closer they get to you, the more they become you.
Martin: You know that’s not how cancer works, right?
Speaking of children, JT returned and didn’t have much to say about his new baby. Boo!
It was nice to see him and Gil and JT’s portion of the investigation. Sometimes they focus more on whatever role Malcolm plays in it.
The dollmaker was creepy, but it made for some fun moments.
And with Dani away working with Vice, Malcolm mostly ran solo or teamed up with Ainsley or Edrisa.
Overly caffeinated Edrisa is more oddball and fun than regular Edrisa. And she has a knack for solving cases too and obscure knowledge that helped often.
She and Malcolm make a great pair, but it was also amusing that much like Ainsley, she, too, served as the Malcolm during the investigation. Edrisa’s kooky quirks, random knowledge, and the way she jumped into everything, for those moments, it was as if he was working with himself.
They’re finding new and fun ways to incorporate Edrisa, and I love it.
As for JT, is this the end of his conflict with his fellow officer?
You’re scared, and that’s why you’re such a miserable cop. Because that hatred you feel? It’s poison. But I’m not gonna let it poison my life too.
O’Malley is a piece of crap. The concerning thing is that while the department would prefer to sweep this under the rug, O’Malley gets to continue his behavior on the streets with citizens.
It came across as J.T. taking the higher road, protecting his job and essentially O’Malley’s by not pursuing the complaint. It would’ve been an uphill battle and a political nightmare, and there’s no way he could carry on with it without effects on his life and career.
J.T. got to have his parting words, and the whole thing is unfair. But, I suppose, it gives us insight into how the good cops struggle to hold the bad ones accountable.
Nevertheless, it made me smile that Gil was right by J.T.’s side during mediation. He deserved that kind of support, even if it meant Malcolm had to deal with Meredith Grey’s neurotic mother burning the house down in a visually superb display by himself.
Over to you, Prodigal Son Fanatics. What are your thoughts on this one? Hit the comments below!
You can watch Prodigal Son online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.