‘Prodigal Son’ Season 2 Episode 2 Recap: “Speak of the Devil”

Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 2
Michael Sheen and Tom Payne in ‘Prodigal Son’ season 2 episode 2 (Photo by Phil Caruso © 2021 Fox Media LLC)

Season two episode two of Fox’s Prodigal Son opens with Martin (Michael Sheen) in the middle of a therapy session. After a little prompting, he confesses he’s worried about his son. And speak of the devil (which is also the episode’s title), said son is getting grilled by his mom over skipping out on visits to his therapist.

Malcolm (Tom Payne) reveals he’s on a break from therapy. He claims he’s just going through the regular “life of a serial killer’s son” stuff.

Martin rings up his son, begging for a visit. He’s excited he now has access to the yard and suggests that a visit could be helpful, given the horrible secret Malcolm’s keeping. Martin believes he’s the only one who can help Malcolm work through things.

Back at home, Malcolm catches Ainsley (Halston Sage) with a knife and is doubly shocked to learn it’s because she’s actually helping out by setting the table. She’s concerned she still doesn’t remember much from the night Nicholas died. The subject turns to a less stressful topic; Ainsley announces she’s moving back to her apartment.

Jessica (Bellamy Young) seems fine with this and is even helping her move out. Jessica’s in a good mood and Malcolm asks if it’s because of her relationship with Gil. The question shocks both Jessica and Ainsley, and Jessica denies there’s anything going on between them.

Fortunately, Jessica’s let off the hook when Malcolm’s called out to a murder scene. JT (Frank Harts) is already there and claims he’s doing okay after being nearly killed by racist cops who assumed he was a perp, not one of their own.

JT describes their new case as “creepy ass” which is actually a perfect description. The murder victim, whose name is Father Reyes, was strung up by his feet and left hanging from the ceiling. There are restraints, holy water, and a crucifix nearby along with the victim’s blood. Both Edrisa (Keiko Agena) and Malcolm believe it looks ritualistic, and a giggly Edrisa jokes about how they finish each other’s sentences.

Edrisa describes Father Reyes as having been expertly exsanguinated.

Sister Agnes found the body and after explaining how she came upon the scene, Malcolm asks if Father Reyes performed exorcisms. His question stems from a well-used copy of the Rite of Exorcism on the floor, spattered with blood.

Sister Agnes won’t confirm or deny anything.

From her vantage point on scaffolding above the crime scene, Edrisa points out the blood on the floor is either a symbol or letters. It turns out the writing is in Aramaic, according to Sister Agnes, and spells out Abaddon…as in Abaddon the Destroyer, angel of the abyss from the Book of Revelation.

Malcolm tells those assembled he knows the killer’s name. Wait for it…it’s the Devil!

Professor Jonah Shaw (Damian Young) joins the group and explains he’s been helping preserve the artwork but doesn’t attend the church. He barely knew Father Reyes but had heard about the Father being an exorcist.

The next to join the investigation is Archbishop Argento who refuses to discuss Father Reyes’ work or share his records. Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) appears to be okay with that, but Malcolm is visibly frustrated. Gil explains he’s simply trying to establish a rapport with the Church.

Gil asks for a profile and Malcolm believes it was a ritual performed by someone who identifies as a demon. The killer would be presenting symptoms similar to possession. He’s not sure who might have done it but thinks Martin might be able to offer some insight.

Martin’s outside in the yard on a tight leash but able to walk around the garden when Malcolm seeks his help. He comes up with an expert they can use, a fellow inmate who goes by the name Friar Pete (Christian Borle). Friar Pete went on a killing spree after being kicked out of a monastery and now he’ll serve as their consultant.

Together, Martin, Malcolm, and Friar Pete come up with the idea that the 44 cuts inflicted on Father Reyes have to do with exorcism. Friar Pete thinks they should look for a doctor who approves exorcisms for the Catholic church.

Gil uses his charm to get info on a doctor connected to Reyes, and Malcolm and JT show up at one of his patient’s home following a lead. Before they head inside, JT explains the patient – Norman – was violent and untreatable, causing the doctor to refer him to Reyes.

Norman’s mom appears to be scared of her son and crosses herself before laying down a line of salt in the doorway. She warns Malcolm and JT to stay inside the salt lines on the floor in Norman’s room.

Norman’s seated at a piano when they begin their questioning. Norman recalls Father Reyes visited him last week here in his room. “The salt keeps him out,” says Norman who claims he never leaves home. When JT asks who he’s referring to, Norman says the demon.

JT and Malcolm have a whispered conversation about Norman’s possible guilt. Malcolm doesn’t think he’s the killer but, against JT’s advice, he tests the young man by crossing over the salt lines. After he moves over the line, Norman turns to Malcolm and says, “I knew it was you. You’re a demon.”

Norman’s extremely agitated as he confesses he’s a killer…and so is Malcolm. Norman says the demon’s in his blood and launches an attack at Malcolm which is abruptly cut off once Malcolm returns behind the salt.

After Norman’s hauled off to the hospital, Malcolm informs Gil and Dani that Norman has recurrent identity disturbances. Gil and Dani believe Norman’s the killer, but Malcolm doesn’t think so. The 44 cuts were too precise and Norman has demonstrated he would have been uncontrollable during an attack.

Malcolm believes whoever did it read the Field Guide to Surgery, published in 1517. It shows how to do the exact bloodletting performed on Father Reyes.

Meanwhile, Ainsley wants to know what’s up with her mom and Gil. She tells her mom to talk to Gil instead of ignoring his calls. Jessica promises she will.

Malcolm returns to the church to further question Sister Agnes. She claims not to be familiar with Field Guide and then suggests prayer will help Malcolm with his troubles. He’s momentarily distracted and when he looks at Sister Agnes again, she’s transformed into his sister. Ainsley tells him he needs to come clean with what he did while trying to hand him a knife.

It turns out the visit to Sister Agnes was just a dream. When he wakes up at the police station, Dani and the rest of the officers are all wearing body armor. Still nervous he might do something, Dani explains the protection’s because he fell asleep and his nightmares are epic.

JT and Gil have a heart-to-heart and JT confesses he’s worried about reporting what happened. If he files a grievance, there might be repercussions. He doesn’t want to take that chance. Gil understands and admits nothing about this is right.

Dani drives Malcolm home and he confesses his dream involved Sister Agnes. She asks if he wants to discuss it, but he doesn’t want to talk about how he’s feeling. Dani confesses she’s having a rough time. “It’s always bad, the difference is people are paying attention. It’s like they just realized that the world is racist and cops target Black people,” says Dani. “JT and me don’t get a pass.” (Love me some #Brightwell!)

As they discuss a painting by Francisco Goya on his wall, Malcolm explains Goya died from lead poisoning from the paint. Malcolm suddenly realizes lead poisoning from old paintings causes symptoms that could be mistaken for possession. They immediately connect that to Sister Agnes and Professor Shaw who have been restoring old paintings together.

Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 2
Lou Diamond Phillips, Tom Payne, Aurora Perrineau and Frank Harts in ‘Prodigal Son’ season 2 episode 2 (Photo by Phil Caruso © 2021 Fox Media LLC)

Gil, Malcolm, JT, and Dani rush over to the church and learn Sister Agnes didn’t show up that day. Professor Shaw confirms they’ve been working with lead white paint, but they’ve been careful to wear masks and gloves. Malcolm explains to Archbishop Argento that Sister Agnes could be suffering from paranoid delusions.

As they talk a loud thud is heard from the crypt. Gil, JT, and Dani head down to check it out and JT makes a call for backup. He’s told by whoever answers that he’s not a real detective and they’re not going to respond to his request for help.

While the team’s off hunting Sister Agnes, Malcolm chats with Archbishop Argento about exorcisms. He admits if they actually worked, it would make his life easier. They’re interrupted by Shaw who’s going a bit bonkers, repeating things to himself. Shaw cradles the how-to book and keeps mumbling as Malcolm uncovers the painting Shaw was working on. When he pulls off the drape, he discovers the painting’s been ruined.

The team finds Sister Agnes tied up and gagged in the crypt.

Malcolm sends the Archbishop away to keep him safe, advising him to lock the doors behind him. He rings up his dad and asks for everything he knows about lead poisoning. Shaw’s hallucinating and Malcolm wants to know how to help him. Martin suggests he lock Shaw away in a room by himself, but Malcolm can’t do that. Shaw has somehow gotten ahold of a weapon and advances on Malcolm. Malcolm tries to explain to Shaw he’s been poisoned but it’s not getting through to him.

Martin compliments his son’s bedside manner as he listens in.

Shaw claims to be Abaddon and Friar Pete – who’s also listening in – thinks Malcolm’s going to die. He says an exorcism is the only way to hold off Shaw. Friar Pete tells Malcolm to repeat after him and begins speaking in Latin. Malcolm does as told and Shaw momentarily freezes in his tracks but then begins taunting Malcolm. Over the phone, Martin prompts Malcolm to really get into the act. Malcolm yells, “The power of Christ compels you!” and Shaw falls to the floor. He tries to rise and Malcolm knocks him out with a heavy candlestick.

Martin’s proud of his son and cheers as Shaw’s knocked out.

Later at the station, Gil yells into the phone, enraged anyone would ignore JT’s call for backup. JT thinks it’s going to get worse, upset his fellow cops looked at him and saw a Black man and not a cop who’d put his life on the line for 10 years. Dani wants JT to tell the union, but he reminds her he needs to protect his job and family. He heads off saying he’s going to take care of it.

Gil shows up at Jessica’s place and is happy she finally returned his calls. Their conversation’s awkward and Gil admits he thought they had a real thing going on. When she says she’s cursed, Gil realizes she overheard his conversation with Dani at the hospital. Jessica believes she’s broken and that whoever she gets close to gets hurt. If something happened to him, she’d carry that guilt. Gil stops her in her tracks by correcting her assumption. “Jess, you saved me,” says Gil.

By sending him away Jessica thinks she’s saving him again. She begs him to leave and he does without putting up any more of a fight.

Ainsley accidentally overheard part of their conversation and admits that to her mom. She realizes her mom’s a little broken and confesses she might be, too. She also reveals she’s not moving out after all.

Malcolm visits his dad and thanks him for his help. Martin tries to get him to unburden himself and Malcolm admits he was the one who decided to lie to his sister and dispose of the body. Martin says it’s because of him that he knew how to save Ainsley, and that’s what parenting is all about. Malcolm acknowledges he’s finally coming to terms with the fact his dad is a part of him.

Martin’s pleased with this development, but Malcolm quickly shuts down his joy by reminding him now that he knows he’s there, he can tune him out. Malcolm believes he might now be capable of actually leaving his dad behind.