Fox’s Prodigal Son season two episode five opens with a flashback to Ainsley as a young girl. She makes her mom and dad frantic with worry while playing a game of hide and seek with Malcolm. The grandfather clock makes an odd sound as it strikes midnight and Martin figures out Ainsley’s hiding inside the clock’s cabinet.
Jessica (Bellamy Young) jerks awake with that memory fresh in her head.
Malcolm (Tom Payne) meets up with Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) for the start of a new murder investigation. He’s in a fine mood on this cloudy NY morning, but Gil’s not so chipper. Two bodies within 24 hours means no one will be getting much sleep.
The press – including Ainsley (Halston Sage) – are already at the crime scene and want to know if the police are close to finding out the Bridal Butcher’s identity. They’re not, and Gil won’t comment.
The murder victim is dressed in a wedding gown and laying on a blanket of flowers. It appears it’s just Gil, Malcolm, and Edrisa (Keiko Agena) on the case as JT’s busy with his union rep and Dani’s working vice. The victim’s in her 20s and there aren’t any marks on her body. Makeup was used to cover a birthmark, which is similar to the first body. And, both victims were dressed in wedding gowns. Malcolm believes the dresses are custom as no shop came forward to identify the first dress.
He deduces the murderer is a male in his 30s or 40s with serious psycho-sexual issues. The killer intended the victims to appear unspoiled or unobtainable. This is definitely the work of a serial killer.
After the examination, Ainsley demands to know why Malcolm’s avoiding her. She thinks their mom did something, but Martin denies anything’s up. In order to get her to stop the personal questions, he discloses the dresses and gloves were custom. Ainsley wonders if the gloves were elbow-length and Malcolm confirms they were. She figures out the victims are dressed as debutantes not brides.
Jessica pays a visit to Martin (Michael Sheen), upset he knew about Ainsley killing Nicholas and didn’t tell her. Martin lets slip Malcolm told him all about it and he even helped Malcolm figure out what to do with the body. Jessica and Martin acknowledge they knew Ainsley was capable of something like this, and Jessica blames it all on Martin. Jessica says she’s taking Ainsley away and will never allow her to see her dad again.
Gil and Malcolm join Edrisa at the coroner’s office to discuss the two dead women. Both had Rohypnol in their systems and both women died of asphyxiation. Edrisa believes a “debreather” was used and Malcolm thinks that makes sense. The date rape drug would knock them out and the debreather (normally used in assisted suicide) would kill them. Neither would leave a mark.
Malcolm points out one of the victim’s had one blue and one brown eye, yet the autopsy report indicates two blue eyes. It turns out the killer replaced the brown eye with a glass blue eye. Malcolm surmises the killer did so because he wanted her to be perfect.
“This isn’t about rejection for our killer. It’s about idolization,” says Malcolm.
Edrisa removes the fake blue eye.
Back at the station, Malcolm asks JT (Frank Harts) about his meeting and learns if JT makes his report official, he and the racist cop will be suspended for 20 days. Malcolm doesn’t understand why JT would be punished, and JT explains the force protects its own.
On to the case… JT’s learned the fake blue eye was a doll eye. Malcolm adds to the serial killer’s profile the fact he might have had a deep childhood trauma. Gil arrives with news both victims attended the Windsor School of Etiquette and both were debs.
Ainsley attended that school which makes Malcolm the perfect choice to check it out while Gil and JT head off to talk to dollmakers.
Martin rings up his son, upset Malcolm didn’t warn him Jessica knows Ainsley killed Nicholas. Martin’s concerned about Jessica’s plan which is to hide Ainsley in a European resort, but Malcolm knows Ainsley won’t leave while there’s a serial killer to investigate.
They discuss the victims and Martin explains debs are put under a lot of stress and there are a lot of attempted suicides. Malcolm recalls Ainsley was bullied because of Martin’s crimes and her time at Windsor was rough on her.
The dollmaker’s workshop is super creepy and JT regrets not investigating Windsor with Malcolm. The dollmaker, Trevor Falvey (Christopher Denham), claims not to recognize the eyeball but they know he’s lying. Gil also knows the dollmaker had a prior arrest for indecent exposure years ago and Trevor claims he was struggling with his faith back then.
Malcolm heads over to Windsor and Ainsley’s already there. He’s annoyed she’s being so competitive about solving these murders but shies away from continued questioning after asking how she feels about the dead women.
Sarah Windsor (Kate Burton) joins them and reveals she thinks of her students like family. That said, she’s heard whispers of parties and drugs.
Malcolm and Ainsley compete for her attention and Malcolm’s finally able to get access to her files on the school’s students. While waiting he spots a doll standing in the hallway. A young woman introduces herself as Rachel and hands over the admission files while claiming the doll’s hers. Apparently, all of the students are given dolls. (They represent being “silent and perfect.”)
Rachel confirms the school’s dollmaker is Trevor Falvey.
Malcolm calls Gil about Falvey’s connection. Trevor’s attempting to escape as Gil hangs up the phone, but JT manages to tackle him. They believe he was running away with a young woman, but it was actually a life-sized sex doll.
Later, Ainsley calls her old classmates looking for leads. Jessica confesses she doesn’t like her daughter being so caught up in murder cases and suggests they run off to one of Grandma Milton’s estates. Ainsley declines the offer and wants to continue her investigation.
During his interrogation, Gil reveals they found human-size eyeballs and lots of photos of Windsor students. Trevor claims Ms. Windsor sent him the photos so he could match the dolls’ eye colors to the students. Plus, he claims the life-size sex dolls are also something he works on for special custom orders.
Malcolm interrupts the interrogation by arriving with the head of the doll Trevor was trying to steal. We learns her name’s Dolores and she was Trevor’s first.
Malcolm and Gil step out for a moment and Malcolm explains Trevor has Agalmatophilia. Trevor’s formed a romantic attachment to Dolores, but he’s not the serial killer.
Malcolm visits his dad, again, and admits he’s worried about Ainsley’s determination to solve the case. He doesn’t like that she’s treating this like a race, and Martin thinks Malcolm’s worried Ainsley will beat him to the killer. The discussion turns to Nicholas’ murder and Martin wonders if Ainsley might end up being proud of herself when she remembers what happened.
And while this conversation’s taking place, Ainsley’s visiting an old Windsor schoolmate named Violet. She finds her friend deceased and seated in front of a mirror dressed in a gorgeous gown and elbow-length gloves.
Ainsley goes on air and delivers the scoop she’s found the third victim.
Of course, that earns Ainsley a visit to Gil’s office. Gil’s upset but Ainsley quickly delivers a business card for her network’s lawyers. Malcolm can’t believe she shot footage after finding a dead body, but Ainsley doesn’t seem in the least bit upset.
She explains she contacted her old Windsor friends and Violet admitted she was scared. Violet asked to speak in person. Ainsley’s phone’s been lighting up as they speak, with everyone from her network to her agent and Jessica trying to reach her. Gil demands her phone and its footage but Ainsley doesn’t turn it over. Instead, she sends Gil the footage along with screenshots of her text messages.
Malcolm warns his sister she’s being reckless, but Ainsley remains determined to catch the killer.
Jessica hustles over to the station and shocks Gil when she asks if Ainsley’s “involved.” He doesn’t understand what she means and Jessica plays it off, claiming she’s losing her mind over worry. Gil can’t believe Jessica turned to Martin for advice and reminds her he’s there for her – no matter what.
Malcolm’s puzzling over clues when a very caffeinated Edrisa (she’s on a two-day bender) arrives to offer help. She wonders if Malcolm checked out victim #3’s phone and he realizes Ainsley unlocked it and might have found something. The police also unlocked it and he and Edrisa look over the records. Edrisa points out a 736 number and says those are old. 73 used to mean PE – Pennsylvania Exchange – so it’s definitely been around a while.
Malcolm figures out it could be a number from the Windsor school; it turns out it’s one number off from their main phone number. Ainsley must have gone to the school after learning this which worries Malcolm since he’s now settled on Sarah Windsor as the killer. (Nothing about Sarah matches his profile.)
Malcolm believes Ainsley might be Ms. Windsor’s next victim!
A gloved hand is revealed adding a drug to a pot of tea.
Ainsley and Sarah Windsor sit down for tea and a chat which Ainsley secretly records. Sarah admits she called Violet but only because they’re reaching out to graduates to raise money for the academy.
Their chat’s interrupted by Rachel arriving with news the police have returned. Ainsley asks that they don’t tell Malcolm she’s there and Ms. Windsor assures her they won’t.
Meanwhile, Gil accompanies JT for a meeting with the union rep and the racist cop. The officer claims he isn’t prejudiced, but JT isn’t allowing him to get by with that. The rep warns this won’t end well for either of them. JT decides not to file a complaint and speaks directly to the racist cop. “You’re scared and that’s why you’re such a miserable cop. That hatred you feel is poison, but I’m not going to let it poison my life, too,” says JT.
Sarah Windsor answers the door and denies Ainsley’s inside. She attempts to shut him out but Malcolm barges in while calling her a liar. Malcolm uses Ms. Windsor’s own etiquette lessons against her, acknowledging she wouldn’t have turned her back on him unless there’s something going on.
While they’re in a debate over manners at the door, Ainsley’s attempting to get the scoop from Rachel.
Malcolm reveals the phone calls from the private number and Sarah suddenly realizes the killer must be her assistant, Rachel. She sends Malcolm off to check on Ainsley in the tearoom. When he arrives there, Ainsley’s gone.
Rachel shows Ainsley her room while confessing she’s been calling alumni. She claims she just wants to save the school. The drugs take effect and Ainsley passes out on Rachel’s bed. Malcolm finds Rachel’s room via a secret passageway and watches through cracks as Rachel places a debreather on the bed. His phone vibrating gives away that he’s nearby and Rachel yells out that she has a gun.
Sarah Windsor appears to be in the midst of a breakdown, shattering photos and talking to herself about no one knowing the truth.
Malcolm enters the room and assures Rachel he’s there for Ainsley. He notices she has a list with the victims’ names crossed out. Malcolm realizes Sarah Windsor is Rachel’s mom. Since Ms. Windsor didn’t love her the way she did her students, Rachel channeled her anger against the dead women.
Malcolm notices Ainsley’s eyes pop open but doesn’t acknowledge that and instead keeps Rachel occupied. Rachel aims her gun at Malcolm’s head as he tries to talk her down.
Ainsley quietly gets to her feet while clutching a knife. Malcolm is begging both Rachel and Ainsley not to do this and Rachel finally notices Ainsley behind her. She smacks Ainsley across the face with the gun, knocking her back onto the bed.
Rachel’s about to shoot her when Malcolm slams against her, causing the bullet to miss Ainsley.
Ainsley’s okay and Rachel’s knocked out.
All this is going on as Sarah Windsor is turning on gas lamps without lighting them.
Malcolm smells the gas and races out of the room with his sister while lugging Rachel over his shoulder. They make it outside and look up at Sarah Windsor in the window as she strikes a match.
Ms. Windsor and her School of Etiquette are consumed in flames.
A short while later Ainsley explains she knew she was being roofied so she acted drowsy. She claims victory, telling her brother she solved the case first. Malcolm’s still upset she put herself in danger and Ainsley confesses she wanted to know why the killer did it.
Jessica visits Martin again and he’s happy both kids got wins. She’s realized she can’t take Ainsley away and they both admit Ainsley’s more unstable than Malcolm. Jessica begs Martin to be help her save their kids and he assures her they will do it together. “There’s nothing I won’t do to save my family,” says Martin.
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