Fox’s Prodigal Son finally returns from its lengthy midseason two break with episode eight, “Ouroboros.” After being briefly introduced at the end of episode seven, episode eight puts Alan Cumming as Simon Hoxley in the spotlight as a renowned Europol profiler whose ability to read crime scenes rivals Malcolm Bright’s.
The spring premiere opens with Malcolm (Tom Payne) going through his morning routine, waking from a nightmare, crunching pills, and doing pullups. While Malcolm’s morning is mundane, Simon’s is much more interesting. After a relaxing breakfast and manicure followed by a brief session of autographing copies of his Mind Sleuth book, Simon looks through photos of the Whitly family as part of his investigation into Nicholas Endicott’s murder.
Meanwhile, Martin (Michael Sheen) continues to escape the drudgery of being locked up by working in the infirmary with Dr. Vivian Capshaw (Catherine Zeta-Jones). He arrives for his shift to find Dr. Capshaw struggling to stop a patient’s bleeding. Martin offers to help but Dr. Capshaw refuses and sends him back to his cell.
Jessica (Bellamy Young) rings up her son and invites him to dinner. She’s happy her sister’s finally gone and they’ll be able to talk without having to worry about what they’re saying. Malcolm attempts to get out of dinner but Jessica’s persistent and won’t take no for an answer.
Malcolm joins Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips), JT (Frank Harts), and Dani (Aurora Perrineau) on a ship for their new case. The victim’s tangled up in boat flags and suspended in the air, and Gil explains she was shot. The fact it appears she was hung is due to the random way her body fell when she died.
It turns out the victim, Holly Corso, was the boat’s chief steward and ran the interior crew. No one was on board when she died; the crew was barhopping and there aren’t any passengers this time of year. Malcolm observes Holly’s wearing makeup which means she changed her mind about going out with her co-workers. He believes someone she knew contacted her and determines the murder was personal.
Simon Hoxley makes a dramatic entrance and challenges Malcolm’s assessment of the situation. Simon believes Malcolm’s totally wrong – the murder wasn’t personal.
Malcolm and JT recognize Simon Hoxley, and Simon reveals he’s done his research by spouting facts about each member of the team. He apologizes to Malcolm for correcting him and explains he thinks Malcolm sees all murders as personal because of his serial killer father.
Simon believes the killer shot Holly twice on the top deck and then didn’t care about her so he/she left her hanging. Simon declares this a targeted assassination and it’s Malcolm’s turn to disagree. However, Malcolm quickly changes his tune when he realizes this must not be the first killing of this kind Simon’s investigating. That’s why Simon jumped to a conclusion so quickly.
Simon explains he’s been investigating a courier chain overseas and the murder of Nicholas Endicott. He reveals someone’s been killing each of the links in the chain leading up to the dumping of Endicott’s body. Holly must have been involved in moving the body on the ship.
Simon speaks with the media (including Ainsley) and explains why Europol’s involved in this investigation, making a point of mentioning it’s under the NYPD’s jurisdiction. He teases his investigation could be the crime of the century.
Later at home, Malcolm and Ainsley (Halston Sage) discuss Simon and how he traced Endicott’s murder back to NY. Malcolm finally lays out the steps he used to move it overseas, confessing he used Nicholas Endicott’s own courier system to get rid of his dead body. The couriers didn’t ask any questions about what was inside the packages.
Ainsley points out everyone who transported the body’s now dead. Malcolm realizes there’s one person still alive who helped with the disposal.
A flashback shows him helping the woman who picked up the two cases containing Nicholas load them in her van. She jokes about not ever knowing what she’s picking up and then when she notices his face, she assures Malcolm she’s got it from there.
Malcolm tells Ainsley the woman reminded him of Sophie and seemed vulnerable and easy to manipulate. Ainsley warns her brother he better get to her before the Mind Sleuth tracks her down.
Simon meets one-on-one with Gil, and Gil demands Simon tell him first if this killing leads to Endicott, before the news finds out. Simon apologizes for withholding information but makes it clear he’s tied the killing to Martin Whitly’s family. Gil assures him neither he nor Jessica killed Nicholas.
Their chat wraps up with Simon overexaggerating the rolled Rs in Arroyo and declaring, “You know, Europol agents aren’t able to make arrests. But it would be my honor to watch you put the cuffs on Mr. Endicott’s killer.”
JT, Malcolm, and Dani go over what they’ve learned about Holly’s death. Apparently, she was quite the spender and supplemented her income smuggling. Dani figures out Endicott’s body could have been stored in the walk-in freezer. They need to track the ship’s deliveries.
JT calls Hoxley “the real deal,” but Malcolm thinks he’s just had lucky breaks.
As they’re going through possible clues, Malcolm notices an invoice from Nova Shores Seafood and remembers a sticker for that company on the van when he dropped off Endicott’s body. He doesn’t let on that he’s connected any dots.
Malcolm calls his dad to discuss the case and to let him know Endicott’s couriers are being murdered. He needs to outthink the Europol investigator before he closes the net around the family, and Martin suggests he let the final courier be killed so no one can identify his face. That’s a no-go on Malcolm’s part.
Malcolm finally brings up Simon Hoxley and Martin immediately recognizes the name. Martin reminds his son Simon has a perfect track record and reveals he would never agree to be interviewed by Simon as he was writing his Mind Sleuth book.
Malcolm explains he’s just broken into the seafood factory and wants Martin to focus on the problem. Martin suggests they think “ruthless,” and chuckles as he puts the seafood factory visit together with Endicott. Martin thinks they vacuum-sealed and froze Endicott, like they package fish. Malcolm agrees and then becomes distressed when he spots a dead body in a container filled with ice water.
Malcolm hangs up and acts fast. First, he retrieves the victim’s cell phone and then he cuts off his thumb so he can access it. He barely has time to snip the digit and hide before JT and Dani arrive to check off this location from the delivery list.
JT and Dani spot the body and JT identifies the victim as Brian Tamishiro (Alex Huynh).
Gil and Simon join JT and Dani at the fish market, and Malcolm “arrives” shortly thereafter. Simon immediately asks why Malcolm’s arm is wet and Malcolm makes up a story about a pothole and a cab.
Gil explains Brian was a delivery driver who also packaged goods and did the shrink wrapping. Simon deduces Endicott’s body was shrink-wrapped which is why it was in such good shape when it washed up. Brian was shot twice and the killer took his thumb.
Malcolm quickly slips into detective mode, assessing the situation and determining Brian stayed after his shift so he must have been meeting someone. Therefore, he knew his attacker. Simon cuts in to say the thumb’s missing because the cell phone’s missing. The killer needed it. Malcolm chuckles and agrees.
They also agree they should get to the next target before the killer does.
Meanwhile over at Claremont, Martin notices Dr. Capshaw’s looking a little down. She claims to be fine and compliments his cleaning of the bedpans. She finally admits the patient Martin saw her working on died. Martin’s sorry that happened and Victoria can’t believe he feels empathy for her loss. Victoria points out he killed 23 people, but Martin says none of those died on his operating table.
“Church and State, Dr. Capshaw. Never mix business and pleasure,” says Martin. He claims his brand of madness allowed him to separate the two.
Martin tries to draw out her story while dishing compliments. Victoria doesn’t fall for it, acknowledging they warned her Martin would attempt to manipulate her.
Simon’s next stop is a visit with Jessica. Jessica claims not to have any insight and Simon wonders how Jessica gets caught up with so many murderous men. She lays out what she hopes sound like implausible scenarios of how she killed Nicholas, but one seems to pique Simon’s interest. He picks up on her scenario in which Nicholas died in her home and points out she has a new area rug.
Jessica remains calm while booting Simon from her home. However, the second he’s out the door she calls for an urgent family meeting.
Malcolm, Ainsley, and Jessica have a slightly contentious discussion about Nicholas’ murder. Malcolm is the voice of reason and settles his mom and sister down.
Simon pays an official visit to Martin and finds The Surgeon scrubbing floors. It’s a delicious discovery and one that sets off a bout of witty repartee between the detective and the serial killer.
Simon finally cuts to the chase and declares the Whitly family murdered Nicholas. Dr. Capshaw interrupts the interrogation and Simon sends her away, threatening to call her boss.
Simon believes Martin told his family how to kill Nicholas, how to dismember a body, and the best way to clean up a crime scene. Martin doesn’t respond but Simon believes he sees a glimmer of pride in his eyes. Simon blames the murder on Martin’s protégé, Malcolm.
Martin, who secretly stole surgical scissors earlier, is just about to slice up Simon when Victoria returns. She informs Simon she spoke to her administrators and told them she was kicking Simon out. They were fine with it.
Before Simon leaves, Martin whispers a warning for him to stay away from his family.
Malcolm unlocks Brian’s phone and has only 60 seconds to scroll through it before his location is exposed. He writes down Nat the courier’s info and then smashes the phone just as Simon pounds on his front door.
Simon wonders if their occupation gives them an edge when they commit murder. He also confirms he’s narrowed down Nicholas’ murderer to a member of the Whitly family. Malcolm finally fights back, pointing out Simon’s career is in decline, he hasn’t solved a case recently and is wearing a knockoff watch.
After calling Simon a phony, Malcolm learns Simon’s about to obtain a search warrant for their family home. (Every question Simon asks of a member of the Whitly family and every theory he tosses out are spot-on.)
Malcolm contacts Nat and has her pick him up that night. After climbing in the backseat, Malcolm warns her the killer could already be watching her place. She needs to leave town immediately.
Nat claims to be freaking out as she takes the wrong route to Grand Central Station. Malcolm notes her body language and figures out she’s not the next link in the chain. Nat’s the one in charge!
Nat smiles, confirming Malcolm’s assessment of the situation. She’s heading to the yacht where she promised to meet Simon, but Malcolm warns he won’t let her kill the detective. Nat tells Malcolm to get out of the car and do nothing to stop her or she’ll kill him.
Malcolm gets out, sees Nat’s stuck in traffic, and takes off running. He beats her to the yacht and warns Simon he’s being set up. Bullets start flying as Malcolm explains Nat’s actually the head of the snake.
“We’re going to be killed by a millennial. What a twist!” says Simon.
They race through the yacht and Simon’s hit. “I can’t die in Brooklyn!” cries Simon.
Neither man carry a gun, but Malcolm takes off to draw Nat’s fire. He manages to shove Nat over the rail but she’s able to cling to a rope. Malcolm tries to get her to drop her gun and grab his hand, but she knows he killed Endicott and doesn’t trust him.
Nat squeezes off one last round in Malcolm’s direction before falling to her death.
The following day at the station Malcolm and Gil discuss the case. Everyone believes Nat couldn’t take it anymore and killed her boss, Nicholas Endicott. Gil tells Malcolm he did good work just as Simon enters the office. Simon thinks he’s equally responsible for solving the case and Gil informs him he’s always welcome in NY.
Gil leaves and Malcolm and Simon are left alone to chat. Malcolm reveals he did read Simon’s book, and Simon confesses he knows Malcolm solved this crime which he claims isn’t sexy enough for its own book. Malcolm doesn’t take credit and instead says it was Simon who put the pieces together involving the courier network and followed the trail from Nicholas’ dead body to NY. Malcolm labels himself a supporting character and credits Simon with discovering the head of the snake.
Although the story could be a bestseller, Simon admits the press isn’t exactly banging on his door.
Malcolm thinks he can help with that.
Simon sits for an interview with Ainsley and reveals the title of his new book is the title of this episode. “Ouroboros” is the ancient Greek symbol of a snake eating its own tail.
Later, Ainsley’s pretty happy with herself for being able to put Endicott’s murder behind them. She offers a toast to getting away with murder. Malcolm changes the toast to keeping it in the family.
Martin wakes in his cell to find Dr. Capshaw standing beside his bed. She assures him they’re alone and asks about her suture scissors. Martin claims to not know what she’s talking about, but Victoria doesn’t back down or appear frightened of upsetting The Surgeon. Martin eventually retrieves the scissors and hands them over. The sparks fly and Martin’s shocked when his reward for behaving is a kiss. (Loving the onscreen chemistry between Michael Sheen and Catherine Zeta-Jones!)
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