‘Prodigal Son’ Season 2 Episode 9 Recap: “The Killabustas”

Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 9
Tom Payne, Aurora Perrineau, Steven Boyer, Maria Dizzia, Keiko Agena and Michael Luwoye in ‘Prodigal Son’ season 2 episode 9 (Photo by Phil Caruso © 2021 Fox Media LLC)

Malcolm (Tom Payne) is honing his painting skills as Fox’s Prodigal Son season two episode nine opens. He’s busy thinking about dismembering Endicott while painting fruit beside his mom. Jessica (Bellamy Young) points out everything Malcolm paints has an exit wound and only then does he realize he’s painted a bloody pear.

Obviously, art therapy isn’t working.

Mom and son discuss the book she’s supposed to be working on, and it turns out Jessica doesn’t actually remember much of what took place all those years ago. Malcolm suggests there might be transcripts of her statements to the police and maybe Gil can help.

Jessica thinks Gil’s too busy given that he’s working on a new murder case. Malcolm’s shocked when he sees the news report of Gil on the scene, flabbergasted he didn’t call him in.

Malcolm rushes over to the warehouse and Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) points out he’s supposed to be on a break after Nat, the woman he tried to save during their last investigation, died. Of course, Malcolm doesn’t give up and Gil eventually gives in.

Malcolm asks Gil if he can get The Surgeon’s police files for his mom, and Gil’s speechless. Gil’s normally a pushover when it comes to the Whitly family, but in this particular instance, he doesn’t even know how to respond to Malcolm’s request.

Edrisa (Keiko Agena), JT (Frank Harts), and Dani (Aurora Perrineau) are already with the murder victim, parts of which are hanging like meat alongside slabs of beef. The head and torso haven’t been found, but the parts that are available indicate he’s a male in his 50s.

Edrisa believes the victim was conscious when he was sliced up by a chainsaw. Malcolm thinks that, because of the particular parts that are absent, the murderer was expressing power and control. Gil notes it wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment murder, and Malcolm smiles as he reveals they’re probably dealing with a budding homicidal psychopath.

Gil and Dani have a private chat and Gil admits he’s worried Nat’s death is eating away at Malcolm. Dani isn’t as concerned but promises to speak with Malcolm.

Malcolm interrupts to announce they’ve found a torso. Unfortunately, the head’s still missing.

The torso’s wearing an intact shirt and Malcolm surmises the killer dressed him after he was dismembered. The shirt is likely covering something up, noting this is part of the murderer’s theatrics.

Edrisa opens the shirt and the dead man’s chest has a rectangular box carved into it with “The Vulture” written inside. Edrisa confesses this is the name she’s given the killer.

It turns out Edrisa’s been investigating this unknown person. The killer posted three videos online involving the killing of birds…all filmed in the same place and all untraceable. Edrisa’s even created her own murder board dedicated to The Vulture, and she reveals she’s part of a large web sleuthing group called the Killabustas looking into the bird butcher.

Malcolm’s actually impressed and reminds them web sleuths have helped catch hundreds of killers, including the Golden State Killer. Unfortunately, Edrisa steps in it when she explains web sleuths are dedicated to cracking cases the police don’t have the brains to solve.

Edrisa explains the birds are all native to Arizona so they reported The Vulture to that state’s police.

Over at Claremont, Martin (Michael Sheen) attempts to talk to Dr. Vivian Capshaw (Catherine Zeta-Jones) but she shuts him down. He practically begs for a chance to discuss their kiss, and Vivian believes that was a mistake. “I never should have. It was a colossal lack of judgment,” says Vivian.

She’s made bad decisions before but this one takes the cake. Martin, however, thinks the sparks that flew mean they’re good together. Vivian explains she won’t risk her job or her dignity, but Martin isn’t ready to give up.

When Vivian says it’s over and walks away, Martin whispers, “We’ll see about that.”

Malcolm pays a visit to Martin to pick his brain about The Vulture. Martin points out lots of serial killers start with animals and Malcolm wonders why The Vulture took the leap and killed a person.

Martin’s obviously distracted and claims it’s because he doesn’t usually get visitors during “quiet time.” Apparently, quiet time is for contemplating things, and Martin drifts away into a vision of Dr. Capshaw looking to die for in a gorgeous black evening gown. He gets lost in this daydream, imagining being with Vivian.

In fact, Martin’s so caught up in his dream that Malcolm quickly turns around to see what Martin’s staring at. Of course, there’s nothing there.

Malcolm thinks his dad’s fantasizing about murder, blissfully unaware Martin’s actually fantasizing about sex with Dr. Capshaw.

Finally, Martin returns to reality and explains now that The Vulture’s killed his first human being, he’ll do it again soon. “You can’t keep a good man down,” says Martin with a smile.

Back at the station, Malcolm and Edrisa talk about her interest in solving crimes. She recalls it started at a young age, and now the Killabustas feel like family.

Gil joins them and reveals the victim’s name is Alex Malone. He was a retired 60-year-old who belonged to the Audubon Society. Malcolm doesn’t think it’s a coincidence and Edrisa says Alex was part of the Killabustas. His nickname was Bird Boy, he was Edrisa’s friend, and he was pursuing a lead on Craigslist regarding how The Vulture obtained the birds he killed.

Malcolm and Dani head over to check out Alex’s place that evening. Before they start their investigation, Dani reveals she also lost someone in the field. Malcolm tries to brush off her concern, but Dani wants to talk about it. She recalls lying about being fine afterward and then confesses that led to her ODing.

Malcolm’s sorry this happened to her, but Dani isn’t finished. She assures Malcolm trauma doesn’t just disappear and she’s there to help him face it.

Their private discussion’s interrupted by Edrisa knocking on the car’s window. She apologizes for showing up unexpectedly but needs to be part of this investigation.

They’re approaching the house when someone comes running out. This unknown intruder jumps in a four-door hybrid fuel-efficient family car (per Malcolm’s description). Malcolm leaps into the street, holding out his hand and demanding the driver stop. It doesn’t. Malcolm’s hit and thrown over the car, landing with a thud.

He’s on the ground in pain when the car pulls to a stop. Malcolm grunts out that his idea worked.

Three people leap out of the vehicle, with one claiming to be a fireman. Edrisa immediately recognizes them from her Killabustas group.

She’s excited about this development; Dani and Malcolm aren’t.

Malcolm hallucinates a visit from his dad as he ices his head. The imaginary Martin suggests Malcolm open up to Dani and believes Malcolm can trust her.

The following day Edrisa joins Malcolm to interrogate the fireman who suggests they call him Blaze (Michael Luwoye). After Edrisa and the man do a little (adorable) flirting, Malcolm gets down to business.

As Malcolm’s engaged in his interview, Dani and JT are also separately interviewing the two other Killabustas – Ashton (Steven Boyer) and Sasha (Maria Dizzia).

None of the web sleuths can believe Alex was murdered. Alex had reached out about a possible ID of The Vulture but then never followed through with a meetup. The threesome took it upon themselves to find Alex Malone (there are apparently 86 Alex Malones in NYC), ultimately locating his house. Blaze went inside to check on him but didn’t discover anything of importance.

Blaze reveals Alex sent him a mailer from the Audubon Society with a note in it. That jogs Edrisa’s memory; she remembers also receiving an Audubon Society mailer just yesterday. She tossed it without really looking at it but hasn’t thrown out her recycling yet.

Before leaving the interrogation, Edrisa hands Blaze her business card.

Gil shows up at the Whitly place and delivers the statements from The Surgeon case. Jessica’s surprised and also nervous, convinced she’s in over her head. Gil confesses all of the officers thought she was guilty when she first came to the station to talk about Martin. But after hearing her side of the story, they no longer thought she knew about her husband’s activities.

Gil offers to help if she needs it. Jessica thinks it’s something she has to do on her own.

Edrisa nervously shows Malcolm around her place, pointing out her queen-sized bed even though it has nothing to do with his visit. He’s only been there a few seconds when Edrisa receives a Killabustas alert on her laptop. She also receives a text from Blaze, asking her out on a date for that evening.

Malcolm empties her recyclables and finds the note from Alex. He discovered The Vulture purchased the birds using the name “Save the Sparrows.” Edrisa recognizes that username as a member of the Killabustas.

Blaze and Edrisa have their date and kiss in front of her place. Before following her in, Blaze scans the streets. He’s acting a little sketchy but Edrisa doesn’t notice.

Malcolm figures out The Vulture/Save the Sparrows was searching for a place to belong and joined Killabustas. Malcolm believes The Vulture was ignored and isolated, and Killabustas members gave him the attention he craved. He killed Alex so that the group would be preserved.

Malcolm puts the clues together and fingers Blaze for the murder. Dani agrees, especially given the fact a firefighter would know how to handle a chainsaw.

They hustle off to Edrisa’s place and bust in as she and Blaze are either having sex or on the verge. Malcolm and Dani are confused, and Blaze realizes they mistakenly believe he’s the killer.

As they’re talking Malcolm notices a brown bag that appears to be a takeout order. Edrisa and Blaze didn’t order anything and Malcolm quickly opens the bag. Inside is Alex’s head!

Malcolm brings Edrisa, Blaze, and Dani to his home after offering Edrisa a place to stay to keep her safe. Dani thinks they should shut down Killabustas, but Malcolm says they need it live to see what The Vulture does next.

As Edrisa and Blaze explore Malcolm’s belongings (and talk about bondage), Sasha and Ashton arrive with Killabustas updates. Ashton reveals a member pulled 50 hours of footage from the warehouse, and Dani’s surprised Malcolm seems to be turning the investigation over to the web sleuths.

The footage shows a van parked outside the warehouse the night of the murder. It has Arizona plates which ties into the killer’s bird purchases. They’re excited about heading to the warehouse to see if the van’s still there, but Dani squashes their enthusiasm. The NYPD will need to investigate, not the Killabustas.

Blaze and Edrisa appear to have a real connection, and they kiss as he leaves Malcolm’s place. Malcolm’s lost in thought and Edrisa wonders if he’s jealous, but Malcolm’s actually having second thoughts about the van.

Dani learns the van’s still parked there and Gil calls to say the plates were stolen from a truck outside Phoenix.

Malcolm and Dani realize the killer is Ashton, a truck driver, which makes sense since only an hour into 50 hours of footage he spotted the van. JT and Gil discover Ashton’s been through Arizona six times in the past year. And right now Ashton’s with Blaze. (Poor Edrisa!)

Dani and Malcolm race off, scanning the streets for any sign of Ashton. Dani spots his truck and discovers the back’s locked and there’s blood.

Malcolm and Edrisa spot Ashton walking out of a business, and Malcolm pretends they just got a new lead. He invites them up to his loft and asks about Blaze, with Ashton lying that Blaze is moving the car. Malcolm dials his cell and it rings in Ashton’s jacket.

Ashton apologizes to Edrisa while admitting Blaze is bleeding out in his truck. Edrisa’s upset but Ashton claims everything he did as The Vulture was for the group. Only the group gave him a place to be among friends.

Ashton admits he killed Alex and Edrisa begs for Blaze’s life, reminding him Blaze is one of them. But Ashton has a plan – Blaze will die, he’ll escape, and Killabustas will keep hunting for him.

Malcolm bursts his bubble, assuring him the “family” will give up on him once they learn the truth.

As they’re talking, Edrisa uses the knife Blaze gave her for protection and stabs him in the arm. Malcolm punches him in the face, causing Ashton to drop the gun. He grabs Ashton’s keys and sends Edrisa off to save Blaze.

Blaze is still alive but has lost a lot of blood when she finds him in the back of Ashton’s truck. Edrisa reveals she stabbed Ashton and Blaze tells her she’s awesome. (How adorable is this new couple?!)

Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 9
Michael Sheen and Catherine Zeta-Jones in ‘Prodigal Son’ season 2 episode 9 (Photo by Phil Caruso © 2021 Fox Media LLC)

Over at Claremont, Martin continues to put the moves on Vivian, sure she won’t continue to push him away. Vivian warns Martin to quit but he doesn’t, so she claims he needs to be restrained because he’s become agitated. He’s placed in a bed and buckled in.

Vivian returns that evening and tells Martin he spoke at her medical school. She admits she wanted what he had and was the top of her class. Unfortunately, her residency fell apart because she pushed herself too hard and refused to play “their games.” That’s why she’s currently employed at Claremont.

Martin admits surgeons can be bastards with killer instincts. He knows everyone was wrong about her and apologizes for undermining her authority. Martin asks her to forget about him, saying she needs someone who can make her dreams come true. He’s only capable of inspiring nightmares.

Vivian quickly releases the straps tethering him to the bed. She says they have to do this quickly as she unties his pants. “I can’t make any promises,” replies Martin.

Jessica visits Gil and asks if the offer to help’s still on the table. She giggles as she drinks some of his beer, truly happy to be reunited with Gil. He reminds her how fiercely protective she was of her children during The Surgeon investigation, and remembers time always seeming to slow down for him whenever she walked into a room. “It still does,” says Gil, removing the beer from her hand and turning up the music.

They dance while staring into each other’s eyes. (Love this turn of events – thank you Prodigal Son writers for allowing them to at least be momentarily happy together.)

Dani and Malcolm also spend a little time alone. His hand shakes when he asks what would happen if he wasn’t the person she thought he was. He then slips up and says Nicholas instead of Nat while referencing the recent death he witnessed.

Dani once again assures him she’s there for him. Malcolm reacts by kicking her out without offering any explanation.

The episode ends with Friar Pete joining Vivian in an elevator. He claims to smell musk on her and says she reeks of sin.