Prodigal Son episode titled “Bad Manners” starts slow as we have derailed a bit from the main story arc. We see a flashback to Ainsley’s past as it shows how competitively extreme she can be to win against Malcolm. The episode starts with a case of another possible serial killer loose. Malcolm and Gil arrive at the crime to find Ainsley trying to interview Gil. Both of them, alongside Edrissa, start to examine the body. They notice how the body was very neatly arranged and posed. Malcolm profiles the culprit to be a serial killer and perfectionist who did not mean to harm the bodies. For the time being, the killer is called the bridal butcher but later is renamed to Debutante Slayer. Ainsley questions Malcolm about his standoffish behaviour as he gets flashes of his conversation with Jessica. Jessica now knew what Ainsley had done to Endicott.
As the bodies are re-examined back at the headquarters, we find a few things regarding the killings. Both the victims had one common thing that they went to Windsor Etiquette. Malcolm remembers that Ainsley used to go to the same place. And the constant pressure to be perfect may have caused the change in her. They notice how one of the victim’s eyes varied in colour, in person, and on her ID. In the picture, she has different eye colours, while in the person, she had blue eyes. On further examining it, they find out that the killer replaced her eyes with a doll. This was done to hide her imperfections, portraying her to be perfect as a doll. So with two leads, Malcolm heads to Windsor Etiquette while JT and Gil head to question the local doll makers.
Mr. and Mrs. Whitly
Jessica, now knowing that Ainsley killed Endicott, takes a road trip to Claremont. She goes there to visit and confront Martin. She blames him for the kids being mentally traumatized due to all that he had made them go through. Witnessing their father’s arrest and trial at an early age could have wound their minds to the condition they are in today. Jessica threatens Martin that he’ll never get to see Ainsley again as she will take her away. This is an ongoing theme between them as she always tends to forgive him because she would need his help. This is proven true by the end of the episode as Jessica again arrives at Martin’s cell. She asks for his help to save their children from the miserable future they had ahead of them. Martin assures Jessica how there was nothing he won’t do to save his family.
As Malcolm heads to Windsor Etiquette, he finds Ainsley, who had beaten him to reach there first. He realises how Ainsley looked at this murder as a competition to see who could find the culprit. And as they question Ms. Windsor, she does not give much information. She masks herself under the pretence of maintaining etiquette. But as Ainsley and Malcolm trying to convince her, Malcolm is successful. He mentions how if the NYPD were to come, they would completely turn the place upside down. Ms. Windsor takes him in to get her the records when Malcolm sees a doll in the corridor. Just as he leans in towards it, a woman named Rachel comes claiming that it was hers’. Malcolm immediately feels a connection between the school and the doll makers. He gets to know that everyone in Windsor Etiquette was given a doll made by Falvey.
Falvey, The Dollmaker
As a doll replaced the victim’s eyes, Gill and JT pay a visit to a dollmaker, Falvey. The guy they have encountered is quite odd as he seems like he is hiding something. And is quickly persuaded into giving the information. As they wait, Gil receives a call from Malcolm, who informs him of Falvey creating the dolls for Windsor Etiquette. Suspecting him to be the suspect, the detectives charge in and take him in custody. We later find out how even though the guy may have a criminal past, he was not the culprit. As Gil interrogates him, Malcolm walks in with the head of a very lifelike doll that Falvey created. He starts mishandling it, which works up Falvey. While this occurs, Malcolm profiles Falvey to have an odd proclivity towards inanimate objects, which was only a fetish and nothing truly hostile.
JT vs. O’Malley
We see the return of JT Tarmel in Prodigal Son as he comes back after becoming a new father. In the first episode of the season, we see how Officer O’Malley assaulted JT. A white officer got him on chokehold as he uttered the word ‘boy’ directed towards JT. We later join him with Gil, O’Malley, and a union rep in an office at the police headquarters. Where they go over whether Tarmel should press charges or not, O’Malley tries to defend himself, saying that it was a dark crime scene and JT could have been the culprit. As JT receives a message from Malcolm, they decide to assist him. As he is about to leave, he decides not to press charges. JT believes that he doesn’t have that kind of hatred towards O’Malley. And O’Malley was a scared man, and that’s why he’s a bad cop.
Being the surgeon’s daughter, Ainsley was capable of some inhuman things, but we see a competitive side in her in this episode. She’s seen working on case notes in Martin’s basement office, which worries Jessica. She believes that Ainsley’s condition would worsen as she kept indulging deeper into serial killer type cases. Apparently, Ainsley was trying to contact all her friends from back in Windsor Etiquette. And she finds a source to give her some information regarding this case. As Ainsley reaches the location, she walks into the third victim of the serial killings. And Ainsley records a cell phone video and releases it as part of her story, which enrages Gil. She had basically shot a promo on a crime scene and was hell-bent on catching the killer before Malcolm. She further denies cooperation and heads out, which later Malcolm deduces to be the Windsor Etiquette.
Rachel, The Jealous Daughter
As Malcolm arrives, claiming he knew the culprit was in the school, we realise that Rachel was the killer. Ainsley being upstairs with her, Malcolm rushes in to save her. Her tea had supposedly drugged Ainsley as Rachel was about to pull her eyes out. As it turns out, Rachel was Ms. Windsor’s daughter, jealous of not being shown affection from her mom. Ms. Windsor used to mould other young women into what she thought Rachel should be like. Rachel was killing these debutants as they had rejected their manners. And Rachel saw it as her responsibility to impart them with so.
As Malcolm arrives, he sees that Rachel had actually crossed out the names of her victims. And Ainsley actually had pretended passing out as she prepared to strike Rachel from behind. Malcolm tries to stop her when he ends up knocking Rachel out. In the meantime, Ms. Windsor decides to commit suicide. Thus leaks outgas all over the house. Malcolm smells it and hurries out with Ainsley and Rachel. As Ms. Windsor blows up the house, Rachel is caught, and the siblings have a moment.
While this episode of Prodigal Son didn’t have a lot of plot movement, it did work in favor of character development. Ainsley seems to be recalling her repressed memories from the night she killed Nicholas Endicott. Prodigal Son seems to be moving into a story arc where Martin is set on a quest to help his family. Jessica has realized how her kids are more like Martin than she ever knew. And we may see more of her interactions with Gil and their unrequited love story. We didn’t get to see Dani in this episode, while it seems that we finally have an end to JT’s short arc with the racial demeanour against him. Overall it was a decent episode of Prodigal Son, nothing more, nothing less. Like said earlier, minor character developments but nothing too breathtaking.