Did ‘Prodigal Son’ Reveal the Truth About Martin & the Girl in the Box? (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Episode 15 of Prodigal Son, “Death’s Door.”]
A serial killer’s mind can be a scary place. But by taking us inside one of the most twisted minds of all, Prodigal Son may have just dropped some major clues about the girl in the box mystery.
To what should be no one’s surprise, Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen) survived being stabbed in the heart, but he is in a coma. Though Dani (Aurora Perrineau) wonders what he could be dreaming about, Malcolm (Tom Payne) corrects her: “Coma patients can’t actually have dreams. They do have vivid hallucinations, which can feel like horrible nightmares.”
So, how much can we trust what we see next in the Surgeon’s head? As is true with everything Martin-related, we must take it all with a grain of salt, but we can’t dismiss any of it, either.
Inside the Mind of the Surgeon
It’s a time before Martin’s arrest, and he’s walking through the park, chatting on his phone about how he’s right about a diagnosis. He stops to check on a jogger (Anna Eilinsfeld) sitting on the ground, and she tells him she twisted her ankle. He offers to take a look as a doctor, and when she lets him, her bracelet — yes, that bracelet — is on display. Hello, girl in the box!
Martin offers to let her make a call from his house nearby, claiming he doesn’t have a phone on him, and she accepts. Once there, he offers her tea or hot cider (otherwise known as his victims’ last drink), but she turns both down. However, just as she’s about to make a call, he comes up behind her with chloroform and after he’s knocked her out, Jessica (Bellamy Young) arrives home. By the time his wife enters the sitting room, the girl is gone.
The next trip into his head goes down to his room in the basement. “You’re in the thick of it now, my friend,” he says. “This is when time slows down, when the minutes expand, when a man like me could be forgiven for believing I could almost freeze time completely. But, alas, I’m no sorcerer and you …” He’s in for a surprise, when he discovers the box is empty.
Where’s the girl? Martin finds himself back in the sitting room, with the girl on the phone, telling someone to pick her up and that “Dr. Whitly has been really nice.”
“This is not how it went,” Martin insists, and we may not know exactly what happened but we know he has to be right because the girl then stabs him multiple times. “You don’t have long now,” she tells him. “I’m inside your head, Martin. I know your worst fears.” That’s when he realizes he’s in the hospital and she’s not real, “just a figment of my subconscious, a composite of all my victims.” She insists she’s “a very real person” and “coming for [his] family,” starting with Malcolm.
In his final hallucination, the girl has a knife to young Malcolm’s throat in his room and demands to know why Martin put her in a box. “That’s up there with life’s great questions,” he replies, but it comes down to one simple explanation: “Because I wanted to.”
That’s when he’s able to turn the tables on her, realizing that he may be trapped in a nightmare but because he’s a predatory psychopath, he’s “always in control.” He puts the knife to her throat and tells her he’s going back to his family. “They need me,” he says, and when he wakes up, Malcolm’s standing over him. “My boy,” Martin smiles.
How Much of That Was Real?
Malcolm notes that coma patients have “vivid hallucinations.” Martin recognizes that not everything that happens really did (like the girl making the call, turning on him, and going up to Malcolm’s room). But there was a girl in a box, and assuming John Watkins (Michael Raymond-James) was telling the truth, Martin did kill her.
And it is very possible that Martin found her just like he does in his first hallucination in “Death’s Door”: a jogger, injured, who thought she just so happened to be in the path of a nice doctor. Jessica may have come home while he was in the middle of attacking his latest victim. It’s likely that everything up until he opens the box and finds it empty did happen.
The girl still doesn’t have a name or any defining characteristics. In fact, Martin calling her “a composite” of his victims fits; she remains just another victim, one whose story has yet to be fully told. But that is coming this season.
“Chris [Fedak] and I never wanted the girl in the box to be a multi-season story,” showrunner Sam Sklaver previously shared. “What we’re most excited for is a thrilling resolution to this story.” It seems like we’re heading for that — and hopefully soon.
Prodigal Son, Mondays, 9/8c, Fox