How ‘Prodigal Son’ Should Approach Malcolm & Dani’s Relationship in Season 2
We love Prodigal Son for its dark twists, chilling serial killers, bloody scenes (like Season 1’s final one), and, of course, very complicated relationships (not just in the Whitly family). From its first episode, we saw just how unique each of Malcolm Bright’s (Tom Payne) relationships with the NYPD team is. And while the first season shied away from romance, it also clearly set up the possibility between the Surgeon’s son and NYPD consultant and Detective Dani Powell (Aurora Perrineau).
With the series returning for a second season, chances are we’ll see much of what we have thus far — hints of the possibility for more and the two confiding in each other and put in emotionally-charged situations — but taken a step further as they spend more time together. The one thing that the Fox drama needs to not do is force it. Continue doing what it’s been doing, but perhaps avoid the clichés like Malcolm’s reaction to Dani in a dress, for example, in “Wait and Hope.”
In other words, let’s not see them undercover for an extended period of time as a couple for a case since that’s been done quite a few times on procedurals. The drama already shocked fans by having Martin Whitly’s (Michael Sheen) daughter Ainsley (Halston Sage) be the one to follow in his murderous footsteps instead of Malcolm — surprise viewers again.
Instead, lean into what works, for the show and for where the characters are in their lives. After all, Malcolm just witnessed his sister murder someone, and that’s not something that can just be pushed aside with even the best cleaning supplies. Dani’s not going to be the one he turns to for help because of the nature of her job. (That being said, she’s going to find out because this is TV.) Let’s see what that means for their early conversations in Season 2.
Meanwhile, Malcolm tried to make a relationship work with Eve (Molly Griggs), who turned out to be the sister of one of his father’s victims. But they were doomed long before the truth came out and her murder. Malcolm was too wrapped up in figuring out if the girl in the box (Sophie, a.k.a. Eve’s sister) was real, she was searching for her sister, and everything fell apart.
But now that Malcolm’s gotten closure — Sophie, it turned out, lived after making a deal with his father — perhaps he’s one step closer to being ready for a relationship. It’s easy to see why Dani could fit the bill: Who better than someone who knows who he is (he’s not going by Whitly for a reason), who has seen him at his craziest, and whom he can trust?
Before the series should even consider taking that step, however, first it needs to explore more about who Dani is, which the executive producers plan to do in Season 2. “Going into Season 2, we can’t wait to spend more time with Aurora and Frank [Hart]’s characters, so that we can explore who they are and see their issues and their skeletons in their closets, even if those skeletons aren’t quite as literal as the Whitlys’ skeletons,” co-showrunner Chris Fedak said.
Something else that Season 2 needs to do is work on defining their feelings. Think back specifically to “Wait and Hope,” during which Malcolm, while sending the others away as he risked getting blown up by a landmine, hesitated in his message to her. “Never mind,” he said. Was it because, unlike to the others, his words would have been personal, not case-related? Was it because he didn’t know what he wanted to say? That moment, from one of the most significant Malcolm-Dani episodes, needs to carry into Season 2.
It’s hard to say if Malcolm and Dani should get together. Given that these are TV characters, chances are it will happen at some point, even if it’s just a kiss while undercover. Whatever happens, we’re more than happy to be along for the ride.
Prodigal Son, Season 2, TBA, Fox