‘Prodigal Son’s Bellamy Young Says the Finale Murder Is ‘Life-Shattering’ for Jessica
If you were excited about what’s to come after the Prodigal Son Season 1 finale shocker, you’re not the only one.
Bellamy Young, who stars as Jessica Whitly, can’t wait to get back to work and see what’s next after her character’s daughter, Ainsley (Halston Sage) — not son, Malcolm (Tom Payne), like they all thought might happen — took a page out of dear old dad Martin’s (Michael Sheen) book. After the family realized the true evil that was Nicholas Endicott (Dermot Mulroney), it was Ainsley who brutally killed him in the final scene of the first season, making her father proud.
Do you know anything about Season 2?
Bellamy Young: We have a little text thread, the cast, and our creators are very communicative with us. We’re supposed to start in September, but as everyone knows in the world, COVID is a wily little foe, so things are open to change. But I do know that they have had our writers’ room back and going for a while and have amazing stories already in the works and ready to go.
Whenever we can get back, we’re all excited to be there and keep telling the story and proud to be a part of a show that in front of and behind the camera was inclusive from day one. And we’re set partly in a cop world, so we have an opportunity to tell good stories there. It’ll be really nice to get back to work.
And of course I have to ask about your reaction to that final scene of Season 1. What did you think of it when you read the script?
Oh, man, it was so funny because we don’t have table reads, so people read scripts at different times. It was like dominos falling watching who had read the script and who hadn’t when we were on set because we were shooting that day that it all came out. It depends how much work you have, when you can get to read the script.
First of all, I was excited because Halston is just such a beautiful actor and there were so many times this year where I wanted us to go deeper with her character and then I just couldn’t believe that Ainsley, you know? But then it made so much sense because all this time, Martin’s been wanting Malcolm to be just like him and he never noticed that maybe Ainsley was all along.
And Martin’s “my girl”? Such a perfect line.
So good! I know, I can’t wait. The creators have teased some of the ways we might come back for Season 2, and it’s all just [delicious].
How do you think Jessica will react to Ainsley killing Nicholas, especially like she did?
The sheer devastation of such horror coming from an unexpected place? I feel like all her life she’s been braced for Malcolm to go rogue or the nature to come out instead of the nurture, and so much energy has been placed in that direction that she’s going to be utterly blindsided by anything, anything coming from — she’s upset at Ainsley when she brings rosé at Christmas instead of red. That she’s capable of anything of this magnitude is going to be life-shattering for Jessica.
We also saw Jessica save herself and Gil in the finale, which I loved. What does he bring out in her that you’re hoping to see more of in Season 2?
A grounded solid goodness. Gil always walks the path of justice, fairness, kindness. He always tries to be a good guy and do the right thing, sometimes it’s begrudgingly, sometimes it’s in spite of himself, but he has a very deep barometer for what is right, which is what got him stabbed when he went to try and defend Jessica’s honor against Nicholas.
That is something she has been utterly free from in her life. She’s been around rather amoral people and swimming in a bit of a façade of what serves me well, what serves you well, instead of what is true, so she’s really drawn to the anchor of his north star. I think it would serve her well to get to be around that more, it would orient her.
Is there anything else you’re hoping to explore in Season 2? I can’t wait for more Whitly family scenes. We had to wait too long to get the entire family together…
Yeah, that’s the thing, I love the family stuff. It’s so interesting because now Martin’s in gen pop. The one time we all got to be together in his cell was amazing. I love when we do flashbacks. I really love these characters, so they always surprise me when they hand me a script, and I’m always so excited to go on the journey they propose. I’m just excited for all of it.
You’ve gotten to do something a bit more light-hearted in terms of romance with your roles on both Prodigal Son and Criminal Minds. There was the meet-cute on the latter and I know that parts of Jessica’s relationship with Nicholas was supposed to have rom-com elements…
We didn’t get to film two episodes this year because we had to shut down for COVID like everybody else and that was one of the episodes we didn’t get to film is Dermot and I had a super-sweet — it was written, it was ready, we all knew about it, because we filmed the final two shows before we filmed the two before that, so we wound up getting to air our finale as we wanted to. There was a delightful little rom-com episode with me and Dermot.
It’s just always fun to get to, especially when you’re in a genre piece, cross boundaries, so you’re not always serving one function in the narrative. Some days you go to work and you have to be sexy, and some days you go to work and you have to be funny and some days you go to work and you have to cry. It feels like a real gift to get to go the gamut with a character.
Prodigal Son, Season 2, TBA, Fox