‘Prodigal Son’s Halston Sage Says Ainsley’s Memories Are ‘Making Her Uncomfortable’
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 5 of Prodigal Son, “Bad Manners.”]
How close is Ainsley (Halston Sage) to adding another victim to her list? The reporter still doesn’t know she followed in the footsteps of her serial killer father, Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), and murdered Nicholas Endicott (Dermot Mulroney) last season. (Her brother, Tom Payne’s Malcolm Bright, told her he did it.)
But in the February 9 episode of Prodigal Son, she holds a blade as she stands behind the case-of-the-week’s killer, ostensibly to save Malcolm. (She doesn’t get the chance to use it, so who knows what she might have done.)
“Season 1’s Ainsley wasn’t sure if she had the capacity to actually kill another human being,” Sage tells TV Insider. “Who knows if she remembers the details from the night what she would do.”
Sage goes into the head of the latest Whitly to take a life below.
How much would you say Ainsley has pieced together or suspects?
Halston Sage: Ainsley’s finally at a turning point where she’s starting to remember enough about the murder that it’s making her uncomfortable. She doesn’t fully understand it was her who killed Nicholas Endicott, but she’s starting to come around to the idea she doesn’t know the full truth.
Malcolm worries they’ll lose Ainsley if she learns the truth.
It’s a valid fear for him to have, knowing their father’s history and how he acted once he started murdering multiple victims.
Ainsley says, “My father was a serial killer also. I was young, but I have a right to be messed up, too.” The focus has been so much on how much like Martin Malcolm might be that it seems like the effect on Ainsley was brushed aside.
I love you’re bringing that up because I thought that was a really well-written scene. The entire first season Ainsley has put on this perfect show and felt the need to be the strong and perfect sibling for her mother since Malcolm was always falling apart. No one is actually that perfect and underneath that layer she was always more complicated than she wanted to be perceived. She had the same childhood as Malcolm. Yes, she was younger, but she still has memories from that age and they have affected her in ways she’s slowly starting to understand. … She has felt this responsibility to represent her family in a different light than her father and brother have and that’s really starting to weigh on her.
Does Ainsley need — or think she needs — to speak with Martin now more than Malcolm or Jessica (Bellamy Young)?
Yes. Martin is the key to her understanding her confusion and this vulnerability she’s experiencing for the first time. She knows that, which is why she’s listened to her brother in really staying away from him. In her heart, she’s not sure she’s fully ready for the answers.
One of the best parts of the show — and most intriguing right now — is Malcolm and Ainsley’s sibling bond. How is that changing, especially as Ainsley tries to remember and he tries to keep the truth from her?
I’m glad you bring [that] up because Tom and I talk about that dynamic all the time and how much we enjoy it. This season has bonded them in a way that is inexplicable to Ainsley but their relationship has flipped. Instead of Ainsley taking care of Malcolm, he’s had to step up and be the one to take care of her, which has been really fun to play around with.
How might Ainsley feel about her parents working together to save her?
It’s going to add another layer of confusion to this seasonal mystery of what doesn’t Ainsley know? How bad is the situation that her mom’s actually teaming up with her dad? That might actually push her to the edge of fully remembering details of that night.
Alan Cumming‘s Simon Hoxley is coming in and investigating Nicholas Endicott’s murder.
The dynamic between Simon Hoxley and Ainsley is very complicated. I love Alan Cumming. I have only had one scene with him so far, but he just has the best stories and the best attitude. He makes every day just really light and fun.
A scene with Ainsley and Edrisa (Keiko Agena) would be utterly delightful. Is there anything coming up?
I wish! Keiko is the only one on the show I’ve not yet worked with, and Edrisa’s my favorite character. That would be my hope for the season.
Let’s talk last season’s finale killer twist.
When I found out Ainsley was the one who murders Endicott and saves the family from his legacy, I was so excited because the whole season was exploring how being the son of a serial killer was affecting Malcolm and it hadn’t yet dealt with how being the daughter of a serial killer affected Ainsley. For me, to finally get a better look inside Ainsley’s mind and what’s going on with her emotionally was exciting. The writers never take the easy way out.
Season 1 ended with that striking image of Ainsley covered in blood.
What was cool about the blood effect was it was practical. When I actually fake-stabbed Dermot Mulroney, I was holding a sponge that was soaked with fake blood so every time I made contact with his very heavily-padded chest, the blood would splatter onto my face in this very eerily realistic way.
Prodigal Son, Tuesdays, 9/8c, Fox