‘Prodigal Son’s Tom Payne on That Martin Cliffhanger, Malcolm & Dani’s Horrible Timing & More

Tom Payne Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 12 Malcolm Bright
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Prodigal Son Season 2, Episode 12, “Sun and Fun.”]

Two characters are (sort of) sailing off into the sunset at the end of Prodigal Son‘s penultimate episode … which can’t mean anything good.

In “Sun and Fun,” Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) manages to track down his father, serial killer Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), in an attempt to save him from the villainous Dr. Vivian Capshaw (Catherine Zeta-Jones) — even though he’s the only one to figure out what’s truly going on there. (It’s hard for anyone to wrap their heads around Martin being anyone‘s victim.)

“In a way, they’re both sides of the same coin, and if [Malcolm] didn’t have any kind of relationship to Martin, he would just see them both as crazy serial killers hunting each other, but he has more of an allegiance to one of them in that situation,” Payne tells TV Insider. “For him, it’s kind of fascinating as well. That’s why he has his job — he’s very fascinated with different serial killers and different murderers. If he’d have the time he would be very interested in sitting down with Capshaw questioning her about who she is and why she does the things she does.”

This episode also sees Malcolm and Detective Dani Powell (Aurora Perrineau) share a kiss (finally!) as she tags along to prove his theory about Vivian right or wrong. But before they can chat, he surrenders himself to Vivian to find his dad. By episode’s end, Vivian’s telling the police Martin took her, and Martin’s escaped with Malcolm (recovering from his dad saving his life after Vivian’s attack).

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Payne teases what’s to come in the now series finale after that.

Does Malcolm know anything about the situation he’s now in?

Tom Payne: No, he has no idea what’s going on. He just wanted his father to run. It’s a complete surprise to Malcolm wherever they end up in the finale.

What can you say about where they’re going and what we’ll see between them in the finale?

This is the first time really that they’ve been out in the world together as father and son, and that’s a new relationship for both of them. Malcolm is an adult now, and obviously, Martin is on the run so that is a bit difficult for Malcolm because he’s supposed to be working with the NYPD and should really be turning him in. There’s a lot of fun and games in the finale, which is just so crazy and so weird and what our show does so well. There are lots of scary situations and very emotional situations as well. The finale really embodies the show in a lot of different ways.

Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 12 Malcolm Vivian

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Has Malcolm ever struggled as much with his feelings about Martin the dad and Martin the serial killer as he is in these episodes? That “because he also happens to be my father” line was heartbreaking.

Yeah, that’s the center of who Malcolm is really. It’s his heart against his head a lot of the time because there are conversations that he wants to have with a father — whoever that father might be — and that’s always going to end up being Martin. He just wants to have father-son conversations, but he feels like he can’t and he shouldn’t. But then there are obviously extreme situations where, if pushed to the limit, “that’s my father.” There’s ownership in there: “If anyone’s going [after] my father, it’s going to be me, and no one else can.” The relationship has definitely developed in different ways and in these last couple of episodes, there are some big moments.

Malcolm goes against his father figure, Gil [Lou Diamond Phillips], to try to save the father who wasn’t there for him like a father should be. How torn is Malcolm in every direction at this point?

[Laughs] About as torn as he always is. But I think he realized which bonds are the strongest, and blood is thicker than water.

Malcolm Gil Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 11

Phil Caruso/FOX

The timing of that Malcolm and Dani kiss —

It’s terrible! I’ve been saying about that relationship, as much as all of Malcolm’s relationships, he wants to be close to someone. He wants someone to understand him. He wants to be able to share his emotions with someone who is outside of his family and he wants to feel comfort and he wants to feel understood. And I think in that moment he feels like Dani is the only person who can really understand him. He’s been moving towards that for a while. It’s not a head-based decision. It’s just “I need closeness with someone right now and you’re the person that feels the closest to me outside my family.” Obviously, the timing is very bad.

Everyone’s calling him out on his feelings: Jessica [Bellamy Young], an eyewitness who just meets them…

Yeah, I know, so the idea is firmly planted in his head.

Malcolm Dani Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 11

Phil Caruso/FOX

But Malcolm’s gone before Dani gets back, so they can’t talk. But what would that conversation have looked like? Because it’s not like Malcolm is in the best state of mind to even talk about a potential romance.

I don’t think there would have been any logic-based conversation. He’s obviously very emotional at that point. It would still be very, very awkward and something to be drawn out and spoken about over a whole season of television.

What can you tease about any resolution in the finale about Malcolm and Dani’s relationship?

Malcolm’s off with his dad. I don’t think that there’s going to be much communication with anyone else. Obviously, that’s on his mind a bit, but the more pressing thing is that his serial killer father is on the loose and needs to be brought in.

Malcolm Bright Prodigal Son Season 2 Episode 12 Storage Unit Vivian

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Are we going to hear anything from Martin? Because we’ve gotten Malcolm’s hallucination of his father chiming in about Dani this season.

Possibly. Honestly, I can’t really remember. Martin is very aware of that and will absolutely push those buttons when he sees fit.

Is it a good thing that Malcolm got all the anger, frustration, and a mix of emotions out on his dad’s cell at Claremont when he did? Because he wrecked that thing.

Oh yeah, that was fun. [Laughs] Yeah, he did. But that’s Malcolm: just getting very angry and then not really being able to take it out on his father in the way he would like. There are just endless years of frustration in Malcolm. I think you saw some of that in that scene. Because he wants to scream and shout at this father, but he also wants to ask him lots of questions. There will always be a lot of frustration and another thing to work through with Malcolm and Martin.

Prodigal Son, Series Finale, Tuesday, May 18, 9/8c, Fox