PRODIGAL SON Post-Mortem: Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver Break Down Long-Planned Finale - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

PRODIGAL SON Post-Mortem: Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver Break Down Long-Planned Finale

April 27, 2020 by  

Prodigal Son Ainsley Kills Nicholas

PRODIGAL SON: L-R: Tom Payne and Halston Sage in the “Like Father…” season fin theale episode of PRODIGAL SON airin theg Monday, April 27 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2020 FOX MEDIA LLC. Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX.

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for season finale of PRODIGAL SON.]

“My girl.”

With those chilling words—and a tiny little murder—PRODIGAL SON’s first season came to a bloody, delightful end.

Of course, things were complicated. As Malcolm (Tom Payne) was confined to his mother’s home—it didn’t last long—in the aftermath of him being suspected of murder, he was able to pin down Eddie’s real killer…and it was Eve’s sister, AKA the girl in the box.

But that ended up being the least of their problems, as Nicholas (Dermot Mulroney) both made it clear there was zero way the team would be able to stop him (after he already masterminded Lou Diamond Phillips‘ Gil getting stabbed). In a panic, Ainsley (Halston Sage) brutally killed him, as a horrified Malcolm watched.

On the bright side, when their father, Martin (Michael Sheen) called to check in and Malcolm filled him in, Martin was absolutely delighted by his daughter’s (at least temporary) turn to the dark side.

So what’s next? Showrunners Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver share what’s ahead in a potential season 2

The show ended up shooting two less episodes than planned. How much did you have to tweak things to land where you did?
Chris Fedak: The way we did it was we actually shot this finale…our last two episodes were shot out of order. They were shot earlier in the season, before episode 19 and 20, for scheduling purposes. And so after we had shot those, what we realized, as we were starting production on [what would have been] episode 19, things were turning in New York. I think everybody was realizing that there was a very good chance that we would shut down. And there was very good chance that we would not come back until next year. So as we looked at that situation, we pretty much spent an afternoon and a morning rewriting our work for what turned out to be the last day of shooting, so that would allow us to link episode 18 to [what would have been] episode 21. And we could punt episodes 19 and 20. So this was the finale that we always wanted to build to. And we turned two episodes of serialized story into the beginning of episode 21.
Sam Sklaver: It was just the most amazing dumb luck that we shot our finale by the end of February. And then the world started to change, and we knew that we had told the story that we set out to tell. It was just on us to figure out how we could get there and I’m pretty proud of the work we did. I think we told the story we always wanted to tell.

The final few minutes feels like it could potentially shake the entire series up. How might this fundamentally change Ainsley going forward, and what conversations did you have with Halston about playing that moment?
Fedak: Outside of the craziness and the gallons of blood we unleashed on our set that day—which was remarkably shot by Adam Kane, our director—the thing that I point people to is Halston’s performance as Ainsley. You see in that moment a kind of a complicated mixture of shock and anger and bewilderment that represent a person making a split-second decision, that in some ways justifiable. I think that also in Tom’s performance in that moment, seeing what is he going to do in the next second after he hangs up with his father? What’s going to happen next? That’s really what season 2 will be launching from and what we’re going to explore. But this is not all of a sudden [that’s she’s a] mustache-twirling bad guy, heel turn. This has been something we’ve been building to since the beginning of the season and something we’ll explore next year.
Sklaver: I actually remember months ago—it must have been in the middle of the winter—when we told Halston our plans for Ainsley’s character, knowing how well she had been portraying Ainsley and how excited we were to tell the story. Her face lit up like I told her I was sending her to Hawaii for a month with a new free car and a pony. I’ve never made a person so happy as I made Halston Sage when I told her that she was gonna kill someone this season. It was such joy. She was screaming and smiling and leaping out of her skin. And she did a phenomenal job.

It’s true, it’s going to fundamentally change who her character is. But all the questions we’ve asked all season about how much is Malcolm like his father, now we’re going to be able to explore all of that from his sister’s point of view. I’m so excited to do that with her and with the rest of our group.

Which also ties into the finale’s name, “Like Father…”, which I initially assumed would be “like son”…
Fedak: Mwahaha.

And that also ties into the fantastic final moment of the season as Martin—who has spent all season calling Malcolm “my boy”—realizes what Ainsley has done and goes, “My girl.” At what point did you know you’d be ending the season with that full-circle moment?
Fedak: It was in the initial pitch to Fox.
Sklaver: Chris and I landed on that before we told anyone else about the show. We just thought it was both so unexpected, but so in the world and believable. I remember sitting across from the executives at Fox, and Chris and I telling them, “My girl,” at the end and seeing their faces light up; we knew that it was something we had to keep. It’s always been a North Star for us for the season.

Someone as high-profile as Nicholas, they, in theory, cannot drop off the face of the Earth without attracting some attention. How much will Malcolm and Ainsley be thinking about that as they decide what to do next? And will the warrants out there help or hurt their plans going forward?
Fedak: We definitely want to tip toe around a lot of the things that we’re thinking about for season 2, but I think a lot of the things that you think of…What I’ll agree with is that you cannot eliminate that when a powerful gazillionaire disappears, it’s a big deal. And so I think that that’s something that’s going to be a big part of the show. From there, we have a lot of twists and turns that we are going to keep close to the vest.
Sklaver: I will say though, personally, if I ever killed someone, I would love to have Malcolm Bright in my corner to help me get away with it.
Fedak: And I’d also like to say, if anyone ever kills me, it’s Sam. [Both men laugh.]

To go back to the episodes that ended up not being filmed, will those be placed into a potential season 2?
Fedak: I think the cases for those stories are really good, are very tight, because that explored two worlds that we really want to get into: one of exorcism and one of technology. I think that we will definitely revisit those scripts and kind of rebuild them for the new mythology of season 2.

Earlier in the episode, Gil told Malcolm to run. Will there be any consequence to that, or is that water under the bridge now that he was nearly killed and Malcolm stayed put?
Fedak: I think in some ways it’s water under the bridge. But I also do think that it speaks to a bigger issue that we’ve dealt with a little bit on the show, which is Gil is putting himself on the line for Bright on weekly basis. There’s a lot of complicated relationship-type stuff that is happening between the two of them, that I think if someone were to explore in greater detail, it would not look good for Gil. The specifics of that moment are maybe water under the bridge, but I think there are other things going forward—that is a tension that is real and alive in the show.

Looking ahead to a potential season 2, what else are you excited about possibly exploring?
Fedak: Right now, we’re excited to tell more stories with these characters. They’re so much fun. We can’t wait to see Michael Sheen in prison.
Sklaver: I think that’s the one big thing for season 2 that’s pretty clearly set up: We’re going to see Martin in a different world than what he’s been in. And it’s not necessarily a world that he won’t enjoy or dare I say even thrive in, as scary as that may sound. Seeing Martin amongst the prison population is one [story] that’s very exciting for us to tell.

Can’t wait until PRODIGAL SON eventually returns? Watch this delightful new webisode!


What did you think of the PRODIGAL SON season finale?


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