PRODIGAL SON Post-Mortem: Halston Sage Previews What Comes Next for Ainsley After 'Head Case' Twist - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

PRODIGAL SON Post-Mortem: Halston Sage Previews What Comes Next for Ainsley After ‘Head Case’ Twist

February 16, 2021 by  

Prodigal Son Ainsley Killed Someone

PRODIGAL SON: L-R: Halston Sage and Tom Payne in the “Bad Manners” episode of PRODIGAL SON airing Tuesday, Feb. 9 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2021 Fox Media LLC Cr: Phil Caruso/FOX

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Tuesday, February 16 episode of PRODIGAL SON.]

PRODIGAL SON’s Ainsely (Halston Sage) has found herself in the middle of a bloody mess—again.

After surviving an fall down an elevator shaft that left him in a dreamworld, Malcolm (Tom Payne) realized he couldn’t go on lying to his sister about her accidental killing of Nicholas Endicott (Dermot Mulroney).

But just when he came clean to her, she had a surprise of her own—she blacked out and was now covered in blood.

So what the heck comes next?! Sage breaks down filming the trippy “Head Case,” and how Ainsley moves forward from here…

When the first season ended, PRODIGAL SON co-showrunner Sam Sklaver recalled telling you about the Ainsley twist and your face lighting up “like I told her I was sending her to Hawaii for a month with a new free car and a pony.” When you got the script for “Head Case,” what was your reaction to the double whammy of Malcolm telling Ainsley the truth and her revealing she was covered in blood?
[Joking.] I feel like there have been too many interviews that make me sound like I’m so excited about Ainsley’s storyline, that I’m actually concerned, because it’s super incriminating. [Laughs.]

As an actress, it was just exciting [to have that season 1 finale moment]. Especially [because] I hadn’t been featured as much as I started to at the end of last season just because the show is kind of exploring how Malcolm was affected by his father being a serial killer and hadn’t really gotten to Ainsley yet. So, I was actually just, I think, mostly excited to have this really cool twist that would give me some fun material to play with.

I was so curious [about the “Head Case” ending]! I wanted to know what happened. And I was kind of in the audience’s position, because we only get one script at a time. So I was pretty shocked. I was pretty shocked, especially because most of the season, Ainsley hadn’t really remembered much. So this was kind of a turning point in her [trajectory] for the second season.

I imagine the communication with the writers is different in the midst of the season versus at the end, but was this a script where you reached out to ask what was coming next?
Yes. [Laughs.] I had to. I was too curious not to reach out to them, and they filled me in.

The writers always find a way to surprise me, which I think is really a cool thing, especially when you’ve been on a show for [so long]. So to continuously be surprised in really fun and exciting ways is such a gift as an actor.

This was an episode that had Malcolm questioning what was real and what it would take to break out from his dream state. How much should we trust that the final scene actually happened?
What he’s seeing is real. That’s all I can really say.

Now that Ainsley knows the truth, how is she handling that knowledge of what she did?
Now that she knows, I think she actually has found more peace with that night, just because there were so many question marks that made her feel uneasy and like she was in a vulnerable position with Malcolm hanging something over her head. And now that she’s in the know, she feels like she’s able to move forward in a way that she wasn’t before, regardless of how terrible that night really was.

By the end, Ainsley’s entire family knew–and withheld—the truth from her about her killing someone. How does that shift her relationship with them?
That’s a good question. I think Ainsley knows that her family was trying to protect her and so she doesn’t hold them accountable.

On a lighter note, we got to see the family together in Malcolm’s dream. What was it like getting to film those dream sequences?
It was really cool to see the family all together in the Whitly house. It’s rare that they are all in one room at the same time, let alone not in Martin’s cell. So it was a really fun few days on set. Just kind of being able to play around with changing the way our hair looks, and adding fake eyelashes when Ainsley usually has pretty natural makeup, and just making it a little bit different than the usual universe that the show takes place in.

Is there a different mentality when you’re filming something so different for the show?
I think it was definitely a light day. It was just very fun and we were joking in between setups. We were kind of living in this levity that the writers created for our characters. It was just a lot of fun.

Looking ahead, professionally, how is Ainsley juggling this secret with her job as a reporter, since this is still, in theory, a sizable story?
Yeah, it’s weirdly been very separate. Her career has been able to fall back on track in a way that is sort of unaffected by her murder. And a big part of that is her and Malcolm getting away with it, because no one really knows.

On that note, Alan Cumming is coming in Simon Hoxley, a criminal profiler who is working on Nicholas Endicott’s death. With her now very aware of what she—and Malcolm—did, how far will Ainsley go to keep this secret?
At this point we know she’s done pretty much anything to protect her family. So nothing’s really off the table. [Laughs.]

Catherine Zeta-Jones is also coming to the show. Are you getting to interact with her at all, and if so, what is that relationship like?
I have not yet.

With her character, Dr. Capshaw, a big part of Martin’s storyline, is Ainsley aware what’s going on there, or is her own trouble keeping her entirely out of that arc for now?
She’s completely out of that loop.

One of the fun things about this season has been seeing how good Ainsley it at investigating these cases. How much is that playing into what you’ve filmed ahead?
Up until now, that was as involved as she gets. She hears Malcolm loud and clear when he kind of corrects her and reminding her of her job and what his job is and how she can’t intrude on his work. But I don’t have all the scripts yet, so it could change,

As Ainsley is processing her own trauma of what she’s been through in the past few months, how much is she getting to dig into what she went through growing up?
She is definitely learning more about how being the daughter of a serial killer has affected her than she has ever before, so I’m looking forward to seeing where the writers take that.

Is there anything else you’re excited for fans to see this season?
I think it’s really fun to see our guest stars, Alan Cumming and Catherine Zeta-Jones. They have great storylines, and obviously they’re such amazing performers, and we have been very lucky to have them.

PRODIGAL SON, Tuesdays, 9/8c, Fox


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