PRODIGAL SON Post-Mortem: Tom Payne on Malcolm's Unexpected Adventure in the Penultimate Hour - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

PRODIGAL SON Post-Mortem: Tom Payne on Malcolm’s Unexpected Adventure in the Penultimate Hour

May 11, 2021 by  

PRODIGAL SON: Tom Payne in the “Sun & Fun” episode of PRODIGAL SON airing Tuesday, May 11 (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, May 11 episode of PRODIGAL SON.]

PRODIGAL SON’s Malcolm (Tom Payne) went to extreme lengths to find his MIA father in the penultimate episode of the Fox drama.

After Malcolm realized Vivian (Catherine Zeta-Jones) had kidnapped Martin (Michael Sheen)—versus him kidnapping her—he offered himself up, in order to reunite with his father. And though it made Malcolm a pawn (including putting him through medical hell to try and control Martin), he was a step ahead, as he alerted his sister to what was going on.

And while Vivian stabbed herself to make her case that she was a victim, Martin decided he wouldn’t escape without his son…and the final shot was the duo—albeit with Malcolm out of it—on a boat.

So what the heck comes next? Here, Payne breaks down the bonkers penultimate episode and teases the now-series finale…

[Note: This interview was conducted before Fox canceled the series.]

You noted the penultimate felt like a finale. What comes next after the shot of them on the boat?
I think the finale is a very different kind of thing. It’s quite self-contained, and you see a completely different side to Martin Whitly, out in the world, and who he wants to be in this world, when he’s on the loose. And Malcolm is dealing with his father, and [that] relationship, and trying to do the best thing, and not necessarily succeeding.

How is Malcolm doing physically in the finale?
At the end of the episode, he hasn’t been through what Martin has—he doesn’t have any broken bones or anything. It’s just a drug-induced cardiac episode. He’s been through it, physically. But he’s been able to recover. But he has no idea what’s happened at the end of the penultimate episode. As far as he knows, he’s in the basement on that gurney. [Laughs.] He’s not aware Martin has him on a boat.

So, when he wakes up, whenever he wakes up in the finale, it’s a whole new adventure and he wasn’t expecting it. And he’s completely out of his comfort zone, as well. So you’ll see him managing the situation, but there’s only so much you can manage a serial killer out in the open.

How is Malcolm dealing with a lack of control over Martin? In the past, he could hang up the phone, leave Claremont, but now, it seems, there’s no escaping him…
I mean, it’s kind of the same, but different. All of the same pressures, and [issues] exists between them. But out in the world now, he doesn’t want to get into a physical altercation with his father. His father is not a small man; I’m not sure Malcolm would necessarily win in a physical competition with his father. He appeals very much to his conscience and his mental state. And he tries to reason with him; his father is a very intelligent man, so that’s no easy thing to do, either. But it’s really the only option he has. And so there’s a bit of a chess game going on in the last episode between them.

Martin has a plan. He has some grand plan in the finale that is going to help them break out. And Malcolm…is trying to see how that plan can help both of them, or have a resolution that works for both of them. It’s a bit of a kind of a cat and mouse, mental game, in the finale. Which is quite fun to watch. [Laughs.]

What I love about our show is, tonally, we can go in lots of different directions: we can have high drama, high comedy, and then really deeply emotional scenes, and when those things come together, is when the show is strongest. In the finale, we have really funny moments, really heartbreaking moments, and really scary moments—all in an hour of television. And that’s when I’m most proud of the show, when we’re really firing on all cylinders. I can’t wait for people to see [it]; [the episode] takes it in directions they won’t be expecting. I’m really excited to see people’s reactions.

Anna Gunn is in the finale, and interacting with Malcolm in the midst of the mayhem. What can you preview about their interactions?
Anna features in this plan that Martin has in the finale, that could help them out with the situation. I had some lovely scenes with Anna. And there are also some lovely faces in the finale that we loved having, that you will recognize from other TV shows and other stuff. I can’t say, but there are other people in the finale that people will be excited to see. [Laughs.] It was fun having them onboard.

And, obviously, having Anna was amazing. I’m a big fan of her work, and her as a person. It means so much to me that we’ve been able to create a show that people want to come and play with us on; to have Anna Gunn for one episode of television, on a network, is just so awesome. And it just speaks to the atmosphere that we’ve created on the show.

I’ve spoken to actors who have come and joined us. It’s been so nice that they’ve told me, “Oh yeah, people talk about the show, and how great the crew is and how nice the cast are and how much of a fun show it is to work on.” And that’s how we got Alan Cumming. And that’s how we got Catherine. And that’s how we got Anna. It’s so awesome. Everyone wants to have fun at work and enjoy their job. For us to be able to have created that environment is just great. And Anna had a really good time as well. It’s a lot of fun, and we’re honored to have all these people join us.

There was a big moment as Malcolm kissed Dani (Aurora Perrineau) in a deeply emotional state. What was his mindset in that moment?
I don’t think Malcolm knows anything about anything. And I think everything is impulse-based, especially in that moment. And I think the situation is so extreme, that he just wants comfort and needs closeness with another person. And certainly of everyone in his life, Dani is the person that has felt closest to him, emotionally, and in this case, physically. Just in that moment—and obviously there’s feelings behind that, and other people have seen them and spoken to him about them—it was the impulse taking over. Unfortunately, then he moves on, and he runs off. At the end of the episode, it doesn’t look like they’re going to be able to see each other. So, I think more pressing things have come into view with his father and stuff, but I think that is something that would definitely be spoken about and revisited further down the line.

As a viewer, and someone interested in the show, I just think giving Malcolm a love interest is really unfair. [Laughs.] You’ve got so much stuff to figure out and now you’ve got this? You just feel so bad for him, because the last person he got involved with was murdered, and he’s got that on his head, as well. “I shouldn’t get involved with anyone, because they could get murdered.” But everyone has their needs, and emotionally, in moment, he felt she was the person he was going to be closest to. I feel sorry for him.

Right now, Malcolm doesn’t know his mother knew Martin was being held captive by Vivian. When he learns the truth, what will that do to their relationship?
Yeah, I mean that’s a whole other thing, where I was like, “I can’t believe you guys did this to him.” If he finds that out…he has pretty much rescued his relationship with his mother, and they’re in a good spot right now. I mean that goes all the way back to the beginning of season 1, when he thought his mother knew about what Martin had done and then he realized that she didn’t and that she’s probably just as damaged as he is by the whole thing. But at the end of the day, his gut is with his father, because he’s his father.

As we get older, we have our relationships and we know how people operate, and what being in relationship is. But being in a relationship with someone you’ve chosen to be in a relationship with is different than being related by blood, by being the offspring of someone. You can’t change that relationship, you can’t change that fact. And he will always have feelings towards his father that his mother doesn’t have, because they have a different relationship and they have a different bond. And so, as much as I can understand where she’s coming from—and I think Malcolm could, too—at the same time, we’ve seen evidence in the episodes that he will do anything to help his father. And also do the best thing for his father. And that doesn’t necessarily mean…Jessica was going to sacrifice him, but we saw in episode 11, Malcolm was terrified he was going to get shot. He doesn’t want that to happen.

It’s a very emotional [experience]. I think when this show ends, I’m going to lie down for a year. [Laughs]. There’s so much emotional trauma that Malcolm goes through, from all sides, all the time. And so when they added in that, I was like, if he finds out about that, I don’t know if there’s ever going to be any kind of resolution for Malcolm’s mental health, because he never gets rest.

Your colleagues have teased how huge the final moments of the season are. What can you share about your reaction to it?
Well, we had some choices at the beginning—not my choice, I couldn’t have changed what happened—but there were some different things that could have happened, and then what we landed on is very shocking and sudden. But it made sense. The places where we go in the finale, like I said, it’s just all over the map…And then it ends in a moment, which is kind of…when you get to the end of the finale, you’re like, “Yeah, that was inevitable.” So it’s shocking and unexpected, but in retrospect, the audience will be like, “Oh yeah, but I guess that’s what had to happen.” That’s not to say that anyone involved in the story wants it to happen. But it was pretty, pretty cool. It’s very quick: the last few scenes are like, “Oh what’s happening now, what’s happening now? [Gasps.] Oh my God.” And then cut to black. It’s really cool.

When I was on WALKING DEAD, when you find out about different things happening, it was, “I can’t wait for the audience to see that.” It’s the same with this. I kind of want to be in the audience’s shoes. And I did last year, as well. I like watching reaction videos. I like seeing people involved in a story; we make these to entertain people and to take them on a journey. And I think we’ve done a good job on that on this show. Certainly in the finale, you go on a big journey. And I don’t think anyone will feel like they’ve been shortchanged.

PRODIGAL SON, Tuesdays, 9/8c, Fox


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Filed under Prodigal Son


10 Responses to “PRODIGAL SON Post-Mortem: Tom Payne on Malcolm’s Unexpected Adventure in the Penultimate Hour”

  1. Terry Agugliaro on May 12th, 2021 7:20 am

    Why would they cancel this show, it’s the best one on T.V hands down. What happened? Alot of viewers are going to be upset. Is there anything we can do to convince them not to give it the axe?

  2. Vickie Chafin on May 12th, 2021 7:34 am

    I am a older lady who Loves this Show. My Son and I watch it together. I wish you would give it one more season and try another night. Friday night’s would be good. So much more you could write for the show.

  3. Sara Lundy on May 12th, 2021 9:38 am

    Please do not cancel Prodigal Son it is a wonderful show.

  4. Mary Whitson on May 12th, 2021 5:56 pm

    So, did he basically confirm the entire series is going to end on a cliff hanger with that ‘oh my gosh, cut to black’ line? Really praying a streaming service to pick it up now. Or at the very least that someone can convince Fox to do “Timeless” tv-movie thing to tie up the loose ends. (Really, that actually worked out surprisingly well, all things considered.)
    Total first world problem, but really sad and bit peeved to see this show go, especially only after two series. (But God allows everything for reason.)

    Also, since it seems no one else is going to point it out, Malcolm has another reason to be upset with Jessica for not sounding the alarm: If she had spoke up, he wouldn’t have to play Cassandra a role no one likes to play. (For those who don’t know, Cassandra is an Oracle from Greek Mythology who was cursed so no one believed her visions) Not saying we could avoided the later half of the episode had she said something–our hero is still Miranda Lambert crazy after all–I’m just saying, it couldn’t hurt.

  5. Lori J Boy on May 12th, 2021 8:48 pm

    Why would they cancel this show. It’s my favorite show and I look forward to it each week. I can not believe Jessica didn’t speak up about zeta Jones character having martin but I guess she saw an opportunity to get rid of martin. Anyway Fox gets a good show and they cancel it

  6. Linda Carter on May 12th, 2021 9:17 pm

    Why cancelled?? Will it be picked up by Netflix?

  7. Sandra LaVista on May 12th, 2021 10:07 pm

    This is ridiculous that a show like Prodigal Son is cancelled and stupid shows are kept on. Please don’t cancel this show! Change the night it airs. If not, let Netflix, Hulu or one of the other streaming apps adopt thus show. It’s a great show!!

  8. Linda A Wright on May 13th, 2021 6:07 am

    What??!! Are you people nuts??!! This show is one of the best shows on TV right now. Why would y’all cancel it. Big mistake-

  9. Barbara Janci on May 13th, 2021 10:01 am

    I watch it over the air every week, this cancelation
    is extremely upsetting!
    I felt the same way when Lucifer was canceled!

  10. Alice Griffith on May 13th, 2021 10:53 am

    I am beyond upset with the decisión to cancel the prodical son!!! I so look forward to the show every week, as i watch it, i am on the end of my seat!! Is there anything we can do? I cant believe they are cancelling this show and keeping shows like that dont make any sense, has so much cussing, nudity!!!