The Season 1 finale of Prodigal Son dealt a hefty blow to unsuspecting fans.
The hit crime drama focuses on Malcolm Bright's (Tom Payne) battle with his crippling fear of becoming more and more like his father, a much-dreaded serial killer. However, it wasn't Malcolm who ended up taking a life in the explosive episode, but his sister, Ainsley Whitly (Halston Sage). So, why did she kill Nicholas Endicott (Dermot Mulroney)?
Fans coined different theories to explain what might have led Ainsley to kill Endicott.
In "Like Father...," Ainsley picked up the knife and slit Endicott's throat before proceeding to vehemently stab him. She acted on a similar urge Malcolm managed to repress just moments before. The scene left many fans in a state of shock, with many wondering about what Ainsley's underlying motivations may have been.
According to a theory, there's a chance that the heinous businessman assaulted her, leaving her with no choice but to defend herself.
"When Malcolm finally gets to the house, we see Endicott almost caressing Ainsley. There is a single tear rolling down her face, and she looks very shocked. Ainsley is usually a very level-headed person unless something horrible happens. My theory is that Endicott did 'stuff' to her, and that's why she snapped and killed him," wrote a Redditor named funko_69.
A Twitter user named @AnUnabashedNerd ventured even further, writing that Ainsley could tap into her killer streak and do away with criminal profiler Simon Hoxley (Alan Cumming) as well, come Season 2 of Prodigal Son.
"You guys think Ainsley will kill Cumming's character, too?" tweeted @AnUnabashedNerd.
Other fans had similar ideas, arguing that Ainsley could follow in her father's footsteps and become a monstrous serial killer.
"I think it was an act on Ainsley's part, for Malcolm. He really didn't hurt a hair on her and he was just informing Malcolm, in his own pretentious, threatening, and evil way. All season long, I felt that they did such a good job downplaying Ainsley's role in this story that by the finale I had completely forgotten about the fact that the title of the show, Prodigal Son, meant that Ainsley would likely be the one to follow in her father's footsteps and not Malcolm," wrote BumbleBee7336.
Season 2 of 'Prodigal Son' plunges viewers into the aftermath of the atrocity.
Although it was Ainsley who killed Endicott, the incident had an unexpected impact on Malcolm as well. Determined to protect his sister, he destroys the evidence.
Too traumatized by what happened, Ainsley develops amnesia-like symptoms, forgetting that she committed a murder. Malcolm takes advantage of these tendencies, telling his sister that it was him.
"From Bright's perspective, there's a degree of relief in Ainsley's trauma, that her brain is essentially covering up the crime, protecting her from this crazy act she did. Ainsley’s protected in a way, and at the beginning of the season, it's almost like she's OK. But as you know from watching the show, things don't usually turn out OK," teased Chris Fedak, the co-creator of Prodigal Son, in a previous interview with TV Insider.
Catch new episodes of Prodigal Son every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.