Sometimes, a friend in need isn’t always a friend indeed.
After being delayed due to a real-life tragedy, FBI finally aired the planned Season 4 finale, Prodigal Son.
While filmed before the last two episodes in the current season, this still fits a narrative of Jubal trying to handle his son Tyler’s feelings of being afflicted with cancer and not making enough friends.
That put Jubal in a tough spot when Tyler had information that could prevent a deadly shooting crime.
As the team raced to stop the tragedy, Jubal was forced to face his own distance from his son and how this could lead to a bigger crime.
While it seemed to come together in the end, it still showed Jubal, like any parent, can often miss the warning signs of a child in need of help.
A brutal smash and grab
At a gun shop, a clerk was closing up for the night when a car drove through the front window. He ducked behind the counter as some masked men came out, smashing up the display cases to grab the guns inside.
The clerk grabbed a shotgun to order the men out, only for one to knock him down with a sledgehammer and then brought it down on his head.
Scola and Wallace arrived on the scene to learn the victim was Ted Whitman, the brother of the store owner Mark Whitman (Adam Monley). Mark was naturally distraught at his brother’s death and couldn’t answer who would do this.
Jubal checked in with an ATF agent while mentioning that Isobel was out sick. The team watched a video of the theft and tracked the car to a woman who had no idea her vehicle had been used in this robbery and then returned.
They were surprised the thief looked so young, and Jubal was shocked to realize he was wearing a sweatshirt from Chapman, the same private school his son went to.
OA and Nina headed to Chapman, where the headmaster identified the boy in the video as Clayton Hall (Micah Scroggins), who was showing signs of violent art that concerned teachers.
With Clayton supposedly home, the team raided it, where Clayton was holed up in his room and refusing to come out. Clayton was obviously upset, OA seemingly calming him down, only for a gunshot to ring out. They broke down the door to find Clayton had shot himself.
The agents were disturbed to find Clayton had left behind some very violent drawings and writings indicating how troubled he really was. Nina wondered how the kid smiling in all the family photos could write an entire page saying “Hurt.”
Clayton’s parents were overwhelmed, unable to understand how this could have happened, and they’d tried to help him. They mentioned Clayton’s closest friend was Simon Branch.
Simon (AJ Dyer) said he’d been friends with Clayton, but they became distant when Clayton became weird. Simon was thrown to hear of Clayton’s death and shared that Clayton thought it would be “Really cool” to shoot up a school and hung out with some gamers.
Jubal has some family problems
The team started looking over the info as Jubal was rocked to realize one name on the list was Tyler. He talked to his son, who was shocked to hear about Clayton. When Jubal asked about any friends, Tyler snapped about being asked to snitch.
Tyler became more defensive as Jubal pressed him and warned him to stay away from that group. He left to talk to Samantha about this, including how Tyler was using Samantha’s last name.
Samantha shared Tyler had been pretty negative about his father and was having a hard time, and was upset that Jubal had been brushing all this off. She believed his friends were helping his mood.
With Jubal busy, Assistant Director Reynolds (Ben Shenkman) took charge at the office as the team found a link to classmate Zach O’Connor. They checked out his place over his parent’s objections to find a bag of guns in his room.
There were still a few guns missing as Zach’s parents confessed he’d been missing for over a day.
Zach had sent Clayton a text saying that they were planning something making them famous involving hundreds of deaths. The FBI quickly evacuated Chapman as Jubal assured Tyler over the phone that it would be okay.
A school counselor said Zach was mostly aloof but was becoming friends with a student: Tyler.
Breaking all speed limits, Jubal confronted Tyler about Zach as Tyler refused to believe Zach could be involved in this. He felt indebted as Zach had helped him with some bullies. He couldn’t give his dad any info and felt sorry about losing a friend.
Zach’s mom suggested he could be at the family house upstate. The team raided it to find a landline, calling it to find the last call Zach made was to Tyler.
Jubal makes a harsh choice to stop a tragedy
Jubal confronted Tyler, who said Zach had called to say he was “Going to become iconic.” He still refused to give up his only friend as “He’s been there for me, unlike you.”
Tyler talked of how it felt being “The cancer kid” at school, and Tyler was the one person who’d helped him. Jubal told his son he would be better, but for right now, they had to find Zach. Tyler did say Zach had been wearing his hat that he lost at a theater by the train station.
The agents raced to the old theater, where they found a homeless man and evidence Zach had used the place for target practice. The ammo left behind made them realize Zach was looking to rearm himself.
OA and Nina were coming to a gun store just in time to hear shots ring out. They found the owner shot with OA chasing Zach (Scot Wade Cain) out the back. He gave it a good run, but Zach managed to escape.
While the gun owner would survive, Zach now had enough ammo to carry out his mission. They found a video of him on the street. Jubal tried to talk to Tyler, only for him to hang up with another call incoming.
Jubal raced home to find Tyler had left. He ranted at Samantha for ignoring his problems with her flipping it back that she was the one doing the work with Tyler, with Jubal blaming himself for not being there for his son.
The team discovered that Zach was posting about a girl named Grace Gilmore, who he claimed had laughed at him. Jubal was worried Tyler was with him as he raced to the location of Tyler’s phone.
Jubal came up to see Zach grab Tyler and use him as a hostage, thinking Tyler had set him up for a trap. He pulled Tyler into a bookstore to add more hostages as Jubal called for reinforcements.
As OA and Nina showed up, Jubal decided to go in alone to confront Zach. An unstable Zach demanded a plane as Jubal tried to calm him down.
Zach threatened Tyler as Jubal emphasized Tyler had been trying to help him and thanked Zach for being a friend to his son.
Jubal reached out to Zach, who was on edge, telling him there was no way out. Jubal finally snapped, “If you want to kill somebody, kill me!” As Zach whirled on him, Tyler pushed the gun aside, so it fired into the shelves, giving OA and Nina the chance to tackle Zach and arrest him.
Jubal watched Zach be led away to marvel at how a teenager could end up this way and figured they’d never know what happened. He also used his own experience to not blame Zach’s parents for not seeing the signs of trouble.
Jubal checked on Tyler, who admitted he wanted to help Zach surrender. He felt he’d messed up, but Jubal said he was proud of his son for saving him as the pair embraced.
It was a rough episode for Jubal yet showed how his love as a parent can overcome almost any challenge.
FBI Season 5 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.