Still riding the plot wave of Lucious Lyon fighting like mad while on trial for a crime he totally committed, Empire doubles down and forces the Lyon family to come together for plenty of drama and snappy dialogue.
The FBI raids Empire to the tune of Jamal singing outside his range in the latest desperate attempt to get Lucious back in jail where he belongs. When the Feds turn up at Lyon Dynasty as well, the obvious solution to everyone is for these psychopaths to spend more time together to show solidarity. Of course, this works out as well you would expect, which is not at all.
Lucious can hardly bear to be around Andre because his mother suffered from mental illness just as Andre did. So he pushes him away to show his love (?) until he realizes his son holds the key to getting the completely legitimate case against him thrown out. In case you’ve missed it, Lucious is a lying murderer and his indignation over being the prime suspect is ridiculous.
Neither Cookie nor Hakeem cannot stand to be around Lucious because of his vindictive actions against their burgeoning label. Thankfully, Cookie is genius enough to exact revenge on Lucious for trying to keep her artists off the radio and avoid jail at the same time. Did anyone else tear up when they saw flashbacks of her in prison? Hakeem has had it with Lucious’ constant double crossing and all the fuss over Jamal, so he loses it during a remake of the California Love video and vows to never come back to Empire. He then decides to unleash his inner Rat Pack and drink at a vintage lounge where he happens upon Laura Calleros, or Valentina 2.0. I was super happy about this encounter because Laura has a much better, more soulful voice than Ms. Old News. Maybe Cookie’s fantastic choreography won’t go to waste!
Speaking of old news, Boo Boo Kitty can’t seem to stop sniffing around Cookie, and it is beyond irritating. It’s hard to believe that the woman who was able to be at war with everyone is now suddenly begging for friends, but hopefully her fall is setting her up for either an ascent to evil power player or an exit. We do not need to see her grovel anymore.
I really enjoyed the show’s deeper journey into Shakespearean themes with the “Poor Yorick” episode. Murdered uncles, swiftly changing alliances and even good old exhuming removed all doubt that this show is a tribute to the Bard. Of course, Hamlet had much nicer things to say about Yorick than Lucious did for Vernon, but the allusion is still there. And just as Cookie dared Roxanne Ford and Andre urged Rhonda, I hope the writers will “keep digging” so we can uncover even more layers of these characters and their messed up relationships.
Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down
Jamal dancing: Down duh down down dowwwnn. It’s like all his sex appeal evaporates when he tries to move more than 2 body parts at the same time.
Dora Shade: Two thumbs up plus an eye roll! Michael is NOT here for that photographer’s nonsense!
“Game Time, Bitches”: DOWN. Worst catchphrase ever.
Shirtlessness: Lucious’ greeting of his attorney was priceless! Up!
WTF Moment of the Night
Marisa Tomei need not say the word “playa” ever again in life. Let’s keep Mimi’s swagger at Episode 1 levels and not have her randomly become an awkward wannabe fangirl, mmkay?
Final Grade: A-