Obviously, there will be spoilers ahead! You’ve been warned!
This week’s episode of Empire was a wild ride from start to finish. Remember how last season Lucious named Jamal as the leader of Empire when he got is arrested? Well, this episode we get to see Jamal become the brutal man his father was in season one, especially when it comes to his strict control of Empire Records. Is this the beginning of the end of the sensitive and bashful Jamal we came to know and love during season one?
The episode started with our favorite mama, Cookie Lyon, and her sons Andre and Hakeem exiting Empire Records with boxes full of all of their things, appearing to have been fired. As they exit Cookie proclaims, “We don’t need this place, we’ll start our own company!”, and she’s definitely serious. Cookie, Hakeem, and Andre rented some warehouse in the ghetto, and call their new company ‘Lyon Dynasty’ (seem familiar, anyone?).
During their exodus, Lucious is still in prison and is having problems with his ALS. His prosecutor Roxanne Ford has been withholding the medicine he needs for his ALS. Despite this, he still manages to drop an epic single called “Snitch B*tch” with his prison buddies inside a janitor’s closet. Though if we have to admit it, the lyrics of Lucious’s single ‘Snitch B*tch’ were pretty cringe-worthy. This recording session ‘from the joint’ is rudely interrupted by rapper Ludacris, who makes a cameo as a despicable prison guard who takes pleasure brutalizing Lucious.
Meanwhile, Hakeem’s new project at ‘Lyon Dynasty’ is crafting a Destiny’s Child-like girl group that appeals to multiple demographics, and he wants to call them “Rainbow Sensation”. During the audition process he stages for the new group, he is particularly captivated by a young woman named Valentina, played by Becky G. Going in for a close, the episode takes as a darker turn. Andre, the brother that both the writers and viewers of Empire seem to largely ignore, makes a heart-wrenching plea to Lucious in prison. As usual, Lucious is a negligent father who denies Andre’s cries for acceptance back into the Empire (completely disregarding the fact that Andre, unlike his two other sons, has spent his whole life developing Empire into the company it is today). Lucious’ lack of acceptance is very hypocritical, especially since he spent all of last season learning how to accept Jamal for being gay, and now Jamal is the head of Empire Records.
Here at Spectrum we thought that this week’s episode was pretty solid overall. We appreciated how the writers got right into establishing the plot arch of this season. It will be interesting to see how Empire Records manages without its head honcho. What will be more entertaining to watch is the rivalry of the Lyon brothers that is now allowed to play out unbridled while Lucious is in jail. Like any other viewer, this episode left us curious and at the edge of our seats. We decided just to add a few of the questions we had while watching such as; when will Andre’s character be developed as much as Jamal and Hakeem’s characters are? Who was the woman Lucious’ flashback? Finally, what is Tiana’s purpose in Empire besides her sex appeal, now that she is no longer Hakeem’s fake girlfriend?
Stay tuned for more weekly reviews by Spectrum!