Obviously there will be spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned!
Empire’s mid season finale showcased as many bombshells and plot twists the writers could cram into 60 minutes; just enough to hook a faltering audience until the second half of season 2 airs next March.
The mid-season finale was titled ‘Et Tu, Brute?’, which is a term used to express surprise and dismay at the treachery of a supposed friend (dictionary.com). This episode featured plenty of treachery between Hakeem and the Lyon clan with the return of old flames and new drama.
Last week’s episode left us with a major cliffhanger. We watched as Jamal and Skye Summers awkwardly made-out, and Episode 10 picks up right where we were left off. It’s the American Sound Awards nomination night, and Jamal and Skye were seen out in public together closer than ever before. The duo performs the soulful hit they have been collaborating on, until guest star Charlamagne disrupts their chemistry by bashing Skye’s racial integrity. Charlemagne’s whole scene feels pretty forced, because what television host would bash a performer he just announced a nomination for? However, that scene still gave Jamal the chance to deliver an important message about labels. Even the self-centered Lucious Lyon notices how close Jamal and Skye have become. Despite the progress Lucious made on his homophobic views last season, this episode we see that he still isn’t fully comfortable with his son’s homosexuality. He totally ‘ships’ this pairing. Shockingly enough, Jamal eventually revealed to Skye that he still has feelings for his backstabbing ex boyfriend Michael.
Meanwhile, Cookie Lyon ventured to her old prison to stage a charity concert for her former fellow inmates on Family Day. As she walked through the cell blocks, she was assaulted by painful memories of being locked away for 17 years. Hakeem and Laura preform for the families, and Hakeem makes a tearful speech about not being able to see his mother for all that time. Despite its many faults, we applaud Empire for showcasing the feats incarcerated parents go through. Cookie gets heat for not staying in contact with any of her former cellmates, so there is obviously more to know about the people Cookie bonded with for over a decade and a half. We sense some recurring roles here.
After this point in ‘Et Tu Brute?’ , things got way more complicated. Rhonda seems so pregnant that she’s about to bust! Her and Andre’s son is due very soon, so recently she had spent her days waddling around their new mansion and hanging with Anika. Remember Mimi Whitemen (played by Marisa Tomei), the lesbian billionaire who technically ‘owns’ Empire? She and Lucious wenr head to head in this episode because suddenly, Camilla (played by Naomi Campbell) reapppeared to take down Empire as Mimi’s new wife! Camilla was Hakeem’s cougar ex from last season, and she had arrived to get vengeance on the Lyons for destroying her relationship with Hakeem. Mimi exposed Lucious in front of the whole board of trustees, and convinced them to vote him out of office as CEO! Even though Lucious’ minions go to great lengths to convince the board to vote for him, little did they know that Hakeem would be the black sheep, as he votes against Lucious because Camilla convinced him to. Are you confused yet?
What’s most shocking of all is that since Mimi will be away for chemotherapy because she has breast cancer, she named Camilla as the interim CEO of Empire! This revelation causes the Lyons to go beserk. Cookie spat in Camilla’s face, Lucious went on a rampage, and everyone turned on Hakeem. We predict that like other family feuds, Hakeem’s betrayal will blow over in just a few episodes.
But we’re not done yet! In spite of all of this awful news, one silver lining emergers: both Jamal and Lucious were nominated for the ASA song of the year! We hope this doesn’t put the two against each other, one family feud is all we can handle right now. Unfortunately, all that’s well still doesn’t end well. In the final scenes of Episode 10, our favorite expecting mother is brutally pushed down a flight of stairs by an unknown assailant (could it be the jealous Anika?)! Could things get any worse for the Lyon clan?
Spectrum isn’t sure, but we do know that Empire’s mid-season finale was one of the best of the best.We give it a 5/5 stars!