January 15, 2015

Empire: The Outspoken King

After watching tonight’s episode of Empire, it is clearly an over the top, slightly exhausting, entertaining soap opera. It’s the roll your eyes, close your mouth, “I can’t believe they would go there” type of show that I am a sucker for. I think with Empire, people are either going to love it, hate it or hate to love it. It seems clear on what genre it is catering to and they are doing it well.

Let’s talk about this episode, shall we?

Now the best and most noteworthy scene tonight was courtesy of Andre and his wife, Rhonda. She meets him in the kitchen where he is recording his to-do list of the day, which weirdly includes pitting his brothers against one another.  After making small talk, we find out that Andre has cancelled his last two doctor’s appointments. This, for any one else, wouldn’t be that big of a deal until we learn that Andre suffers from bi-polar disorder. Now I think is a good time to start keeping track of all the illnesses, lies and secrets that are happening after only two episodes. How doesn’t anyone know that Andre has bi-polar disorder?!

OK, sorry – back to the scene. What happens next seems to be what we will soon be calling classic Empire. Rhonda takes something out of the kitchen drawer while walking over to her husband. She proceeds to kiss and convince him that he needs to go and see his doctor ASAP as he is starting to exhibit certain  mannerisms that are cause for concern i.e. speaking about himself in third person. After slight persuasion, he agrees and Rhonda proceeds to don a bib before slowly making her way to her knees to “take care” of her husband.

HOLD THE PHONE. 

DID YOU GET WHAT I JUST SAID?

Rhonda put on a damn bib to give her husband fellatio. (That was the most politically correct way to say it because we all know I wanted to say something else).

Let me tell you, that was my favorite scene of the night! That.damn.Rhonda. There might be more to her than I thought.

I do hope that Empire has some branded bibs ready to be sold on their website after the shows air on the West Coast though.

BTW: the bib now has a twitter account, check it out – @RhondasBib.

 

The rivalry between Hakeem and Jamal, or rather Lucious and Cookie, is ongoing. Hakeem has a major showcase at Empire’s newest club, Laviticus. Cookie wants Jamal to perform there too but we know that Lucious is not on board with that plan.

Hakeem makes a damn fool of himself while out drinking with his friends one night. He decided to take a piss at the bar in front of the restaurant’s patrons. While all of this is being captured on camera, he calls the President a sellout, jokes about getting arrested by police because he’s black (which we know is a very real possibility) and tries to flaunt his wealth (or whether his father’s wealth) in front of everyone until they all leave.

This combined with the heat another one of Empire’s artist is under does not bode well from Lucious. Understandably, he is livid and we see him on the phone with the President trying to smooth things over. I don’t know how I feel about that bar scene. I don’t know if I understand where they were trying to take it.  I am going to have to watch it again once it becomes available online. Was the scene suppose to show that all black people aren’t fans of the President? Was there supposed to be an undertone of serious social awareness underneath the awkward comedy? Am I reading too much into what it should have been? That was the one scene so far in these first two hours of Empire where I thought it completely missed the mark.

Anyway, Lucious is under a lot of stress right now with that, the discovery of his friend’s body and finding out that Cookie was going to have Jamal come out right before Hakeem’s showcase. Finding out this tidbit of information causes Lucious to visit Jamal and threaten him. Lucious threatens to completely cut him off financially if he goes through with Cookie’s plan and comes out. This being one of Jamal’s fears causes him to ditch his Mom and not show up as scheduled. Later that night when he visits the club, Cookie is still very much upset and refuses to talk with him.

After speaking with Hakeem and calming him down a bit after the controversy, they go on stage together and perform. Seeing Jamal on stage brightens Cookie’s mood tremendously.

B7W9IL6IYAApHvo

 

Let’s revisit this Jamal story line for a minute. While the fear of being cut off is a very real reason why a lot of people are afraid to come out, I wonder if this particular story-line considering the direction of the show is a bit too dated. Let’s think about this for a second: Lucious seems to be cold blooded in every sense; he encourages his artists to say whatever the hell they want and is comfortable enough to shoot his best friend but is genuinely worried about his gay son? While I do think he is legitimately worried and even embarrassed about it, I don’t know if tonight’s story line worked as it should have. I may be wrong though and reserve the right to change my mind in a couple of weeks.

Some other quick tidbits from tonight’s episode:

  • It is clear that Anika is threatened by Cookie especially after the former spouses seemed to connect in the boardroom where Cookie said she missed the Lucious she used to know. In a way, she helped Lucious break from the script that he was going with on the talk show with and speak from his heart, if only for a little bit. And why did she feel the need to squeeze her way between them when they were having a conversation over the balcony at the club? Girl, bye.
  • In the elevator scene, although Lucious didn’t say anything when rapper FoFo (I think that’s his name) disrespected Cookie, he released FoFo from his contract after Cookie left as a result. She was a little emotional when she realized he wouldn’t come to her aid and I do see her point. Sure, she is a little irritating to him, could be considered ratchet, assertive and annoyingly fabulous but she truly hasn’t done anything wrong to him and he knows that.
  • This leads me to another thing: I would not be surprised if Lucious and Cookie end up sleeping together, if only once, this season.
  • Let’s get into Cookie’s leopard ensemble. Did you guys peep the hat though and the way it laid to the side? I have to find the show’s stylist on Twitter.

Found on twitter via @SheSeauxSaddity

  • Speaking of Cookie, I love that we are already seeing the different aspects of her character. When she sees the Lyon mansion for the first time, when Hakeem pulls away from her in the living room, when Lucious turns his back from her at Empire’s building; we truly get the sense, when Cookie does, of just how much of an outsider she has become.
  • At the end of the episode, we saw that Cookie was actually an informant which seemed to have led to her early release. I don’t think she was snitching on Lucious though, I think it may be someone else that we haven’t met yet.
  • Becky found Lucious’s medication and now knows that he is sick. It will be interesting to see how this will play out and if she will be the one that ends up spilling the secret to everyone.
  • Lastly, I love Gabby but they have GOT to change Becky’s wig. Like, ASAP. This is not up for discussion.

What did you guys think of tonight’s episode? One thing Empire has been able to do so far is keep me interested. I may not be sold on all of the story lines but man, they know how to keep you talking.

See you next week, episode 3 looks to be just as outrageous!

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Natalya