That. damn. Lucious
That is pretty much how I felt after watching last night’s Empire. Every damn time I think they won’t take it a step further, they do. Seriously, I mean, Sonny and Carly never gave me such high blood pressure on General Hospital as Empire does. Trust me, that means a lot.
Let’s get right into this episode while it’s still fresh in my mind.
The whole family, except, Lucious, is at the hospital where Andre was admitted. The doctor briefs them on Andre’s condition and we find out that Andre was initially diagnosed with bi-polar disorder his junior year in college. Through flashbacks, we see that he had an episode when he visited his father’s house bearing gifts and in his manic state. He had to be restrained and taken to a hospital where Lucious was told that his son had a mental illness. As we know by now, under no circumstances did Lucious want to hear that. He basically forbade the doctor to ever mention his son having a mental illness to him again. He told his children that Andre was tired from working so much at school and would be taking a break. At the time Andre was already dating Rhonda and Lucious threatened her to never to speak about that initial episode to anyone.
Back to the present, Lucious refused to come to the hospital and initially Cookie had a hard time grasping the severity of bi polar disorder. She wanted to blame Rhonda and claimed that this sounded like a “white people problem” (I’m paraphrasing a bit here). Once it was explained more fully, Cookie was very remorseful and felt guilty that she wasn’t there for Andre. She even apologized to him but he was virtually unresponsive to all of them, even with Hakeem and Jamal tried to bring up his spirits by talking about the IPO.
We also met Michelle, played by Jennifer Hudson, the music therapist. Apparently, music therapy is very helpful in these situations and Andre seemed to be responding most to this. After he sent Rhonda off to his father’s house to sign the IPO documents, he and Michelle and a therapy session. She sang a beautiful song to him but on this particular night, it was not working. She asked him about his medication but he said that those weren’t working for him either. She had another idea and moved from the piano to the door where she closed and locked it. Andre was sitting on the floor with his back to the piano at this point so she walked over to him and knelt between his legs. She pressed her forehead to his and laced their fingers together. Now at this point, we all assume we know where this is going.
When they looked like they were going to lean in for a kiss, she told him that they should pray. Andre didn’t know what to do for a minute there. He literally blinked twice and reared his head back. He told her that he didn’t pray but she took over and started to pray with him.
We, as well as Andre, really thought they were about to have sex. They seemed to have a connection through the music and even through his haze, Andre seemed to be attracted to her.
When she said let’s pray, Andre was genuinely confused. He literally looked at her like, “Excuse me?!”
(this was his real face, I am convinced)
Now listen, I am not knocking what she did because I believe it ultimately helped him. I am a spiritual person and fully believe in the power of prayer. However, I can admit to being conflicted. I don’t know how I feel about the “well your medication and therapy didn’t work, so let’s just pray and it will all work out” story line. I think that scene had more potential to bring awareness to mental instability and it failed a bit. Let’s not even talk about the fact that we were all led on for a bit here. We all thought it was about go down. Shucks, Andre was ready – wife or no wife. Ultimately it didn’t happen though I am convinced that it will still happen, maybe even next week during the season finale. I honestly wouldn’t be upset if Jennifer Hudson had a recurring role on the next season as well.
Let’s discuss the IPO as the most important incidents happened surrounding this. The family is scheduled to meet at Lucious’ house to sign the paperwork for everything to go through. Of course, Andre doesn’t go and sends Rhonda in his place which doesn’t make Lucious happy. Jamal is there and speaks with his father about taking Lola to live with him. Lucious disagrees with his decision and thinks that Lola should continue living with him. Hakeem meets the family there as well but brings Camilla, who Cookie and Lucious agree is not right for him.
After constant delay, a halt is finally put on the whole signing when Vernon shows up with Olivia and Reggie, who we assume is her ex-pimp or something. Olivia was on her way out of town when her ex Reggie finds her. He wants her to get Lola and for all three of them to go off together. We all get the feeling that Reggie has been hurting both Olivia and Lola. Jamal picks up on this at the house after seeing Reggie’s angry bird tattoo. Lola had told him how she she had nightmares and was afraid of the scary bird. Jamal rushes to Reggie to confront him when he pulls a gun on everyone.
I don’t know if Reggie really had demands though. On one hand, he just wanted Lola and they would leave but that wasn’t all. We got the feeling pretty early on that he wanted money and the fame that Olivia was promised because he feels that belongs to him as well. He is upset that Jamal would marry Olivia, get her pregnant and then leave her. He wants to shoot Jamal and Jamal is feeling so angry that he basically dares him to do so. At this point, everyone has convened in the sitting area as this standoff goes down. Lucious steps in to save his family and admits that Jamal isn’t at fault at all. He tells everyone in the room that Jamal is not the Lola’s father, he is.
WELL GODDAMN IT!!
Remember when Olivia first came into the picture, I initially thought it was Lucious’ child. But NOOOOOOOO… I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and was warming up to the idea of Jamal being her father.
He was so damn good at it and seemed like he would be a wonderful father. He even wrote a damn song for her!
When everyone is a bit distracted, Cookie tries to take the gun but ends up being held hostage by Reggie. Lucious is desperate at this point because he doesn’t want to lose Cookie and tells Reggie to just shoot him. Shoot him right in the head. You will be a hero, he tells Reggie. His sons can’t stand him, Rhonda hates him and he let Cookie rot in jail for 17 years – no one will fault Reggie for shooting him. As it turns out, none of that had to happen. Malcolm came in, from where I have no clue, and was able to shoot Reggie in his head – quickly killing him. Lucious rushed to Cookie to try and comfort her but she was not receptive and Malcolm ended up leading her away to make sure she was okay.
While most will say that Lucious did a very heroic thing, I disagree. He didn’t really do it with the thought that he would sacrifice himself for his family. As we saw in this episode, his symptoms are getting worse and a part of me feels that he still wants to go out in an epic way. He would be in the news as being heroic if he had indeed taken that bullet for his family. Lucious would be even more immortal that he plans to be and his company’s status would skyrocket after that. Yes, I know that is morbid but I know Lucious thought about it all in that short time frame.
In the end though with Reggie dead, Olivia was able to take her daughter back while she vowed to be the best mother she could from here on out. The whole family including Rhonda and Andre, minus Lucious of course, had tearful goodbyes with Lola. That little girl is so precious and honestly I will be a little sad that she won’t be there any more. Her screen time was short but she did bring out a more human side in every family member.
Elsewhere in the episode:
- Lucious, in a roundabout way, asked Cookie to marry him. She saw through it, however, and turned him down. The only real reason he really asked her is because he doesn’t want to die alone. Granted, he still really does love her but that is not his motivation for doing so. AND didn’t I see Anika in a preview for next week’s episode? I hope Lucious didn’t do anything stupid and bring her ass back!
- Speaking of Cookie, she and Malcolm are finally lighting that match. They kissed early in her office early on in the episode after he told her that he couldn’t stop thinking about her. After turning Lucious’ proposal down, she asked Malcolm to take her away somewhere. Suffice to say, she and Malcolm are about to get it ON next week and I am here for all of it! EVERY.SINGLE.BIT.OF.IT
- Lucious saw Camilla as a problem and did his best to get rid of her. He offered her money and told her to get as far away from Hakeem as possible. Malcolm was instructed to take her to the airport where she would get the remainder of her money once she landed in London. To the surprise of many though, she tore up the check before she walked out of Lucious’ office and wished him a slow and miserable death. She still went with Malcolm and we assume that she was taken to the airport. I am not sure about two things though. The first being that I don’t know if Malcolm actually took her to the airport and if she got on that flight. Malcolm looked like he had a bit of sympathy for her especially after she was crying in the backseat of the car. Also, I am not entirely sure that Camilla wasn’t really with Hakeem for the money. Yes, she tore up the check but why? We learned that she was in serious debt and honestly needed that money. Is she holding out for more from Hakeem because she knows he loves her? Maybe she feels like tearing up the check would look like loyalty to Hakeem once they see each other again and she would be in an even better position. Whatever the case may be, Camilla wants something – that much I am sure of.
- Vernon is becoming a problem and I don’t see him surviving past the season finale. Lucious is still pissed that he worked with Andre about the vote, he knows about Lucious killing Bunkie AND that he has ALS – he knows too much. Oh, I didn’t even mention that Vernon is back on drugs. He is simply becoming too much of a liability, especially after bringing Olivia and Reggie to Lucious’ home, and I think Lucious is going to get rid of him.
One thing for sure, two things for certain: I am buying two bottles of wine for next week’s TWO HOUR season finale. It is the only way to do it.