What an episode! There were twists and turns, guns and sizzurp, scheming and elevator breaches, hacks and mental breakdowns, and a sweet comeuppance moment for Jamal!
I must say though, that it seemed like there needed to be another episode before this one to make the quick changes and turnarounds make sense. And when I say “quick changes and turnarounds,” I mean how we’ve seen that Anika’s not really a conniving person (she says, even though she’s given Beretti a ton of info on Empire’s stable of artists) and that the Porsha-Anika storyline didn’t really go anywhere. Couldn’t we have had a moment when Porsha comes to her own realization that she doesn’t want to be Anika’s spy? I’d like to see her hold her own against Cookie by demanding more respect and saying that despite the treatment she’s received, she’s still loyal. Oh well.
I can’t stay too mad, since the drama was taken to a higher place than last episode. There was too much good happening (apart from Lucious hating Jamal for coming out and then turning on Andre because of his white wife Rhonda) for it to stay that way. There are some moments we must talk about at length:
Anika going to Berretti: Didn’t Anika sleep with Berretti? She wants to keep the relationship “professional” now? Call me a prude or whatever, but I think it’s too late for that.
But anyways, I think Anika’s a better fit with Beretti’s Creedmoor label than Empire anyways. Anika likes rules without complications. She likes getting the job done and looking good while she’s doing it. She doesn’t really do backstabbing like she said she could. I think part of the reason she left was because she really realized she’s outside of her depth when it comes to Lucious’ family, especially Cookie. More power to you, Anika. You’re going to need all the luck you can get since Lucious just might kill you. Speaking of killing people…
Andre reveals Lucious’ crime: But will will anyone believe him since he was going through a bipolar rage at the time? We know they should, and Vernon’s only a step away from backing up Andre’s story.
But poor Andre. After reading Trai Byers’ play-by-play of Andre’s emotions on TV Line, we see that he threw his medications down the toilet because he’s given up on trying to be the perfect son for his father. Instead of trying to be someone he’s not, he’s just going to be himself, and if being himself means being without his meds, then so be it. I’m really intrigued by next week’s promo, and not just because Jennifer Hudson’s in it. Hudson’s character seems like a stable rock for Andre, and Andre needs all of the stability he can find. His life has been in shambles since he was a kid, and that’s not counting anything dealing with his mental illness.
The brothers connect: It was a great moment seeing Hakeem and Jamal help talk Andre down in the elevator. It was a fantastic scene and it also gave one of the truest senses of family in Empire. For all Cookie and Lucious like to say that the company is built on family, it’s rare to actually see them act like a family. When they do act like a family, it’s always for an audience, like when they sang “You’re So Beautiful” for the legacy album, and then in this episode when they sang it with Delphine (played by Estelle).
But this was a moment in which the boys—the strongest core of this family, in my opinion—showed each other that they care more about money and fame. They actually care about each other and want to show love that they don’t show each other enough.
I also got shades of my own family in this scene. Of course, we’re not like the Lyons—we’re so close-knit, people think it’s weird—but the brothers helping each other is exactly like how our family helps each other through problems, whether that’s dealing with mental things, day-to-day issues, or whatever. When one falls, the others rally around them. That’s how it should be.
Delphine: Estelle isn’t new to acting—if you watch Steven Universe, then you’ve heard her as Garnet. But I have to say that seeing her do live-action performances was very intriguing. She’s a real natural, especially at acting natural. It seemed like she didn’t even have a script, which is great. She just seemed like Delphine, a singer who really wants to work with Jamal after being impressed by his White Party come-out. However, I’m worried about her; she’s walking into a big mess by signing with Empire.
As a quick side note: Did anyone else think that “Conquer” filming bit was a little gratuitous? And that the “You’re So Beautiful” Leviticus moment was a little too cheesy? I get this is a soap opera, but I’m just saying that maybe those moments were a little too much like Velveeta.
Jamal becomes a man: Jamal finally gets to prove to Lucious that he is a man worthy of the Empire company and he even gets to school Lucious on what not being a hypocrite looks like. Lucious has the gall to tell his team that family puts aside differences, yet he’s still holding Jamal’s person against him.
I was so glad when Jamal called him on that BS, saying that he’s going to turn down a huge star like Delphine (who is bigger than Tiana, whom Lucious was adamant about keeping) just because the lead is coming from Jamal. Jamal lays down the law, saying that if Lucious really meant what he said about putting differences aside, he’d lay off that “tired homophobia” and get with the program of signing Delphine. Lucious can’t say anything because he knows Jamal’s right. Hooray for Jamal.
By the way, how does Jamal just find guys to date? It pays to be a character in which people can just write love interests in for you to easily find and date. Can someone write me a love interest to date? I can’t seem to find anyone.
Cookie and Malcolm: I’m surprised Cookie didn’t immediately throw up after drinking that last hit of sizzurp. But thankfully, Malcolm was there to defend her against that almost-mugging. It was also honorable that he didn’t immediately take Cookie up on her offer to “take a bite.” We get to see what Cookie really thinks about Malcolm, but we’re still in the dark about Malcolm…well, until we saw next week’s promo. So now we know where both of them stand.
I think that’s about it. Overall, a good episode. What did you think of this episode? Give your opinions in the comments section below.
Photo credit: Chuck Hodes