After last week’s mid-season premiere, fans were ready to see Empire move to new heights as the familial backstabbing and love triangles continue. Unfortunately, last night’s episode didn’t continue that reignited momentum – at least not until the final five minutes.
Things started with Hakeem holding his first [minature] press conference as Empire’s new CEO. While breaking down the roles of his family in the company, a tall, curly-haired reporter noticed Lucious Lyon was not mentioned as part of Empire’s redesigned managerial structure. But as his first true act as CEO, Hakeem actually handls things well by giving the most politically correct answer possible “Empire will always support Lucious Lyon.”
Meanwhile, the same ravenous reporter who questioned Hakeem on his father’s whereabouts later pays Lucious a visit, and asks him, “What are you prepared to do to get your company back from Hakeem?” Audiences may not be quite clear on who this reporter is, but it’s clear her character was born to fuel a little family fire. She may also turn into Lucious’s new love interest, but that fact has yet to be determined.
But while there are a million different points that created last night’s episode, here’s a breakdown of what really matters.
Hakeem’s always deemed himself a lady’s man, but this time it looks like the young Lyon may in over his head. Last week, Camila Marks-Whiteman made it clear that if Hakeem wants to reign over his family’s kingdom that his girlfriend, Laura, has to go. So he tells her it’s a wrap. Meanwhile, he was actually busy consummating his relationship with his Latin love. Laura knows why Keem had to “break things off,” but she doesn’t know her man is still busy getting busy with Empire’s new head of board of directors. If a love triangle weren’t enough, fans can go ahead and add Tiana back in the mix. When Cookie tells Tiana her tour budget is getting cut, Tiana immediately blames Laura – because that’s her ex-man’s new girl. But the reality is Camila is the only one to blame.
If you’re confused, you should be. Hakeem’s love life is shaping up to be more complicated than Peter Gunz, but that’s clearly another story.
While Hakeem is busy juggling the [professional] needs of three lovers, he’s simultaneously plotting against Camila to earn back the trust of his family. Afterall, Cookie’s latest plan is to take Mimi Whiteman’s wife down from the inside. To help his mother, Empire’s new CEO agrees to get his cougar to confess to her skeletons on tape. But, he knows she’s too smart to fall for any conversational trap, so Keem adjusts the plan – to his benefit – and seduces her [on tape]. In the words of Cookie, her young cub got his “Ray J on.”
After Hakeem makes a sultry sex tape with Camila, with her confessing she wants her wife [Mimi] to die faster (she has Cancer), Keem sends the sex tape to Mimi, who happens to be in town for the weekend. Once Mimi gets wind of Camila’s death wishes and cheating ways, she begins to sell off her shares of the Empire corporation – something Camila never saw coming. Thus, Camila literally loses her mind. Cookie tells Lucious what happened and he decides he’s going to celebrate, by himself. What he actually does is much different. He pays Camila a visit to end this feud once and for all, and finds himself walking in on her staging Mimi’s death as a suicide. Spoiler alert: Camila killed Mimi. Lucious pulls out a gun and threatens to kill Camila himself, but turns the tables and says, “Nope, you’re going to have to off yourself.” Next thing Empire fans knows, Camila is chugging a small bottle of poison. Guess that story line is finally over.
As Cookie, Lucious and Hakeem are busy taking back their Empire, Jamal is busy fighting off LGBT fans who get word that Jamal’s not as gay as he claims to be. In fact, he’s confronted by a flash mob of angry fans singing “flipped flopped, flip flippity flopped.” Looks like the news about him and Skye is officially out! Jamal is wondering how the gay community can turn on him based on “gossip and inuendo.” But he learns it’s not gossip, it’s just Lucious looking to take home an ASA award. Jamal’s response was simple, let the music speak for itself. He invites the LGBT community to a listening event to win back their vote, and this is what he has to say.
“People tell me I’m just like my daddy…Get my hands a little dirty, no gloves…It’s hard to love the devil, he’s a hater.” Looks like shots are being fired from two out of three sons so far, so the only question left to ask is, what’s going to make Andre join the #SonsAgainstLucious campaign? Oh, and Jamal calls Lucious out and exposes the secret only he knew. “Lucious Lyon ain’t even his real name.”
As the episode comes to an end, fans should go into next week remembering the following things. Rhonda is tired of staying at home and mourning the loss of her son independently, so she goes to work for Camila’s Empire fashion line, Antony & Cleopatra, named in honor of Camila and Hakeem. Andre hears God speaking to him, and believes someone intentionally hurt Rhonda and the baby, but Rhonda just thinks Andre needs his meds “re-calibrated.” And finally, Jamal and Hakeem (to be referred to as Jakeem from this point forward) write a song for Andre to help him get through the pain of losing his son. “Sometimes it’s hard to pray/Sometimes it’s hard to stay grateful/It’s painful…We’ll get buy/We’ll see the light/And in the morning it’s gonna be alright/Circumstance is in the plan/Even if we don’t fully understand/Why do bad things happen to the good people?”
Catch you next week!