In case anyone thought that Jussie Smollet wasn’t returning to Empire as Jamal Lyon next season, think again because the middle Lyon has survived! And if you don’t know what we’re talking about then, check out last week’s hip-hopera coverage, and catch up!
As expected, last night’s season 2 finale was filled with drama. For the past few episodes, Lee Daniels and Danny Strong have been building the “perfect” cliffhanger to leave viewers in suspense until the show’s season 3 premiere, but with so many different storylines going on, it was hard to tell which one would take the lead. So here’s your spoiler alert: someone dies, we think. And no, it’s not Jamal. But before we jump to the finale’s climatic end, here are a few highlights from last night’s episode.
After an emotional welcome home ceremony for Jamal, which included a spine-tingling performance by Veronica, you know, V. Bozeman, who you haven’t seen since season one, Hakeem and Laura ask Jamal to join Empire’s leading lady on stage at their wedding. After listening to Veronica sing a real tear-jerker (for Jamal we mean this literally), you would think Jamal would jump at the opportunity, but instead he says no. In fact, he tells the family he’s done singing. As Mal is talking “crazy” as Cookie puts it, Grandma Walker interrupts and tells Lucious, “You and them kids is paying for the crimes of yo daddy.” Of course, no one knows what she’s talking about, and Cookie doesn’t give her the chance to explain. In fact, she cuts her off with another one of her classic one-liners. “Jamal is just grumpy because he’s tired, and he ain’t ever been shot before.” You’ve got to love that woman!
But while the fuss about Jamal’s no-singing declaration concerns the family, viewers soon learn it’s all in vein because in the end there’s no wedding. At least not for Hakeem and Laura. Two days before the wedding two families come together to toast the upcoming union of their children, but Laura’s father raises a few concerns, like why is Shine Johnson attending the wedding? If you don’t know how Shine is, don’t worry, he’s new. His loud, “hip-hop thug” persona is played by Xzibit, and according to Lucious, the two of them caught a body together back in the day. And with the FBI still lurking around, Lucious is making sure he keeps his frenemies close. Needless to say, Anika gets served during Hakeem and Laura’s pre-wedding reception, and Shine loses control when Lucious freaks out trying to figure out what happened. A fight breaks out while Laura is in route from her dressing room to the aisle, and when she gets there it’s nothing but chaos. It’s at that moment that she decides her parents were right, and this isn’t the kind of family she wants married in to. Crazy enough, for a moment, loyal viewers actually thought this wedding was going to happen.
As Keem’s wedding day – and relationship – reach a bitter end, Lucious calls an emergency family meeting when he sees that all the matrimonial chaos is because Anika gets subpoenaed to testify against Lucious in front of a grand jury. This is something we knew was coming because she threatened to jump from the top of Empire HQ if she had to snitch on her man. To stop her from having to testify, Lucious deduces that marrying her is the only way to keep her quiet. So he does.
Unfortunately, he promised himself to Cookie hours before committing himself the his grandson’s mother. Clearly the new Kardashian dynamic has nothing on the Lyon’s new incest circle. As things stand now, Anika’s baby is going to come out the womb calling Lucious daddy and grandpa. Thus, Lucious transforms Hakeem’s wedding arena into the Lyon’s den as he falsely commits himself to someone before God. But the highlight of the Anika and Lucious’s union takes place as they walk down the aisle as man and wife and he whispers, “I know you pushed her.”
Here, Lucious is referring to Rhonda, who attacked Anika after hearing her voice in Lucious’s home office at the beginning of the episode. Andre’s wife frantically tells the family Anika’s the one who pushed her down the stairs, but everyone thinks she’s crazy. Even Dre tells her to chill. Ultimately, Rhonda tells her husband to man up and handle this situation like she handled Vernon, you know, Lucious’s right hand man who died at the hands of Rhonda while she was defending the life of her man.
Fast-forward to end of the episode, and Rhonda surprises Anika, who’s standing outside of the wedding all getting some air. Talk about a cat fight! After a few slaps, some choking and subsequent hair pulling, one of them – or both – fall over the edge of the venue’s balcony. But the question is who? And there’s your cliffhanger for next season!
Oh, and remember the FBI agent who’s been following the Lyons around, Tariq Cousins. Well, it turns out that’s Lucious’s half brother, and cheating on Leah Mary Walker is the crime she referenced at the top of the finale.
Until next season…enjoy!