Empire Season 2, Episodes 2-3: Try Me

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Now we’re talking. Empire is back with all of its fine glory! I’m starting to think that Episode 1’s purpose was to “subtly” wrap up all miscellaneous story lines from Season 1. In order to accomplish this without ruining the hype for the new season, they drowned us in cameos. Fortunately, we are already on to the next …

But Empire did not move on so quickly without taking a hit. The King of Empire Shade and the show’s most severe critic, 50 Cent, took to social media to announce that viewership to Episode 2 was down by the millions. Ouch! It is important to note that I also watch 50’s show, Power. But, have no fear! Unlike most people, I can watch both shows without getting into battles about which show is better. (Sidenote: both Empire and Power share the same target audience but are completely different in plot. Hence, they should be able to coexist peacefully. But we’ll save that debate for another day.)

Regardless, 50 should know that they can’t fend us all off so easily, especially when Episode 2 did get us back on track…

Episode 2:

Hakeem and His Dream Team. Just as I start to take Hakeem seriously as he’s making his first power move with the new label, he announces his search to find the next Destiny’s Child… I always find myself laughing and saying, “Really bro?” Rainbow Sensation? He really, lowkey, might be the funniest guy on the show. Case in point: Hakeem was holding auditions for his girl group when Andre stormed in and in the heat of their argument, asked him “Are you stupid?” And Hakeem’s comeback was, “Are you?” Best, worst comeback ever? I think so.

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Born to Love You. If this show ended today, I would be just fine because Jussie Smollet has a record deal in real life. I might have people in fits about this, but his voice is more than ethereal. Each time that he sings, I hear that same raw emotional, yet vulnerable and magical essence as the G.O.A.T. Michael Jackson. If you can accomplish that in life, you the real MVP.

Best One-Liner of the Episode = “Oh, little baby traitor?” Jamal when talking about Hakeem leaving Empire.

Dropping a Joint From the Joint. Just like Episode 1, the best moment from Episode 2 came from Lucious Lyon. This time, he dropped a joint from the joint, spittin bars from the prison yard. Here’s another shout out to Lee Daniels because that scene where Lucious recorded the song in the prison room was innovative and transformative. But, my only problem was that it over-glamorized the system. Although this is a part of the show’s entertainment, it can also serve slightly destructive to society. This is truly my conscience speaking because let’s be real, I genuinely enjoyed that scene. But with news of how President Obama is currently going above and beyond to address prison inequalities and reform, it simply makes me question its necessity.

Speaking of Destiny’s Child… This week’s cameos were solid. Luda was a believable prison guard. But my expectations might be low due to the Chris Rock debacle. Kelly Rowland also appeared in Lucious’ flashback and as her bestie would say, she was flawless. As a native Houstonian, it is against Texas law to say anything otherwise.

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Asking for Andre. And finally I ask, no I am begging again, can Andre please get one win?

Episode 3

Music on Fiya ?. From the Fetty Wap feature on Hakeem’s song to Pitbull and Timberland performing in the club, this episode boasted the Billboard’s best. We don’t call those appearances cameos, we call them “people-who-bless-our-screens.” Sort of like when Cicely Tyson blessed us in How To Get Away With Murder. There are only two words to sum up how we felt about all that musical goodness: Yaaaaaaaaa Baby (Fetty Wap voice).

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Try Me. I remember when Iman Shumpert and Teyana Taylor felt some type of way about the similarities between their relationship and Hakeem and Tiana’s. But no one draws more comparison than Freda and Dej Loaf. No need to look any farther than their haircuts.

One-Liner of the Episode = “You are badder than all the animals whose prints populated your wardrobe.” Anika talking to Cookie. Snaps for Anika, she finally won a clap back session. And speaking of outfits, how ostentatiously amazing was that stacked gold chain piece that Cookie wore to Lucious’ welcome back party? I think she took that Mr. T comment literally.

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Andre’s Struggle. It finally makes sense. Lucious’ mom suffered from bipolar disorder, which genuinely scares Lucious about Andre and his future son. This might be the most humanity that we will ever see from Lucious’ character. More importantly, Empire absolutely succeeds in raising awareness and exposing the vulnerabilities regarding mental health issues within the black community.

I’d Rather Run Suicides. I’m an athlete and I still struggle with quality push ups. Cookie had the girl group doing push ups and high knees in stiletto heels! I know Beyoncé would say that is light work, but, honey, please, I’d rather run suicides all day, and the next.

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Empire 1, Dynasty 0. Looks like Lucious’ Empire got an official win vs. Cookie’s Dynasty by stealing Hakeem’s newly discovered talent. Seems like we’re back on track, folks. Can’t wait to see what 50 Cent has to say next.

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