Empire Season 2, Episodes 6-7: Master Plans

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Prelude:

After my last post, I truly thought that would be the last time that I would mention 50 Cent this season. But I completely underestimated his “zero chill” level with Empire. This latest social media feud between Vivica A. Fox and Mr. Half Dollar has everybody talking. Let me state the facts for those who don’t know.

1. 50 Cent and Vivica A. Fox date in 2003 and have a highly publicized falling out.

2. In 2009, 50 Cent opens up to Tyra Banks on her show, stating that he and Vivica are now friends and working on their friendship.

3. The 50 Cent-executive produced Power hits the air June 5, 2014.

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4. Empire premieres January 7, 2015 and the “which show is better” battle begins.

5. Vivica goes on the show Watch What Happens Live and spills too much tea, insinuating that 50 Cent is a hypocrite. In other words, both Vivica (who will soon appear on Empire as Cookie Lyon’s older sister) and 50 Cent (who, again, produces Power) have obvious biases.

6. The shade war on social media ensues!

I have two conclusions from all of this drama. First, even though 50 Cent is trying hard to discredit the show, he is actually creating more publicity for Empire through his antics. Second, this social media drama was low-key more entertaining than the latest episodes. Everybody loves some good reali-tea, especially when it can be served with our favorite shows!

Let’s be real. During Season 1, we fell in love with the Lyons family, the characters and the music. In Season 2, the family that we came to love is now fractured between two camps — and with each episode, that rift only grows. But Lee Daniels is a very smart man. If all else fails, drown us in good music and entertaining cameos (of which there are no shortage). So we keep on keeping on!

Episode 6:

Go Ahead, Becky! This episode had us jumping from the start! If you got it, flaunt it! Nuff said.

Kidnapped. I am so confused. So they go through all of that work to kidnap Hakeem, but release him without getting the money? Worst kidnappers ever? Nah. We know that people that bold don’t just disappear, they must be working a master plan.

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Real Cameo. And here enters Jameson Henthrop, played by William Fichtner, who starred in The Dark Knight and Black Hawk Down. If you are a real ‘90s baby, you also know him from Armageddon — one of only two movies I have shed a tear over. (Just for your information, the other movie is Hardball — long live G-Baby, man!) Anyway, he plays a socialite/elite member in the music industry who vows to open doors for Jamal, specifically the Staples Center. Wouldn’t it be nice if Jamal playing at Staples could just happen real quick in real life? And if so, Nneka, can you and your team help me get tickets?

Anika Taking L’s Now. Poor Anika — or, as Cookie dubbed her, poor Boo-Boo-Kitty! Lost your fiancé. Lost your job. Lost your boy-toy, literally (who by the way, would have been your future stepson). I think it is time to cue the chorus of Frank Ocean’s song “Lost.”

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The Master Plan. I really thought Cookie was going to channel Olivia Pope and “handle” the kidnapping situation. Our expectations were really high when she pulled that quick move by stealing the gun from Hakeem and turning it on the kidnappers. But, oh, how the tables have turned! Cookie is getting double-crossed by Laz, her hired security man/promoter! Again, the best moments of Empire come in the final seconds — as we saw that longhorn tattoo on his back. And just like that, Empire has us coming back for more!

Episode 7:

Watch Out, Cookie. That master plan that Laz is working is something serious. Laz’s gang got their foot in the door with Hakeem’s kidnapping. And now, they plan to rip her and her artists off by stealing all of their earnings at her Cook-Out Summer Jam while posing as her protection. I have a feeling that things are not going to go according to plan for both parties involved — and that, as always, Lucious will be the one cleaning up the pieces.

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Dark Days Aren’t Over? This episode had me intrigued from start to finish, and 99.9 percent of that was due to the episode’s slow reveal of Lucious’ traumatic childhood. Having to bury bullets in the front yard in order to hide them from his suicidal and bipolar mother was just the first flashback. The next was Russian Roulette — and this was not the casino game. (By the way, I hope you got that this mini-heading was a play on the unforgettable Florence + The Machine song. Just checking.)

I Will Survive. Laura’s cover of this classic song, which she sang in Spanish, was awesome and refreshing. From her voice to her persona, she is a pure soul. I genuinely hope that doesn’t change, but you know how it goes …

Best Line of the Episode. This time, the lines were short and sweet: “Little man baby is running around!” They always try to punk Hakeem. And it’s hilarious. “Yaaassssss, my boss is a pimp!” Everything Porsha, Cookie’s assistant, says is ROFL-worthy. But for some reason when she said that, I loved it more than usual. Maybe because “yaasssssss” already occurs way too much in my vocabulary.

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TKO. Apple Music. Spotify. TIDAL. Streaming is a budding, powerful business now in the music industry — and in this episode we witnessed Lucious Lyons make his move to get a major slice of it. We know he will stop at nothing to get what he wants, from being introduced to his future business partner at the boxing ring, to, not surprisingly, taking advantage of the man’s less-than-competent mental state after their bout. Let’s just say he channelled Holly Holm and knocked this business deal out, both literally and figuratively. #TooSoon?

Once again, it looks like Empire is poised to surge ahead and Dynasty might be facing disaster. I’m just hoping 50 Cent loses his phone — scratch that, all internet service, in the interim.

Until next time …

P.S. TV shows are great opportunities for us to escape reality. But this week, reality was absolutely impossible to ignore. Shows like Empire bring us momentary happiness. Happiness. Even as we continue our day-to-day lives, we must not forget that innocent people around the world are just like us, experiencing some form of happiness: eating in a restaurant with friends and family, attending a soccer game or checking out the latest rock band in town. I still hope, pray and believe that happiness is contagious, and that times of darkness will be followed by unwavering light and unwavering peace.

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