Empire Season 2, Episodes 4-5: And We're Back

50 Cent must be heated because Empire is back on the rise, at least from a ratings perspective. Even though the most exciting scene from the past two episodes happened in the final 30 seconds, viewers still have faith in the show. Because if all else fails, we tune in simply to listen to Jussie Smollett’s voice which is “just like candy!” (I hope you got that classic throwback R&B song reference.) Nonetheless, there are some key moments from these past few episodes that must be addressed. So let’s get down to business! (That was Mulan, a no-brainer.)

Episode 4:

Andre Finally Got a Win. Hercules, Hercules! *Granny Klump from The Nutty Professor voice* Andre finally got a win and earned his father’s approval when Lucious found out what truly happened to Uncle Vernon. Even though all I want to do is celebrate the simple fact that Andre got his first win (which is horrible considering what he did to earn it), instead all I can think about is how y’all may not have noticed that Rhonda, Andre’s wife, is his real MVP: a serious ride-or-die chick! She is not afraid to get down and dirty, literally, while pregnant. She plays no games with her “for better or worse … til death do us part” vows.

The Feds Are Watching. Once again, Lucious and his new bestie lawyer are on the attack. There is no better way to unify the Lyon family than a joint defense against the Feds. That final scene in which Roxanne Ford enters her car to the company of a dead corpse is Empire‘s signature drama. Lee Daniels must be watching The Walking Dead. My big sis, who is all the way in Russia, told me that she believes somewhere in an alternate universe, Lucious Lyon and Eli Pope are best friends. I’d add Joffrey from Game of Thrones into that mix easily.

Masterpiece. There is something extremely awkward about the photographer that was sent to capture Jamal’s “essence” for Rolling Stone. All of that aside, the final artwork that he had created (that had an Andy-Warhol-Meets-Stevie-Wonder vibe) was pretty cool. I just don’t understand why he would bring that to a music video set, but I’m overanalyzing. We all know that that is not the last we’ll see of Mr. Eccentricity.

Music Video. “Post-apocaplytic Black Panther” is not something you hear every day, yet that was the theme for Jamal and Hakeem’s music video. Despite this unique theme, it is again innovative of the show to release the show’s filmed music videos in real time on YouTube and VEVO. Who knew Jamal had some choreography skills? And again, the video shoot confirms that Hakeem’s swag as a rapper and mogul-in-training continues to be on the rise. Is it just me, or did that metal dome remind you of those playground structures that we used to have in elementary? I loved those!

Empire 1 – Dynasty 1. In the previous episode recap, I gave a point to Empire for winning its first battle versus Dynasty. But thanks to Cookie, the score has evened up. If this season had to pick its GOAT (greatest of all time) Jordan or Kobe moment so far, it would definitely be the scene where Lucious performed “Snitch” in the jail room. Ever since then, the most salient narrative so far has been whether Cookie would crack. Will she become the biggest snitch of all? And she did crack. She gave info to the Feds: nothing true, yet equally damaging, which is her perfect defense. How twisted is that?

Episode 5

Cameos on Point. From Ne-Yo to Adam Rodriguez, the cameos were on point! Ne-Yo has solid acting experience and is truly a great producer, one that perfectly aligns with someone with talents like Jamal. And Adam Rodriguez is a slam dunk! He picks only great roles, from CSI to Magic Mike XXL. I ain’t mad at it. Now my only question is, can Ne-Yo and Jamal go on tour in real life?

Keeping the Faith. Out of all of the characters, Andre’s moral compass appears to weigh him down the most. Even though he may not be a fan favorite (do keep in mind that he is winning in real life now that he is engaged to Grace Gealey, who portrays Anika), his character is quite powerful. Not only has his character created a platform to address mental heath issues, but he also demonstrates the role religion plays in our less-than-perfect lives. It was interesting to see the different spectrums when it came to attending Andre’s baptism: Jamal’s hesitance due to his sexuality, Cookie’s unwavering support and Lucious’s aversion. So even though he might take the most Ls, his struggle might prove the most insightful for the audience and our communities.

Tiana Got, Got. Carrying a razor in your mouth? I was not ready for all of that realness. And all from an innocent selfie?

The “But Seriously, Though?” Moment of the Episode. We all had our side eyes on the eccentric Rolling Stone photographer/artist, and that was for due reason. The entire episode, Jamal struggled while trying to decide whether or not to bring Michael on the road with him. After clutch advice from Ne-Yo, Jamal came to terms with his gut decision, only to find Michael in an extremely compromising position with the photographer. If this show has taught me anything, it is to always expect the unexpected.

Best Line. “I think I see some angels running for cover.” That whole church conversation between Cookie and Hakeem was hilarious, but his zinger was the best. I am telling y’all, Hakeem is the funniest one on the show hands down! And his raps are transitioning from low-key to high-key fire.

Hakeem Got, Got Too! Now we finally have a plot line! Hakeem was kidnapped. My first guess was that the ones responsible were the kids from the street gang that were trying to extort Cookie’s Dynasty. But then my wheels started churning. What if Lucious is behind this all? I wouldn’t be surprised, in the slightest…

Until next time!