*In the 80s when prime time soaps were hot, last night’s episode of Empire would have created significant buzz around the water color with all the wild scenarios Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and Ilene Chaiken packed into 44 minutes.
But, here’s the thing. The 80s are long gone, viewers are more sophisticated and all of what’s going on with the Lyon gang feels very familiar. We’ve seen it all somewhere else. So, even though there were some big reveals, anyone with an IQ above 10 could have seen them coming.
So, here’s what went down. Mimi ripped Lucious a new one when she purposely threw him under the bus to wrestle away control of Empire and replaced him with her wife, who just happens to be the woman Lucious ran out of town when she seduced his youngest son. She does this by showing the board video of Lucious making disparaging comments about them. By the time the board meets the vote is split and it’s Hakeem who does his pops in by casting the deciding vote to oust him.
OK, gee, I could have sworn I saw something like this in Season 5 of The L Word when Jodie used some video footage of Bette to embarrass her in front of her peers. Oh wait. That was Chaiken’s show. Hmmmm.
This whole disgruntled father and son relationship is also classic Blake Carrington and his son Adam.
What was most disappointing last night were all those moments that could have resulted in some really great scenes had they been better written. Like when Cookie goes back to the prison she lived in for 17 years to hook up one of her friends who is about to be released. Unfortunately, something went down on the inside and Jezzy (Da Brat), a rapper Cookie was hoping to sign, will be wearing orange for many more years to come. Their encounter was just flat, as was the pep speech Cookie gave to her “sisters” right before Hakeem and Laura performed.
Jamal seemed a little less conflicted this week after he and Skye Summers wrinkled some sheets. Lucious, however, couldn’t be happier. He peeps them having a moment and asks Jamal if he’s “hitting that.” Jamal replies that he’s still gay but Lucious contends that Skye has “fixed” his son. It’s more like she tweaked him. After Skye spies Jamal making moves on some man at the bar, she assures him that just because they had really great sex it wasn’t like they were “all booed up.” She’s not trying to change him.
This happened on both The L Word and Dynasty.
Then there’s poor dejected Anika, the girl nobody wants. She’s been hanging around Rhonda a lot and it’s a safe bet that she’s the one who threw her down the steps. Andre’s wife might not be dead but you can bet your last dime there will be no Lyon grandchild coming from her womb next season.
This jilted lover thing has happened on way too many shows so you can’t really blame Empire for borrowing it—again. I just wish they could have made it more interesting. Therein lies the problem with Season 2. There’s just not enough character development to make us care.
One of the more interesting moments, however, came after Lucious was shooting up his office after being removed as CEO and Cookie came in to calm him down. The chemistry between them hasn’t been this tangible since early last season. And, I have to admit that pitting Jamal and Lucious against each other for song of the year for some mythical awards show (think American Music Awards), was a sign that someone in the writing room is coming close to getting it.
Now if they could just get Gabby Sidibe to stop it with the blonde weaves, I might be all in again.