Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
As we were left with what I may say was the BIGGEST cliffhanger of any show like Empire, I believe many fans also were left with the anger of the unknowns. But, as the series slowly came to its premiere, I'm sure many fans were met with both relief and a touch of fear because it was so close they could see it and feel it. But the premiere was more or less... entertaining, heart-wrenching and full of Lyon Drama.
At the end of Season 2, we saw Anika and Rhonda battling back and forth on the stone catwalk of the building that just hours previous had held Lucious and Anika's wedding. Andre had been sent by Lucious to retrieve Anika so they could return home. Little did the man know he would be met with a nasty fight. But when the screen cut to black, we were left for months wondering was it Anika or Rhonda?
Opening scene we saw Hakeem running from the building with Lucious calling after him, Brother Jamal right behind Dad. But Hakeem has better things to do. So he gets in the vehicle intended for him and Laura to alope in and leaves.
Lucious tells Jamal that anyone of those people in the crowd could be feds so he instructs Jamal to get Mama Lyon home safely. As they begin to leave, a body falls from the sky and crash lands into a car... it's RHONDA!
Andre runs to the ledge, yelling for Rhonda but it's too late. Anika is yelling hoarsly at Andre then he grabs her throat saying "What did you do? What did you do?!? You killed my wife!" And Anika yells "She attacked me!" And she's crying, then, her water breaks. "My water. My water broke. Help me!" Andre picks Boo Boo Kitty up and carries her away.
As you may (or may not) recall, Cookie left the wedding because she couldn't take any more. So she was not there when Rhonda hit the car. It showed her either in her apartment or at Empire cutting ahead (most likely Lucious') from a family photo when her phone rings. Its Jamal. When she received the news from her son, she immediately was out the door.
The next scene we saw Tiana being woke up from Hakeem's unexpected late night visit. He lets himself in while saying, "I got it wrong. I had to get it right." He then walks into her living room, unbuckling his belt.
"You know I always loved you. But that bitch curved me." He unbuttons his pants while Tiana is telling him to put his pants on. He lays across her couch while groggily saying "I always loved you." with a photo of him and her (Tiana) on his cell. Then, he missed the call From Jamal.
When Cookie arrived at the hospital, she gathered Rhonda's things for Andre. When she goes to see him, he's slumped in a hospital chair. Jamal and Leah watch over him too, sadness possessing their beings.
"Andre you know we'll take good care of you, right?" Cookie says. "There's a chapel down the hall, we can go pray; I'll call Reverent Price.."
"No," Andre interrupts.
" Are you sure?" Cookie asks, "It may help you." Jamal says.
"What's he gonna do, huh? Tell me this is all part of God's plan? I'm done with God," "Andre," Cookie said, "And his plan."
Andre left the hospital waiting room as Lucious comes in. He wants to know where Hakeem is, but Jamal hasn't been able to reach him. Lucious then calls him a selfish son of a bitch.
Suddenly, cops walk by (four of them, I believe), and he says "Those aren't Feds." Lucious then goes into the delivery room where Anika is in labor about to push the baby out. He bends down to offer words of encouragement (so the cops, doctors, and nurses think) but whispers in her ear, "Speaking of push; you see those cops out there right now? Nobody pushed Rhonda, She jumped, you hear me? She overpowered you, tried to take you with her by grabbing your neck which will happen if you don't go with this story, you hear me?"
Anika gave birth...TO A GIRL! Lucious' reaction? Almost as calm as when a snake lies in wait for its prey. "You lied to me." He says to Anika.
(Taking place in the past) We saw Lucious welcome some old friends to a lake house for a poker game and business. He tells them about his deal with SwiftStream called Empire Extreme. They wanted no part of it because they swore that Empire would crumble and Lucious promised that the next time they saw Empire, "Time Square would be Empire's bitch."
Next, we saw Lucious, Cookie, Hakeem, and Jamal in the office. Lucious wants to know where Andre is, but Cookie comes to his defense, saying "Give the boy time to grieve, he just lost his wife." Then she asked her son's If any of them had spoken to him. It turns out he's been at Jamal's, so he isn't alone. Then they get down to business.
Lucious wants Jamal to perform at the Empire Extreme launch at Leviticus, but Hakeem wants to perform, trying to show them something "real" but Lucious Declines. Why? He wants Hakeem to be a man and stop showing up with alcohol on him, but Hakeem wants Lucious to stop disrespecting him. So Lucious tells him until he starts acting like a 'grown ass man' he won't be getting his daughter back. After Cookie tells Hakeem unless he steps up, she'll lose respect for him he left, leaving Cookie and Lucious alone. In a nutshell, Cookie basically says that whatever they had was no more, dead and gone, but Lucious isn't satisfied.
Next we see Hakeem in the booth when Shine and his crew show up. He antagonizes Hakeem and the recording crew until Lucious shows up. Shine wants his girl (not sure if she's his daughter Or what) signed onto Empire's label. Finally, Lucious agrees to talk about it. Then Shine and co leave. But not without breaking Hakeem's sound guy's fingers first.
After that, we saw Cookie with her sister's, Candace and Carol. They're talking then Tariq comes up... Cookie then realizes that the reason her sister's were over were to convince her to talk to Tariq. Afterall, all he wants is Lucious...
Next we see Cookie and Lucious at the hospital. They've come to get Anika before Tariq can but when the nurse informs them that Anika has been discharged, they get a little paranoid. The nurse tells them she's picking out bears from the gift shop so they go hunt her down.
When they find her, they inform her that she will be living with Lucious, due to the federal investigation. When she arrives, the very nice Juanita welcomed Anika and baby Bella in with open arms. But when Mama (Leah Walker) sees Anika, she isn't happy.
"Why are you here?" Leah asks.
"Why are you here?" Anika asks back.
"I live here. With Dwight." Leah said
" So do I, so do we," Anika says looking down at Bella.
"I don't know why my son married you," she says as she steps away from slicing carrots, knife in hand. "Don't touch any of this food. I know you tired to poison me." Leah says.
"Juanita take me to the nursery."
Later on, we found Tariq in his unmarked Fed rig, sitting watching Lucious' home. Two butlers offer him two plates of food courtesy of Lucious but Tariq declines. Then, Lucious appears. He applauds Lucious for getting to Anika before he could then Lucious invites him to dinner, after all Tariq is his half brother. He agrees. Then, Lucious walks back through his gates.
The Next scene we saw Shine attempting to get access but Empire's system doesn't have him in. So when Shine sees Lucious, he yells to him. Lucious lets him through and Shine wants to know what happened. Lucious tells him that his feelings got hurt yesterday (jokingly) then he tells Shine that he'll let his girl sing back up for Jamal tomorrow at Leviticus. When Shine walks away, he tells his body guard "First rule of Empire, Play a sucker to catch a sucker, her mic won't even be plugged in." Okay, Lucious is rough. I can't say he's wrong for that because hey, it's business, but jeez...
Shine made it to the recording booth where Hakeem was waiting. He showed him what he did to the track and Hakeem liked it. He told Hakeem, "You gotta say something real, you gotta talk about your life." And with that, Hakeem laid out an awesome track.
At Lucious' home, we find maids and butlers setting up everything perfectly for Tariq's arrival. Everythibg down to Anika's clothes were in place. Cookie walking through and finds a photo of Lucious and Anika before Cookie was out of prison. "Were you happy?" Cookie asked. "That was a long time ago." Lucious tells her.
Jamal was rehearsing at Leviticus when Cookie appeared. She asked him if that song was the song he was performing at Empire Extreme's release. He said it was and Cookie warned him not to pick a fight with Lucious, and if he did, be there to face the wrath of the Lyon. She left.
The Royal Dinner
As the Lyon family waits on Tariq, Anika and Hakeem are in the nursery with Bella. He isn't completely comfortable holding her but just as he gets the hang of it, Daddy/Grandpa Lyon, appears, scoops her up and cradles her. Hakeem is angry. Anika looks to me like she's enjoying the battle between Lucious and Hakeem for Baby Bella.
When Tariq arrived, dinner was served. Everyone within the Lyon family is there. The butlers serve wine or champagne. Lucious tells everyone they're there to welcome Tariq into the family. But Tariq wants to know how Lucious got every one to participate in this "sham". Lucious simply says "There's no sham. What you see is what you get with us." The bickering continues on between the two until Tariq turns to Andre and begins bashing the sons;
"Your daddy turned you into the perfect little henchman. Ivy league educated, but a waste of a mind..." Tariq says to Andre.
"What's wrong with you, young bull?" He says to Hakeem. Hakeem says "You talking to me?" "Yeah, he messed up your love life, took your wedding day and stole your baby."
Jamal looked at Tariq and says "What is it my turn now?" "Mhm" "Okay, let me help you out. When I was Six years old, my father threw me in the trash. At 18, he made me marry a woman I barley even knew because he was embarrassed by my sexuality. And most recently, he tried to take me down over some petty ASA. But that's just my father. And if he can't even take down his own family, what makes you think you and your little bitch badge can?"
After Tariq realizes he can't get to Lucious' sons that way, he turns on Cookie after she tells him that he should just leave. But Andre and Jamal are at her defence. Jamal is on his feet and in his face. But Cookie tells them to calm down. And with the smile of death, Cookie says "You wanted to play."
At the premiere of Empire Extreme, we see Lucious fill up almost all the screens in Time Square like he promised. He announces Jamal and Jamal walks on stage and was about to preform when the lights make him freeze.
Luckily, Jamal's back up singer, Shine's girl steps up and saved the show. But, Lucious is angry for not only that reason, but for the fact that Jamal changed up songs without letting him know.
Cookie and Hakeem are attempting to calm him down when Lucious walked by. Hakeem asked to help calm him down but he put his fingers to Jamal's head like a gun and pulled the imaginary trigger and walked away.
While Lucious watches in disbelief and disgust, Shine appears. "Guess we have some business to discuss."
After the show, Lucious goes to Jamal's dressing room and lets him have it. Then Jamal fires back at him that everything happened because of him, and an innocent girl is locked up because of him."She SHOT you!" Lucious yells. "Yeah because of you, dad!" Then Lucious gives him that crazed look (I was like oh god) and he tore into him, "You think you can judge me?Ain't none of you better than me. All of you eat because of my dirty work and then bitch about it. You gonna try me? Let me know." Luciuos walked out.
Later, we found Lucious and Cookie in the nursery with Bella. He tells her that the baby looked just like her when they first met. And Cookie had a flashback. We saw a young Cookie, Candice and Carol then we saw Lucious and a group of his buddies. When they met eyes, Candice warned Cookie to steer clear of him. Yeah, Right.
Next scene showed Andre in the middle of a mental breakdown. Shirtless and delusional, he began to mumble to himself. "Andre messed up. Andre messed up. Andre should've believed you. Andre should've defended you. Andre messed up. Andre messed up. Andre messed up."
"Andre did mess up." a hallucination of Rhonda said. "But you should've thought of that before that bitch murdered me." She continued. Andre begged for forgiveness. Rhonda's ghost continued; "You don't know how to take your meds, you don't know when to increase your dose, decrease the dose, when to stand up to your father, when not to, without me, you're just some Philly thug with mental issues."
Jamal suddenly appears and Andre swears that he's okay, when he's really not.
"I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm Okay..."
In the last scene of the episode, Lucious is holding Baby Bella. Gently, he speaks to her. "They're coming for us. From both sides, Bella. We're gonna show those haters what we're made of, but I want you to know something; everything I did was to protect my legacy." He says as the camera pans out to the row of stuffed animals. Then, the camera switched to inside one of the bears and it showed Tariq! "I see you, there baby. We're gonna show them how dark Hell can get."
Empire returns next Wednesday at 9p.m.
What did you think about the episode? Let us know below!
Editor: Joeleen Gatlin