‘Empire’ recap: We are ‘Powerful’

26 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

“Empire”: 3 things that happened on last night’s episode.

Let’s face it: You’re not reading this recap because you want a lofty deconstruction of the symbolism and philosophy behind Empire. In tonight’s episode, “Sinned Against,” Cookie and Candace troll the streets of Philly for two days searching for Carol and looking like fishes out of water – their fur coats, and high heels clashing greatly with the uber-casual, everyday pedestrians.Unless you’ve been living in the jungle without electricity, and a Wi-Fi signal, you have no excuse to not know all about Cookie Lyon played by Taraji P.Titled “Sinned Against,” the episode had Alicia Keys make her debut on show, and ended with a scene that had fans wondering “what exactly is going on?” 3. “Sinned Against,” came to an end with Jamal and Skye Summers (Alicia Keys) performing a a new song, and then sealing it with a passionate kiss. (Maybe Jamal isn’t so gay afterall). You’re reading because you just watched the latest over-the-top episode and you thought, “What the hell was that?!?” as a billion GIFs exploded in your brain.

The show has added a long list of entertaining and exciting Guest stars which include Marisa Tomei, Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, Tyrese, Kelly Rowland, Lenny Kravitz, Ludacris and Becky Gomez. ‘Empire’s ratings took a dip when it returned for its second season, and according to rapper 50 Cent, the show’s ratings are declining as a result of too much ‘gay stuff’ on show. So every week, instead of a traditional recap, we’ll give you the latest edition of Empire: How Crazy/Awesome Was It?, in which we rate this week’s episode in terms of relative genius/insanity. Pepper (Rosie O’Donnell) was basically the Red of her and Cookie’s prison, and she somehow parlayed her prison kitchen stint into apparent entrepreneurship at a bakery that sells more than cupcakes. Lucious tries to do right by Andre and Rhonda by buying the soon-to-be parents a six-bedroom mansion in Long Island, telling them how proud and excited he is that they are carrying on the Lyon name and by explaining to a relieved Andre that he is done testing him.

Next Wednesday will be the final episode until the end of March and there’s not a whole lot of momentum built as of now; the stakes don’t feel as high as they once were. Andre then tells Lucious he has an idea on how to raise the captial to acquire SwiftStream: They can forfeit their future royalities to Lucious’ old music to make some cash, but that would mean getting the sign off from Cookie, who is listed as a publisher as well. A major music-industry plotline for the last few weeks has been Lucious and Andre’s desire to acquire/merge with music-streaming service Slipstream.

Big Heavy and his cronies pay an unexpected visit to Lyon Dynasty and Laz intervenes, trying to convince them he has everything under control, and patience on their part will result in a bigger payday. It looks like it didn’t turn up much because now they’re talking about trying to buy back the rights to Lucious’s catalog from Cookie to put up as collateral, or, sell of Empire’s non-musical brands. Lucious has made reference in the past to Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal, but, in this episode he makes it sound like he is on the cutting edge of music technology.

As for finding more capital for the SwiftStream deal, Andre comes through, telling Lucious they can sell off the sports and liquor parts of their company to make the money back. But perhaps that’s the point: Having a music mogul be behind the times, trying to play catch up is a subtle, hysterical jab at the industry itself, which struggled for years to keep up with changes in technology and distribution. At first Lucious disagrees, saying that breaking apart pieces of the Empire would not make it an empire, which is understandable, but all that changes after one little comment from Lee Daniels, who cameos as himself to direct Jamal’s Pepsi commercial. (Of course the co-creator of Empire would want to cameo on Empire.

Who else would love to see Danny Strong also pop up as Doyle from Gilmore Girls or Jonathan from Buffy at some point?) After Daniels rebuffs Lucious’ father/son idea for the Pepsi music video, stating that Jamal is the future and deserves to have his own concept, Lucious gets jealous of being swept aside and agrees to Jamal’s deal in order to prove just how much success and fame and future he has left in him. Y’all making me sound neolithic or something,” is pretty impressive simply because Lucious uses the word “neolithic.” Most GIF-worthy moment: Lucious’ jealousy gets the best of him when seeing Cookie and Laz make out. That said, without getting too into the Kinsey scale, we can allow that it’s totally plausible that Jamal, who identifies as gay, could be attracted to a woman. An earlier meeting/confrontation between Lucious and Laz made the “Empire” head-honcho curious – so he did some digging and found out that Laz and his boys were a part of a street gang that liked to shake down rappers.

Isn’t personal agency all about being able to act on something in the moment and owning yourself and not having to explain it or justify it?” Freda Gatz was nowhere to be found this episode and Lucious spent time with his actual offspring, including the black sheep of the family, Andre. Hakeem, surprisingly, is somewhat reserved about the whole revelation – but maybe it’s because he knew Lucious was going to handle Laz in the only way he knows how: Payback. After all of Carol’s normal drugged-up hotspots are a bust, Cookie turns to her old prison pal Pepper, played by Rosie O’Donnell, for assistance in the search. But this is “Empire” world so we won’t hold it against Lucious for wanting to create some early buzz.) Sky and Jamal spend time in the studio together, which culminates in the two really connecting on a song called “Powerful.” And it was powerful. Dre then suggested that Empire sell off some of its properties to get the money and Lucious was like “I’d rather die than do that.” We could tell where this was heading last week when Anika donned a blonde wig and posed as a limo driver to take Laura home.

Up until this point, Jamal’s identity as a gay man was a guiding factor for who he believed he was, who he articulated himself to his father and his fans. When Anika insisted that Hakeem was just scared to admit his feelings for her, he told her that he didn’t love her and added this for good measure. “You will never be one of us. Meanwhile, Laz tells Big Heavy that their deal to scam Cookie is off and pulls a gun on his Bull brother, but it’s too late to start doing the right thing. After Cookie decided to make out with Laz in front of Lucious for dramatic effect, Lucious made it his mission to uncover the truth about Cookie’s new boyfriend.

-Cookie spending so much time away from New York City looking for her sister Carol detracted from what we love most about Cookie: Taking care of business. Laz’s secret identity is discovered by Lucious, who apparently is the only person in the Lyon family who thought to Google the people they’re getting into bed with at the moment.

While Cookie steps away to the restroom, Candace takes the opportunity to remind Carol that she knows full well Cookie wouldn’t be in her corner if she knew what Carol did while Cookie was in jail. It didn’t take him long to discover that Laz was a member of a group called the 125th Street Bulls and that they were trying to extort money from Lyon Dynasty. Laz tries to explain to Cookie that what started as a scam has become real as he has fallen for Cookie, but Cookie pulls his gun out and gives it to Lucious before leaving her own office so Laz can be left at the mercy of Lucious and his men. (RIP Laz?) Most Tweetable Quote: It’s a toss up: When Cookie responds to her nieces and nephews’ school achievements with “Hmm well, do they know they half black?” and this response to Candace as she fights Cookie about going to a crack house to find Carol, “Would you stop acting like Diahann Carroll, heifer? Cookie then gave quite the performance, throwing glass and ugly crying about Laz, which led to a rather touching conversation with Carol about her drug addiction.

So Rhonda cut the girl’s ponytail in her sleep, sent her a picture with a caption that said if the girl continued to pursue Andre, she would “keep cutting.” Moral of Rhonda’s insane story: Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from getting the man you want. Anika takes this lesson to heart and crashes a party at Hakeem’s place, confronting Laura about how she’s actually from a not-so-great upbringing (who cares?!), insulting her talent, and telling Hakeem that he deserves so much better. He tries to make peace with Laz as long as Laz is willing to realize how hard Hakeem is looking to work to become a legend in his own right. (Seriously, who would have thought that Hakeem Lyon would end up becoming to Laz vs. Cookie is in no mood to deal with Carol using kid gloves, so she comes right out and tells her she must go to rehab because everyone knows she’s an addict. He’s got a new album to record soon, he’s working on a single with one of his favorite singers Alicia Keys Skye Summers, and he’s got the shoot for his Pepsi commercial directed by Lee Daniels.

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