(This is going to be a short one)
I still think it’s a really fun show, and I still think Taraji P Henson is amazing in the role of Cookie. I haven’t had much of a problem with the over-dramatics of the show because I fully embrace that it’s a soap opera, and things get a little silly in that genre.
Last night though!? There were a few very implausible things that happened that I’ll just chalk up to lazy writing. Certain plot points last night didn’t make any sense, but I realize they were sloppy expositional devices to move the various plots along.
Early in the episode we find out that Tiana (Serayah) is actually gay and has a girlfriend. In a scene that quickly followed, her and said girlfriend are making out – not discreetly at all – at a photo shoot. Andre’s wife Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) records them and the two of them use it as a scheme is to ruin the #TAKEEM brand. The plan backfired… but seriously why would Tiana and India even be making out in such a public spot? How did they not hear Rhonda pull the clothes on the rack back? And why didn’t they notice her just standing there talking to her husband and recording them with her smartphone? It made no sense, but it was a means to an end to create some tension in the episode.
Ofcourse the video goes viral and for whatever reason Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) is upset, so much so that he doesn’t want her in his debut video for his song “Drip Drop” (“Drip Drop, Drip Drippity Drop”… LOL!!!). Mind you, Hakeem has a side girlfriend in Naomi Campbell (whatever her characters name is?)… AND in the music video he’s laid up in bed with multiple women. So yeah, I didn’t get his issue. Eventually the scandal of Tiana being gay is something that both Cookie and Lucious see as a good thing for both parties involved and the music video is a success.
The episode was like a “Making Of” for the Lyons boys, we had Hakeem making his video and Jamal (Jussie Smollett) in the Bronx making his first single (it was either called “Ghetto” or “Money”). In a really funny gag, Jamal ends up recording at “Some Ghetto Ass Studio” (that was literally the name of the studio, which made me laugh) and even though the surroundings seem dangerous he seems unphazed and is able to get through the recording session fine. Until…
Let’s back up, Andre (Trai Byers) and his wife are constantly trying to set people up and it’s getting tired. We don’t really know much about either of them other than the fact that they are manipulative and evil (and he needs to recalibrate), I would enjoy more complexity with both of those characters. Anyway, for whatever reason they decide to have some of Hakeem’s hangers-on go to Jamal’s session and scare him. I didn’t really understand the reason, but basically Andre plants the idea in a couple of the goons’ heads… letting them know indirectly that Jamal is in a studio that has low security and that he has a very expensive watch on him. The two go to the studio and pull their guns out. They ask explicity for the watch and Jamal stands up to them because he knows they are Hakeem’s friends and he now thinks his little brother is trying to kill him?
I found that altercation at the end between Hakeem and Jamal completely rushed and illogical. I guess Jamal was WAY too in his feelings about the situation that he wasn’t trying to really hear Hakeem. And Hakeem was too happy over the success of his video shoot that his demeanor probably came off like he didn’t really care. I don’t know, I just wish this brother/brother thing would die.
Speaking of dying, Cookie spent the whole episode on edge thinking someone was trying to kill her. Cookie went ahead and testified to the grand jury, she confessed she witnessed a guy shoot and kill an undercover federal agent. Soon after that, she found a rose outside of her apartment, and that rose is apparently a “kiss of death” with that particular gangster. So she goes to Philly, talks with her sister (Tasha Smith), and basically puts out a hit on the guy she testified against. Little did Cookie know, Lucious is the one who put the rose at her door to commemorate their Anniversary. And by the time Cookie called the cancel the hit, it was too late.
Lucious (Terrence Howard) meanwhile proposed to Anika (Grace Gealy) with a way too fat diamond ring. Lucious learns that before Empire can get it’s much coveted IPO, a doctor has to perform a physical to ensure he is in good health. Of course Lucious has ALS and is NOT in good health, so he sweet talks Anika’s Doctor father first by confessing his illness, next by asking for Anika’s hand in marriage, and finally asking him to commit fraud by signing documents saying Lucious is in perfect health. It WAS funny how Lucious just tried to slide that part of the transition in, like it wasn’t a big deal. But of course Lucious is a hustler so he managed to get his way.
So in the end, I was satisfied and entertained with the show. But last nights episode was a bit alarming because the writing was so lazy, I hope they aren’t continuing on this path of mediocrity and lame set ups.