The Empire midseason finale was highly anticipated, as per usual, after viewers were left with an emotional kiss between the openly gay Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and the latest artist he’s been collaborating with Skye Summers (Alicia Keys).
The episode begins at Empire Entertainment where everyone is getting ready for the announcements of the American Sound Awards nominations, hosted by Jason Derulo. and the announcement of Lucious closing his streaming deal.
Jamal grabs several nominations early on, while Hakeem gets left out, but all Lucious cares about is that Skye called his son “babe” and that she “fixed” him. But of course, Jamal is still gay, and he makes that clear when the pair are asked some pretty tough questions in front of a live audience.
Meanwhile, Lucious’s business partner Mimi turned against him. Mimi puts forth a motion to remove Lucious as chairman and CEO, and the Lyons rally to get support from their board members.
Mimi also revealed that her wife is Camilla Marks (Naomi Campbell), Hakeem’s much older girlfriend who Lucious paid to disappear in the first season. It looks like she’s sticking around this time…and it seems pretty random.
Cookie loses her show, “Cookie’s Cookout,” after she realizes that her so-called boyfriend is actually part of the gang that kidnapped Hakeem and has been playing her all along. However, she plays a show starring Hakeem and Laura, who sing their new duet Miracles, at the women’s prison in which Cookie spent 17 years of her life. While in the prison, she sees her prison mate Jezzie, who she wanted to make a star, but Jezzie’s now in for life.
Then, the voting takes place. And in a not-so-surprising twist, Hakeem votes against keeping Lucious as CEO and he is removed. Camilla is now responsible for the company’s day-to-day.
Lucious loses it, but Cookie convinces him to get it together. The real reason he decided to keep on keeping it together was probably because his song was nominated for ASA’s Song of the Year along with Jamal’s. And no, he wasn’t excited for his smiling son. He’s too competitive/evil for that.
Oh, and then there’s Anika. We all know that she’s been planning something throughout the season. After finding out that she is pregnant with Hakeem’s child, she’s started losing it herself.
And viewers are left to believe that she is the person who pushed Rhonda down the stairs at the end of the episode, most likely out of jealously and the desire to have her child be the only Lyon heir.
It is safe to say that the drama is here to stay.
Although some things came full circle, the finale was nowhere near as good as the first. The series seems to be straying farther and farther from reality, something that it had a grasp on in the beginning. The pilot had such promise, but it’s hard to want to continue watching a show when you really don’t know what’s going on with anything.
Plus, the original music seems to be slumping (with the exception of Powerful). And the characters have lost some of the dynamic qualities they possessed last season. Nonetheless, the show is entertaining…even if it’s not sure where it’s going yet.
I’ll cut show a little slack. After all, it is the midseason finale, a format several shows have adopted to keep viewers interested year round, not the finale. Maybe things will change and Empire will bounce back.