Boom! Empire Blows the Crowds Away, Again

Empire Gossip, framed

 

by,

Suzanne Coleman

OOOoooo Empire, you never fail to impress.  The opening segment on last night’s episode was intense!  I only wish it had continued straight through the rest of the episode like that…

But you did bring it back when you set us up in that elevator scene with all three brothers, nice work.  We all felt stuck together in those close quarters as the elevator lost power and the box shook, the poor light leaving us squinting to see what was happening, leaning forward in our seats.  Then that glowing blue light starts to creep in and it starts to get crazy.  The light glints off of Andre’s sweaty skin as he gets worked up into a passionate frenzy, finally opening up to his brothers about how he has been feeling taken advantage of and under appreciated for all he has done for the family.  This all happened during a manic episode (part of Andre’s bipolar disorder) which happened because he had stopped taking his medications and had also been drinking which interferes with the medications working properly.  The mania gets Andre super worked up and hyper towards his brothers, when he’s usually so chill (on his medications).

When this all happened, I really appreciated how they showed that violence and strength aren’t always the best way to avoid or end a conflict.  Jamal used his words to bring Andre back to their youth and a time when he was calm, and the one who protected them from others.  Smart move Jamal.

I want to give a shout out to Trei Byers, who portrays Andre, he did an excellent job in this episode.  You could see his range of acting skills very well, from the uptight, though creepy, executive, to the raging, almost uncontrollable man letting his emotions spew freely from him.

This show had a lot of great one-liners, most of them seemed to come from Lucious.  Great job writers, fun stuff.  I like the spicy side of these great characters a lot.  It stirs the pot and keeps us on our toes, wanting more.

I liked the drama on this episode, but I would have liked to see the plot evolving more slowly.  It feels like lots of story lines are being dropped and restarted illogically, like those with Elle and Tiana.  I can understand that with Tiana it probably had something to do with contract negotiations, or some other possible conflict, and now it’s resolved.  But the show needs to explain to the audience where she was when she was suddenly gone (like from the white party and all other mentions on the show).  And when she returned the quick tie-up with her and Ha’keem didn’t flow at all with the previous episodes and their relationship.  Her behavior also didn’t fit with what had already occurred.

And the whole scene with Elle and Cookie, where Cookie screams at Elle and demeans her, totally not believing what she says about not having taken any drugs.  After that, I don’t think they’d just be like, oh ok, everything is just peachy fine with us.  Do you?  That was an amazing story line and because of that, no one will forget it.  I need to see how they move forward from that betrayal by Cookie of Elle.   Where did their relationship go after that, and how did they get to where they were on last night’s episode, apparently all cool again.  And wouldn’t Elle be wondering who doped her?  I mean, really, that is a freaking BIG (felonious?) deal.

The show does a great job of creating these characters and their conflicts, I ask that they also work on keeping the plots tied together so that pieces don’t just drop out of the story.  The relationships that are being developed are critical to the intense attraction we all have to this show.  Don’t skip over bits and pieces, slow down, there’s no hurry now to wrap up the stories in the show.  Take your sweet time and pull us into the drama with your writing.  I’d hate to see the show suddenly decline due to loss of interest due to too many dropped story lines.  Nobody wants to sit and listen to a track that’s skipping.

Another suggestion I have is to not show next week’s major plot lines in the previews.  Suspense is everything.  Telling us that Anika was going to jump ship and betray the family/business in the previews at the end of last week’s episode made it an expected event.  So then when the actual show came on, the drama level was like, “eh, yeah, we already knew that was going to happen.”

And another area where the story didn’t fill in the blanks well-enough in my opinion was with Anika, we didn’t hear much from her when the betrayal went down.  Why did she suddenly flip?  Was it planned all-along for her to betray Empire and Lucious?  What was she thinking?  Her conversation with Lucious on their steps was the only insight we really had.  And it wasn’t even real.  It didn’t fit with the rest of what we’ve already seen in the plot.  She showed no real emotion (never really does, it’s quite weird).  If she was so upset by Lucious’ behavior with Cookie (he’s been touching several other women during the show as well, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to her that he isn’t faithful), she really didn’t show it well at all.  I wonder if this is a limitation in the actress herself (lack of emotional range) or the way that the director wants her to portray this character.  Either way it is hard to believe that she isn’t more emotional after she just jumps out of her relationship AND betrays his company.  She doesn’t even seem to show any regrets or distress over her decisions… except for that one small moment after the handsy creeper leaves her alone in the room of his house.

Maybe I expect more emotion from her because Cookie is just the opposite, RAW unbridled emotion.  What do you guys think, is Anika too suppressed?

I want to add that I am all about doing good, like educating the public.  I like the fact that the show is talking about bipolar disorder, since it is a disease that often takes several years to be diagnosed and impacts millions of people in the US.  By talking about this disease in such a large forum the show will likely be helping a good number of people to get diagnosed and treated.  It will also hopefully educate people on the disease and lead to more empathy towards those who are suffering from it as well as their families.  It’s good that the show showed Andre getting medical assistance for his disorder, this let people know that they can call for help (911) if they need it.

OK, now for the last piece of business for today.  So last night I was watching the episode and I kept thinking, gee that looks like Chicago… when they had the standoff between the two big wigs, guns drawn on the street corner, and then again later when Cookie was out walking, or stumbling, on the street after drinking that purple stuff (WHAT WAS THAT?! yikes…).  I was like, hmm…  And I’m pretty sure I was sensing Chicago in that last episode too…But then I was like, no, it’s set in New York…  So today I finally looked it up and found out that they are filming the series here in Chicago!  Are you kidding me?!  That is awesome.  See, I know my city 🙂  This is VERY exciting to me…

Man, there is just so much more that can be said about this episode of Empire, but I’ve got to let you go for now… I may be back later for more, so stay tuned 🙂

 

 

 

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