Empire Season 3 Episode 1: Light In Darkness
This summer was crazy, and our world is fucked up. But you know how we combat that?
We spend some quality time with the dysfunctional light skinned Lyon’s of South Philly.
I missed you guys. Now let’s get to it.
Life After Death
Let’s just get that shit out the way first. The show opened with Rhonda ‘ I Fall Down Things’ Lyon landing on top of Lucious’ limo in front of Lucious, Gran’mom Mary and Jamal. From up above it looked like Anika pushed her, and since Andre’ witnessed the whole thing he attacks Anika, wrapping his hands around her throat ready to kill her.
And then her water breaks
‘HELP ME ANDRE!’ She screams, and he reluctantly obliges. Meanwhile Hakeem, drunk and distraught from his first failed attempt at marriage, goes to see Tiana in the middle of the night to confess his love. She’s not flattered or annoyed. She’s kinda just there to help move the story along as the calls of Rhonda’s death and Anika’s labor make their rounds. Hakeem is already passed out on Tiana’s couch by the time the call makes its way to him.
Momma Cookie is of course at the hospital trying to soothe Dre’ from his grief but after losing his baby and his wife within the course of a few months he is in another space mentally. He no longer wishes to discuss faith, religion or spirituality. And there’s nothing Cookie can say to ease his pain.
Just then, cops show up to question Anika about what happened up on the balcony.
Luckily she’s wheeled into the delivery room before they can get to her and that’s when Lucifer Lucious makes his move.
Bursting into the delivery room while she’s in labor and pretending to be the baby’s father Lucious leans down to whisper words of support into Anika’s ear;
‘Bitch you better tell these cops you didn’t push Rhonda off the balcony, or I’ma push you off a balcony….now PUSH!’
And push she does! And a baby girl is born, which catches Lucious off guard because Anika originally told Lucious she was having a boy.
Tsk Tsk with all the lies Anika! But on another note, how the hell is she going to explain to baby Bella that her father is really her grand father, her uncle Hakeem is her real father and her mother is also her step-grandmother?
All of that is just wrong, but it’s so RIGHT!
Back To The Music
SwiftStream is still a thing (now re-branded as Empire X-Stream) and Lucious, looking like the classiest pimp from a GTA: Vice City mission, needs Jamal to perform at the launch concert to solidify Empire’s status as music royalty.
It’s funny how Lucious is so wishy-washy with his kids. He only pretends to love them when there’s something in it for him.
I guess that’s the family motto;
‘Fuck You….Until I Need Something’
Hakeem offers his services to perform as well but Lucious ignores him because A) he’s a terrible father and B) he doesn’t need anything from Hakeem right now. Pissed, and still a little drunk from the night before, Keem storms off to the studio to spit hot fire like Dylan, Dylan, Dylan!
Shine Johnson (Xzibit), the Super Goon from Cookie and Lucious’ past that ruined Hakeem’s wedding, is now a regular face at Empire and interrupts Hakeem’s session. He beats the shit out of the engineer and then introduces his new artist Nessa (Sierra McClain). Suddenly Lucious arrives to the studio with his security team. Shine feels like he’s being neglected and wants Nessa to be treated like a star! Lucious agrees to allow Nessa to sing with Jamal at the Empire X-Stream launch.
During rehearsal Mally is back to singing another hauntingly depressing song. This time he sings about the Orlando massacre and the police brutality that seems to be married to 2016. Cookie stops him during rehearsal.
‘Don’t sing this song. Your father won’t approve-‘
‘Fuck him!’ Jamal says, popping another pill for his lingering gunshot wound pain. ‘I do what I want!’
On the night of the show the melody for Mally’s new sad song begins. He comes out, cameras flashing, fans screaming, and it’s all too much for him to handle. It brings back painful memories of the night Freda shot him. Noticing this from the sidelines Keem escorts Mally offstage where Momma Cookie awaits with water and head slaps.
‘GET IT TOGETHER BITCH!’ she coaches him through his panic attack.
But it’s too late.
Now Lucious is pissed.
‘Why did you let her sing that song?! Now she’s the face of X-Stream!’ he bellows, upset that Shine has the leverage now with a hot new artist.
Jamal pops another pill and reminds Lucious that everything bad that’s ever happened to their family is all HIS fault.
Of course Lucious turns this into an opportunity to remind Jamal that he kills people and gives zero fucks.
‘You wanna try me? Let me know..’ Lucious tells him, which translated from Lyon-nese to English means ‘Bitch I will murder you and hide the body! Just ask Thirsty.’
Last season we discovered that nosy FBI agent Tariq (Morocco Omari) is Lucious’ half-brother.
Welcome to the family!
Now you too shall get some of the horrible treatment that’s reserved for everyone else.
Let’s start by jeopardizing your investigation by moving Anika into Lucious’ sprawling mansion, all in hopes of maintaining the facade that this marriage is real and NOT a ploy to keep Anika from testifying against Lucious.
As soon as Anika arrives with her full-sized six week premature baby from the hospital she’s startled to learn that Gran’mom Mary is also living at Casa de Lunacy.
And how does Gran’mom Mary greet her very first great-grandchild?
At knifepoint of course!
‘I don’t trust you…I know you try’na poison me’ She tells Anika, who immediately exits because crazy knows crazy.
In order for Lucious and Anika’s unholy union to appear real Lucious invites Tariq over for dinner. Tariq, hood and evil like his brother, takes the opportunity to insult every last one of his relatives at the dinner table.
He called Andre a waste of talent, basically referred to Hakeem as Lucious’ bitch, and then insulted Anika by calling her a Mulatto Bitch after calling Cookie the biggest loser of all.
Unfazed, Cookie read him for filth
‘You ain’t shit. Ya momma ain’t shit. You ain’t got no family. You ain’t got no money. And you won’t break us’ she tore into him, right before offering him a To Go plate for later.
I HOLLERED! Yes Momma Cookie. YAAASSSSSS!!!!
Tariq was only defeated a little bit. We learn by the end of the episode, as Lucious cradles baby Bella in her nursery, one of her new stuffed teddy bears is actually a NannyCam disguised to give Tariq inside access to further his investigation.
Another thing we learn is that Dre’s mind is gone. So gone to the point that he’s referring to himself in the 3rd person mumbling ‘Andre’ messed up….Andre’ messed up….’
“DAMN RIGHT YOU MESSED UP!” A voice agrees.
She is now haunting Dre’ in the afterlife, telling him that he can’t make it without her and that he’s nothing more than a ‘Philly thug with mental problems’.
Dre’s poor mind can’t handle anymore so he repeatedly screams ‘Rhonda please! Rhonda Please!’
His cries draw Jamal from his bedroom to check on him. The hurt and concern in Mally’s eyes speak for all of us as we watch him in so much pain.
– Becky is Back! But no Porsha this episode. Hopefully she will be making her season 3 debut either next week or the following week.
– Lil’ Loretha looked just like a girl from Philly back in the day! I was impressed with how well they captured the look. Lil’ Candace and Lil’ Carol, on the other hand, looked like they broke into an abandoned wig store and said ‘Let’s be the Pointer Sisters!’
– Speaking of sisters, Candace and Carol were back for this episode as well. Hopefully they’ll be more involved this season as I love to see them all interact with one another.
– I wonder how much damage Dead Rhonda will bring to Dre’s life now? He’s already in mourning and losing his mind. What else can they put him through to increase his value on the show? Because Trai Byers can act his ass off!
All right y’all. It came out a little longer than I wanted but there was so much to cover! Comment, like and share with anyone else that’s as obsessed with this show as I am.
How obsessed you ask?
I actually did a half sprint from the train station to my crib last night to catch the show.
Yeah I know, but whatever. I regret nothing!