Empire Season 2 Episode 17: Rise By Sin
Last night was Whoah.
It was our reward for sticking with the show after damn near everyone else abandoned it. I may talk my shit, but I still want Empire to succeed.
And last night, succeed it did.
Last week’s re-cap is here.
Lucious, in final preparation for the ASA’s, is trying his best to perfect the melody for ‘Chasing The Sky‘. He’s working late hours with his band, but the truth is that he’s scared shitless by his cuckoo ass mom Mary (The Legendary Leslie Uggams) after last week’s impromptu cake tasting at knifepoint.
And Cookie knows this as she prods and teases him ‘Mu’fucka Go Home! Ya mom is old. She can’t hurt you!’ But Lucious pays her no mind and goes back to his avoidance, because Mary’s got more cakes and more knives waiting at home.
Also preparing for her red carpet debut is Cookie’s sister Carol the Crackhead. She bum rushes Cookie in her office, wearing a red gown that Rhonda hand selected for her that reminded me of something Helen Willis would wear during a night on the town with Weezy and Florence. Carol tells Cookie that she has a date with an old friend from Philly Tariq (Morocco Omari) and Cookie immediately remembers that he was a cop. After Carol informs Cookie that Tariq has left the Philly police force Cookie deduces through her gansta intelligence that Tariq is now a FED. Fearing that someone is trying to fuck with the Lyoness and her family Cookie meets up with Tariq prior to he and Carol’s date with a warning.
‘Back off mutha fucka. You don’t want none of this.’
Tariq smiles politely. But he still tells Carol about Cookie’s visit. The two of them get into a huge fight where Carol accuses Cookie of never caring about her. Enraged, Cookie throws Carol out of her office and basically tells her ‘Fuck You!’ without actually saying it because this is, in fact, network television.
Moments later Jamal tracks Cookie down after his huge fight with Lucious (hold on) and she learns that both he and Freda are still working on music together. She finally tells him the sordid history between her, Lucious and Freda’s father Frank Gathers, who you will remember she snitched on and then had Lucious murder in prison. She pleads with Mally to stop associating with Freda because she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to him.
Momma Wants Attention
Gran’mom Mary is sitting home at Lucious’ watching TV and telling Juanita she’s a horrible cook when suddenly she sees coverage for the ASA’s. Noticing the imagery for Lucious’ nominated song ‘Boom,Boom,Boom,Boom’ she learns that the world believes she’s dead. As the visuals flash before her eyes she’s reminded of the day she tried to kill herself in front of Lucious, yet she blames Lucious for being a liar.
Nah MomMom, you’re just really, really crazy.
Dre’, who has felt like an outsider recently because of his bipolar disorder, recognizes Gran’mom Mary as a kindred spirit so he listens to her like she makes sense.
She really doesn’t, Dre’ just needs more friends.
She tells him about how she wants to go to the ASA’s to see her grand babies performing onstage and of course Dre’s all like ‘Anything for you Gran’mom!’ On the night of the ASA’s he swings by to pick her up so she can get dressed at his house but when he tries to leave with her Thirsty’s at the door with hired goons.
‘The fuck you think you goin’? He asks, then seals them away in Lucious’ panic room.
God I hate Thirsty.
Words Can Hurt
Fine ass D Major (Tobias Truvillion) is back spreading his undercover hotness once again. First, he listens in on a session with Jamal and Freda where he tells Mally that he needs to cut ties with Cookie . Later, while listening to one of Jamal’s songs in the studio, D coos and teases Mally with his undercover ways, telling him that even though he’ll be on the red carpet with a woman at the ASA’s it doesn’t mean anything.
Moments later Lucious walks in on their secret lover time. Of course, D plays the role for Lucious by stating ‘Yo, I ain’t gay son. You better check yourself’
‘Last time I checked there was a dick in your mouth, and it was mine.’ Is what Mally should have said, but he didn’t need to.
Lucious knows all about D’s “secret” love for the D, yet he finds a way to take this time to insult Jamal and his ‘lifestyle’ choices instead. He even cautions Jamal to get over that one time he threw him in the trashcan twenty years ago.
That’s when Mally claps back ‘Yo Dad, you still mad about Gran’Mom try’na drown you forty years ago. Stop actin’ like a bitch!’
Lucious gripped Mally up, ready to beat the shit out of him, but instead he tells him ‘You’re nothing to me. The day you die from AIDS…I’m gon’ celebrate.’
That scene was both hard to watch and hard to look away from. Yes, Empire. YES!!!
The American Sound Awards
FINALLY. After months and months of waiting, the ASA’s are here. We’re treated to shots of Cookie and Lucious serving up Black Dynasty opulence, Jamal giving zero fucks while looking over at D(L) Major with his skinny black barbie doll, and Hakeem and Laura flicking it up for the paparazzi.
That is until photographers look at Laura and ask ‘Who the hell is she? Bitch, can you please move out of the shot?!’
She does so because…..well, who is she?
Reporters ask Jamal ‘What’s up with the album?’
He answers ‘Fuck that album. I’m working on new material. And tonight is the last night I’m ever performing with my family’ then walks off like a whole boss! He bumps into Freda, who looks very nice. But the news he drops on her isn’t nice at all. He tells her she needs to leave Empire for good, he even offers to start her on her own label. Jamal then leaves Freda on the red carpet looking confused while Cookie and Lucious continue to shine for the cameras.
Then, in classic Cookie Lyon fashion, she informs the reporters that even though the Lyon’s aren’t perfect they are the First Family of Music. Seconds after her proclamation Crackhead Carol comes a’ callin’ in her red titty dress, high as a kite ready to turn up to a thousand.
Cookie shuts that shit down immediately. She hugs Carol, grabs her by her weave and warns her ‘Bitch, not tonight. I paid too much for this face mask’.
Undeterred, Carol finds Freda and asks her to escort her inside. When Freda declines, Carol begins cursing her out.
‘You think you better than me?! The only reason you here is ’cause Lucious feels bad about what he did to yo’ daddy!‘
Now, Freda isn’t stupid. She begins piecing together the advice she’s been getting all season from everyone else and now knows that Lucious is not a very nice man. She sprints towards him, grabs a security guard’s gun, points and shoots.
She misses Lucious.
But doesn’t miss Jamal.
Mally gets hit in the stomach trying to protect his father! They rush him to the hospital. The news outlets go NUTS! Gran’mom Mary and Dre’ see everything unfold on TV from the panic room and eventually Thirsty lets them out (at gunpoint of course because he’s Thirsty and he’s the fuckin’ worse).
They get to the hospital and wait. And wait. And wait to hear about Jamal’s condition. While the Lyon family waits the live broadcast of the ASA’s continues without them because, contrary to what you think Cookie Lyon, y’all ain’t the first family of music at all.
And to prove it; neither Lucious or Jamal win the award for best song.
NOW everyone is super sad because all the fighting and bullshit they went through for this damn award was for nothing.
For them at least.
Because as the rest of the Lyon clan awaits word of Mally’s condition Gran’mom Mary slips out to hold a press conference with the reporters outside of the hospital.
They ask her ‘Are you a member of the family’
She says ‘Damn Right!’
‘WHO ARE YOU OLD WOMAN?!!’
– Where the fuck was my Becky??? If Lee Daniels loves me like I know he does Becky’s gonna come through with the good hair and raise holy hell next week for the finale.
– Anika didn’t get much shine this week. However, her quick convo with Rhonda and seeing her about to be interrogated by Tariq solidifies her appearance in the finale.
– Taraji acted for her LIFE last night! And she had more furs than a Chicago pimp’s convention in 1975. She won TV this week. Everyone else can try again next week.
And finally, much like when I found out Prince died while writing my review, I just read something about Jussie leaving the show. Say it ain’t so!!!!
I’m calling it now; One more full season or cancellation mid-season three.