Sunday, October 4, 2015

FOX's "Empire" Episode 1 & 2 Review - Does the Show Have Staying Power?

With only two episodes into their second season, many fans and critics alike are saying that Fox's mega hit series "Empire" may not have the staying power they thought at first. Some are complaining that the season took too long to return, while others complain that the storylines have drug on for far too long without any real resolution. But that is to be expected, it's the nature of television sitcom design, you have to keep the audience wanting more so they keep tuning in once they become invested in the characters. 

Last seasons cliffhanger saw main protagonist Lucious Lyon played by Terrance Howard being carted off to jail for the murder of his friend and his ex-wife Cookie Lyon's cousin named Bunkie.  With that it meant one of the three Lyon brothers would have to take over the presiding role of the Empire Records company board of trustees for their father. We all know now, Lucious surprised everyone by choosing once at odd offspring Jamal to take over in his absence.  As the new season opens we see the once mild-tempered Jamal has become power happy, almost to the point of emulating his father, in a bad way, much the chagrin of his mother Cookie, and the added disdain of his brothers rapper Hakeem and record executive Andre.  The three scorned Lyons now devise a plan to devise a hostile takeover of the company but it fails miserably when Jamal secretly discovers their plan and alerts Lucious who is still acting as a managing Svengali from prison. 

Episode two we see Cookie, played by Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson and her sons planning to compete with Empire Records by opening up their own company aptly called Lyon Dynasty, but without the funding and the power they need from Lucious' brand and name their efforts seem futile. We did get to see some interesting highlights such as Lucious' shifty lawyer organizing a studio to record music, Luscious performing rap vocals reminiscent of the Hustle and Flow era that first connected him to Henson and made both popular household names. There was also a brief flashback of Lucious and his mother played by Grammy award-winning superstar Kelly Rowland while arguing with his eldest son Andre during a prison visit.  It greatly implies that Lucious was loved by his mother but she may have been plagued with mental illness which could be the reason why he and Andre, who also suffers from mental illness are always disagreeing and having personal issues with trust; something that I'm sure episode three of the rest of the season will delve into even deeper.  So that's it Luscious has "mommy issues", and it clearly shows. Don't forget to tune into Fox Wednesday's 9/8 central for the next episode of the highly anticipated second season of Empire.

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