fresh/press tv – EMPIRE S1 E10

EMPIRE is building towards its 2 hour season finale on Wednesday. This episode unexpectedly finished off a storyline or two and created some new ones. This is probably a good thing as there are already so many problems to keep track of. It must be a difficult balancing act in the writer’s room. How much is too much? How far do we go until we’re into daytime soap opera territory?

There were a couple of high profile appearences in this episode. MARY J BLIGE briefly showed up for a song. And Oscar nominee JENNIFER HUDSON appears as a new character who helps Andre deal with his anxieties through prayer. I’m thinking we could see more of these two in upcoming episodes, but Hudson seems the most likely. There is already some sexual tension brewing under the surface between her and Andre.

While a possible new relationship blooms, another wilts and dies. NAOMI CAMPBELL portrays Hakeem’s girlfriend. This episode saw Lucious confront her, offering her money to disappear. She fires back, agreeing to leave but promising to return after his death. Ouch. She is cold steel.

The most disappointing story arc was Jamal’s. This season set-up a previous relationship that resulted in a child. This was an unexpected twist, since Jamal is gay. But it was a welcomed storyline. It was nice to see Jamal’s nurturing side. I was wondering how he’d raise a child and pay the bills and create his music.

Oh, there’s more…

Unfortunately, a forced confrontation from a gun toting gangster made Lucious admit he was the child’s father. Say what? That kinda came out of nowhere, and put an end to that story. It made me wonder, why have that plotline to begin with?

These storyline arcs ending made it feel like the writers were doing some spring-cleaning in preparation for next season.

Thankfully, another storyline continues. I’m thinking of Cookie and Lucious’ relationship together. With Cookie’s return from exile, Lucious is reminded of why they fell in love in the first place. He wants them back together, going so far as wanting to get remarried, and spend his final days on Earth a married couple running Empire. The complication here is that Cookie has a man (DEREK LUKE) on the side. She’s keeping it secret from Lucious, since the man was a part of his security force. I’m thinking we could be in for a confrontation during the season finale.

I wonder if this reveal will occur at Lucious’ bedside in a hospital. We haven’t seen too many effects of ALS yet. It’s not like I want to see the man sick and dying each episode, but I’m thinking the season finale is an appropriate time to explore the main concept of this impressive series. Will there be a cliffhanger when the hospital machine flatlines? I’m sure Lucious won’t die until the ratings dip a little or we get a few more seasons out of it, but I do feel it’s very important for us to be reminded of the stakes at hand. Lucious is sick. And he will die. This family is fighting one another to run Empire.

I like EMPIRE most when it focuses on the music instead of the drama. The characters and the inheritance angles are intriguing as well. The crime elements keep the drama exciting, but I hope it takes a backseat. The love of art is what connects these people. It’s what created Empire in the first place. For these reasons, I hope the season finale covers the company finally going public and the release of an album or two. I want to see these brothers duke it on the Billboard charts.

With so many storylines, so many characters with their own flaws, EMPIRE has to juggle the writing carefully to avoid getting silly like a soap opera where dead characters return as ghosts and people get kidnapped to keep the story fresh. This show could easily tread into spoofing territory if it isn’t careful.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

What will happen in the season finale? Will we get a big cliffhanger? Will someone end up in jail?

Will Hakeem drop a music video next episode?

Will Jamal release an album?

Is Andre’s long-time relationship in jeopardy with the arrival of Jennifer Hudson’s character?

What happened to Tianna? Is she out of the picture now?

At the end of the day, will Cookie run Empire?

Will Lucious end up in the hospital next episode?

Did you notice Hakeem and Jamal appear on AMERICAN IDOL and sing their song live on stage? Cookie also showed up with the results envelope. Way to do some cross-marketing FOX.

Do you like the character’s music on EMPIRE? Do you want the soundtrack?

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