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Referencing the Nation of Islam was a bold move that I appreciated. It showed that EMPIRE isn't afraid to hit controversial opinions in the black community head on. But, Anika is NOT what she appears to be. Boo Boo Kitty has all the right expressions and reactions, to get Lucious to trust her. But, mark my words. This kitten has claws! I suspect she's positioning herself to take over Empire as soon as it goes public, with the backing of shadow investors. In case people forget, taking a company public is risky because the threat of takeover is much greater than if it remained privately owned by one family. Yes, Lucious' might make a ton of money. But, he could also get pushed out by the board if someone mounts a takeover bid. I predict the season finale will be just that - and the Lyons will have to unite to fight off those who want to push the family out. EMPIRE is basically DALLAS in the music world, with Andre, Jamal & Hakeem being early versions of J.R., Bobby and Gary. Yeah, Hakeem is about as ill-suited for corporate intrigue as Gary was.

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Won't happen. After watching many, many seasons of DALLAS, DYNASTY & KNOT'S LANDING, I can see where this *might* go - After all she's done for Empire, Boo Boo Kitty won't appreciate being sidelined for any of the sons. Lucious won't seriously consider her for CEO because, well, she's a girl and not blood-related. So, when Lucious starts getting physically weaker, Anika will realize what is going on & make moves to consolidate power on the board & wrest control away from the Lyons. Typical corporate power play. This will briefly unite Cookie with all her sons to repel Anika's takeover. That's what always happened on DALLAS & DYNASTY - the family fights a lot internally. But they ALWAYS unite against outsiders trying to take the company.

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The only understanding Rhonda & Andre have is to get power & influence any way possible. Power turns them on & excites them as much as love. Defining it as an "open marriage" feels small somehow. Their marriage is a union made for ruthless ambition, & they love each other for it. Having sex with other people is just a tool to them. It's not based on attraction or pleasure. It's how they get things done. It's work. The reviewer asked if Lucious has enough power to get away with murder. I was under the impression that Bunkie wasn't the first person Lucious gunned down. After all, he was a drug dealer & had a territory. That doesn't happen unless you're willing to do some brutal things.

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Cora is one of my favorite characters. Nothing fazes her, or should I say, nothing throws her even if she is surprised. She's one of the most grounded, practical characters in a setting where she could be very removed and isolated given her position. IMO, Cora already ended things with Bricker in her mind. She really loves Robert and wouldn't do anything to intentional hurt him or make him jealous. That is not her style. She may be discreet about personal matters. But, she's not calculating or devious in that way. I also love how she can put Robert in his place in less than 10 words & still play the good hostess. That brings me to a character that I really dislike at the moment - Miss Bunting. It's one thing to have different opinions than one's host. But, Miss Bunting is just a bad guest - ALL the time. She knew that the Russians were expats driven away from their homeland. But, what kind of insensitive idiot would actually say something to make them feel MORE unwelcome, MORE homesick, and MORE out of place at an event that was supposed to give them comfort. Class differences aren't an excuse for that behavior as hospitality was practiced in all levels of society at that time. She knew what she was doing was just mean, and she didn't care about anything except her own POV. I REALLY hope she is not in Tom's future.

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If being ambitious was the worst thing Lucius did, no, he wouldn't be considered "horrible." But, he murdered the boys' uncle who basically raised them (and which actually explains a lot of the boys' shortcomings). I think cold-blooded murder definitely puts Lucius in the "Horrible Parent" category right now.

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I thought the whole Cookie vs. the world scene in the elevator was a sly reference to the Solange Knowles beat down of Jay Z last year.

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Really liked what I saw this week. My gosh, Taraji P. Henson's eyes convey so much. I think I could watch Cookie's expressions the entire hour with the sound off & still know what the episode was about. The way she looked at Lucius' house from the taxi said so much in 5 seconds. The depth of the characters is fantastic. Hakeem is such a little putz. But, he's made tolerable by his relationship with his brother, one of the best parts of the whole series. The way Lucius can hide his murderous nature is really chilling. The tears, the fake promise to his family to get justice for Bunkie - how cold & calculating. Probably wasn't the first time he did that either. In that light, I think his treatment of Cookie is pretty mild compared to what he's capable of. Frankly, I think part of him still loves her. It's evident that her opinion of him still matters. And, he knows no one else loves him like Cookie did. She believed in him when he was nobody & sacrificed herself for him & their sons. Would Anika ever do the same? HA! Fat chance! And, he knows it. As far as the music goes, it's OK. The best song this week IMO was Jamal's. But, the reason I keep coming back is the drama; not the music. I don't like the way the young men treat the women in this series. But, it is important to show that - to show what the lack of parents can do to a person no matter what their tax bracket.

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Thanks, Stacy!

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Last week, I made a comment on another board that AGENT CARTER is a nice contrast to AoS precisely because the era was characterized by an extreme reliance on secrets; especially in Great Britain. The U.S. did indeed have their fair share (Operation Paperclip). But, my impression is that the UK was much more strict & closed-off with their information than the U.S.; probably because of their proximity to the USSR & its looming threat. I'm glad it's part of the atmosphere of CARTER that we're seeing the creators of SHIELD literally dealing in secrets. On AoS, Coulson & Company are trying to uncover decades of them while staying barely one step ahead of Hydra. One part I didn't understand was what Peggy did to get her boss to verbally thrash her. That went completely over my head. How did she save Jarvis from being grilled?

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Like the show. Liked the episode. But, I wish the reviewer would use a different phrase when she writes about Stevie's POV. Stevie *feels* her mother lied to her out of choice. Elizabeth doesn't just "lie" because she's wanted to. Elizabeth is not allowed to tell anyone what she does as a CIA analyst. It's against the law. If she did, she could be charged with violating numerous national security laws, or even treason. I know someone who is also employed as a gov't analyst. They don't want to always be lying to their family. So they simply say, "I'm going to be working." Period. No explanation is given, and none is expected. The way Stevie is written is to play up the drama of an idealistic, immature young woman being slapped with a reality check. But, I did like how she admitted she had some growing up to do. 95% of kids in Stevie's position have parents who are gone repeatedly for business with little explanation. They know the score, and are more realistic & mature at age 13 than Stevie is being portrayed. With two parents as intelligent as the ones on screen, you'd think Stevie would be more thoughtful & circumspect than just jump to the judgmental position right away.