Oh, Mike. You have to stop thinking like that. Have Caucasians ever worried over how their race in general is portrayed in all aspects of entertainment? Oh, hell, no! Black people are PEOPLE first. PEOPLE in general enjoy well-written entertainment & good acting. When I watch EMPIRE, I don't see "black" people. I see a rich, dysfunctional family who happens to be black. But, they also have all the same hangups that the Ewings did on DALLAS. I see good acting, hilarious dialogue, and so many references to classic Greek tragedy, it's a literature lover's dream. Don't confuse traditional dramatic *archtypes* as being stereotypes. If Shakespeare's KING LEAR or HAMLET were filmed with a black cast, it would be considered "daring" and "modern." But, throw them into something inspired by the same, and billed as a primetime soap opera, and suddenly people get skittish thinking, "Well, isn't it racist to show blacks being shallow, ambitious, narcissistic, violent, petty, opportunistic, horny, etc." No - it's HUMAN.
That was a fantastic episode. I hope we find out what is important about the Battle of Finow before this series ends. There are only 3 episodes left! I like how the federal agents have become more human with each passing episode. They all seemed like male chauvinist stereotypes at first. Now, we can see there's a reason they were hired for this unit. Captain Dooley is a very smart man who is getting answers and putting the right picture together without a lot of fancy gadgets and proof. Agent Thompson seems like an entitled blowhard. But, it's basically a role he plays to mask a lot of insecurity about his abilities. I would be fine if we don't find out who Peggy ends up marrying because she's a worthwhile, interesting character in her own right. Reducing her appeal to, "Who is she going to hook up with?" is boring.
Unfortunately, the ratings are not great. If it didn't have the tie-in to Marvel and Captain America, I doubt it would see a second season, no matter how limited the number of episodes. Peggy Carter is a fantastic character IMO. But, I think having her story as a limited run is all we can hope for right now. I'll tune in no matter how many episodes they give us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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