Empire Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Outspoken King

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There were A LOT of things happening on Empire Season 1 Episode 2, as the freshman series kept chugging along and gave us a highly entertaining hour of television. 

As I expected, the premiere killed it in the ratings and I'll be very interested to see how many people came back for seconds. If you did, then you were treated to a very intense ride, that had a number of water cooler moments. 

Cookie fought with everyone. Jamal almost came out. Bunkie's decomposed body was found. Oh, and Hakeem declared President Obama a sellout, while also peeing on the rug of a fancy restaurant. And it was captured on film!

Damage Control - Empire

While the battle for the company is still the overarching theme of the season, this episode revolved around Lucious saving his company from the claws of the media. After a mall shooting, a gunman claims to have been influenced by Empire artist Kid Fo Fo (I wish I was kidding about that name).

The media jumps all over this and suddenly the company and the upcoming IPO are put in jeopardy. Naturally everyone is calling for Lucious to drop Fo-Fo, but he comes up with a better plan. With his new club, Leviticus, opening and Hakeem headlining, he enlists Fo Fo's help. 

Lucious: Play with Hakeem at Leviticus's opening.
Fo Fo: Play back up to your son?
Lucious: No, no, no, no, no. You're, you're more like a mentor to him, like Diana Ross did for the Jackson Five.
Fo Fo: Who's Diana Ross?

People these days. 

Fo Fo isn't exactly thrilled to do this and one person who hopes it doesn't work out is Cookie, who's hoping Jamal can join Hakeem on stage. Of course Lucious isn't having this and we spend a lot of time with Cookie, as she tries to get Jamal to come out of the closet and upstage his brother. 

Jamal has no interest in this because he's the best and him and Hakeem have the best relationship on the show. The best parts of Empire Season 1 Episode 1 were Jamal and Hakeem and that trend continued tonight. They have a natural brotherly chemistry and I forget all about the many ways Hakeem can be annoying when he's with Jamal. 

Jamal: She wants me to come out the same day that you perform at Leviticus and get your press.
Hakeem: She's Satan's daughter. Why is she even here? Ain't she supposed to be locked up for like ten more years?

Andre is still very much on the outside and if there was every any doubt as to his intentions, there shouldn't be now. He and Rhonda are out to control Empire and they're pitting everyone against each other. And for a bunch of relatively smart people, no one seems to be catching on yet. 

But besides being hungry for the Empire crown, Andre is also sick. 

Listen to me, for most people cancelling a doctor's appointment is just lazy. But for someone who's bipolar, it's life-threatening. And your life is mine.

Rhonda [to Andre]

His refusal to take his medications is clearly a point of contention in his marriage to Rhonda and Lucious could also see that something wasn't quite right with his eldest son. It made me wonder if his family is even aware of his condition. 

With Cookie in jail for all those years and Lucious busy starting a company and taking horrible cover art photos, it's clear he hasn't spent much time really getting to know his sons. He doesn't care to accept Jamal for who he is. And he seems so obsessed with launching Hakeem, that he ignores all of Hakeem's faults.

Hakeem, Hakeem, Hakeem. Crazy talented? Yes. Crazy immature? Hell yes. 

While out drinking with friends, he gets on camera to profess his love for a new starlet and what starts off innocently goes drastically downhill. In the blink of an eye, he's peeing on the carpet and declaring President Obama a sellout.

Before this show premiered, I saw interviews from the cast and they said this show was going to piss people off. And they may have succeeded! They really went for it here and it's a bold move for the show to broach this topic, along with mentions of Trayvon Martin and police shootings. 

No matter anyone's views, putting this out there in primetime and fostering conversation is a powerful thing and I always applaud shows for taking a stand in that sense. 

With Lucious being a friend of the president, Lucious had to go on an apology spree (and apparently Obama was using some terse language). And while talking about Fo Fo and the Hakeem debacle, things got personal for Lucious, as he lamented his own shortcomings as a father. 

I try to talk to my sons. I don't think they're listening. Maybe it's me who's not listening to them.


Here's hoping going forward, both Lucious and Cookie understand their sons better and can keep the Lyon family from self-destructing.  

Random Notes:

  • Becky found out Lucious is sick and she's sworn to secrecy. I have feeling she will be telling someone ASAP.
  • Cookie and Anika, man. They are so jealous of one another, it's frightening. And Anika should probably watch it with the sly one liners because we all know Cookie would win that fight handily. 
  • Bunkie's body was found and I almost choked on my drink when I saw the tears streaming down Lucious's face as he vowed to find the killer. Also, Bunkie was apparently a cool dude, so that's sad we didn't get to see much of him. Who's going to find out first that Lucious pulled the trigger?
  • Song of the week, "No Apologies". Where can I download that?
  • Cookie may have to testify in front of a grand jury. And she's very, very afraid. Is this still related to the drug charges? Or something else?
  • Most likely to take over the Empire? This week it's definitely Andre. 

Are you glad you came back for part two? Do you think Lucious is a horrible parent like Cookie suggested? Which brother seems most likely to take over? 

There's a lot to react to, so leave me comment and remember to watch Empire online right now, so you know what everyone is talking about tomorrow!

Outspoken King Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (37 Votes)

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Empire Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Stop it. I know you're sick. Is that why you're doing this crazy IPO thing? Is that why you're pitting your sons against one another for your company?

Becky [to Lucious]

Listen to me, for most people cancelling a doctor's appointment is just lazy. But for someone who's bipolar, it's life-threatening. And your life is mine.

Rhonda [to Andre]