Empire Season 1 Episode 9 Review: Unto the Breach

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What have you gotten yourself into Boo Boo Kitty!

The Lyon's weren't playing around this week, as they tried desperately to keep their artists at Empire, while Anika and Baretti tried to steal them away. That's right, Anika crossed over to the dark side on Empire Season 1 Episode 9, leaving Lucious and joining the Creedmoor family. 

This was another week heavy on the emotions and it's really setting us up nicely for the final two episodes. 

I wonder how long Anika was going to keep stringing Lucious along? We started things off with the two of them planning their extravagant wedding, but if Cookie hadn't interrupted their meeting, when would she have actually left him? I guess we'll never know.

It was way past time for Anika to leave Lucious and their fight was a long time coming. 

Anika: This is not even me. I am not a treacherous person, Lucious. But you, you, have twisted my love and made it some awful thing.
Lucious: I was wrong. But I'm scared. I'm dying. And you have to understand, when a man in my position says please, it means something. Please I need you to tell me what you planned with Baretti so I can fix it.

Maybe Anika hasn't always been this cold-hearted person, but she's made her decisions and she's going to have to live with them. When you sell your soul to the devil, be prepared for the consequences.

Leaving Empire, she sought to bring every artist she could over to Creedmoor and she was having a lot of success. Did this have something to do with Jamal's coming out party on Empire Season 1 Episode 8? Lucious sure thought so. 

Jamal: Yo, we're buying loyalty with hookers and blow? That's not Empire.
Lucious: Now this is a music business. And it may take hookers and blow to try and reclaim some of the artists that took off after you went prancing about with your little freak flag.

To keep some of their acts firmly attached to the label, Andre had a plan to woo some of the artists with cash. Kind of a sketchy plan, but Lucious was on board because he'll do anything for Empire. 

Well, anything that doesn't involve Jamal it seems. 

I'm just about over homophobic Lucious at this point. I keep thinking (hoping) he's going to make some progress with Jamal, but it seems like every time they find a little common ground it's quickly forgotten. 

This week Jamal had an admirer in platinum selling artists Estelle Delphine. They collaborated on a lovely song and Jamal was convinced he could bring her over to Empire. But of course, Lucious wanted no parts of this because it was Jamal bringing it to the table.

Ugh. I know I've mentioned countless times how unlikable Lucious can be, but he just seems to get worse each week. 

He came around eventually, but I was so annoyed with him by then, I couldn't even give him real credit. He kind of didn't have anything else to do by then, with Cookie and Hakeem off making sure Tiana stayed on board. 

I never thought Tiana would actually leave. And it was nice to see the bond between Hakeem and Cookie continue, as they came together to make sure Tiana knew how much she was valued at Empire. It was a nice showcase for Hakeem to show a softer side.

Tonight was also a wonderful showcase for Trai Byers. We've known for a while that Andre was sick and we've gotten glimpses off what happens when he's off his medication. But we never saw anything like we did tonight. 

To listen to him breakdown in the elevator to his brothers, lamenting about his childhood, which was decidedly different from his brothers, was tragic. As the oldest child, he probably saw more things and knew more than he should have. And while his brothers are the musical prodigies, he stands in the background, although he's arguably done more for Empire then his brothers combined. 

Watching him talk in the third person, sweat cascading down his face and the rage taking over his eyes was hard to watch. I thought it was heartbreakingly beautiful though to see the way Jamal tried to calm him down with a song. I was crying right along with him, as Andre softly sang "Lean On Me". Gah, just thinking about it now makes me tear up!

Everything about that elevator scene was perfect, from the acting, to the impromptu song and the dark lighting. The emotional beats this series hits on a weekly basis is nothing short of amazing. 

Random Notes

  • Jamal and Ryan are still going strong and they are freaking adorable! However, that D'Angelo-esque music video wasn't my favorite.
  • It is only a matter of time before Cookie and Malcolm become a thing. I can't wait to see how Lucious reacts!
  • We need drunk Cookie every week. Taraji P. Henson can do no wrong. Seriously. 
  • There was no Vernon this week, unless he was in the background somewhere and I missed him while I was writing my notes. Not happy about this, Empire!
  • Song of the week? "You're So Beautiful" has been on a continuous loop on my phone this week, so I loved the version tonight which brought everyone together. Love that song!
  • Most likely to take over the Empire? Well, it sure looks like Lucious wants it to be Hakeem. He isn't even close to be being ready though. 

Alright guys, looks like next week we'll be dealing with Andre in the hospital, with a special appearance by Jennifer Hudson! In the meantime, let me know what you thought about this week. Are you surprised Anika left Empire? Do you want Cookie and Malcolm to hook up? What's next for Andre?

Only a few episodes left, so make sure to watch Empire online so you're not missing out!

NOTE: Empire Season 1 Episode 10 is titled "Sins of the Father" and it airs Wednesday, March 11. 

Unto the Breach Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (28 Votes)

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

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Empire Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

When a man like me says hear me out, you hear me out cause your life could depend on it.

Lucious [to Anika]

Anika: This is not even me. I am not a treacherous person, Lucious. But you, you, have twisted my love and made it some awful thing.
Lucious: I was wrong. But I'm scared. I'm dying. And you have to understand, when a man in my position says please, it means something. Please I need you to tell me what you planned with Baretti so I can fix it.