Empire Season Finale Review: Confessions, Fights and Murder ... Oh My!

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Well that was pretty freaking incredible you guys. 

This show managed to cram more into these final two hours than I could have ever imagined. Let's just consider that in Empire Season 1 Episode 11 alone we saw Cookie get frozen out of Empire, Hakeem betray his father and Lucious discover that he isn't quite as sick as he thought. 

Then we followed that up with Empire Season 1 Episode 12 and Lucious' decision to name his successor, a pregnancy reveal, two crazy fights and an arrest!


I guess we should start with Lucious' decision to oust Cookie out of Empire once he found out about her romance with Malcolm. Always the petulant child, Lucious couldn't have a conversation with his ex-wife, no, he had to take her away from the most important thing in her life after her family. 

It was a low blow, even for Lucious. And what's worse, Cookie didn't even end up with the man in the end. Bye bye Malcolm. We already knew ye. 

After Empire Season 1 Episode 10, everyone was still pretty pissed at Lucious, for good reason, although Hakeem seemed to be taking things the hardest. Not only did he sabotage Snoop Dogg's performance, in a play to embarrass Lucious, but then he went and considered signing with Creedmoor!

But that's really not the worst of it. He hooked up with Boo Boo Kitty! And typing those words out just made me shiver.

It was a cruel, creepy move, indeed, and Lucious got to witness it first hand. He also got to witness Jamal throwing Baretti over a balcony on his behalf. He was a real proud father tonight!

All throughout the two hours, there was a shift in the relationship between Lucious and Jamal. While it was emotional because both actors are special and play off each other beautifully, it kind of felt a little too late for me. Lucious is awful and him playing a song with his son, albeit a seriously good song, isn't going to make me forget his intolerance and cruelty. 

I read a magazine article and it called you the future of Empire. You believe that? Cause I do. I just need to know that you got that monster in you that does what he has to do.

Lucious [to Jamal]

Did Lucious really see Jamal as the future of Empire? We'll get to that in just a minute. 

With all that craziness, we were also treated to another wallop of a reveal. Lucious doesn't have ALS! That's right, he was misdiagnosed, and while he's still sick, he won't be dying anytime soon. 

He let this reveal slip unknowingly to Cookie while in some kind of dreamlike state from his medication. He also revealed that he killed Bunkie and Cookie was devastated. So devastated that she contemplated smothering him to death in his sleep until she came to her senses. 

This is where the next hour picked up and Lucious assembled his boys and Cookie to tell them the good news. He also presented them with insanely expensive gold gifts. One son in particular got the greatest gift of all...the keys to Empire. 

Who was the lucky son? JAMAL

Was I surprised? Not really. After Hakeem's shenanigans and Andre's struggles, Jamal was the obvious choice. Unfortunately, no one in this family knows how to be happy for anyone else, so things immediately became prickly. 

Let's take a moment to discuss the ridiculousness that is Cookie, Anika, Andre and Hakeem working together to bring Lucious down. And I mean ridiculous in the most delightful way. 

Cookie: Tell me why I shouldn't throw this drink in your bitch ass face?
Anika: Cause you'll never get up off the floor, bitch.

We have been waiting all season for these two to go at it and it was totally worth the wait, right? Boo Boo Kitty had it coming. 

The dream team's plan to takeover Empire was pretty solid, but I just kept wondering where Jamal fit into all of this. Was the plan to kick Lucious out and then have everyone be in control? Please let me know what I missed in the comments because it didn't really seem like anyone had Jamal's back here. 

The hostile takeover alone would have been enough story to fill the whole episode, but no, we were treated to even more drama! 

Rhonda is pregnant! That was thrown around in the comments sections a few weeks back, so kudos to you commenters! Congratulations Rhonda, you MURDERER!

Vernon is dead and my heart is broken. He checked out of rehab just in time to get clocked in the back of the head. This will be a major part of Empire Season 2, I'm sure. Justice for Vernon!

Oh, and Lucious was arrested for killing Bunkie! So Lucious isn't dying and he's just been set up to go to jail by his whole family?

Game time, bitches.


Man this show is special. 

Random Notes

  • They pulled out all the stops this week in regards to music stars. Snoop Dogg, Rita Ora, Juicy J and Patti LaBelle! Plus, Jennifer Hudson was back. If the rumors about Common and Oprah dropping by next season are true, this show will have reached a whole new level of epic. 
  • Dwight Walker. I can see why Lucious changed his name. 
  • Did anyone else die laughing when Cookie opened up her gift and it was a little pillow? Hilarious. 
  • Speaking of the gift scene, was anyone buying Lucious' apologies? They sounded good, but I can't trust Lucious. 
  • Vernon had many lines tonight and it looks like they were his last. I was your biggest supporter, Vernon. I'll miss you. Call me. #NeverForget
  • Song of the week? The Lucious and Jamal duet was really, really good. I'm not exactly Terrence Howard the singer's biggest fan, but the two of them nailed that song. 
  • Top Five songs of Empire Season 1? 1. You're So Beautiful. 2. Drip Drop 3. Keep Your Money 4. Good Enough 5. Keep It Moving. Honestly though, the music has been so good all around. 
  • Most likely to take over the Empire? JAMAL FTW!

It's all over! But we can sit comfortably knowing we will be blessed with a season 2. In the meantime, please drop in and let me know what you thought about these action packed episodes.

Did you love the Cookie/Anika smackdown? What will Lucious' next move be? Are you sad to see Vernon go? What were your favorite songs from the season?

It's been a blast covering this show each week and seeing it pretty much dominant the TV landscape. Remember to watch Empire online right here via TV Fanatic and relive all the best moments!

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

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Empire Season 1 Episode 11 Quotes

Oh, you workout.

Cookie [to Malcolm]

I need Cookie. You gotta find me Cookie.

Lucious [to Becky]