Empire Season 2 Episode 2 Review: Without a Country

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Are Cookie and Hakeem ready to face off against Lucious?

That's the question I was thinking when the credits rolled on Empire Season 2 Episode 2. As much as I adore Cookie, I can't help but think when pitted against Lucious, she just might lose. Especially against a scorned and bitter Lucious, who seems even more vicious than usual. 

It's going to take more than Tiana and some form of a rainbow trio to put a dent in the Empire juggernaut, but I'm not ready to count Cookie out yet. 

In the Yard - Empire Season 2 Episode 2

As Lucious was coughing away behind bars, Cookie, Hakeem and Dre were looking to get their own company off the ground. It started to feel at first like this might be a one episode idea, one that stays around for awhile, then crashes and burns in the shows closing moments. 

However, it looks like this new company may really be a thing, albeit without Dre, who seems incredibly lost this season. Of all the characters on Empire, it's easy to neglect Dre and Rhonda. They can sometimes just float into the background of a scene and you almost forget they're on the show.

The twosome haven't gotten a ton of screen time thus far, but they made the best of what they were given. While calculating, Rhonda's appeal to Jamal on Dre's behalf still came from a place of love for her husband. And Dre's scenes with both his mother and father were particularly heartbreaking. 

Pop, wait a minute! Pop! Pop! For years you rejected Jamal because of who he is, now he's running the company. Hakeem, he slept with your fiancee. Apparently you want him back at Empire. Here I stand, contrite, remorseful, humble and yet you look at me like I'm some kind of mutant. Why do you hate me?

Andre

Dre and Hakeem working together to head a company was never going to last, so it wasn't surprising when Dre walked away and basically begged his father to forgive him and give him back one of the only things he truly loves in his life: Empire. 

Are we shocked Lucious was a jerk? Absolutely not. But was anyone expecting that flashback? 

It seems Dwight's Lucious's mother suffered from some kind of illnessm and he clearly sees her in Dre. It's hard to watch Dre struggle, and I don't even know what's going to make him happy at this point. 

Getting back to the new company, Hakeem was on a role this week, and I have to say so far this season, his character has been monumentally better than last season. I truly think it has to do with pairing him and Cookie together and getting him away from Lucious. 

His idea for the girl group was pretty genius, and I hope more comes of that as the season progresses. A solid girl group as well as Tiana and Hakeem on a label could be something to scare Lucious and Jamal. 

Jamal, you think you on top now? Our little Dynasty gonna crush your Empire.

Hakeem

It's officially time for the Dynasty. 

Of course, Lucious is going to do everything in his power to stop this company before it even gets off the ground. And it's going to be a much easier task for him now that he's out of prison!

Lucious had a lot going on this week. He was dealing with a power hungry guard, a new lawyer and a new recording studio. He was a very busy man!

This is now two episodes in a row we've gotten guest stars not exactly known for being intimidating people. Empire Season 2 Episode 1 gave us Chris Rock and now we got Chris Bridges, more commonly known as Ludacris. 

Ludacris was a corrupt guard, clearly on the prosecutors dime, who was withholding meds from Lucious and generally just trying to make his life a living hell. Um, did you watch Empire Season 1, Ludacris? Lucious doesn't take crap from anyone. 

But this time, Lucious couldn't exact his revenge alone. He needed the help of his new lawyer, Thurston. Or Thirsty. Or Purple Suit. I think I like Thirsty the best so I'm going to stick with that.

Just like the prosecutor, Thirsty had friends in high places. He hooked Lucious up with medicine, a closet recording studio and got him released on bail! Welcome to the family, Thirsty. 

Random Notes

  • Jamal and Hakeem bromance level? It's a 1 right now. The only reason I didn't go full 0 is because they actually talked a lot and sometimes the conversation was amicable. Plus, I don't think Hakeem really thinks Jamal is corny.
  • Cookie's outfits were on a different level. There aren't words for that pant suit she was rocking towards the end. 
  • Is anyone else really wanting Boo Boo Kitty to join Dynasty, just so we can get those amazing back and forths between her and Cookie?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how hard was Tiana trying to be Beyonce while she was dancing?
  • Song of the week? Even behind bars, Lucious can write a hit! Snitch was a winner. 
  • We're going to see more of Kelly Rowland, right? RIGHT?!?!

Okay guys, I need to know what you thought about "Without A Country"! Was this a worthy follow up to the premiere? Can Cookie and Hakeem build a successful record label? What should Dre do next?

Make sure you leave me a comment and remember you can watch Empire online via TV Fanatic anytime!

Without a Country Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (30 Votes)

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

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Empire Season 2 Episode 2 Quotes

Oh and Jamal, one last thing, I wanted to tell you first before you hear it out here in these streets. Me, Andre and Hakeem, we're starting our own company.

Cookie

Cookie: I need you to give Hakeem his album back.
Jamal: Why would I do that?
Cookie: Jamal you already won. You run the Empire. All Hakeem's got is his music.