Remember when Hakeem was head over heels in love with Camilla and would have chosen her over just about anyone?
Well, it was deja vu time on Empire Season 2 Episode 10, as Camilla made her triumphant return and proved that her pull over Hakeem was still very strong. And that's very bad news for Lucious and his future at Empire.
Elsewhere, the first half of the season ended with Rhonda in serious danger. Our round table members Paul Dailly, Carissa Pavlica and Whitney Evans discussed Rhonda's situation, Hakeem's betrayal and Lucious's next move!
1. What was your favorite scene or quote?
Paul: My favorite scene has got to be Lucious losing his power at Empire. He deserves it and I'm happy it's finally happened!
Carissa: I don't really have a specific scene or quote, but I have a major crush on Alicia Keys. Does that count? Good golly she's a beautiful girl. Just wow.
Whitney: I loved everything about Lucious having a breakdown. He's been the cause of so many other people's pain, it was about time he got a taste of what it feels like to be hurt by others.
2. Bigger surprise: Camilla's return or Hakeem's betrayal?
Paul: Hakeem's betrayal. He has grown a lot since Empire Season 1, and it's high time he started making decisions that will affect him and him only. For too long, he's been the laughing stock of Lucious. It sucks that he stuck the knife in Cookie, but Camilla is the motherly figure in his life, after all.
Carissa: Well, I knew Camilla was returning because of the promo, so I'll have to go with Hakeem's betrayal. While it's not unexpected, it was dramatic in the moment. It will be fun to see Camilla and Cookie go up against each other. Cookie kind of made this bed by snuggling up to Jamal recently and allowing Hakeem to think he wasn't that important to her plans. Whoopsies.
Whitney: I knew Camilla was returning as well, but the way she came back as Mimi's wife was a complete shock! I never fully trusted Mimi, but I never saw those two teaming up. The look on Lucious's face was priceless. I was less surprised Hakeem went against Lucious, since we've been building to that all season. Hakeem knew taking Empire away from him would hurt him the most.
3. Prediction time! What is the next move for Lucious?
Paul: He's not going to go down without a fight. He'll fight tooth and nail to regain the smallest form of power. He's obviously going to go after Hakeem.
Carissa: I agree with Paul. It would be fun if he went over to Lyon Dynasty, though. It seems unlikely Hakeem will have the time for it if he's going to be working with Camilla over at Empire. I'm unsure where everyone is going to end up. It's not good business to let two awards nominees go, so I hope that's not part of Camilla and Hakeem's plans. But Lucious has to take his business acumen somewhere...
Whitney: My first thought was that Lucious should join Lyon Dynasty. Cookie and Hakeem have been doing a good job at getting that company off the ground, but things could really soar if Lucious came to help. Unfortunately, I think Lucious will only be concerned with bringing Hakeem and Camilla down.
4. Rhonda is in serious, serious trouble after that fall down the stairs. React!
Paul: I saw everything that went down coming. Rhonda might as well have told Anika to kill her when she said that babies in the Lyon family are like Kryptonite. I don't think she's dead, but there's a good chance the baby is.
Carissa: The preview sure made it look like the baby is gone. I doubt they'd kill the only white girl, though. Maybe she'll be paralyzed, making her even less desirable and more of a burden. All those stairs! Will Andre's religion carry him through? I don't think so. Vindictive Andre is on the way.
Whitney: LOL Carissa! Rhonda will probably survive, but I don't think the baby will. I'm wondering how long it will take everyone to figure out that Anika has completely lost it.
5. What's your grade for the first half of Empire Season 2?
Paul: B-. It has been rocky to say the least, but the bar was set very high after the freshman run. It just sucks that it started becoming appointment TV again last week and it's now off the air for over 3 months.
Carissa: I'd give it a B+. It feels like some stories just disappear. Did Jamal break up with Michael? Did we see that? There are some stories that seem really big and their ends are like little flutters in comparison to the story as it was told. What exactly did Hakeem go through when kidnapped? Where has Tiana been? If they work on that, it will get a better grade for the second half.
Whitney: You bring up some interesting questions, Carissa. The season has felt incomplete to me so far. It started off strong, floundered a bit and then ended strong. We all knew it was going to be hard to keep the first season magic, but they've still given us compelling television each week, so I'm giving this half a solid B.
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.