Empire Season 4 Episode 2 Review: Full Circle

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Even successful people get miserable. 

That's exactly what Cookie realized on Empire Season 4 Episode 2 as she tried to keep things rolling at Empire even though its future was in doubt due to some big budgetary issues. 

Jamal and Becky Smile - Empire Season 4 Episode 2

For so long, Cookie has wanted to sit on the throne and understand how it felt to hold the keys to the kingdom, making big decisions that could make or break things. It's sad it took Porsha pointing out that she looked good on the throne to realize she had finally gotten to that place. 

For Cookie, it's always been a struggle to get much in the way of recognition for anything she has done. She went to prison for all those years, and Lucious moved on with Anika. 

Hell, she even struggled to get back in a good place with some of her sons. Now, in a position of power, the matriarch of the Lyon family is struggling to adapt to this new version of Lucious and how he affects her life. 

Cookie on a Mission - Empire Season 4 Episode 2

One of the best scenes of the entire series was Cookie putting Andre in his place for the way he spoke to her. Would Empire even exist without her? No. And that's what those boys need to understand. 

Cookie knew she needed to find a way to spin some good press for the company and the 20 album deal is not entirely a bad idea. Adding some 20th-anniversary branding will help shift records. 

An anniversary of any sorts is a momentous occasion, and it could pay off if some of the former fans of the company buy into all of the nostalgia. Still, producing 20 albums in the space of a year for any label would be a stretch. 

It's difficult enough to get some of the artists to work on what they are supposed to be working on. 

I did not like the show merely glossed over the fact that Tory and Jamal were back to being friends. 

Gone Missing - Empire

Some serious stuff went on between them, so it's difficult to come to grips with how easy it seemed for Jamal to let Tory back into his life, and he's not going to be impressed when he finds out about her vocals replacing his. 

Jamal should have taken the feedback from Becky on board. If you watch Empire online, you know there is no way Becky would ever do anything to hurt Jamal. She was doing what was best for the company and decided after several of her requests went over his head. 

Creative control is a big issue for anyone in the media industry, but you would think Jamal being a seasoned singer-songwriter would have helped him come to the conclusion that it was best to do what he was told. 

Becky deserved that promotion. She was relentless in her mission to close the deal, and it was a terrific deal. It also brings Tory back into the mix in a natural way because I was not buying her just hanging around all the time. 

Lucious Can't Resist Cookie - Empire

What did surprise me was the way Cookie let Tory take the track. It proved Cookie was focusing on the business and was ready to cut the people who were not pulling their weight. 

I hope this is not paving the way for Jamal and Andre teaming up to take down Cookie because we do not need that plot again. It's been done to death on this show, and I'm all about progression. 

As usual, all of the stuff with Leah was melodramatic, and it's time to let that character go. Her actions are always so out of the left field that it's difficult to take anything she does seriously. 

From drowning Lucious to lunging at Claudia's throat with her hands, it's ludicrous. The character is too difficult to like, so why bring her back? She's gone. Let's draw a line through it and move on. 

After my recent post about how Lucious ruined Empire, I was so sure it was going to turn out that Lucious losing his memory was all part of a big elaborate plan to reinvent himself. 

However, the addition of Forest Whitaker as Uncle Eddie helped confirm that there was something seriously wrong with Lucious and there was no easy road to recovery. 

Can you imagine finding out you have been a murderer, criminal and downright awful person your entire life? For Lucious, his mind was mostly a blank slate, and he's been trying to fill in the blanks ever since waking up in the aftermath of the blast. 

Claudia is a manipulator, and from an ethical standpoint, she should be killed off. She's doing everything and anything she can to get Lucious on her side and against the rest of his family. 

The little stunt she pulled by packing her belongings and implying she was saying goodbye to him was obviously fake. As if Claudia was going to go outside in the storm and mess up that beautiful hair. 

She's preying on the poor man's fears, and that's not good. God, I never thought I would be referring to Lucious Lyon as a poor man. Make of it what you will, but regardless of what he's done wrong, Claudia's actions are wrong, too. 

Then there's Anika. I thought we were rid of that killer, but no, she conveniently remembered the date Bunkie was murdered and figured she would use that to her advantage. 

Did she somehow forget she was the one who sent Rhonda crashing to her death? It's all so very bizarre. I get that she wanted to return home to her daughter and would stop at nothing for it to happen. 

One of these days, one of the characters is going to have to go to prison for real, and not get out a few episodes later. There are minimal consequences in the world of Empire. Maybe Cookie should not have spent all that time behind bars after all. 

Tiana is a woman of many words on Empire these days, so I don't care about this whole storyline about her getting jealous because Anika is back. Blech. 

"Full Circle" had a lot going on, but the nonsensical developments are what drags this showdown. On Empire Season 1, there were some crazy twists that yielded consequences. 

Watching these characters get away with everything is tiring. I never thought the day would come in which I liked Lucious. He's horrid, but I am digging his big amnesia storyline now. 

What did you think of all the developments?

Sound off below!

Empire continues next Wednesday on Fox!

Full Circle Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (32 Votes)

Paul Dailly is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Empire Season 4 Episode 2 Quotes

Anika: I see you got my message.
Cookie: Of course I did, James Bond.

Cookie: That's right, fellas, take it all to the West Wing.
Claudia: Cookie, what's going on? It's eleven o'clock at night.
Cookie: Oh, I know what time it is, sweetie. I'm moving back in, like I shoulda did when he came home from the hospital. See, this is my home.