Empire Season 5 Episode 1 Review: Steal From the Thief

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Wow, was that a doozy of a premiere or what?

Empire Season 5 Episode 1 picked up two years after Empire Season 4 Episode 18, and it was heavy on the action, twists, and musical numbers. 

The Lyons are still out of Empire, and not all of them are faring well. Cookie and Lucious out of money took them all the way back to their pre-Empire days. 

Picking Up The Pieces - Empire

The only difference here is that they have the mansion, but it has very few contents in it. It was important to highlight that despite their dire situation, they still had their family. 

It was typical of Cookie and Lucious to work many angles to be within breathing space of Eddie. The MVP Awards were a hilarious satire of the MTV Movie & TV Awards, and it was filled with the trashy moments you would expect. 

Eddie knew Lucious was a formidable foe, and that's why his heart almost gave out on him when he realized they had to sit next to each other before the winner of the award was announced. 

Related: Empire Renewed for Season 5 at Fox!

Cookie chucking the wine over Giselle to get Eddie alone was a vintage Cookie moment. The dialog between the two adversaries was off the charts. 

Giselle: You know, you should be careful with the pits. H & M won’t take that back.
Cookie: Too bad you won’t get your money back for that botched face job. I can think of somewhere else you could have used the money.

The smug look on Eddie's face turning to anguish when Lucious and Cookie chatted about the receipts that would implicate him in stealing money from Empire was priceless. 

One minor niggle with this plot is that Eddie was clearly making a lot of money by looking like the one to be running the company, so why steal? 

Cookie's Pain - Empire Season 5 Episode 1

There is the possibility that he was up to something else that we don't know about, or he was just worried that Cookie and Lucious would find a way to boot him out the door. 

Giselle quickly struck a chord upon her entrance on Empire Season 4, so it's great to know that she'll be sticking around on a more permanent basis. 

While I was shocked she let Eddie die after hitting his head, it made sense. She's as power hungry as the Lyons, so being Eddie's widow will give her the respect of the media. 

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Even if she were to get ousted after being made the interim leader of the company, Eddie Barker is a famous figure, and the public will stand with Giselle. 

At one point, I did think there was still a connection between Giselle and her husband, but her true feelings towards him were revealed when she hurled his ashes over the sidewalk. 

Giselle Returns - Empire Season 5 Episode 1

Giselle was vocal about doing EVERYTHING in Empire while Eddie reaped all of the rewards for it. It's going to be fun as Giselle takes on the image of the grieving widow. 

Will she be able to manipulate the board into keeping her around? Probably, but she's going to have to deal with the Lyons once and for all. 

Cookie: Look at how scared of us he is.
Lucious: He should be.

Knowing they went THAT far to take down Eddie, she's going to have to up her game, and her Silicon Valley friend with benefits is probably going to be part of her master plan. 

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While I admire Cookie and Lucious for wanting to start a new label with the family, they need to stop being too overbearing. They run the risk of scaring their children away for good. 

Jamal in London with his own label and a new man seemed like a fresh start for him, but there's something amiss about Kai, Kale, or whatever the heck Cookie calls the new man in her son's life. 

He's a reporter; he's dating a Lyon, so he already has insider knowledge on the family. I'd like to think that Empire would be less predictable, so I hope this kid doesn't wind up writing a tell-all about the family. 

Jamal's New Boyfriend - Empire Season 5 Episode 1

It would be a sucky plot, for sure. 

But Hakeem pointing a gun at the man's head is not going to help build up some loyalty towards the family. 

Oh yes, Hakeem has officially gone off the deep end, but what can you expect from someone who can't even sing anymore?

Thankfully, Hakeem, Tiana, Blake, and Bella survived the shooting at the end of Empire Season 4 Episode 18

Cookie: Damn. It’s hot in here. Can’t we get the AC fixed?
Lucious: If you got $50,000 to pay for it.

I was fooled off the bat into thinking Hakeem was gone, especially when Lucious looked upset while watching the video back of Tiana and him performing. 

It's natural for Hakeem to have PTSD after that, so his actions are by no means out of the ordinary. He may have been out of it the musical loop for two years, but he returned way too soon. 

A form of career suicide for vocalists is when they are revealed to be lip-synching, and now that everyone knows he can't sing live, he's lost a lot of credibility. 

It's also easy to take Hakeem's side in his battle with Jamal. He wanted his big brother to stick around and help him bounce back. 

But that never happened. It never helped matters that Andre has been in the slammer for taking Anika out of the equation. 

Reckless endangerment is a light conviction for drugging someone who later plunged to their death, but if anyone can get you off with a slap on the wrist, it's Thirsty. 

The big question hanging over the episode centered on who dies six months after the two-year time jump? 

I sincerely doubt it will be Cookie. There's no way in a million years the show goes on without either Terrence Howard or Taraji P. Henson. 

My best guess is the person who's dead is his mother, Leah. She's been gone since Empire Season 4 Episode 2, but she had such a hold over Lucious because of her mental health that I could see Lucious being THAT affected by her death. 

There's a slim possibility it's one of his sons, but we'll have to tune in to find out. 

"Steal From a Thief" successfully rebooted the series. Everything is fresh and exciting again. TV's most twisted family is back, and they're more gripping than ever. 

Empire returned to its roots during Empire Season 4, and I dare say this is in part thanks to Brett Mahoney who served as an interim showrunner before being given the job on a permanent basis. 

What say you, Empire Fanatics? 

Who's dead? Are you on board for what's sure to be a thrill ride from start to finish?

Hit the comments below. 

Remember you can watch Empire online right here via TV Fanatic. Get caught up with all the Lyon family drama right now. 

Empire continues Wednesdays on Fox. 

Steal From the Thief Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (44 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Empire Season 5 Episode 1 Quotes

To hell with him and his Steve Harvey outfits.

Hakeem

Cookie: Damn. It’s hot in here. Can’t we get the AC fixed?
Lucious: If you got $50,000 to pay for it.