With all the drama going on with Empire off-screen, you could be forgiven for forgetting what the heck was going on when Empire Season 5 went on its midseason hiatus in December.
Picking up right where we left off, Empire Season 5 Episode 10 threw us straight into the deep end.
Jeff Kingsley told the world about his status as the illegitimate child of Lucious Lyon.
I wish the aforementioned off-screen drama with Jussie Smollett never happened because it really put a dampener on the action.
It's not something that can just be brushed under the rug, because the scandal may well take Empire down in the process.
I appreciated the way Lucious extended the olive branch to Kingsley even after the outlandish things he's done throughout Empire Season 5.
More than anything, Kingsley is a lost soul who thought his father hated him, but that could not be further from the truth.
Lucious: We've come through the fire.
Cookie: We did bad things and it's coming back to collect with a living breathing, furious man who calls you daddy.
Lucious has always been into some dodgy dealings and should have quizzed Tracy more when she showed up on his doorstep all those years ago with a kid who looked a lot like him.
Even though Lucious went out of his way to get the evidence to get rid of Kingsley, I'm getting the feeling that the father and son are going to craft a strong bond before the big death that's set to shake up the series.
Lucious has more in common with his newfound son than he could have ever thought.
That's what might allow them to forge some sort of relationship, but I won't hold my breath for it to last long.
First and foremost, Lucious is going to look at Hakeem, Andre, and Jamal as his favorites.
There's simply no getting away from that.
Second, I don't see a reality in which those three boys embrace Kingsley.
I do think Cookie could, but even at that, there's a tough road ahead between her and Lucious, so there's a chance Cookie could end things with her husband again.
I took the thing you valued the most and I toyed with it, just for my entertainment. And it was still better than what you ever did with it.Kingsley
Yes, we're back to Cookie and Lucious being against each other, but this time it all seems warranted.
The meeting with Tracy helped Cookie realize that her family's need for power has been at the expense of the happiness of others.
It may have taken her years to realize it, but it added another dimension to the character of Cookie.
She spent seventeen years on the inside for her part in the world of drugs, but even that doesn't seem like enough to her.
There's going to be some big changes for her.
Say she's going to strive to make sure Empire is legit from here on out, and that the company is giving back to the people its origins hurt.
I like the way this is playing out for Cookie because she's always put her family first.
Now she's thinking about things from another perspective.
Lucious is becoming more difficult to root for by the episode, while Cookie continues to be the one I want to have all the good things happen to her.
Lucious is never going to change. He doesn't have the capacity to change his ways, and that's going to be problematic for this relationship.
I wasn't a fan of the way Lucious and Andre acted with the man who was helping Kingsley, but it was just par for the course with these two.
Kai made the right decision by hot-footing it back to London.
The longer he stays around the Lyons, the worse things will get.
All it would have taken was the man Andre held out the window to call the cops and Kai's career would have been ruined once and for all.
Jamal may be pledging allegiance to his family now, but Smollett has been nixed from the final two episodes of the season.
It's entirely possible we may just have found out how the show will explain his absence.
Running off to London to win back the love of his life will make for a convincing plot.
Many fans have wondered whether Jamal will be revealed as the one in the casket at the close of the season, but it's really doubtful.
Andre is in the midst of a health crisis, so there's a good chance it could be him.
Passing out at the wheel while driving with blood dripping from his nose does not exactly bode well for his future.
The good thing here is that Kingsley is ruled out as the person who put him in the hospital.
When we were introduced to that flashforward at the hospital early into Empire Season 5, I figured Kingsley was behind it.
The issue here is that it did not rule Kingsley out as the deceased one.
If Lucious starts to get close to his son, then I can get on board with the way he's acting in the flashforwards.
"My Fault Is Past" was a mixed bag. Some parts were good, but others dragged along.
Jamal's scenes with Maya felt like they could have been a Snapchat story.
They were all over the place and served little to the overall plot aside from pissing off Tiana. If the show doesn't address these issues soon, then it will officially be off the rails again.
Okay, Empire Fanatics.
What are your thoughts on the way everything panned out?
Did you find it jarring to watch the scenes with Jamal given the Jussie Smollett scandal?
You know we're waiting to hear everything you have to say, so why not take a moment and leave a comment below?
After all, you're already here!
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Remember you can watch Empire online right here via TV Fanatic.
Empire airs Wednesdays at 8/7c.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.