Empire may well be losing two original stars before Empire Season 5 comes to a close.
There's still no word on whether Jussie Smollett will be back for a potential sixth season of the Fox drama, and one of the key characters got a life-shattering terminal diagnosis on Empire Season 5 Episode 12.
If you watch Empire online, you know that Andre's health woes have been a big concern of late. From passing out at the wheel of his car to his crazy outbursts, he's not been himself.
It turns out, Andre is suffering Stage IV cancer, and he has at most a few months left to live. It certainly sounds like a death sentence for Trai Byers' alter ego, but Lucious managed to cheat death way back on Empire Season 1.
Woman: Damon, what are you looking at?
Damon: Our future.
Granted, he was misdiagnosed, but with this show, there's no telling what crazy twist is waiting around the corner. I do still think Kingsley could have doctored the results in some way. He wants his family to pay for what happened to his mother.
Also, it seems like the type of storyline thrown in there as the perfect red herring to lure viewers into a false sense of security about who could be taking the dirt nap when we catch up to the present events.
As such, I'm not going to treat Andre's results as the truth until he dies. That being said, I liked that he wanted to make sure Teri was provided for in his absence.
He hasn't known her for very long, but he sure moves along with relationships at a brisk pace. Now that he's under the impression he's dying, and that Teri wants to stay together, I wouldn't be surprised to see them get married before the season is over.
After witnessing the flashbacks during "Shift and Save Yourself," it made me think that Thirsty could be the one in the casket. Yes, we have already seen him in the present, but his meeting with the FBI is not going to go unnoticed.
It's entirely possible that Thirsty is all part of Lucious' imagination in the current timeline. Shows that pivot through time have a knack for playing tricks on the audience.
Damon Cross seemed like a nicer version of Lucious, but this installment confirmed he's deadlier and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. I didn't think it was possible for anyone to be a worse human being than Lucious, but here we are.
Damon has been scheming for the better part of the year and trying to steal Cookie. Based on the teaser for Empire Season 5 Episode 13, it looks like it's going to work. If it does work, then I hope that signals the end of Cookie and Lucious.
All this back and forth is tiring. By this stage in the game, they should be able to trust each other. They've been apart before and with other partners, and they found their way back together.
Why do we need these silly hurdles thrown in?
Giselle has remained one of the better new characters, and I like that she still has some say in what happens at Empire.
She was right to think about the bigger picture when Lucious and Cookie wanted to make Jamal and Hakeem the face of a tour. If the company wants to prove it has moved on and is ready to embrace change, then it was the best idea to include all the artists.
That said, I feel like there's a big storyline every season with the company giving back to the community. There was the Empire 20 for 20 that just disappeared, never to be heard of again.
I don't see how the financial side of the free tour featuring everyone from Empire is going to pan out. If corporate are putting no money into it, and the stars are getting the fees that are in their original contracts, then it's difficult to imagine this being a success story.
A free tour is great for word of mouth, but I don't think it's going to translate into the record sales everyone thinks it will. Before long, that Panama cash injection will be exhausted and it will be back to the drawing board for the Lyons and Giselle.
Maybe Cookie's big Hollywood career could become a source of income for the ailing music company. The woman who wanted to represent Cookie made some great points, and I do think she would be a perfect TV personality.
But that's not going to last forever, and at the rate, the Lyon name is dragged through the mud by the media, it's hard to imagine advertisers not pulling support for any show she's a part of before long.
Cookie has big aspirations, but she excels at managing artists and nurturing them into becoming the next big thing.
As a whole, "Shift and Save Yourself" was a decent installment. The show is getting back to the fighting shape it was in earlier on Empire Season 5. The two episodes that came before it were terrible, so let's hope the momentum continues to pick up.
What did you think of Andre's diagnosis? What will Thirsty do next?
Hit the comments below.
Empire airs Wednesdays on Fox.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.