SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watch the Season 3 midseason premiere of “Empire,” titled “Sound and Fury,” which aired on Wednesday, March 22.
Welcome back to the Lyons den. After a three-month hiatus, Fox’s juggernaut “Empire” returned and the first episode of 2017 did not disappoint when it comes to drama, sex, cat-fights, music, drugs, baseball bats, and broken glass.
If you’re confused by the sentence above, then perhaps you didn’t watch the episode — so beware of spoilers below.
The episode kicked off with Lucious (Terrence Howard) unveiling his new project, Inferno, setting Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) into a tizzy because as co-CEO of Empire, she shouldn’t be caught off guard by any new business dealings.
With Lucious and Cookie at odds, the entire Lyon family visits Jamal (Jussie Smollett) in rehab, and meets his new friend whom he met in rehab, Tory Ash, played by new cast member Rumer Willis. Tory was a big star who became addicted to heroin and had a meltdown. Now that she’s in rehab, she and Jamal bond over their love for music and quickly become support systems for each other. Jamal tells his family that he wants to leave rehab early to record a song in the studio, but Cookie says he needs to stay in the facility and finish his program.
By the end of the episode, Jamal and Tory escape rehab and sneak into a studio to record a song. Cookie and Lucious show up to snatch back Jamal, but when they hear him singing with Tory, they’re in complete awe and stand by to listen to them. However, Jamal tells his parents that he’s off the drugs and is no longer taking pills.
Meanwhile, another performance is going down on “Empire” — Nessa (Sierra McClain) is on the stage, much to Lucious’ pleasure, but then Cookie has Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) and Tiana (Serayah) crash the show. Cookie is loving it, but sooner than later, a girl-fight breaks out between Nessa and Tiana.
One of the major cliffhangers of the midseason finale was Andre (Trai Byers) telling Shyne (Xzibit) that he wants to kill Lucious. And if this week’s hour was any indication, he really means it.
Speaking of Lucious, he brings Boo Boo Kitty back into the fold by appointing Anika (Grace Gealey) as Empire’s head of A&R — and if you know anything about “Empire,” you know that is perhaps the kiss of death for Cookie.
The next scene finds Cookie bringing a baseball bat to Empire and smashing everything in the office, including Lucious’ head. “I’m just getting started,” she exclaims, nearly in tears. “You’re trying to erase me, Lucious!” The two are going head-to-head, Cookie with baseball bat in hand, and when she’s finally done smashing glass walls, framed records and more memorabilia, Cookie and Lucious ended up passionately making out and hooking up, but then Cookie backs off and says, “I said I was done with you. I meant that.”
Here, “Empire” showrunner Ilene Chaiken teases what’s to come for each of the characters in the rest of Season 3…
COOKIE AND LUCIOUS:
They’re not done. It was a moment that came out of rage and conflict. Lucious and Cookie have never gone at one another like this, and we came into the episode really feeling like this was the time. They’ve flirted with one another, they’ve flirted with reconciliation, they’ve fought with one another, they’ve hurt one another and they clearly love one another, but the things that have happened up until this moment really finally invited that real throw-down. That they wind up in one another’s arms is unexpected, but we thought it inevitable. Lucious has spent the whole first part of the season trying to win Cookie back and he knows now that she’s not done with him. No matter how mad she is and how much she says she hates him, she loves him, too, and he knows it. And maybe knowing that for Lucious is enough. Maybe he’ll finally say, “Okay, if you still love me and can’t be with me, then screw you.”
COOKIE AND ANGELO:
Cookie has been trying so hard to reboot her own life and be with a good man and be the girl that her father always believed she could be. I think this shakes her to her core. The question is, will she double-down now with Angelo (Taye Diggs)? How far and fast will she run from this shocking way which she’s exposed herself to Lucious? I think she’s horrified by it. So is she going to shut the door harder, or can she get away from it?
When you go through what Jamal has gone through, it doesn’t just end. We want to be very real about that and I think that Jamal is not an addict in the recreational sense — he got caught up. I think he’s sincere in his desire to re-master his world, but he’s also brought somebody with him from rehab who poses a real danger to his sobriety because Tory is a wild girl, and if anybody is going to throw temptation in his path, she might.
Andre seems very measured, but his Shakespearean conviction that he has to murder his father isn’t going to go away. He’s got a plan and it’s going to unfold over the course of this season. He might not act on it right away because he’s got to make sure all the pieces are in place, but he sees Shyne as a means to an end — he’s going to use Shyne and enlist him in his corrupt scheme. We’ll see it play out, and we might see him thrown off course by a few unexpected obstacles, but he’s relentless and that will follow him to the end of the season with this intention that he’s set forth.
The second half of the scene, [being a father] is really what it’s all about for Hakeem. Yes, he has a rellationship with Tiana, but that relationship is really about the past — it’s about his partying life, his millennial foolishness. Tiana is not ready to be a mother, and Hakeem, whether he likes it or not, he’s a father and he’s going to have to come to grips with that in the latter half of the season. That’s really his story. There will be big things that happen that force him to grapple with what it means to be a father and how important that is to them.
BECKY AND THIRSTY:
They both are becoming integral members to the Empire ensemble. We’ll get to know each of them in deeper ways this season.
She is the head of A&R for now, but things tend to go awry for Anika. Her life is messy. I would say that she’s just got a few curve balls headed her way. We’ve already seen some twisted, freaky moments between Anika and Lucious, and that’s all going to change because there’s a complication headed their way. Everything that happens to Anika is not what she’s planned. Things might start coming together nicely for her, but then there are other agendas that interfere. She’s not destined for happy endings.