A lot of emotions were running high Wednesday during “Empire’s” episode of “The Lyon’s Roar” that lived up to its title. Fox definitely has a certified hit now with this hip hop TV drama still climbing in the television ratings. It’s breaking all kinds of records in the process.
Most likely the reason for this music television series continued success is the revamping of an obscure TV genre, the primetime soap opera. This week it was not only tearful, it had suspense, joy, and comic relief from Cookie.
It opened with an emotional flashback with Cookie and family in the hallway of the courthouse in Philadelphia. The verdict was in and this was her only opportunity to say goodbye if she was found guilty. Here we saw Andre, Jamal, and baby Hakeem as children.
In present day, Anika confronts Lucious with an ultimatum threat that if her father goes down by signing off on his clean bill of health for the IPO, she will take Empire Enterprises down in the process. Anika then asks if he really loves her he will marry her the next day. Lucious counters it with “what about next weekend?” That’s fine by Anika as long as they announce the wedding at the upcoming Empire White Party.
Cookie has great ideas for a Lyon Legacy album and documentary, which would tie-in perfectly with the IPO family business venture. Cookie and Lucious are at the studio working on the single. She’s giving Hakeem pointers on his performance. He gets resentful with her bossiness.
They have a heated family argument that ends in a wonderful bonded moment with Lucious, Cookie, Hakeem, and Jamal singing in the studio together. Andre is standing in a corner hidden from view on the other side of the studio feeling completely left out. After Hakeem and Jamal leave the session in high spirits, Cookie and Lucious had another romantic moment on the control panel.
Jamal films a segment with Ryan, the documentary filmmaker, and later go out for a drink. Ryan is very strong and opinionated about his sexual orientation. He encourages Jamal to do the same. In an earlier scene Jamal informed Hakeem he would not come out until after their father passed away.
There was a tender moment with Jamal and his little girl where he tries to entertain her. She is still missing her mother. In a spur of the moment he sings a song his father use to sing to him when he was her age. It was “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” complete with the chant “wimba way.”
Hakeem brings Camilla to the Empire White Party. This industry event requires all the participants to wear strictly all-white attire. These are parties or social events dating back to the 1980s in Paris. People would meet up in a park and the only way to identify with each other was to wear all-white. White Parties are also very popular in the LGBT community.
Cookie meets Camilla for the first time, and her lashing out at Hakeem’s cougar date is absolutely priceless. She likens Camilla to Hakeem’s Yoko Ono (who basically took control of the Beatles recording sessions at Abbey Road studios.).
Things got even more heated when Cookie asks Anika if Lucious told her about their amorous encounter at the recording studio earlier. Anika is not amused. Andre is livid with Vernon on why he didn’t get the vote needed from his father to be designated as temporary CEO.
If that wasn’t enough, Jamal is asked to sing his father’s biggest hit “You’re So Beautiful.” There’s a verse in the song that says “When a man loves a woman.” Based on Ryan’s encouragement, and Lucious telling him to be honest with his music, Jamal changed the lyric to “When a man loves a man.” He officially came out in his performance. Lucious was absolutely livid. The next morning, news of Jamal’s coming out made global headlines.
Later on at the studio viewers hear another old school tune of “The Great Pretender” by The Platters. It was a pleasant change of pace hearing these melodic pieces interspersed with contemporary rap and hip hop. Andre is sitting alone inside the recording studio completely depressed.
His earlier conversation with Lucious didn’t go well, because his father does not trust him to run the company. He was never pleased when Andre married a white woman. Suddenly at the studio Andre pulls out a gun and puts it to his head. He then pulls the trigger. It was completely blank.
Anika announces her presence to the doorman to see Billy Baretti, the nemesis of Lucious Lyon and rival to Empire Enterprises. Closing out the episode, viewers see a flashback when Cookie is in her cell singing “You’re So Beautiful” during her first night in prison.