Empire: "Out, Damned Spot" Review

Empire

Season 1 Ep. 6

“Out, Damned Spot”

“Empire” never ceases to please with explosive openings. We find Cookie getting dolled up to meet with Lucious. She walks into a ritzy restaurant wearing her best fur. As she meets Lucious near the entrance, she quickly learns that he invited her not for the date that she thinks, but to tell the family he’s engaged to Anika. Never to be bested, Cookie spills the beans on the rose Lucious sent her in “Dangerous Bonds”, and reveals the lingerie she had under her coat for everyone, and especially Lucious and Anika’s eyes. 

What I’m starting to enjoy about Cookie is not only that she’s real, but she doesn’t mind speaking up and acting a fool! While it is becoming a bit one note, Taraji P. Henson slays the role with every Cookie tantrum and pep talk. This week she hooked Jamal up by getting a big sports star to tweet about Jamal’s song, helping it get buzz.

Jamal’s slow rise to success is already weighing on his paranoid boyfriend. While it’s good to have vision and awareness, Michael is doing too much. At first I thought his insecurities were going to rip their relationship apart, but Cookie didn’t help much informing him that he should be prepared for Jamal to be busy. Jamal didn’t help his relationship either in not telling the world that he had a boyfriend during a Sirius radio interview with Sway. Honestly, Jamal looked like he was over Michael the entire episode. 

Remember how I talked about Andre covering for his father in “False Imposition“? It came back to haunt in this episode. As Vernon confronts Andre with a choke hold to get the truth about his false alibi, Andre confirms his role as his father’s eternal way out whether Andre knows what he’s covering for or not.

Hakeem is dealing with Tiana’s side chick in the only way someone with something to prove would. Looking like a fake Nelly, Hakeem shows up drunk in the club. He once again asks for Jamal’s help and is rejected for what seems like the final time. He does, however, manage to put out another banger to combat Jamal’s music.  

Vernon gets a little more screen time and new layers to his character are added. We find out that he’s a recovering alcoholic. We also learn that Vernon and Andre have a coup in the works. Although, I find it hard to believe that Vernon is really going to play second fiddle to Andre after he questioned Bunky giving his life to serving Lucious. 

This week had lots of cameos. Courtney Love came in as Elle, one of Empire’s first artist, a former chart topper now broken and strung out. Derek Luke came in as the new head of security. Yet perhaps the most out of place cameo was Raven-Symone as a (distant?) friend of the family, claiming the girl with her was Jamal’s daughter. We know how this is going to go! I’m predicting blood tests next week, and the next episode will be Michael’s last! 

Cookie Crumbs:

  • Anika is actually starting to stand her ground against Cookie. She still isn’t the head honcho though.
  • Raven-Symone was doing a little too much in her role. I hope we won’t see too much of that character. How about Courtney Love’s appearance as Elle? It wasn’t a stretch for her to play a version of herself, but it was a decent performance.
  • What do you think Vernon is cooking up? I’d say a double cross on Lucious and Andre. Why go from serving the devil to serving the devil’s bi-polar seed? 
  •  As a recovering alcoholic, Vernon has a weakness. I think Lucious is going to use it to his advantage down the line.
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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.