Empire: "Dangerous Bonds" Review

Empire

Season 1 Ep. 5

“Dangerous Bonds”

This episode, unlike “False Imposition”, was full of surprises, twists, and hurry back from your bathroom break during commercial moments that didn’t let up until the end! Empire is almost Shakespearian in the drama and conflict it creates...almost. “Dangerous Bonds” seemed to set more splinter stories in motion that could be interesting down the line.

From the jump we get the Takeem relationship shoved down our throats. It can’t be by chance that just like mainstream media, the show insists that we care about the two shallowest artists as it continues to call out “the biz”. Yet, Tiana reveals she’s got a side chick, giving a little more depth to her character and making Hakeem on edge. It forces Hakeem to step up and handle his business in order to get his over budget music video made with Tiana costarring.

Lucious proposes to Anika who accepts. She may have said yes because of love, knowing Lucious has ALS, but her father cuts an unethical side deal with Lucious due to the same reason. As Lucious’ wife, Anika will come into billions once he passes. Can you say, “We want pre-nup, we want pre-nup!”?

Lucious continues to be the puppet master. He constantly strings Andre along with his desire to be head of the company, but more importantly his “almighty approval” that Andre desires so much. In fact, Andre is willing to put his brother’s life in jeopardy by making sure Hakeem’s leeches overhear him talking about Jamal being alone in his studio with thousands of dollars in valuables on him. As one of Jamal’s engineers are shot due to Andre’s purposed deed, it magnifies the rift between Jamal and Hakeem. 

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Cookie is proving to be one of the most layered characters on the show. In one moment she can say “The name’s Cookie, ask about me!” and the next be scared of a rose dropped on her front door. In this episode Taraji continues to show her acting prowess as she flips from in control BOSS to fearful woman from moment to moment. It’s her fear and drive to survive that incites her to put in motion something that will definitely come back to bite her down the line.

Cookie Crumbs:

  • Andre’s wife is quite possibly the biggest snake on the show. The Tiana set up was proof enough that she does not play and could just as soon be Andre’s downfall in the long run. 
  • Is Hakeem stepping into his own lane? This episode showed a more confident and independent thinking Hakeem than we’ve seen in the past. 
  • Is “Empire” going to have a soundtrack to go along with this season? As much as music is central to the show, if they release a soundtrack with it I think it will be a chart topper. It’s a smart business move, especially with the success of the show. 
  • The Jamal/Hakeem fight was epic in foreshadowing the conflict that may pop up later this season. 
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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.