Empire: "Sins of the Father" Review

“Empire” 

Season 1 Ep. 10

Sins of the Father

After Andre’s dramatic breakdown in “Unto the Breach,” I wasn’t quite sure how this week’s episode would unfold. It’s clear that the family had known about Andre’s disorder since his first incident in college. Of course Cookie had no idea due to her seventeen years of incarceration. Yet the opening scene showed how much the family (albeit minus Lucious) cares for their brother/son/husband. 

There was a heavy handed  PSA in the therapy scene that I didn’t care for. I know Lee Daniels has been quoted saying that with "Empire" he wanted to "blow the lid off of homophobia in my community” and I think this is the approach that was used here with Bi-polar disorder. Cookie’s line about it being “white people problems” was so early ‘90s that it lost some of the emotional appeal to me. Yes, she’s been locked up for a while, but I think we’re above that level of that type of scripted ignorance. Jennifer Hudson and Mary J. Blige had brief cameos almost not worth mentioning but they are both amazing talents.

Cookie and Malcolm’s relationship is starting to kick off strong after last week. As much as Malcolm likes to tout his principles, messing with Cookie is going to come back to bite him. At the end of the day, “Empire” is about Lucious Lyons and I don’t see Malcolm lasting through next week’s two hour finale if it came down to it. 

Camila actually seems to care for Hakeem, or she has a really good scheme planned that requires her saying all the right things. After Lucious offered her hush money and sent her to the airport never to return, she vowed to come back. We’ll see how that turns out.

The majority of the episode focused on Lola. Yeah, Lola. You remember, the little girl whose paternity I’ve questioned since she showed up in “Out, Damned Spot!”. Just as Jamal was starting to write songs about Lola and consider having her live with him, Olivia comes back in town with a crazy ex holding her hostage. Props to Raven Symone’s performance in making us believe he was a scary guy, because outside of some tats he really didn’t do much the entire episode that would cause us to be alarmed. 

After an embittered Vernon leads Olivia and Loco to the Lyon’s estate, crazy pulls a gun on the family, which gets Lucious open and honest. He claims paternity for Lola in an effort to save his son. We’ll see if it’s true or not, but this came as a shock to the family (You guys really thought Jamal was the daddy?) and has created an obvious rift in the family.

Cookie Crumbs:

  • Lucious’ enemies are too many to count right now. Anika, Beretti, Vernon, Jamal, Cookie, Andre, and so on. I’m hoping he takes some kind of a hit in the next episode because his character has earned it. 
  • That’s a wrap on Lola! At least in my opinion. She’s served her purpose in the storyline, but she could appear throughout Season 2.
  • Was it just me, or did you notice the soap opera-esque music that played throughout this episode to build tension? Music has been the core of this show, and I hope they don’t bring that sappy element into it. 

You can buy the hit soundtrack here:

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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.