Empire: "Unto the Breach" Review

Empire

Season 1 Ep. 9

“Unto the Breach”

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“Empire” is back to incredible, unexpected openings! I mean, was this an episode of “24” or “Empire”? Honestly, if this was the ‘90s you wouldn’t have been able to get up for a bathroom break on the commercials. Thank God for DVR! 

If this episode could be summed up in one word, it would be urgency. The urgency that every character had to save the label after Anika crossed Lucious by going to Baretti was palpable the entire episode. With one move from Anika, suddenly Empire Records went crazy. Terminology was used that hadn’t been before, like Lucious belting  out “Lock down the empire!” What is the empire? I don’t know, but it sounded great.

The key to “Unto the Breach” is that we never really find out what Anika said or did, but the entire Empire team knows that she could crumble the business with the information she has. Therefore, everyone scrambles to secure artists already on the roster and gain new ones in an effort to counter whatever Baretti has. 

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Cookie does what Cookie does and drank an artist under the table to keep him on the roster. She also teamed up with Hakeem to prevent Anika from getting to Tiana in a smooth move that once again highlights the tender, emotional beats in the show that continue to build. In fact, Jamal secured Delphine (Estelle), a major artist who will keep Empire on top, but Lucious had to swallow his pride and work with his son to make it happen. 

Pressure doesn’t help everyone in the family thrive, and Andre cracked under it. Trai Byers finally got to show serious range in his performance all night. The ending was perfect in that even though Empire seems like it will survive, there is a big issue inside named Andre that has to be addressed. We’ll see how they get him the help he needs next episode. It looks like it’s going to be a prescription of Jennifer Hudson!

Cookie Crumbs:

  • Was it just me or did Trai Byers channel the “Denzel Mumble” in the elevator scene?
  • The Cookie/Malcolm connection is growing stronger. He may be breaking his rules soon!
  • Andre may have gone crazy this episode, but mentioning that Lucious chose the son that knows he’s a murderer is key. That’s going to come back in some way.

Best Empire Memes This Week: 

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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.