Empire: "The Devils Are Here" Review

Empire
Season 2 Ep. 1
“The Devils Are Here”


“Empire” is back and is steam rolling ahead to continue its’ juggernaut status on prime time television. It’s obvious when a show is doing well, and last night’s episode had too many cameos to count! This show is here to stay!

Three months after Lucious’ arrest Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) throws a Free Lucious (Terrance Howard) concert, not because she wants to but because Cookie is that business woman! Always making moves, Cookie brings on lesbian mogul, Mimi Whiteman (Marisa Tomei), as a potential investor of Empire Entertainment in an attempt to create a hostile takeover. Jamal (Jussie Smollet) is still in control of the company, and Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray), Andre (Trai Byers), and even Anika (Grace Gealey) can come together to see that that changes in this episode.

The show flexed its’ muscles with social commentary; interweaving current events in the real world and the world of “Empire”, the writers know that it has a platform and people are listening. While at the concert, Jamal says“Bill Clinton is out there”  to which Cookie responds “He need to be. If he want his wife to get elected.” Cookie dresses as a guerrilla and is locked in a cage while making statements on the current prison and policing system in a beast mode monologue! I’m interested to see how the influence of this show will manifest in the real world.    

If you remember last season, Cookie snitched on Frank Gathers, the drug kingpin that Cookie and Lucious used to deal for. In perhaps the worst casting ever, Chris Rock showed up as the highly feared man. I’m sorry, but not enough building his character up by everyone else, and big dudes standing around him can make Chris Rock scary. Yet, there he was as Frank Gathers the cannibal.

Once Frank found out Cookie snitched, he sent flowers to the house and included the head of her cousin, putting everyone on alert and on lockdown at Lucious’ home. Cookie finally goes to see Lucious in prison to get him to handle Frank. As much as I didn’t like his casting, it was a dope exit for Chris Rock as Lucious turned the tables on him and had him murdered. While Porsha had to booboo, Booboo Kitty had to dance with Mimi and some. As the attempt to takeover the Empire went south, Lucious proved that he still runs things, even from a federal prison. With one visit from Mimi, Lucious talked her into siding with him and kept control of the company.

After Frank’s death, Jamal kicks everyone out of his father’s home. It’s interesting to see Jamal’s loyalty to his father after last season. Cookie slaps the mess out of him twice before leaving. The possibilities for this season’s storylines are endless!


Cookie Crumbs:

  • Jamal ain’t fit for the thrown! He’s not ruthless, and his heart is divided between music and the business. We’ll see where this goes.
  • The music is still on point in this show. I’m looking forward to hearing the soundtrack for this season.
  • If I may geek out for a second. The hero shot of Cookie, Andre, Hakeem, and Anika walking toward the board meeting was dope. Simply because it was the typical set up with the characters turning the corner and walking in slow motion, but the kicker was Hakeem on the scooter! It said so much about his character and the show’s knowledge of bucking the norm at the same time.
  • It’s obvious Lucious is getting out soon from the previews for next week! Let’s see what happens.

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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.