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The Empire Is Crumbling.

My opener should basically sum up what I felt about the most recent episode of Empire. Like all great Empires, they can crash and burn and that is no different for the show. Much of this season has been messy and the pre-thanksgiving roll out had a lot of cringe worthy material.

The show used to work, because it was unpredictable in its first season. We had no idea what was going to happen and that left me intrigued. This season, however, I have predicted nearly every single thing that happened, which to me, makes the show border unbearable.

For starters, Alicia Keys’ guest starring role was hyped for weeks leading up to it. I had high expectations. I wondered just how she would make her mark and sadly, she failed to land close to it. It was almost like watching Alicia Keys play herself and, to me, that is insanely boring. Why get on television as a singer if you’re just going to act like yourself? Where is the fun in that? The other thing that did not leave me the least bit impressed: her connection with Jamal.

Jamal is gay, right? Or something close to it? Because you know, season 1, it was the biggest deal ever and I was happy with how it all played out to be quite honest. As an openly gay man, it was great to watch a gay character receive the limelight just like heterosexual characters. However, to make a character suddenly abandon what he’s fought for all of his life in five minutes? Did I miss something? Was he crushing on women all season long and I missed it? Had he ever mentioned Skye Summers (Alicia Keys) once in all 24 episodes that had aired previously? Sorry but I’m just not buying into this. I also think it’s a major letdown for a show to turn it’s back on something it had once prided itself for.

Another low point of the episode: Anika. What the hell happened to her in just two episodes? She went from being a pretty bad bitch who could stand toe to toe with Cookie to some crazed woman from the projects trying to get a couple of dollars out of her baby daddy. She’s pregnant, I get it. She is justified for feeling some kind of way about it, especially since the baby is most likely Hakeem’s, but she went off the deep end, especially with her posing as Laura Calleros’ driver and then crashing a gathering seems too unrealistically uncharacteristic for someone like Anika. That’s behavior we’d expect from Cookie and even she would go about it in a much better fashion.

Speaking of the fabulous Cookie Lyon, I was left unimpressed with her character in this episode. I’m not quite sure what the writers are trying to do with her. The big reveal that Laz Delgado (Adam Rodriquez) was behind the kidnapping of Hakeem failed to make the impression I think it was intended to make. There was no surprise or twist since we knew he was behind it several episodes ago. It might have worked better if we, the audience, didn’t know and was just left bread crumbs. That approach would have been better.

There was only really one positive thing for me to say about the episode and it was the duet between Jamal and Skye. The song was beautifully sung and written and worked well for their voices together.

So all in all, I am left quite unimpressed by the first half of season 2. Am I hoping things turn around? Yes. However, Empire has moved into the dreaded “Sophomore Slump,” so by now, they’d have to really roll out some season 1 quality episodes for things to turn around.

 

Produceed By: Lee Daniels, Danny Strong

Written By: Eric Haywood

Starring: Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Y. Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, Malik Yoba, Kaitlin Doubleday, Gabourey Sidibe, Ta’Rhonda Jones, Serayah

Distributed By: FOX

Release Date: November 25, 2015

Run Time: 43 Minutes

Rating: TV-MA

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