Empire: TV Royalty enters Season 2 by Randall Rydell Russell
Last January, director Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) did something that not many have done before. He took a freshman, predominately black television series, and made it historical. It was in critics top lists, the soundtrack sold like crazy, and was nominated for numerous awards, making it the biggest hit the Fox Network has had in a long time. Now in season two, Lee Daniels looks to raise the stakes and tell a new chapter of the Lyon family and their associates. At the end of last season, Luscious Lyon (Terrence Howard), was sent to prison for the murder of his childhood friend Bunky. Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) is using this time to figure out a way to take over Empire with the help of her oldest son Andre (Trai Byers), youngest son Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) and Luscious’ former fiancée Anika (Grace Gealey), all the while middle son Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is trying to run the company and fixing his relationship with Luscious. As the past begins haunting them, it looks like this season will turn out to be even more epic than the first. Already, the season shows Luscious is doing everything he can to continue running Empire through Jamal and a mysterious executive (Marisa Tomei), even though he is behind bars. Cookie is seeing her past coming back to haunt her when the man she snitched on, Frank Gathers (Chris Rock) discovers Cookie’s betrayal. Jamal is fighting his inner demons, unable to make new music, trying to keep Empire running smooth, taking on a much darker side and distancing himself from the rest of his family due to their betrayal of Luscious at the end of last season. Hakeem wants to be the king of Empire and doesn’t approve of Jamal calling the shots, causing their once tight bond to be severed. Andre is living in constant paranoia after he and his wife Rhonda (Katlin Doubleday), killed and disposed of the body of Luscious’ partner Vernon (Malik Yoba), also he still wants to run Empire for himself. This season already is proving that it’s going to surpass the previous season. The music is hype, the acting is top notch, the drama is real. You can’t help but root for Luscious even though his character is so evil. You root for Cookie to be on top, but her past may crumble under her. So much to talk about and there’s only been one episode. Empire is ready to change the game, again.