Friday, May 6, 2016

Empire 2x16 Review: “The Lyon Who Cried Wolf” (Mommy and Me) [Contributor: Rae Nudson]

“The Lyon Who Cried Wolf”
Original Airdate: May 4, 2016

This episode opened with some cheesy lines from the new Lyon matriarch like “The boy is famous now” and “I had the voice but they never gave me a chance” and “Your eyes... are you kin to me?” all one after the other during a Bingo game. And I have to admit that had me a little worried for the direction of the episode, but it looks like Empire has centered on the theme of family. Which always works better than, say, crazy journalist storylines. (Luckily for us and unluckily for Harper, I think that storyline is over with now.)


Cookie is working to set the Lyons up to perform a family song at the ASA awards, which everyone is building up as the biggest award show and biggest world stage ever, and can apparently make or break your career and company. Because it is the Lyons, they can’t agree on how to sing their song, and petty arguments ensue. Because this is Empire, Andre thinks their rehearsal for the show at the Leviticus club is the perfect time to reintroduce his family to their supposedly dead grandmother.

The thing I love about Grandma Lyon is that, finally, someone appeared to give Lucious a run for his money. She looks like a feeble old lady, but her history with Lucious is deep and there’s a lot of pain there. Also, when she’s around Lucious, she turns into an unstable, dangerous woman who could seriously do him some harm. (I’m as yet decided as to what her characterization says about stereotypes of bipolar disorder. I think the show has done a pretty good job showing that Andre isn’t a crazy evil person because of his illness, so time will tell what’s really going on with Grandma.)

She is the only one in or out of the Lyon family to truly be a threat to Lucious’ well-being. Cookie can annoy him, sure, but neither her nor their sons can unnerve Lucious like his mama can. One of the problems with Empire is that Lucious has been allowed to run wild without any repercussions or threats. His family still hung around him, Cookie was still feeling him, and he just got back to Empire. With his mother in the picture, Lucious’ antics won’t go unchecked, and hopefully his actions won’t keep getting crazier and crazier, with no consequences.

Because Andre has decided he wants to take care of his grandmother, he insists she remains out of the nursing home. And when Grandma Lyon insists she goes home with her son Dwight, for some reason Lucious complies. I’m a little unclear why Lucious couldn’t have just taken her back to the home instead of taking her to his house, but maybe he was already worried for his life. It turns out that worry is not unfounded, because when she gets to Lucious’ home, she dismisses the maid who was supposed to keep an eye on her and then forces Lucious to eat cakes she baked. It’s a pretty delicious scene, and not just because it was filled with cake. It was somehow chilling, over-the-top ridiculous, and still believable that Lucious would be worried for his life. I mean, I wouldn’t say no if an unstable woman who previously tried to drown me was holding a very large, very sharp knife and telling me to eat something. For a show that has focused on fatherhood in the past, it looks like its new stories are coming from the moms.

Anika is back from the hospital (still no word on why she was in there, though) and is setting up a nursery in Hakeem’s place. She’s getting cozy with Rhonda, who finally remembers the feeling of hands on her back before she fell down the stairs and lost the baby. And just like that, it looks like we’re back to the storyline of Rhonda getting pushed down the stairs. I really don’t know what is going to happen with Anika and her baby. I can’t see a baby working on the show for long, but getting Anika more intertwined with the Lyons is a good thing for her character.


Jamal’s new man is a master of the neg. The ASA music director D-Major plays hot and cold with Jamal, first yelling at him for interrupting his session and then angry kissing him during an argument. D-Major isn’t out, so he wants to keep his budding romance with Jamal a secret. Getting involved with anyone involved with the ASAs can’t possibly end well for Jamal, even (especially?) if he wins an award. I am grateful that it looks like the reappearance of boring boyfriend Michael is over as quickly as it came up.

As ridiculous as some of the scenes were in the episode, they actually hung together a lot better than last week’s. Most of what happened was logical and made sense within the world of the show. Hopefully the last few episodes of the season will be like this one.

Cookie Crumbs:
  • Is anyone else worried about what happened to the maid Juanita?
  • I love the shoutout to Ryan Coogler, director of Creed and Fruitvale Station. I hope Hakeem’s song gets picked for his new movie. 
  • Loved Becky teaching Porshe how to be a good assistant. 
  • That long moment where Andre and Rhonda played with the video screen on their car must have been an ad, and it did not work very well. 
  • I maybe liked that Lucious had Harper killed? It makes him seem more like his evil self if he actually carries through on his threats. Also she was sort of a terrible character.
  • Of course Anika wears Louboutins to push someone down the stairs. 
  • Super creepy that Rhonda just gave all her baby things to the woman who made her lose the baby.


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