Friday, April 22, 2016

Empire 2x14 Review: “Time Shall Unfold” (Family First) [Contributor: Rae Nudson]

“Time Shall Unfold”
Original Airdate: April 20, 2016

Empire continues to hit the reset button as it puts Lucious back on top as CEO. And, honestly, I am relieved. It was getting exhausting watching the show struggle to find reasons to keep talking to Lucious when he’s so horrible, but now he’s forced into their lives once again in a legitimate way. As I keep saying, focusing on the Lyons as a unit is when this show works the best.


The show tried to make Hakeem seem like a legitimate option for CEO, but he was never totally convincing. In every meeting he’s in, something goes wrong and he doesn’t have the answer to fix it. Of course, everything goes wrong because Lucious sabotages it, which I’m sure the board would not be happy to hear.

Real quick: How does Empire get anything done when its meetings are constantly being interrupted by everyone clearing the room? No wonder all the big initiatives are running behind schedule.

But even without Lucious’ tricks, Hakeem couldn’t have held it together for long. His MO is to self-destruct. In the past few episodes alone he’s cheated on his girlfriend, proposed to that same girlfriend, blackmailed an ex, harmed his relationship with his company’s star, and found out he is going to be a father with Anika, who is neither his ex nor his fiancée. And somehow his biggest mistake of all was not cutting Lucious’ mic the second he showed up in that shareholder meeting. So it’s no surprise, really, that the board votes him out and goes with the evil they know: Lucious.

I’m pleased Anika is being woven back into the Lyons’ lives and deeper into Empire’s story. Her scenes with Lucious are always fraught, and she has a history with this family that is needed to ground some of the crazier storylines.

But on the other hand, Anika, do you really want your baby to grow up with THIS family? You have got to be kidding. Your baby’s grandfather/your ex-fiance just threatened to somehow kill you in childbirth if you didn’t accept his offer to buy your baby for $10 million.


First of all, bless any meeting that has Becky dancing. Second, Cookie is not being very subtle about hating Freda Gatz. Cookie claims Freda is dangerous because she could find out Lucious killed her father and take revenge, I guess? (I’m actually guessing; it’s unclear.)

Unfortunately for Cookie, Jamal has a real connection with Freda. They make a great musical team, and he wants to put her on two tracks of the Black and White album. In spite of this connection, Jamal is still led astray by the promise of working with Stacee Run Run, a super hot rapper who demands that she be the only female rapper on an album.

Surprisingly, Freda takes this news a lot better than when Lucious kicked her off his song. She understood where Jamal was coming from, that working with Stacee would be huge, and she packs up her things and leaves. When Jamal finally comes to his senses and begs Freda to keep working with him, she seems a little worn down at the back and forth with the Lyons. She’s not sure if she’ll come back to Jamal, but I hope she does, if only because they both seem so fun and enjoyable to watch when they are working on music together. As the only relationship on Empire based on mutual respect, Freda and Jamal’s friendship is refreshing!


Andre and Rhonda also hit the reset button and turn once again to scheming to get control of Empire. After the blow up at Lucious’ house last week, Rhonda can’t stand to go home to the house that he bought them. She and Andre are working on their marriage after all the trauma they’ve been through, and Rhonda says she was happiest when they were working as a team to take over the world. Andre’s world is, of course, Empire, so he joins forces with Lucious so he can get closer to Empire’s boardroom. This is exactly where they started in season one, and it would be nice to see them getting back into evil plotting, which is what the Lyons do best.

I’m glad to see Empire doing what it excelled at in season one: Evil plots focused on the control of Empire and control of each other. The show has now moved past so many storylines and is setting up the last few episodes of the season to be focused on our favorite backstabbing family, which possibly has a new living matriarch because (dun dun dunn) Lucious’ mother is alive!

Cookie Crumbs:
  • How come no one on the board has thought to ask Cookie to be CEO? 
  • The timelines on Empire are a little squishy. I have no idea how much time has lapsed since Lucious’ stint in jail, and Hakeem said he’s been too busy to release new music in the past few months? Also Anika isn’t showing yet, so how far along is she and when was the last time she was with Hakeem? 
  • Cookie’s outfits were all on point this episode. That purple suit was especially great.
  • The trouble with Anika’s storyline is that it does introduce a baby into the show again, and no baby storyline so far has every really had legs.
  • I’m guessing that Anika probably pushing Rhonda down the stairs will come up later? Unless it’s just another story the writers are burying. 


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