Sophomore Sundays, I: Empire

By: Serena Jia

Via Madame Noir

We left off at the end of season one with Lucious in jail for alleged murder and Jamal inheriting the keys to the throne.

We pick off with Cookie, Hakeem, and Andre with help from Anika trying to overthrow Luscious who pretty much still has control over Empire with Jamal following his every move.

Speaking of Jamal, he’s not adjusting well to being on the throne. He’s struggling to balance his music with the CEO life and it’s not working. At leas he doesn’t have to make any major decisions: Luscious is still making them for him.

The group needs an investor in order to take over the company: enter Mimi Whiteman, lesbian venture capitalist extraordinaire. Cookie throws a Free Luscious concert not because she thinks he’s innocent but to impress Ms. Whiteman. Other attempts made include a party with scantily clad women and Cookie getting Anika to have sex with Ms. Whiteman.

Meanwhile in prison, Frank Gathers is coming to town. You know the Frank Gathers Luscious and Cookie used to move drugs for? The Frank Gathers Cookie snitched on so she could get out of jail earlier? Yeah, that Frank Gathers. Who by the way is played by Chris Rock.

Lucious gets acquainted with the prosecutor who offers him a plea deal, but Luscious declines. “Decline” being a nice term—Luscious flat out refuses and then proceeds to insult the prosecutor.

Back to the takeover, there’s a really cool slow-mo shot where Cookie, Hakeem, Andre, and Anika are all walking. They walk into a meeting Jamal is hosting with the board and lay out their takeover, but wait. Whiteman’s double crossed them and sided with Lucious/Jamal stating that Empire is nothing without Luscious.

Frank Gathers finds out that Cookie snitched on him and ships her a severed head, the message is clear: Cookie and her family aren’t safe.

Cookie finally visits Lucious in prison to get him to do something about Frank. Lucious has a chat with Frank and Frank tells him that he doesn’t have problem with Luscious, just Cookie. If Luscious aligns with Cookie, than Frank will have a problem with Lucious. Lucious sides with Cookie and Frank tells his thugs to kill Luscious but actually the thugs are under control of Lucious who cut all of them a better deal. The thugs then kill Frank. Not gonna lie, I thought this was going to a more prominent storyline. Even though it ended pretty abruptly, I hope there are consequences to follow.

Back at House Lyon, Jamal is done with the rest of the family who he feels has betrayed him and his dad with the attempt at the takeover and ends up kicking everybody out of the house.

Empire keeps the momentum from the first season, and I love that they went back to Cookie versus Lucious. Even though Cookie’s big happy family vision for Empire seems nice, the show is at it’s best when Cookie and Luscious are on opposite sides.

Check out my other recaps for Empire as well as How to Get Away with Murder, also in its second season. As well as Jane the Virgin when its season also starts.

You can catch up on season one of Empire on Netflix. Empire currently airs every Wednesday night on Fox at nine pm.

Serena Jia is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email her at


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