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Empire Season 2 RECAP: Ep 5 Be True / Ep 6 A High Hope for a Low Heaven / Ep 7 True Love Never / Ep 8 My Bad Parts / Ep 9 Sinned Against / Ep 10 Et tu, Brute

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

 Empire Season 2, Episode 7, 8, 9 &10

The busy life of a film, food and events blogger means you can't always be home to watch your favorite shows. So I missed doing an individual post on each of the last 4 episodes of EMPIRE, but you can be damn sure I watched them all on Demand.

I think what plays out best on the show is Cookie's relationship with her sons.  She really knows how to talk to, handle and reach each one on their own terms; and in turn they look to her for approval. She's come a long way from those first few months out of prison where, Jamal just tried to be polite, Dre barely looked her in the eye and Hakeem out and out disrespected her. Cookie took it all and with love and determination earner her place as the matriarch.  It's a shame though Cookie's striking out 3 for 3 in the romance department.

Lucious and Jamal's relationship has been good to watch too. Lucious may never really want his son to be gay, but it no longer has a bearing on how he treats him. He also really respects Jamal as an artist.  Lucious gave Andre a hard time for weeks, but digging up dead uncles and procreating a grandchild goes a long way in Lucious' book.  But oooh now things will never be right between he and Hakeem! It was bad enough that Hakeem just kept turning down any peace offering or bribe from his father, then publicly dissed him on TV by dropping his last name, but to vote Cookie's proxy to unseat Lucious as CEO of Empire, that just went too far.  Like Cookie said, Lyon Dynasty is their company, but Empire is their legacy. When push comes to shove you don't let outsiders do the family harm.

Does anybody else feel a few of these episodes were too music heavy?  Not the mid-season ender, but some of the others seemed like they just filled the show with performances so as not to have to write too much. It's not that I don't enjoy the musical guests, although I don't think Alicia Keys should quit her day job, as her acting chops needed some work, but really liked her duet with Jamal "You Matter".  And I realize Jussie Smollett and Yazz the Greatest  have become big artists both on and off the show, but some episodes seemed like Jamal would sing 5 songs, but only have like 2 actual spoken lines. And the Latin girl group is cute, but they get featured singing and rehearsing without much cutting away or editing.

The Lee Daniels cameo as himself, was on time. And $$$ this is the kind of cross promotion every show would kill to have - both the character Jamal and the actor Jussie Smollett land a Pepsi commercial!

Now we have to wait until March to see Lucious once again get back to full power.  And we assume it's Anika who pushed Rhonda down the stairs, but could they surprise us with another person with a different motive?

While we wait I'll leave you with the best tweets from the last 4 weeks:

Empire Season 2, Episode 6:
A High Hope for a Low Heaven

The episode opens with Becky getting some, rooftop style from a Gutter Records artist J Poppa (Mo McRae).
But is that pleasure or pain?
Last week the show was preempted due to baseball, but the week before we were left with Hakeem having been snatched. Cookie gets a video text of Keem with tape over his mouth and automatically assumes it's Lucious up to more tricks; but they know when each other is serious and not playin, so when Lucious tells her it's real, she goes into full blown Mommy-mode, this is when Cookie's not cool, in charge or fearsome, she's like any other mother when their kid is really in trouble.

I was surprised Hakeem got released so fast! I know they don't draw things out on Empire, but thought he'd at least be kidnapped through most of the episode. What he does notice while being held is that his kidnappers all sport the same long horn steer tattoo.  After Lucious and Cookie give over the $40K ransom. Hakeem gets released with a swollen eye and hurt pride and makes his way to Anika's apt. He takes advantage of her soft spot for him.  That poor woman is just the Lyon's play toy!

William Fichtner was this week's guest star. He goes by one name Jamieson, Jamal brings him on for ... I'm not even sure, but Jamieson & Lucious have an old beef that has a lot to do with Jamieson being gay. But Jamal just handles Lucious anymore and tells him Jamieson's in, stop all the nonsense and shake hands.

Andre decides if he's gotta run Gutter Records division of Empire than he's gonna weed out the bad apple artists that don't jive with his religious morals.  He finds a kindred spirit in J Poppa who is about more than the streets, and is the son of a preacher.

Lucious is still trying to get Hakeem back at Empire and even though Lucious paid his ransom, Hakeem's still cold, turning down music from Lucious again; so LL gives his boom boom bang bang track to Freda Gatz, who he is really feeling, not sexually, but their moment free-styling in the car is a genuine bonding moment.

And speaking of bonding. The kidnapping may not have lasted long, but it does leave Hakeem with a bit of PTSD. He's all dazed and feeling helpless and crazy and can barely pull it together to perform with his Latino girl group. But Jamal & Dre talk him down and we get a nice Lyon brotherhood scene.

But then we get another Empire moment where it's like, what? how would that work?!? Before stealing a kiss, Cookie's promoter Laz tells her she should hire the thugs that kidnapped Hakeem, sorta like a keep your enemies close philosophy, but how do they suddenly know how to get in touch with these guys?

Keem pulls a gun on them and just when they're about to fire back, Cookie gets Keems gun and takes control of the situation, which wouldn't work cause those guys woulda smoked them both.

Then Becky's not the only one gettin some this episode. Cookie decides to take Laz up on his offer and shows up at his place, but when he takes off his shirt and turns to face us, we see that he's got the same long horn steer tattoos of the kidnappers.

Empire Season 2, Episode 5: Be True

So I didn't get a chance to write a recap of last week's episode when Andre, Rhonda, Lucious and Thirsty dug up Uncle Vernon's body and put it in District Attorney Roxanne Ford's car.  Great scenes and visuals, but why did Vernon's body get Lucious off the hook for Bunky's murder?  I know dead men can't tell tales, but that's all the more reason to leave Vernon's body buried.  I can see if they said since we can't find Vernon to testify the case is weak and will be dropped; but having Vernon's body planted in the car would make Lucious look more suspicious and murderous, as a simple autopsy will show Vernon didn't commit suicide.

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Anyway with the threat of imprisonment behind him for the moment and Dre having delivered what he said he could. Lucious brought him back to Empire, only he puts him in charge of the new nasty, thuggish, party label Gutter Life. This wasn't what Dre, who's still big time into his church life and is looking to be baptized was looking for when he begged to be back at Empire. Rather a case of be careful what you wish for.

Over at Lyon Dynasty Cookie's hired a new sexy tour manager Laz Delgado (Adam Rodriguez) and Tiana nearly got cut with a razor blade during what she thought were just two fans wanting a selfie, instead they jacked her for her bag. For a minute it really looked like they were gonna cut her pretty face.

Turns out some wanna be crime boss in the ghetto neighborhood where Lyon Dynasty has their offices, wants to exhort money out of Cookie, just for setting up in their territory.

The musical guest this week was Neyo as himself.  Producing a track with Jamal and planning to go out on tour with him.

I know Michael has been with Jamal since season 2 began, but when season 1 ended weren't they split up? When exactly did they get back together?  Anyway, Michael was all bent out of shape because Jamal can't decide whether or not to bring him along while on tour. Plus he's jealous of the artist guy from last week who's making it clear he wants to fu*# Jamal. Then Michael lets the artist get him off. Now Michael doesn't deserve to go on tour.

Thirsty is still trying to make himself invaluable to Lucious, hanging in his office and availing himself of his liqueur.  Andre tells him his services are no longer needed. Actually, it was a big Andre episode as he had to go around to each family member as if he just joined AA and confess all his past sins and beg forgiveness, while inviting each of them to his baptism.  They all came, but the whole thing brought on another Kelly Rowland, crazy mama flashback for Lucious of her punishing him by dunking him in a hot bathtub, so he hightailed it out of the church, leaving Dre to assume he didn't approve.

Episode ends with that same neighborhood wanna be crime boss and his thugs, kidnapping a bare chested Hakeem while running in the park.  Next week is the World Series so we've gotta wait two weeks to see them take these fools down.  Cause nobody messes with the Lyons and gets away wit it.

Check Out RECAPS from Weeks 1, 2 & 3

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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