Empire: A High Hope for a Low Heaven

Posted on November 05, 2015

You guys, absolutely nothing is making any sense in this show anymore. We mean, sure, it’s always been a roller coaster of a tale, but we’re getting so far from logic or normal human behavior that it’s all starting to look like some highly stylized form of fashion Kabuki, broken up by the occasional musical number. Characters move from scene to scene acting like they totally forgot anything they did or said in the previous scene. Alliances and feuds flip at the drop of a dime, and sometimes even flip back again before the next commercial break. Everyone’s horrible to everyone else while constantly complaining about how everyone is horrible to them. The Lyon family is quickly moving to the very top of the Most Dysfunctional Family in the History of Television chart.


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But at least we got Cookie and her fashion parade. She made more costume changes in this episode than Cher on another farewell tour.

In yet another fabulous cat-themed outfit, she’s trying to get hold of the recently kidnapped Hakeem.
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While Porsha, in a decidedly less fabulous outfit, is working as a choreographer?



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Then Cookie gets a grainy, poorly lit video of Hakeem shirtless, sweaty, and duck-taped, and decides Lucious is just fucking with her.



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Meanwhile, Lucious and Jamal are having a very romantic evening together with lots of candlelight and soft singing.

What? Why are there lit candles all over the piano? Do they have, like, a candle wrangler position at Empire records? Or did Lucious stop Jamal in the middle of a bad take and say “Hold up. I know just what we need” before running out to Target?


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Later, Cookie enters in her Cookie manner.


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Hakeem’s kidnapping is starting to look more and more like gay fetish porn. Even better, his kidnappers seem to have magical brands that appear and disappear based on the camera angle.


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Back at Gutter Life, Andre informs the staff that he’s hired Jesus in an advisory role for the company.


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Becky cannot side-eye him enough.


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Boo Boo Kitty gets a tragically brief respite from the meaninglessness of her existence when a clearly brain-damaged Hakeem shows up and sexes her sweaty ass before dropping her on it.

God, we’re proud of that sentence.


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Later, with the smell of Kitty all over him, Hakeem shows up at the Lyon den to yell at his father some more. Lucious tells him to get his ass into the dining room so the doctor can determine whether he was violated by his kidnappers.

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Later, Jamal and Lucious have yet another recording session, this time without the candlelight.


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Suddenly, ANOTHER middle-aged white gay person who comes across super shady and dresses really badly shows up!


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In other news, Hakeem continues to be brain damaged, which is making his voice sound auto-tuned to hell, for some reason.


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Andre: So I suppose the J in your name stands for JOINT. As in MARIJUANA. AND OTHER FORMS OF DRUGS, I’LL JUST BET.

J-Poppa: Actually, it stands for JESUSED-UP.



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Later, Cookie yells at Lucious for some shit. It doesn’t matter.

Costume check: SLAYING.


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Hakeem: Still brain damaged.


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Cookie, not at all concerned with her obviously brain-damaged son, has her 8th or 9th glass of wine of the day as she listens to her concert promoter tell her how he’s going to handle security for her business and keep the wolves from her door. Or something. Why is a concert promoter handling corporate security? Why does he keep calling them wolves when they have bull brands on their back?


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The next morning, Cookie has a much-needed cup of coffee (Costume check: CUTE) while listening to Jamal tell her that he doesn’t hate her anymore because reasons.

She decides (after yet another change of outfit) to help Hakeem by giving him some closure.


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It doesn’t go so well.

(Costume check: FIERCE)

But because she’s a mother who loves him, she stands before him and pleads with him to give her the gun …
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Because she just looks better holding it.
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Lip color check: ON POINT.


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Hakeem and Lucious have their third or fourth argument of the episode.


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And then they follow it up with their fifth or sixth in the very next scene.


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Jamal and Andre show up to remind Cookie and Lucious that they’re horrible human beings who aren’t good in situations that require empathy and other more or less normal human emotions.

Also: Andre. God DAMN.


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Costume check: QUESTIONABLE.


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The Lyon boys use their mutant healing powers to make Hakeem not brain damaged anymore. The only way to truly know if it worked is to shove him onstage and see what happens.


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Wig, makeup and nail check: ON POINT.


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Hakeem and his mostly generic crew all celebrate the fact that he’s not brain damaged anymore.


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Boo Boo Kitty shows up and allows the very last vestiges of dignity to be drained out of her, forming a little puddle on the floor, right there in the hallway, as Hakeem softly closes the door on her.


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Later, Cookie gets fucked by a Wolf-Bull!


Style Credits:
Stella McCartney Wild Cat Print “Molly’ Top
Prabal Gurung Short-Sleeve Abstract-Print T-Shirt

[Stills: Tom and Lorenzo/FX, farfetch.com, neimanmarcus.com]

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