Empire Empire Season two

Willie Oleson

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I was obsessed with the Andre character, and the actor that plays him
Andre and Lucious are very classic soap
You put me in charge!
No, I put you in place. Don't confuse the two.

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Willie Oleson

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Is you is or is you ain't my Mimi?

The fabulous Camilla returns, and she returns far more Cookielexis than Cookie did in the first episode.
There's a very dramatic boardroom voting round and because of Hakeem's vote (by proxy!) Lucious is dethroned from his Empire. Ha! How does that feel, bitch?
And on top of everything, a shockingly brutal staircase moment!

I know whodunnit, and from this moment on it's no longer possible to feel sorry for Anika. But Rhonda was really rubbing it in with her fancy mansion and her precious Lyon heir.
 

Willie Oleson

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I had expected the next episode to be a little low-key but it turned out to be a fantastic aftermath story.
Rhonda Lyon learns that falling down the stairs is not as fabulous as it looks in Dynasty and The Colbys. It's a miracle that she's still alive!
Anika visits Rhonda in the hospital and reassures her friend that their will be another Lyon heir. The cheek of that woman!

Lucious and his thugs "convince" the board members not to nominate themselves as candidate for the CEO-ship.
This kind of physical upper hand works in gangster stories but it looks a bit too simple for a soapy dramatic narrative. I felt the same when Richard Channing blew up Nick Hogan's car.
If they can do stuff like this then where does it end, and why even bother with schemes and trickery?

And yet most of the company story details are very well done in Empire. Lyon pup Hakeem may be the least likely character to run an empire, but he has a certain strength that his brothers don't have. A young Shaka Zulu, as it were.
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Jamal is dealing with something else, it's no longer about being gay but about there not being any "labels" at all.
Yeah, I get it and it's a positive message but...I don't know. I'm just not a big fan of positive messages.
Cookie is getting better and better but maybe it's because of all the havoc and crisis that's going on. She looks more natural in that kind of atmosphere because she doesn't have to create it.
She attacks Hakeem and shouts that he must take his vote back, in this case the physical violence is very effective because it's more of an emotional outburst rather than a method.
It looks as if all the Empirians are at the top of their game at the moment. They at war, but right now Camilla is their biggest enemy.

 

tommie

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I dunno
I had expected the next episode to be a little low-key but it turned out to be a fantastic aftermath story.
Rhonda Lyon learns that falling down the stairs is not as fabulous as it looks in Dynasty and The Colbys. It's a miracle that she's still alive!

I remember watching that and being shocked at how violent the fall was - we're accustomed to a little tumble down the stairs and then laying there on the ground with perfectly coiffed hair; this was just brutal. You could really see that Rhonda's life was at risk!
I think my biggest annoyance with this was the fact that the promotional material at the time did a big deal of "Who pushed Rhonda?" when it's so blatantly obvious.
 

Willie Oleson

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A new CEO means a new corporate logo.
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It's like taking down the statue of a former king or general and replace it with the new one. We've seen these kind of takeovers before but this is one of the more fabulous examples.
It also has a bit of that bling-bling ballsiness that one could associate with black culture, but in the context of the story it is simply spot on.
Lucious is determined to take it all back, like every self-respecting soap patriarch would do, but sometimes I wonder if the theme from the first series - choosing the best successor - is still very much relevant.
It's not exactly the same because Lucious isn't dying anymore so there's still plenty of time to play king, but eventually Empire has to go on without him.
"Learning the business", as JR said to John Ross.
And as it turned out, Hakeem wasn't resourceful or devious enough to overcome the various problems created by Lucious himself.
Maybe I'm completely misinterpreting the situation but every now and then it feels like a story with a double angle.

As a matter of fact, in an outrageously melodramatic scene, Lucious gave Hakeem the opportunity to take out his father if he wanted Empire bad enough.
But that's no real strength, that's just the stupid power of a bullet. And what would stop the other Lyon sons from killing Hakeem? The only thing that would be killed is the story.
There's nothing that could have happened in that scene and I think that makes it rather pointless and unnecessarily melodramatic.

And then there's the artistic aspect of Empire, that part that makes it less powerful than the real-life importance of land and oil, that brings something unique to the dysfunctional family battle: vanity.
Lucious desperately wants to win the ASA award, not because he needs it but because he wants it, and I find it ironic that his petty "mean girl" tactics to undermine Jamal makes him even more unlikeable than the big stuff he does to control his company and his family.
At some point I thought he was getting dangerously close to becoming too unlikeable. And maybe that proves that a villainous attitude can be even more effective than villainous actions.
Because actions are necessary to keep the story going, but it's not necessary to be an unpleasant person.
JR, Alexis, Abby and Angela caused a lot of pain and tragedy, but they were very charming villains. Danny Waleska and Fallon Season 1 are great unpleasant antagonists but I'm not sure if it works for Lucious when he goes full-on-Nellie Oleson - as it could undermine the "respect" we're supposed to have for the big anti-hero baddy.

I'm fine with all the songs and performances but I think Jamal should stop singing his soap. It's getting a bit musical-esque.
But I also want to highlight supporting character Laura Calleros, she's really grown on me. It's a lovely scene when Hakeem learns that her parents want her to be more successful than they are.
And Tiana, the superstar-in-progress, is great too. And Freda Gatz too! And Michael is always great! Oh, and Leah Walker isn't dead at all!
 

Willie Oleson

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Leah is great, she goes from gothic midnight baking to soaptastic revelations.

And that's the end of season 2, with TWO spectacular cliffhanger episodes. The last time that happened was Falcon Crest season 3 ( I think).
Poor Hakeem and Laura!
I LOVE Empire, it's exactly what a modern prime time soap should look like - even the fake-fur looks good. Roll on season 3!
 

James from London

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As a matter of fact, in an outrageously melodramatic scene, Lucious gave Hakeem the opportunity to take out his father if he wanted Empire bad enough.
But that's no real strength, that's just the stupid power of a bullet. And what would stop the other Lyon sons from killing Hakeem? The only thing that would be killed is the story.
There's nothing that could have happened in that scene and I think that makes it rather pointless and unnecessarily melodramatic.
I'm not sure, but maybe it was a way of Lucious demonstrating that he has the killer instinct and Hakeem doesn't or to show that he isn't afraid of dying or afraid of Hakeem, all of which still gives him power over Hakeem, even when his power has supposedly been taken away.

I guess it could all come under the broad heading of "Teaching my son what it means to be a real Lyon."
I find it ironic that his petty "mean girl" tactics to undermine Jamal makes him even more unlikeable than the big stuff he does to control his company and his family.
I remember feeling the same about Tony Soprano, I had no problem with him beating people to death, but when he made racist jibes about his daughter's boyfriend I was like, "Oh, that's going a bit far." But I kind of enjoy that irony, and having my sympathies tested.
At some point I thought he was getting dangerously close to becoming too unlikeable. And maybe that proves that a villainous attitude can be even more effective than villainous actions.
Because actions are necessary to keep the story going, but it's not necessary to be an unpleasant person.
JR, Alexis, Abby and Angela caused a lot of pain and tragedy, but they were very charming villains. Danny Waleska and Fallon Season 1 are great unpleasant antagonists but I'm not sure if it works for Lucious when he goes full-on-Nellie Oleson - as it could undermine the "respect" we're supposed to have for the big anti-hero baddy.
Lucious's small cruelties towards his children are the most devastating -- there's a couple of things he says and does to Jamal post-shooting that are quietly jaw-dropping -- and I think that's when he's at his most hateful, but at his most real. The only thing I didn't really buy about Abby (well, apart from the Charles Scott thing) was what an amazingly super capable mother she was when Olivia was on drugs. Despite all the terrible things she did the rest of the time, she still had to conform to the TV stereotype of a supermom. She wasn't allowed to behave insensitively or irrationally or to put a foot wrong in any way like a real parent would in that situation, or like Lucious does with his kids all the time. (I mean, I know it's quite not the same thing cos Lucious is a lot eviler than Abby, but still ...)
I think Jamal should stop singing his soap. It's getting a bit musical-esque.
Amen.
Tiana, the superstar-in-progress, is great too. And Freda Gatz too!
Yes, and I like how I don't quite know how to class these characters: they aren't conventional supporting characters in the Afton or Kirby sense, yet they've both stuck around longer than I would have expected. At any moment, I feel like either of them could just disappear forever or turn out to be the future of the show.
 
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