As the second season of Empire starts to wind itself down, the showrunners have decided to ramp up the ante and keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
While Empire often overreaches, there were some genuinely intriguing scenes in season 2 episode 16: “The Lyon Who Cried Wolf.”
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Hakeem Chooses Tiana Rather Than Laura for a Duet
After icing Tiana for much of the season and focusing Hakeem’s lovey dovey eyes on Laura, the Pupusa Princess, Empire is finally bringing back the Rihanna-Chris Brown storyline that they established in season 1 with Hakeem and Tiana.
And when I say bringing back the Rihanna-Chris Brown story, I mean that literally as they have Hakeem essentially re-enact what happened with Rihanna and Chris Brown in real life. Confused? Let me refresh your memory. Remember after Chris Brown and Rihanna had been successfully apart and distant following Chris’ assault on Riri, how shocked everyone was when rumors surfaced that Chris Brown was potentially recording a guest verse for a remix to Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake?” Remember how surprised even Chris’ then-girlfriend Karrueche was by the news? And how shortly after the remix came out, Chris put out a random-ass video saying he was in love with both Karrueche and Rihanna?
Yeah, Hakeem and Laura and Tiana are gonna follow this track for the most part. Which is fine, because I love a good Chrihanna replay.
The duet, which sounds hot with Tiana on it by the way, gets recorded and Tiana and Hakeem trade googly eyes in the studio as they record it. Once recording wraps, Tiana makes it known she’s ready to rekindle the fire whenever Hakeem is. After Hakeem initially said that Laura would be OK with not being on the track, we see Laura blow up on Hakeem for NOT picking her for the duet. He tells Laura to trust him and his loyalty to her.
“I trust you. I just don’t trust Tiana. She’s still feeling you,” says Karrueche, err … I mean, Laura.
Look, somebody is gonna end up with hurt feelings and a bruised ego. I’m hoping it’s the Pupusa Princess.
Grandma Leah Walker Is Creepier Than Kathy Bates in Misery
Once Andre caught wind of the fact that his bipolar grandma was alive (thanks to Harper), Andre has fast become Captain Save-a-Granny. After locating Lucious’ mother Leah Walker, Andre drags her into the Lyon family, much to Lucious’ dismay.
The initial encounter between Lucious and Leah renders him speechless. After Andre lays bare the fact that Lucious has been hiding his mother away in a nursing home, Leah goes up to her Dwight for a warm embrace or hell, even a hello. But the trauma is written all over Lucious’ face and he can’t muster the gumption to return her greeting.
Slowly though, throughout the rest of the episode, Lucious and Leah start to warm up to one another and there’s even a tender moment between the two where they play and sing together on the piano.
But all of that goes right out the window when Leah becomes unhinged after being left in the house all day while Lucious and the Lyon family performed their family anthem. Leah drags Lucious out of bed with his robe and du-rag on and offers him a buffet of cakes. I say “offer,” but I mean “threaten,” because she orders Lucious to sit down with a knife in her hand. Slowly, we start to realize that something isn’t quite right with Leah and we watch as Leah verbally and emotionally starts to wring and abuse her grown son.
“I’m sorry I was too weak to kill you when I had the chance,” she says at one point.
Good god. No wonder Lucious has a black heart and no soul. His mother is all gone in the head. And there’s no way that a son’s love can overcome the evil that lives within crazy Grandma Leah’s head.
Jamal Is Playing a Dangerous Sex Game with D Major
Now that Jamal has decided to be a homosexual again, after a brief affair with Sky (played by Alicia Keys), the writers pair Jamal in a very aggressive and lustful affair with D Major, the musical director of the ASA awards.
The two men hook up after Jamal clashes with D Major and his mother Cookie over losing his solo spot to the larger Lyon family anthem performance. Jamal, whose got an ego the size of Kim Kardashian’s inflated ass, is really feelin’ himself and doesn’t believe he should share the stage with anyone. D Major and Cookie, however, think the family performance will draw more eyeballs and press.
Jamal decides to confront D Major in the studio and play him the song that he wants to perform. D Major clears the studio and Jamal and him get up in each other’s faces and then…D Major kisses him. Next thing you know, these two are passionately making out and tearing each other’s clothes off.
Later, when D Major runs into Jamal in public, Jamal warmly greets him but D Major acts cold toward him. Uh oh, D Major is a DL man and he ain’t tryin’ to let nobody know he likes the eggplant.
Jamal confronts D Major about his DL lifestyle and urges him to come out of the closet. But D Major refuses and Jamal issues an ultimatum: You can’t have this boy nookie if you remain trapped in the closet.
It’s a hypocritical stance for Jamal, which D Major points out to Jamal with his recent Sky tryst, but the writers have decided to have Jamal go back to his original staunchly homosexual stance. I guess that sexual fluidity thing is dead and gone now? It’s all so very confusing.
But as D Major leaves Jamal’s apartment after Jamal’s rejection, there’s a hint of danger in D Major’s eyes. I’m going to do a little fortune telling here, but I think D Major might end up raping or physically abusing Jamal.
This is only confirmed at the end of the episode when Jamal inexplicably REVERTS his stance and invites D Major to his house for a little bump ‘n’ grind. Is there anyone in Empire with more of a jelly spine than Jamal? I don’t think so. But this D Major thing will not end well for him.
Rhonda Realizes Anika Might’ve Pushed Her Down the Stairs
After traipsing around with Anika as BFFs, the writers have decided that Rhonda’s amnesia is finally going to clear up as Rhonda slowly remembers key moments from the night when she “fell” down the stairs.
It was never explained why Rhonda even forgot these details, but there are a few experiences in her time spent with Anika as she prepares for her baby’s arrival that jog her merely. For example, when a box nearly falls on Rhonda, she’s pushed out of the way and she remembers then and there, the feeling of someone’s hands on her back before she fell down the stairs that night.
She tells Anika as much and damn, this snake-ass bitch acts like she has no idea what’s going on.
Then, when Rhonda and Anika are sitting on the couch and shooting the shit, Rhonda notices Anika’s Louboutin shoes with the signature red bottoms. That triggers a flashback to Rhonda laying the flow in her own blood, lifting her head up and catching a glimpse of someone wearing red bottoms walking out the door.
It’s all coming back now. Rhonda is clearly shaken by the flashbacks and you can see that she’s immediately identified Anika as a suspect because her body language toward Anika completely changes.
So the thing is: Clearly Anika is the killer and clearly the showrunners will have Rhonda believe it is Anika.
The question is, what will Rhonda DO about it?