How is that Lucious hasn’t been shot? Empire has enough suspects for a “Who Shot Lucious?” storyline. That’s just one of the questions I had for last night’s Empire episode, “Time Shall Unfold.”
Rhonda and Andre have moved out of the mansion because there are too many bad memories since Rhonda tumbled down those stairs and miscarried. Rhonda is staying with Boo Boo Kitty. Over Chinese food, Rhonda says she thinks Andre is over his suspicion that she was pushed. We don’t know if Boo Boo Kitty is the culprit. Andre stops by and reports that he’s staying at a hotel.
Why is their marriage suddenly strained? Those two have the most consistent relationship on the show. Andre misses their ride-or-die relationship, but Rhonda says they haven’t been that way for a long time. Yes, Andre was behaving in an erratic manner and accused Rhonda of cheating, but they’ve been together since college, and this isn’t the worst incident. Andre could use the support now that Lucious has admitted that his own mother had a mood disorder, which Andre probably inherited, and that’s one of the reasons Lucious resents his son.
The talk is interrupted by Boo Boo Kitty noisily throwing up her moo goo gai pan. Boo Boo clearly left the bathroom door open so she could coyly reveal that she’s pregnant with Hakeem’s child. Andre thinks he should call a family meeting to announce this. Um, why? It goes as well as you’d expect. There are doubts about the paternity, of course, but Boo Boo tells Hakeem: “You’re the only one I’ve been with after your father.” Stay classy, Miss Kitty.
She wants her child to have a family. How are those Thanksgiving dinners gonna go? “I was sleeping with your gramps and that’s how I met your father, who was nearly your uncle. Pass the collard greens, son.” Curiously, Boo Boo Kitty doesn’t have one scene alone with Hakeem, but Lucious later lurks in her apartment and orders her to give the baby to Hakeem in exchange for $10 million. Lucious also mentions that women die in childbirth. What’s that mean? Is he going to slip into the delivery room dressed like a nurse’s aide, get the baby, shiv Boo Boo Kitty and run?
With all this talk about heirs, Jamal remembers little Lola. Her mom is Jamal’s ex-wife, Olivia, who slept with Lucious, too. In this episode, Thrifty Rawlings, Lucious’ shady lawyer, goes to St. Louis, finds Lola on the playground and yanks out strands of hair from the poor child’s head. I cackled. I’m a horrible person. Tests determine that Lola is not a Lyon, so no awkward holiday dinners for her.
Jamal’s got the least to do this episode. Cookie doesn’t want her sons working with Freda Gatz, the daughter of Frank Gathers, whom Lucious had killed in prison. Jamal can’t wait to feature Freda on his upcoming album. Cookie schemes to get Jamal to drop Freda, but her plan fails. It’s boring; the only thing you need to know is that at the barbershop where Freda works, some extra makes a rude comment about Frank and she beats him down. Let’s just go ahead and add Freda to the list of suspects when Lucious gets shot.
Hakeem is Lucious’ least favorite son this week. The shareholders want Lucious reinstalled as CEO of Empire, and he sabotages his son before a shareholders’ gathering. Hakeem can’t promote the Antony and Cleopatra fashion line because Lucious stole the clothes from the warehouse. There is a glitch with the app for Empire’s new streaming service, so it’s not ready yet, and Hakeem can’t brag about that, either.
Lucious is a shareholder, so he gets to attend the meeting. When it’s time for questions from the audience, Lucious stands up and makes Hakeem look like a chump. As the father-son drama plays out, the audience is sitting there as if all this unorthodox madness is normal. It’s like a Trump rally. Cookie stands up and says this is a family business and they’re united. Since when? There’s a board meeting, Hakeem is removed as CEO and Lucious gloats that his son held the position for 10 minutes. Considering how fast Empire rushes through storylines, that’s an eternity.
Now for the good stuff. Lucious visits his mom’s grave with Andre, who has never been there before. Andre wishes he’d met his grandmother Leah Mary Walker and that she’d been around to get modern psychiatric care. Don’t give up, Andre. Thirsty visits a nursing home and drops off an envelope that I guess is full of cash. He declines an offer to visit a patient: Leah Walker! Did you see this coming? I certainly didn’t. So Lucious’ mom didn’t kill herself after all. Oooooh, Lucious has got some 'splainin’ to do before things go “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom” in his face.
Elaine G. Flores is a New York writer, editor and bon vivant. She’s a hard-core shipper and excommunicated soap opera reviewer. Her fictional dinner-party guests include Omar Little, Buffy Summers, Abigail Mills and Ichabod Crane. You can visit her site, TV Recappers Delight.