Empire is back, baby! The so-so season rebounded with a jaw-dropping finale that warrants an OMG meter. Let’s go!
This episode, “Past Is Prologue,” picks up three weeks later. Frank Gathers’ daughter, Freda Gatz, found out that her mentor Lucious was responsible for her dad’s death in prison. She shot at him, but Jamal ended up taking the bullet. Now he’s in a wheelchair, still healing from his wounds. It’s two days before Hakeem’s wedding, but Jamal has given up on music until “the cycle” of death and incarceration ends. He doesn’t blame Freda, whom he calls a victim. Lucious visits Freda in prison, claims innocence in Frank’s murder and patches things up so he can run tell Jamal: “I ended the cycle today; she ain’t mad no more.” As for Freda, Lucious offers to pay for her legal representation. #FreeFreda
In the last episode, it looked as if Lucious’ mom, Leah Walker, was about to expose Lucious’ lie about her being dead when she showed up at the hospital during a press feeding frenzy. But we’ll never know because Lucious’ shady lawyer, Thirsty Rawlings, pulled her away offscreen. I’d give Empire a demerit for dropping the ball on that storyline, but so much else is going on in this episode, it gets a pass.
Boo Boo Kitty tells the Lyons that the feds questioned her and Shyne Johnson’s name came up. Years ago, Lucious did a job for bigwigs Tommy Davoni and Rosey Perkins. There was a troublesome rapper, and Lucious and Shyne “took care of it.” Cookie goes to Shyne to find out what it would take to keep him quiet. Shyne wants two things: a publishing deal for his nephew and an invitation to Hakeem and Laura’s wedding. He can have my invite.
Before we get to the wild wedding, let’s talk about the new family drama. Lucious’ father, Joe, was a cop. When Lucious was a child, he saw his father gunned down. Allegedly. The Empire flashbacks have misled us before, so if he shows up next season, we won’t be surprised. Remember Tariq, that federal agent who went on a date with Carol? He’s—dun, dun, duuuuun—Lucious’ half brother!! This only gets a 2 on the OMG meter because Boo Boo Kitty is hogging up all the other OMG moments.
Earlier in the episode, when Boo Boo Kitty told Lucious and Cookie about the feds, Rhonda charged in and accused Boo Boo of pushing her down the stairs, which caused the miscarriage. She then attempts to choke Boo Boo Kitty and punches her. Poor Andre has to pull his wife off Boo Boo. Let’s not judge Rhonda too harshly; when she was pregnant, she killed a man, buried the body and then helped dig it up, so she probably figures that Boo Boo Kitty can take a beating. I’ll give this altercation a solid 3 on the OMG meter.
Despite the fact that Lucious told Boo Boo Kitty not to worry about the FBI, she’d rather die than snitch and gets ready to jump to her death, so Lucious and Cookie have to literally talk her down from the ledge. She’s wearing some red-soled heels, too, which is pretty defiant, but only a 1 on the OMG scale.
The wild wedding ensues and Shyne comes in with some hoochies, and it’s a hot ghetto mess. Here comes the bride. I’ve been so mean to Laura all season, and I want to say something nice. Her dress is not horrible. Before she can get down the aisle, a process server hands Boo Boo Kitty a summons and literally runs off like she’s running for her life. A fracas ensues because she bumped into Shyne or something and he acts up. Laura’s parents decide that they don’t want their daughter marrying into the family. Laura calls things off with Hakeem and earns high points on the “Bye, Felicia” scale.
Lucious has an idea about how to prevent Boo Boo from having to testify: They are getting married.
I did not see this coming, did you? Neither did Cookie, who runs out crying and screaming.
Lucious and Boo Boo Kitty marry in front of a dead-eyed smattering of observers. On the way out, he hisses to his bride that he knows she pushed Rhonda, which is disappointing. A big surprise would have been better. Oh, well. There goes my hope that Leah was involved.
After the ceremony, Boo Boo Kitty is standing by a ledge. You know where this is going. Rhonda charges in for the ultimate catfight. The combatants get way too close to the edge. A woman screams as Andre arrives to deliver an epic “Noooooo.” This brings the OMG total up 773,420.
What a perfect way to end the season. There are a lot of burning questions:
1. Did Rhonda die? Did Boo Boo die?
2. Will the world ever learn that Lucious’ mother is alive?
3. Why does Lucious insist on wearing a hat indoors?
4. How will we cope with life until the next season?
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.