"Empire" starring Taraji P. Henson and Bryshere Y. Gray. Photo courtesy of Fox television.

“Empire” Recap: Episode 13, Season 2 **Spoiler Alert**

To borrow from Donald Trump, HUGE things happened last week on “Empire” with Camilla Marks (Naomi Campbell) going out ‘ding dong, that b*tch is dead’ style at the end of episode 12 and pulling her wife Mimi Whiteman (Marisa Tomei) with her into that cold hard grave.  Considering all of that drama,  it wouldn’t have been unexpected for yesterday’s episode to have been much chiller and tamer with regards to the eye popping episodic business preceding it.  To that end, early on at the start of episode 13, it was looking like everyone was taking it nice and normal with Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) wanting all her Lyons together in a Huxtable family way to celebrate her first birthday outside of jail, bi-polar Andre (Trai Byers) back on his meds and apologizing for accusing his wife Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) of being a ho, and Lucious (Terrence Howard) finally working through his serious issues with his mother (Kelly Rowland).  However in the end, much like the whole pristine image of “The Cosby Show” going kablooey from the inside out, all of that calm got pretty much blown to hell by the time the end credits were rolling.   So let’s get down to the best moments of that televised train wreck that we just can’t stop watching every Wednesday night even if we wanted to ***Spoiler Alert***:

  1. Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) gets engaged to Laura Calleros (Jamila Velazquez).  In the big moves and grand gestures that we should come to expect from the youngest boy of Lucious Lyon, Hakeem goes for broke and proposes to his innocent lady love Laura right after one of her shows as the opening act for his ex girlfriend Tiana (Serayah).  Even though it looks like the real thing, you just know from the look on Tiana’s face and baby in Anika Calhoun’s (Grace Gealey) belly that this path towards true love will not be running smooth.  For that matter, if folks aren’t careful, it might entirely jump the tracks before even getting close to the chapel.
  1. Lucious reveals that as a young boy he witnessed as his mother took her own life.  Working through his music video with Cookie, Lucious puts together all of the flashbacks from his boyhood and reveals that not only did his mother nearly drown him in a deluded attempt to cleanse him of his sins, but after she realized what she had almost done, she put a bullet in her own skull to atone – with him as her only audience.  Now that’s a family history  you don’t want to see visited on anyone – no matter what dirty deeds they have done.
  1. Lucious admits to withholding the information that Andre’s mental issues likely come from Lucious’ own mother.  When images of Lucious’ mother putting a gun to her head in Lucious’ music video trigger Andre’s  memories of putting a gun to his own head in a depressive mental episode, Andre confronts Lucious for keeping this vital information secret rather than revealing it in order to help with Andre’s treatment and mental well being.  Lucious is unapologetic for the lifelong omission, defending his actions as the better part of strength via refusal to admit any genetic weakness borne of the Lyon family tree.  Yet another anti-father of the year moment for Lucious.
  1. Jamal (Jussie Smollett) steals Freda Gatz (Bre-z) from Lucious and Cookie learns that Freda Gatz is Frank Gather’s (Chris Rock) daughter.  In a turn that was bound to happen with Freda playing Lucious’ adopted daughter, Freda learns the hard way that Lucious truly has no allegiance to anyone – especially his own children be they biological, musical or adopted.  When Jamal finally gets Freda to see this, she comes to a recording session with Jamal and admits to Cookie that she is the recently murdered Frank Gathers’ devoted girl child.  Need we remind everyone that Cookie and Lucious are the ones who plotted and executed the murder of Freda’s dear old dad?  Yikes.
  1. Rhonda Lyon makes plans to stay at Anika Calhoun’s home as a ‘safe haven’ from Lyon family drama.  Ugh!  Talk about not having good instincts when it comes to dangerous female frenemies like Anika that would sooner cut somebody’s throat out than have another woman carrying a Lyon dynasty fetus beat her to the delivery table.  Now, we’re not saying that Anika is the baby killer who pushed Rhonda down the stairs causing Rhonda to miscarry, but Anika certainly isn’t crying about that unusual turn of events, now is she?  Rhonda going to live with Anika instead of Andre or just about any other random person just isn’t a move that is going to play out well for anyone other than Miss Anika Boo Boo Kitty herself.

“Empire” can be seen on Wednesday nights at 9/8 central on FOX.

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