“Empire” Episode 18 Season 2 Finale Recap ***Spoiler Alert***

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


It’s hard to say goodbye to “Empire” season 2, because when it comes to tabloid-esque just this side of ratchet drama, it’s so damned good. Even if it’s just a little summertime intermission before the start of season 3 in the fall, many will feel the loss of that Wednesday 9pm/8pm central Fox fix we’ve come to know and love so well.

Nevertheless, the difficulty of goodbyes notwithstanding, yesterday’s “Empire” season 2, Episode 18 finale was truly fun to watch.  Chocked full of grisly revelations from the deep dark closet of Lucious’ past, intertwined with some heavy present day relationship reversal drama, and finished off with a WTF cliffhanger that is literally to die for, fans will definitely be eager to find out exactly what the h*ll happened when “Empire” resumes once again in the fall.

But until that day comes, we would be delighted rehash some of the best moments from a final episode that turned almost Shakespearean when it came to tragedy and, to borrow from Tariq (Morocco Omari) the Freak, some seriously “unholy” matrimony.  However before we get into the specifics, be forewarned now that if you don’t want to know, this is your ***Spoiler Alert**** jumping off point:

Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett) is alive but not completely well.  Thank goodness for little miracles, because Jamal being alive after being shot square in the gut by Freda Gatz (Bre-Z), is definitely not the norm.  While the physical injuries suffered are on their way to being good as new, the same can’t be said for Jamal’s state of mind.  While he isn’t suffering from any of the bi-polar problems that have been known to plague the Lyon family, he just isn’t himself – especially since he seems to have lost his love for music and performing.  It is certainly unsettling when one of the most musically talented of the Lyons just doesn’t feel up to it anymore.

Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) has a Federal agent half brother that he didn’t know about.  Say it isn’t so, but if you heard it from your mama like Lucious did straight from Leah Walker’s (Leslie Uggams) mouth, even if she’s got sanity issues, it’s likely true.  Courtesy of the corroborating flashbacks from the younger mind of Lucious/Dwight Walker, it is revealed to the entire Lyon clan that Tariq, the Fed who is known for being a freak in the bedroom, is in fact Lucious’ half brother.  And apparently Tariq and Leah have been knowing this for some time.  Whether they also knew that Lucious, as a boy, was the sole witness to his father getting murdered is another matter entirely.  There’s a couple of bones you don’t want to choke on during Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

Laura Calleros (Jamila Velazquez) leaves Hakeem Lyon (Bryshere Y. Gray) at the altar.  When Anika Calhoun (Grace Gealey) gets served by the Feds via some tricky wait staff/process server maneuvering right before the entrance of the bride, some very ghetto drama breaks out involving physical fighting and one or two hookers up in the mix who shouldn’t have been at the wedding in the first place.  When Laura comes out with her mother and father and the Calleros family trinity sees exactly what they are in for by merging with the Lyon Dynasty, Laura tells Hakeem that she’s out and leaves.  Not exactly an exemplary ‘ride or die chick’ moment for Miss Laura.

Lucious Marries Annika.  In a moment that would make anybody cringe, Lucious’ go to response to Annika getting served by the Feds and a newly empty altar is to immediately marry the woman who will otherwise be compelled to testify against him in court – yes, it’s Lucious’ idea that he marry Anika immediately after his youngest son has been stood up at the altar over bad business that no one but Lucious has perpetrated.  Never mind that to her credit, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) is the only Lyon who won’t witness the wedding.  Never mind that Lucious is marrying the woman who is carrying his grandchild, aka Hakeem Lyon’s child.  Truly incestuous business on a grand and very public scale.  And then, immediately after Lucious marries Annika, he tells Annika that he knows that Rhonda Lyon (Kaitlin Doubleday) was telling the truth when she accused Annika of pushing her down the stairs and causing her to miscarry Andre Lyon’s (Trai Byers) unborn child.  Now that is some serious dirt for any day of the week, let alone anybody’s wedding day.

Rhonda attacks Annika outside on the balcony after the wedding and one or the both of them fall over the side of the building.  In a literal cliffhanger, when Rhonda gets the drop on Annika after Annika’s wedding, Annika admits that she WAS the one who pushed Rhonda down the stairs, and they engage in a life or death brawl on the top of the wedding venue.  When Andre walks out on the balcony and sees what is happening, we hear one of the women scream as we see Andre’s horrified reaction – suggesting that one or both of them has fallen – presumably to their death.  Can you say, what the f*ck?!?