The Lyon family is dealing with a major crisis — amid a host of other catastrophes — as the shady first family of FOX barrels toward the season finale for hit series “Empire.” This maiden season has been entertaining to say the least; from Cookie’s endless array of quotables, to memorable supporting characters like Becky and Pam, to the parade of “Waitaminute — is that …?” guest stars they seem to trot out in every episode or so. It’s not hard to see why audiences have made “Empire” the highest-rated new scripted network show of the season, and there are a number of loose ends to tie up — or exploit further — in the upcoming two-hour season finale.
Of course, the biggest news came during last week’s dramatic climax. In “Sins of the Father,” Lucious claimed that he — not middle son Jamal — is the father of Olivia’s daughter. In the ever-growing list of “ain’t s–t” things that we’ve learned Lucious Lyon has done, this has to be at the top. Just to bring everyone up to speed; Jamal is gay, but has been closeted until very recently. Lucious forced Jamal to marry Olivia, who was an aspiring singer on the Empire label years ago; and promised Olivia he’d make her a priority at the label. Of course, the marriage crumbled and Olivia never became anything close to a star, but she did become a mom. Up until the very end of “Sins of the Father,” we’d been led to believe that the little girl was Jamal’s, until things came to a head when Olivia’s insane ex-boyfriend Reg showed up with a gun, claiming he would kill Jamal to prevent him from taking Olivia away from him.
That’s when Lucious dropped the bomb. So Jamal has to come to grips with his father’s claim that little Lola isn’t Jamal’s daughter, but his half-sister. But there was a lot more to last week’s show than just this Lucious/Jamal/Olivia disaster.
Andre’s mental health has come into full focus; with the bipolar episodes that were hinted at earlier in the season now becoming much more intense. It was revealed that Lucious — not exactly the epitome of compassion — was dismissive of Andre’s mental issues when they initially surfaced during Dre’s college years. Lucious made sure to tell that “white girl” Rhonda to not say a word about Dre, and no one was to refer to Dre’s problems as “mental health problems.” And Lucious’ big plan to seduce Cookie seems to have run into some unexpected roadblocks — namely Cookie’s refusal to take him even a little bit seriously so long as he’s still playing house with “Boo-Boo Kitty” Anika and Cookie’s own developing romance with Malcolm (Derek Luke), the new head of Lucious’ security. She knows that Lucious is just feeling quite mortal these days and doesn’t want to die alone.
As for the youngest son, Hakeem, Lucious has seen fit to try and sabotage Hakeem’s relationship with Camilla (Naomi Campbell); following Hakeem’s decision to perform “Nothing But a Number” at the big IPO meeting as an ode to his cougar girlfriend. Lucious offered Camilla money to stay away from his baby boy, which, of course she declined. That didn’t stop Lucious from telling Hakeem that she took the money — and in one hour, we’ve seen how Lucious’ manipulations have distorted virtually each of his son’s major relationships.
So how does all of this play out in the finale? The family already knows how low Lucious can sink — will the latest revelation be the final straw? And what about Anika? Has Lucious pushed her so far that she would team with Lucious archnemesis Baretti, the head of Creedmoor Records? Or is she a part of a bigger scheme by Lucious to get his foe to let his guard down? Where do things stand between Lucious and Vernon — the one non-family member who knows enough to land Lucious in a whole lot of hot water if he ever decided to be done taking crap from Lucious. What is Snoop Dogg doing in the finale?
Seems fair to assume that someone won’t be making it to season two. The question is who?