‘Empire’ Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: Hakeem’s Private Parts Go Viral, Cookie Is a Snitch
If last week's 'Empire' premiere didn't grab a hold of you, then the second 60-minute segment of sex, drugs, lies and family drama is guaranteed to leave you foaming at the mouth for more. And if fans learn nothing else, it's unanimous that Terrence Howard is phenomenal at playing the token, but very talented assh---.
Set to please the "white folks" and show them he's not a black man they should be afraid of, Lucious (played by Howard) tries to erase his past as a prosperous drug dealer. This is a man who loved running the streets, but now aims to please as a professional music mogul living the lavish life in a mansion. Too bad he's quickly reminded of his life in the streets when the news runs a former music video from his thug days. Why do they do this? In a classic blame-the-music mentality, a kid posts a video after shooting up a mall and thanks Lucious' artist, Kid FoFo, for his influence.
Cookie (played by Taraji P. Henson) calls Lucious, her ex-husband a "vagina" for the way he handles the situation. In fact, she likes him better as a thug than the "real" business man. According to the man she married, "the streets ain't' made for everyone, that's why they made sidewalks." His response: she needs to start acting like a professional instead of a hoodrat
Let the hip-hop attack begin.
Drama in Empire Entertainment couldn't come at a better time. Cookie's already trying to take a hold of the company and fighting for her sons in the process -- or at least Jamal. Lucious can't stand the fact that his son won't "man up," so he's taking no part in helping promote his R&B career.
Meanwhile, he's showing nothing but love for Hakeem -- even when he's shining a negative light on himself. The rapper posts a video on social media that features him rubbing his most prized possession in the middle of a restaurant while telling Tiana, Empire Entertainment's newest act, why she needs to get with the Prince of Empire. And he makes comments about President Barack Obama, which ultimately leads to Lee Daniels' (the series' director) giving the president a character cameo via phone to cuss out Lucious for his son's stupidity.
While Jamal can't seem to get any love from his father, Andre, the eldest son, is getting nothing but love from his wife -- in the kitchen, on her knees, with a bib. Now that's a freak. All the Lyon men have their own issues, but Andre's finally comes to light: he's bipolar and he's good on taking his medication. In television, nothing good can come from a bipolar black man in a powerful position in hip-hop who doesn't take his medication.
With all the familial disfunction going on -- Lucious threatening to cut Jamal off if he "comes out" publicly; Cookie keeping quiet about her half of the company; Hakeem putting d--- pics on the 'Net -- the family gets a call about Lucious' best friend dying of a gunshot wound to the head. No one seems to take it well, including the star of the show. But don't forget, Lucious is the one that shot his best friend point blank in the head. Talk about good acting.
And just to throw things into the mix, there just has to be a violent elevator scene. Jay Z and Beyonce -- Solange too -- really can inspire most anything these days.
Lee Daniels knows how to heat things up because the shock factor in this episode doesn't happen until the last four minutes. Everyone has secrets, including Cookie. Her skeleton in the closet is revealed as the deal she made with the Feds for her freedom. Who said snitching is dead?