Empire: Our Dancing Days
February 18, 2015 10:30 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

This is the most mushy, sentimental, sweet, d'awwwww episode of this show ever. Who'da thunk it? Anyway, everyone's teaming up to put on a big show for investors, and the little petty dramas of babies, drugs, ex-boyfriends, hidden girlfriends, and eyeing the security guy are all put aside to put on a big show...and then Lucious's voice goes all verklempt and Cookie takes the stage for him. And then Lucious has some news to break to everyone...

Short Team Updates this week:

Team Jamal: We find out that Olivia is Jamal's ex-wife/backup singer/ex-beard that Lucious forced him to marry at 18 (Cookie keeps ripping him a new one for that). He slept with her once. Is that his baby? Maybe? Anyway, Olivia just flat out leaves the kid behind for everyone else to take care of, so we do NOT find out what's with her this week. And Michael takes the hint from last week and leaves as well. Lucious gives Jamal some sympathy and a bit of kudos for keeping it in the closet.

Team Hakeem: I gotta give props to Hakeem this week. Sure, he started out as his usual schmucky self--giving his secret girlfriend a giant necklace with his name on it is NOT the way to woo a lady, nor is making her show up alone to your party. But he and Jamal got over their shit to perform a very impressive song about TV's, microwaves, and money for the investors. And Hakeem actually is touched/shows some non-schmuckitude feeling for his dad later on.

Team Lucious: Lucious ends up going to the doctor--a real one--when he collapses and finds out those Russian drugs are crap. Later he goes unexpectedly verklempt right before he's about to give a big speech, and he gets Cookie to go on. She knocks it out of the park. Later that night, he breaks the news to the family about his ALS.

Team Andre: Andre takes the news the WORST of everyone, much to my surprise. As in he starts babbling about the IPO, which Hakeem rips him a new one for prioritizing over Dad's dying. Then Andre stomps out and next we see of him, he's sitting in the shower with his clothes on, hyperventilating, and Rhonda's doing her best to try to calm him down. Whoa.

Team Cookie: Other than Elle ending up too bombed to perform (see below), it's a good night for Cookie professionally since her boys actually straightened up and buried the hatchet for the night and rocked the house. And she did an excellent speech on the family business, despite being an ex-wife. She's suspected something's up with Lucious for awhile--especially when he's taken away in an ambulance and has to pick which woman to go with him. After a long scene of him eyeballing both ladies, he picks Anika, which means that poor Cookie is staring through the window of the hospital room. But later on after she hears the ALS news, she's quietly shellshocked. And Lucious chooses that moment to ah...put the moves on her, give her wine and dance with her, and she says she can't lose him again. But she has him now...and they inevitably fall into bed.

Team Anika: It's not a great night for Anika: she drugs Elle's drink, blabs that she "knew it" that Elle would bomb out, and then she supposedly flies off to Chicago, only to come home and find Lucious and Cookie boinking.
posted by jenfullmoon (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Hakeem and Jamal are so great together! I loved the show they put on but also the song they sang while people were arriving. I think I'm right about Lucious basically liking people to dance to his tune -- Empire would be so much stronger if he could encourage them all to work with each other, but instead he's set up a situation where only one of them can win.

Hakeem giving Camilla the necklace was just such a very Hakeem-ish idea. It does not take a whole lot of insight into human nature to know that wouldn't go over very well. I thought, if he doesn't pull out a second necklace with her name on it there's no salvaging a gift like that. I actually really like Hakeem as a character, although Hakeem the character is not my favorite. His actor does such a great job of making him seem at once self-centered and entitled but also vulnerable and full of potential, and I can easily believe that someone with his background would be just like that.

Poor Andre! I think his family all underestimates him because he's doing such a good job at playing the calm guy in a suit, but I wasn't surprised he took it so hard. There's a lot of emotion bottled up in there. The flashback established that he can sing -- I don't think we're ending this season without a song from him.

I felt sorry for Anika this episode, although of course drugging Elle was a real low, cloak and dagger move. The scene where Lucious can't decide who gets to go in the ambulance with him must have hurt. (Well, to say nothing of seeing them in bed together...) If she has any dignity she'll pull a Michael, but surely she'll stay and wage war, thinking that Lucious has had affairs before and that she can win this time, too.

Becky's back, on top of everything and looking great! Since she saw he was looking bad before he collapsed, in my imagination, she was standing outside the door with her phone in her hands, ready to call 911.

Cookie's speech was perfect -- blew whatever Anika had written right out of the water, I'm sure.
posted by shirobara at 9:20 AM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've met smarter toilets than Hakeem. As Bugs Bunny would say, "What a maroon." But at least he actually wasn't totally doofy starting about halfway through the episode. I don't get what Naomi Campbell sees in him, he must go like a rabbit or something.

Only on Empire would the son who's a financial/business expert NOT be the top guy to take over the company.

Oh, new fun link about Empire I just found out about! The Wall Street Journal is analyzing the IPO-ness of it all.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:09 PM on February 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


The show has (maybe wisely) felt like it left behind the whole "which son gets to be in charge?" plot. I'm not sure if that's intentional or not but it's interesting. Like shirobara said, Hakeem and Jamal work so much better together.

And let's be real - homophobia in hip hop or not, a duo of brothers with a famous father where one is the sensitive cute gay one and one cute straight rapping one - would probably be SUPER MARKETABLE and even though the show isn't exactly "realistic", that particular point continues to bug me. (In fact, I feel like i've made this comment before, so apologies if I'm a broken record.)

I hope the success of Empire means next season "big time musical industry events" don't look like they are filmed at the Peach Pit After Dark. (Actually, I kind of don't; I love the cheesiness of it.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:30 PM on February 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hakeem is silly. And he looked really short in comparison to Camilla.

I thought this episode was really great. I'm not sold on the idea of Cookie and Lucious are meant to be together (they love each other but it's more a deep history at this point -- they know each other and are comfortable, but there's no forward progress) but I like their chemistry. I'm going to trust how this plays out.

I don't exactly like Anika being the villain in all of this (I am not a fan of hers but she still deserves better). The whole drugging of Elle's drink is something I hope is dealt with later because ... not cool. We'll see what she does in reaction to Cookie & Lucious getting it on.

I loved this episode, though. It's gorgeous and ridiculous (that was a cheap looking "Empire" sign at the whole investor showcase, but I guess that's why they need money) but I think there's a lot of heart and honesty. I think Cookie is an amazing character and I will watch this show as long as she's on it.
posted by darksong at 6:54 PM on February 19, 2015


I've met smarter toilets than Hakeem.
I don't think he's stupid exactly, just that he's never felt the need to develop any aspect of his personality or skills. He has his family and he has his talent/exposure to music/some degree of practice; he's been skating on that and nothing else all of his life. The end result: no emotional intelligence, no street smarts, no head for business, limited musical chops and, well, sub-plumbing intelligence.

I don't get what Naomi Campbell sees in him, he must go like a rabbit or something.
I've wondered the same thing, but can you really imagine him being good in bed? If he's got any skill at all, it would only be because Camilla is very patient and not shy about giving feedback. Why they're together, I'm curious about that too. Is it all based on the kink or is she using him? She's so gorgeous, poised and apparently successful, it hardly seems like he has anything to offer her except his age, which, ugh.

Only on Empire would the son who's a financial/business expert NOT be the top guy to take over the company.
As a viewer, Jamal backed by Cookie, Andre and Becky would be my dream team for running Empire. But if I was Andre, with all he's done for the company, I would be so insulted that Brother Do-Nothing and Brother Know-Nothing were in the running at all that I'd be polishing up my resume. The article about him mentioned his departure from another company, though, and I was wondering if his bipolar disorder played a role in that, meaning that he might be loyal to Empire not just as his family's company but as the business that gave him a chance to shine after flaming out somewhere else.

duo of brothers with a famous father where one is the sensitive cute gay one and one cute straight rapping one - would probably be SUPER MARKETABLE
Yeah, you put it that way and I've got dollar signs flashing in my eyes like a cartoon character. I can handwave it as a sign of Cookie being out of the world for 17 years -- she might see that hot women dancing together is a selling point, but not really get that, as far as the teenagers are concerned, Jamal's being gay isn't at all the liability it would have been 17 years ago. It's all good as long as no one ever, ever, ever looks up the fanfiction.

The whole drugging of Elle's drink is something I hope is dealt with later because ... not cool.
I'm hoping the fan captured the spiking in the background of her selfie.
posted by shirobara at 7:50 PM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I want them to give a much more sympathetic picture of Anika. I think there's got to be a lot more going for her than we see for Lucius to end up with her. She's got to be smart, ambitious, and we see moments of kindness and warmth. I want her to be a more well developed character, and I'm sad she's being shafted even though I pretty much can't stand her.

Camilla is totally in it for some ulterior motive that we haven't seen yet. There have been a couple seeds planted that she's after the business (or something?) in some fashion. Hakeem is just the most easily manipulated of the bunch. (If I get time for a re-watch, I'll note exactly where this is. Not this episode, but a previous one.)
posted by stoneweaver at 11:27 AM on February 23, 2015


This was a good purse episode.

And I've never seen such an up-and-down look as Cookie did on that security guard. THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE IN THE ROOM YOU KNOW. Whoa. Hot stuff. Marlene Dietrich did that same brazen eye-dance in one of her movies but I'm afraid I don't know which one - but it's kind of famous (she "inspects" soldiers, I believe).

"I want them to give a much more sympathetic picture of Anika. I think there's got to be a lot more going for her than we see for Lucius to end up with her. She's got to be smart, ambitious, and we see moments of kindness and warmth. I want her to be a more well developed character, and I'm sad she's being shafted even though I pretty much can't stand her."

100% with you on this - with all the Cookie-love, I don't want Anika's character to become two-dimensional, it's much less interesting if she is.

(And they're fighting over Lucious? Really?)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:26 PM on February 23, 2015


I don't think he's stupid exactly, just that he's never felt the need to develop any aspect of his personality or skills. He has his family and he has his talent/exposure to music/some degree of practice; he's been skating on that and nothing else all of his life. The end result: no emotional intelligence, no street smarts, no head for business, limited musical chops and, well, sub-plumbing intelligence.

Okay, good point. I still don't think he's got brains deep down, but it's a good point that he's never HAD to have any brains or talent either.

I've wondered the same thing, but can you really imagine him being good in bed? If he's got any skill at all, it would only be because Camilla is very patient and not shy about giving feedback. Why they're together, I'm curious about that too. Is it all based on the kink or is she using him? She's so gorgeous, poised and apparently successful, it hardly seems like he has anything to offer her except his age, which, ugh.

I also agree. Ugh.

As a viewer, Jamal backed by Cookie, Andre and Becky would be my dream team for running Empire. But if I was Andre, with all he's done for the company, I would be so insulted that Brother Do-Nothing and Brother Know-Nothing were in the running at all that I'd be polishing up my resume. The article about him mentioned his departure from another company, though, and I was wondering if his bipolar disorder played a role in that, meaning that he might be loyal to Empire not just as his family's company but as the business that gave him a chance to shine after flaming out somewhere else.

Ooh, yeah, that might be a good point that working elsewhere might have problems. But yeah, if I were Andre I would be looking to leave as well because it is insulting that Andre isn't even on the list when he should be the top candidate.

The conclusion I've come to is: you know who I want to run Empire as its showy public face that Lucious insists on? COOKIE. Let Andre do the actual grunt work and Cookie deal with talent and investors and flesh-pressing, since she does appear to be good at it.

Oh, I found another article!
"After all the tight dresses (or lack thereof) and pointed flirtations, what finally shook Lucious out of his Anika-inspired hypnosis? Cookie being damn good at her job.
The Russian miracle cure didn’t work. The doctors reminded Lucious that there’s no cure for ALS. He’s doomed. Does Empire have the temerity to kill off its male lead? The Cookie-Lucious hookup makes me think it does. The writers of this show could have waited years to pay this off, but they did it in Episode 7. They’ve set up Cookie as the brains of Empire, the one who puts out the fires. Sure, she’s not so great with the whole “interpreting vague flower-related messages” thing, but overall, she’s aces. Giving this show to Taraji P. Henson in full would be a bold, crowd-pleasing decision, and could finally be the last straw for the “difficult man” genre on television.
As far as I’m concerned, nothing else happened in last night’s episode except for the epic hookup."
If you read even further, the author rips on Hakeem's performance and ranks who should run Empire, and we are in agreement!
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:34 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


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