Empire: My Bad Parts
November 18, 2015 10:50 PM - Season 2, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Jamal forces his parents to work together on a song so he can get a deal with Pepsi. Freda challenges Hakeem to a rap battle and Cookie and Lucious make a bet on it. Lucious is still working on that deal from last week, yawn. Anika’s...well, guess what the show thought of to do with her. You’ll totally guess what it is.

I’m just gonna summarize Lucious, Freda, Andre, Thirsty, Mimi, and the partridge in a pear tree as “Team Empire” this week.

Team Empire: They’re still working on that streaming deal---I’m not sure what happened with the drugged-up owner from last week that we’re still dealing with this, but frankly this plotline was boring and I do not care about it. Notable moments of it were that Lucious is sucking on a Tootsie Roll Pop during the whole thing, Mimi strolls in and signs paperwork and makes comments about her personal life (I’m gonna guess her wife or girlfriend is dying somewhere?), Lucious signs it even though he probably can’t afford to buy it and is literally obviously sweating and he can’t even pretend he’s not. “In six months, I’m a own the world,” Lucious brags. Uh-HUH, Mr. Tootsie Roll.
Andre advises caution at one point and Lucious is all, “Well, I think history has shown you’re a much better man under my control.” I don’t know how Andre doesn’t just beat the shit out of his old man every day with a mouth like that. I look forward to the day when all three sons and Cookie attack him at Christmas en masse or something.

Team Hakeem: Lucious calls up “all the bloggers or whatever” and has Freda declare a rap battle on Hakeem, which Hakeem accepts. The Lyon parents bet that the loser will produce the winner’s next album. Freda is annoying as ever, using lines like “daddy’s little son acting like a daughter,” “you ain’t as good as your brother,” “in my hood you a sucka,” and “daddy’s little girl” and “I’m the son that your dad always wanted.” And somehow they are going to fight over the last name of Lyon? Not sure how that came into it.

Hakeem so far has not quite devirginized Laura, though they are slowly heading in that directly very politely and he even designed jewelry for his princess. He’s mostly distracted by this rap battle and has to gripe at Cookie to get her assistance on this instead of just playing with Jamal. (Not sure how, Cookie seems to do instrumentals rather than lyrics. Just..throwing out wheel of freestyle words, I guess?) Jamal is much more helpful, pointing out that Hakeem is a star performer and knows how to work a crowd and he needs to put on a show rather than focus on the battling.

In the end, Hakeem’s crowd-working (and claiming to be the Dalai Lama of rap) does the trick and he wins--and he celebrates by literally SMASHING the name “Lyon” in lights so that the lights go out, and he announces that he’s dropping his last name. This makes Lucious sad and he has a flashback to sleeping on the New York lion sculptures. Fortunately for us, that's the only flashback this week.

Team Anika: GUESS WHO’S PREGNANT AND BY WHO. Anika has a run-in with Rhonda in which they discuss Rhonda’s pregnancy and how Lucious is a sucker for babies. Remember Lola? (“Turns out, babies are like kryptonite for Lucious.”) Then she drops by Hakeem’s to be all affectionate and drop the news, but Hakeem announces that he’s in love and she can’t do it. “But we still homies, right? I still think you’re dope.” How sweet.
Unfortunately for well, everyone, Anika seems to have decided to kidnap Laura by getting a platinum wig and turning up in the car Hakeem orders to drive Laura home alone. Oh, that’s not ominous at all.

Team Jamal: Jamal is one of 11 artists being asked to submit a song for a Pepsi ad, which he is psyched about even though his dad calls it a “cattle call.” Jamal is still sneaking around with Cookie like she’s his mistress, down to her wanting to know where he stands and calling him boo. Very.... yeah. Both parents work on music for Jamal for it, which eventually they find out about when Jamal buys his own studio time and decides to merge the songs together--whether his parents like it or not. Cookie’s twinkly pretty music could use a bit more boom, but not as much as Lucious was booming out. Of course everyone ends up in a fight and both parents and son walk out in a huff--poor musicians sitting there during this shiz. I will admit that the first mashup in the studio sounded better than the rather-interrupty one they use at the end, but whatever.
Anyway, Jamal’s happy with it, he wins the Pepsi challenge, and he insists that both parents will produce his album whether they like it or not. Go Jamal!

Team Cookie: Cookie scores big with her kids this week and is briefly happy, though at one point she smacks Laz for shoving Hakeem and tells him not to hit her kid. (Watch out for that one, honey.) However, the post-celebration party is interrupted by Cookie’s other sister Candace, who married a rich white dude and just came by to complain that Carol’s on a bender and left her kids at Candace’s. (Lucious is delighted at this for making his night better.) Cookie says the two of them have got to go to Philly. Huh?

Quote Corner:
“A hard head makes a soft ass.”--Lucious
“Sometimes the only way to get a person’s attention is to hit them in the head with a sledgehammer.” --Lucious
“As in you following me around like a little puppy after this?” -Hakeem thinks this is what happens when you devirginize a girl.
“You emotional, not me. I on point like always.” --Hakeem to Cookie.
“You know what you sound like? A snitch bitch.” --Cookie to Hakeem after he complains he’s not getting enough mom time like Jamal is and says he’ll tattle to daddy. Cookie is like, oh really, with the way you two are going lately? Okay, fine, Hakeem will shut it.
“You can’t blackmail a man who airs his foulness.” -Thirsty, thwarted.
“It’s cute. Cute in a sexy kind of cute.” --Lucious on Cookie’s song.
“This is not the Disney Channel. We have no happy ending.” --Cookie.
“Put your shoes in my face again.” --Lucious to Cookie.
“I have been advised to shut up.” --boxing guy from last episode, I forget his name and I don’t care.
“Might call it the black or white album, who knows?” --Jamal on his next album.
“Hakeem! No Lyon!” --rap battle audience.
“What she smoked don’t make me choke.” --Cookie on whatever Carol’s up to.

Fashion Corner:
Becky’s in this episode for like 2 minutes, but I like the kinda stripey dress she had on.
Porsha got a nose piercing. Ugh, one of those ones that makes you look like a bull, have to say I don’t get the appeal of that.
Mimi’s white suit would be nice, but the top of it seems a bit baggy on her. Is she feeling well?
Cookie’s outfits: (a) a combination corset-cape combination? Kind of cute and kind of odd at the same time with that cape thing, (b) I like her reflective pants that she has on in the studio scene. They kinda blend in with the long sweater, but I guess that's the point? Also, there's reflective sneakers.
Anika’s “drop the pregnancy bomb” dress is very Mondrian, very snappy. Work it while you got it, girl.
Jamal does an amusing butt flip with his coat straight out of a Hamiton gif during his Pepsi song that I just had to mention. And now I’ve managed to weasel yet another mention of that show where it doesn’t belong. Oh, wait, another one: Hamilton and Jefferson still battle rap better than Hakeem and Freda, just saying!
posted by jenfullmoon (5 comments total)
I know there's no way that Hakeem legitimately won that battle, but I'm really glad the show didn't force Freda to lose it by freezing or doing something stupid. I thought her dis in the opening was pretty vicious, and I like that kind of character appealing to Lucious instead of his sons.

My favorite bit of physical comedy was Cookie indignantly stomping out of Jamal's closet only to dive back in when she thought she heard a noise. Did we know her real name before this?
posted by gladly at 8:12 PM on November 19, 2015

(Just finished binge watching the first eight episodes of S2.)

They kind of wrote themselves into a corner with the Freda vs Hakeem battle, but it ended up being a more plausible win than I thought it would be. He is a good performer, and I like that Jamal gives him the push in that direction.

Now, what I really want to know is, what's Anika's end game here? I mean, first of all, she'd be in a much better position if she were providing the one and only grandchild, but she's not, and kids might be Lucious's kryptonite, but he's currently in the process of trying to destroy Hakeem, and even if they were on good terms, I can't imagine Lucious wanting to see Hakeem tied up with having a child, not to mention the weirdness of having your ex-whatever get knocked up by your own son.

I was kind of thinking she might try to seduce Lucious, so that she could try to pass this kid off as his son, and hope he doesn't pay too much attention to the timeline. That would at least be a marginally less absurd plan.

Or, you know, she could just get an abortion, because I don't see what's in this for her. Isn't her family rich? It's not like she's out on the streets if she doesn't get back in with the Lyons, and it seems like she could surely get some other job.

Also, she better not hurt Laura. I actually like her and Hakeem together. It's nice to see him with someone who isn't a giant advertisement for his mommy issues. Actually, maybe this is supposed to be a sign that he's resolved a lot of that through his partnership with Cookie, which would make sense.

It will be interesting to see how they resolve this one. I have to assume it's going to either be something super anticlimactic or batshit crazy like Laura accidentally kills Anika and then she and Hakeem have to go bury the body. I just hope this is moving us towards some sort of permanent conclusion with Anika.

One other burning question that's been driving me crazy since we had that big reveal when Cookie and Laz started hooking up: How can they be having all this sex without her noticing the giant tattoo on his back? Like, maybe he can get away with it during the actual sex, but it seems like it would be pretty awkward to constantly try to hide that.

Also, Pepsi Blue much?
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:23 PM on November 20, 2015

Cookie wouldn't necessarily know the significance of the tattoo. Hakeem saw it on the backs of his kidnappers, but there's been no indication that he discussed that with anyone.
posted by jimw at 11:47 AM on November 21, 2015

Anika needs a much better plot. She shouldn't, by rights, want to be "in" with these people really. Shouldn't she be joining some other media empire (wasn't she working for Billy whozums for awhile?) or starting her own or going to the FBI to be a snitch bitch or something far more take charge and less weepy?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:21 PM on November 21, 2015

So ... isn't Freda Frank Gathers' daughter? The guy who tried to kill Lucious when they were both in jail? But instead Lucious turned Frank's goons and had them kill Frank instead? When does this come out? Freda's gonna freak OUT, right? I'm thinking maybe Thirsty knows? And Lucious crosses Thirsty somehow, so he goes to Cookie with it for revenge?
posted by mon-ma-tron at 7:48 PM on November 22, 2015

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