Honestly, I was really afraid that ‘Empire’ wasn’t going to be able to live up to the crazy, jaw-dropping antics of season one. However, the Sept. 23 season premiere proved me wrong. ‘Empire’ is having the farthest thing from a sophomore slump, and here’s why.
The first season of Empire was one of the best and most insane seasons of television ever. It became the hottest show on television, and many worried whether or not the show’s second season would be just as good. Well, after watching the show’s season premiere, I think Empire’s second season is going to be better than the first because of amazing guest stars, relationship developments and music that is hot, hot, hot!
1. The guest stars don’t feel forced.
So there were a bunch of guest stars just in the season premiere. Al Sharpton and Andre Leon Tally showed up in the first 10 minutes! With all the announcements of the other guest stars, Empire could go south really fast. Marisa Tomei and Chris Rock fit perfectly into the dynamic of Empire. Marisa plays Mimi Whiteman, a woman looking to invest in Empire. At first, I thought she was total Team Cookie, but then I realized she’s all Team Mimi. She’s a sassy and cunning diva. I love her. She’s exactly what Empire needs in its second season.
Also, Chris played the notorious Frank Gathers, who Cookie worked for back in the day. Chris was anything but goofy in this role. Lucious ended up having Frank killed — even in jail, don’t mess with Lucious.
2. These relationship developments are what I’ve been waiting for.
There were two relationships I really wanted to see explored in season two — Hakeem/Cookie and Lucious/Jamal. Lucious and Jamal’s relationship last season was tumultuous. Lucious has always resented Jamal for being gay. I think he used that as a crutch to hate him because Lucious always saw himself in Jamal. At the end of the episode, when Jamal shut his family out, he proved the child is the father to the man.
I’ve always loved the dynamic between Hakeem and Cookie. It felt the most real to me. I was so glad to see these two sort of, kind of getting along. Hakeem needs Cookie, and Cookie needs Hakeem. End of story.
3. THE MUSIC!
The music is one of the best parts of Empire. The show opened up with a hot new track from Jamal. “No Apologies” and “Drip Drop” were two of my favorite songs from last season, and from the looks of it, I know I’m going to have to buy the show’s new soundtrack.
4. COOKIE, COOKIE, COOKIE.
Empire isn’t Empire without Cookie. She’s crazier than ever — complete with over-the-top outfits, showing up to a concert in a GORILLA suit and her telling it like it is. Cookie’s not slowing down one bit. Keeping slaying, Taraji. Keep slaying.
5. A complete 360 for Jamal Lyon.
Last season, everyone fell in love with Jamal. He was the one who stood up to Lucious when no one else would, and he was unabashedly himself. He pretty much got along with everyone except Lucious — but he was always Mr. Nice Guy at the end of the day. The final moments of the premiere featured a whole new Jamal Lyon. No one is perfect, and I’m glad Empire is showing that Jamal isn’t. When he kicked Cookie out, I got chills in my bones.
HollywoodLifers, what did you think of Empire’s season premiere? Did you love it or hate it? Let me know!
— Avery Thompson