Empire Episode 7: Our Dancing Days

Lucious gets the support of Hakeem and Jamal after announcing his ALS diagnosis on Empire.
Empire (Photo: Chuck Hodes / Fox)

Lucious’ ALS diagnosis plays a central role in this week’s Empire, revealing which of the Lyons to trust.

This week’s episode of Empire was much more linear than previous exploits. That’s not to say things were less cray cray, but it was a lot easier to follow along. Let’s check in with the Lyons.

Lucious: Surprise! That alleged experimental treatment our protagonist has been shooting up was snake oil1 and almost caused liver failure. After collapsing, he almost had Cookie join him in the ambulance rather than Anika. Hmmm. The collapse was ill-timed, as Lucious is scheduled to host an investor meeting at Leviticus in preparation for the IPO. Although he is prepared to present, his throat (in)conveniently closes up and Cookie has to deliver the presentation. Hmmm. After the successful presentation, Lucious comes out to his family about the ALS diagnosis.

Cookie: The presentation at Leviticus will be featuring a musical cavalcade from the Empire family, including an opener from Elle Dallas and a duet between Jamal and Hakeem. The Elle Dallas performance hits a snag when Anika slips her a mickey shortly before showtime, causing the singer to go full-on After School Special. How Anika managed to score a drug that potent when she didn’t have the sense God gave a billy goat to duck during that drive-by a couple weeks ago is not explained. Despite this setback, Cookie recovers to deliver the address to the investors and it goes over quite well. Lucious took notice of this and of her getting the boys to stop fighting during a rehearsal for the sake of the company. The two start to dance after Lucious made his ALS announcement. Then they started making out2. Then they start engaging in adult situations. Anika, returning from a business trip with Lana Del Rey3, spots the two in flagrante delicto.

Jamal: Michael leaves, which is probably for the best. The sweeping under the rug of their relationship was bad enough, but then having a surprise daughter show up was just too much. Good luck in culinary school, guy. Anyway, surprise daughter becomes even more surprising when we learn her mom Olivia just abandoned the kid in the Empire building. Throughout this we learn that Jamal didn’t have a one-night stand with Olivia, they were married. WHAT?! And it was a marriage of convenience arranged by Lucious to hide Jamal’s lack of interest in the ladies. WHAAAAAAAAAT?! What decade is this?! Jamal is, what, 25? Did Dorothy Kilgallen call him a confirmed bachelor in Ladies’ Home Journal or something? Look, I have given this show a verrrrrrrrrrrrrry long leash, but this is the most preposterous thing to happen so far.

Hakeem: I guess Tiana is completely out of the picture now? And Camilla is in? Whatever, not much was happening with Hakeem’s story this week, although the performance he gave with Jamal was some next level ish. The track heavily sampled Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” and featured a group of backup dancers wearing TVs. It was like Timbaland, Gil Scott Heron, and Daft Punk had a baby. Bravo. I will give Hakeem props for being the only family member concerned for Lucious’ well-being after the ALS announcement, unlike…

…Andre: who started flipping out about the IPO and the future of the company. To be fair, we were kind of set up to roll our eyes at whatever happened with him this episode as the previouslies included a clip that was basically Kelly Ripa Rhonda saying “Don’t forget you have bipolar disorder.” Seriously, the two of them could be sent to Mars next week and it would be both plausible and a positive direction for their story to go. Andre is the worst.4

Random Empire Notes

  • Remember that time Cookie had that gangster killed because she thought he was after her for testifying to the grand jury? Still exactly zero fallout from that.
  • I love how the white people on this show are just like the Kids in the Hall‘s interpretation of businessmen.
  • Empire hit 5.1 in the ratings last night, which is unheard of for scripted network television these days. There are only four episodes left this season—how much higher will the ratings get?

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  1. or “змеиное масло” if you want to get fancy  
  2. “I’m gonna kiss her like a mule eating an apple” I believe was the direction given, because that’s what happened.  
  3. LOLOLOL  
  4. This might be a good time to mention that EVERY TIME I type Andre’s name, I accidentally type “Andrea” because he is as awful as 90210’s Andrea. Get your ass to Mars, both of you.  

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About Mike McComb 667 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv