Fox‘s Empire Death Will Have His Day TV Show Review. Empire: Season 2, Episode 11: Death Will Have His Day brought Empire back to prime time with a bang last night, serving up ample portions of drama for every member of the Lyon family and all those involved.
The episode begins with Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday), who has just been attacked by Lucious (Terrence Howard) and his cronies. Mr. Lyon stays right where he is, refusing to get away from the scene of the crime, but he is informed that his being there at all is trespassing because he is no longer the CEO of his company. Rhonda, meanwhile, wants only for her baby to be safe. She is saved and brought to the hospital, but when the baby is lost Rhonda feels guilty that she won’t be able to provide Andre (Trai Byers) with an heir to the Empire. Although Andre takes the news well, we later see how crushed he is as he boxes up the items that filled the would-be child’s nursery, crying and praying.
Rhonda and Andre aren’t the only Lyons worried about who will carry on the Empire. Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) makes her entrance into the episode by beating Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) with a purse, telling him to change his CEO vote. And that’s just the beginning of the trouble surrounding the company’s future CEO: Lucious sends his people after every person on the list for CEO, causing them all to drop out. He admits to Cookie that, if Hakeem tries for CEO, Lucious has no problem taking him out as well.
Hakeem’s other obstacle to CEO is Camilla (Naomi Campbell), who tells him that he has to give up his girlfriend Laura (Jamila Velazquez) in order to be with her. Despite Hakeem’s prior statements that he really loves Laura, it doesn’t seem too tough for him to decide to let her go. He then announces his run for CEO at a board meeting, hopping on the table and making an impassioned speech about the “new era.”
Cookie gets Lucious to hold off on attacking Hakeem, telling him to let her take Camilla out from the inside instead. She and Jamal (Jussie Smollett) approach Camilla and Hakeem, threatening to leak Jamal’s new album online if Hakeem doesn’t let them release it under Lyon Dynasty instead of Empire. Cookie negotiates for total power under Empire and Hakeem agrees, saying that this will make them a family again.
Now in power, Hakeem heads back to Laura and tells her the truth about why he had to break up with her. He says that now he has what he wants and Empire and he wants her as well. Even though he seems to have his doubts, he promises Laura that they’ll be together.
The episode ends with Lucious and Hakeem meeting under a bridge. Lucious admits that he killed his best friend to keep control over Empire, and tells Hakeem that this role is “life or death.” “Now’s the time when you decide how far you’re willing to go to have the Empire,” he says, handing Hakeem a gun and telling Hakeem to kill him now or else Lucious will find Hakeem and kill him later. After a few moments of indecision, though, Hakeem drops the gun. As he leaves, Lucious tells him that he’d better watch out.
Even though this was my first episode of Empire, I’m familiar with the story and I know that family in-fighting over the company’s power is what this show does. To me, the most interesting subplot this episode was Jamal’s. Jamal is threatened with losing the support of Jameson (William Fichtner), a gay rights advocate, because Jamal has been involved recently with some girls. Jamal argues with both Jameson and his mother, asserting that he can still be gay and be attracted to women; here we get the episode’s only funny moment as Jamal has a somewhat awkward talk about sex with his mom. He then performs a song about freedom, with Jameson the clear target of the message.
This episode brought plenty of intrigue and backstabbing, but it was at its strongest when it showed us relationships: Andre and Rhonda, Jamal and Cookie, Lucious and Hakeem. Now that everybody is working together again, the drama is definitely sure to continue, but let’s hope that we see more of how our characters relate to one another along the way.