FOX’s Empire Without A Country TV Show Review. Empire: Season 2, Episode 2: Without A Country leaves the Lyon pride splintered with Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), Andre (Trai Byers), and Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) to fend for themselves without a name for their new break out company. Pride Of The Lyons is definitely a corny name for a music business, so with that and the new digs being a dump, Anika (Grace Gealey) getting brought in without Cookie’s consent, and Andre’s heart relapsing into love with Empire, they are off to a rocky start, but this show wouldn’t have a Cookie Lyon if things weren’t rocky.
At least she knows she’s crazy.
Lucious (Terrence Howard) has a little while before his “crazy” doesn’t pay anymore, but it might not be as long as he is entitled to if the prosecutor doesn’t let him have his medication. It appears that a paperwork blunder has created a little extortion attempt to get him to cooperate.
Cookie breaks up an awkward interview and begs Jamal (Jussie Smollet) to give Hakeem his album back. Then, she drops the ball about the company she is bootstrapping. There’s always a catch.
Lucious is working on a new track in the prison yard when Officer McKnight (Ludacris) refers to the new posse as “boys” and becomes the thorn in Lucious’ side for the rest of the episode. When Jamal visits Lucious to discuss business, they start plotting to sneak some recording equipment into the prison so Lucious can drop tracks with his new band of ruffians.
Hakeem wants to create an all girl group, but gets run over (and run into) by Latinas whom he can’t seem to wrap his mind around. Cookie doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with a couple of J-Lo’s, as long as the new ones can really sing (unlike J-Lo). And then she lays the most brutal realism on Anika that displays her on par with Lucious for their egocentrism.
In Jamal’s visit to see Lucious, Thirsty Rawlings (Andre Royo), a J.D. from the University of Guam, leans in persuasively to woo them into his clientele so he can play dirty with prosecutor, Roxanne Ford (Tyra Ferrell). He promises a bail hearing, and what ensues is nothing short of legal genius of the kind worthy of Lucious’ business. This lawyer is the king of dirty lawyers, as he should be.
Jamal must have picked up some negotiation skills from Thirsty because he jets right over to the Lyons’ new den to lure Hakeem back to Empire. Hakeem the dream pulls the fastest stunt of his career and leaks his album to make it work for his new label which he never intended to leave. He is a mama’s boy.
The soon-to-be new mommy, Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday), leverages her condition to get soon-to-be uncle Jamal to let Andre come back to Empire after she cries and begs for forgiveness. It works like a charm. Jamal is a sucker.
Lucious drops a track in a storage closet, gets busted, tossed in the hole, and his lawyer goes to work with his thugs taking the reins to get back the laptop that has the track stored on it by pistol whipping Officer McKnight at a mall parking garage. The new track debuts on the radio while Cookie and Hakeem are cleaning house in their own rental space. The song is all about snitching, but Cookie doesn’t even flinch.
This is the hardest working show in show business. The amount of music talent on display is staggering, and even if you don’t follow the story or any of the drama, there’s something worth watching in the performances. They aren’t shy about it. There’s so much talent that adds to the believability of a real music business that no matter how trifling these characters are written, there’s always the music to focus on.