Empire Season 2 Fall Finale Goes Out With A Bang: Recap & Review

This recap and review has major spoilers for the fall finale of Empire, Season 2, which aired on December 2nd, 2015. You’ve been warned. 

And we’re back!

Last week you may have noticed that there was no recap or review for the past Empire episode. I apologize wholeheartedly for that, but you can read this dope review of last week’s episode here.

This weeks episode marks the last episode of the fall season, with new episodes set to reappear in March of 2016. This leaves an ample amount of time to forget how over the top and distasteful this season has become.

In the beginning, I begged for more powerful scenes from Andre (Trai Byers), character development from Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray), and some redemption on behalf of Anika (Grace Gealey).

In some ways, I got exactly what I asked for, but in other ways: where has the likability of these characters gone? The drama and overzealous thirst for viewers has drowned the characters best qualities. Anika becoming a pregnant stalker? Jamal making out with Alicia Keys? The only one who has stayed sane in this season is Cookie, and if that ever became debatable this show would dig an even deeper hole for itself.

From the promo released last week, the set up contained the same premise of last year’s finale: Who will stay loyal to Lucious, and who will betray him?

From the get-go, there was finally some much needed strings that began to be tied. Past episodes left much to be desired, and the plot became so interwoven with so many different schemes it was hard to keep up.

fox.com

The writers stepped it up on that front, with Camilla (Naomi Campbell), who was Hakeem’s older lover, making a comeback after Lucious sent her packing with a scowl on her face.

Hakeem is not anyone’s favorite in the family right now. After the big betrayal reveal (of course), we find out that Camilla and Mimi (Marisa Tomei) are married. They are married and have been scheming us all on the low this entire time, and I have never been so grateful for a plot twist like this from Empire in a long, long time. After such an abrupt and vindictive dismissal of Camilla’s character, it was the icing on the cake to watch Lucious fall from his throne. With Hakeem being the deciding factor.

Which brings me to the overall troubling point of this episode: This show is about family. Self identity. Knowing who you are, and what you believe in. The type of dismissal of Cookie’s stance on her family, herself, the world, it’s troubling to watch as Cookie still shows affection for Lucious. On the other hand, Cookie isn’t so innocent herself. Still, the relationship between the two is still confusing to watch. With a “comfort” scene after Lucious is left packing, it brought on the inevitable sigh of the rekindling of their relationship.

Cookie also stepped foot on her old stomping grounds this episode, with her walking through the prison that held her for seventeen years, decked out in couture from head to toe. It was a stabilizing moment for Cookie, and one that I think she needed after everything that had happened since that very first episode in season one. Cookie has really grown without it feeling artificial.

fox.com

Then there’s Anika. It’s truly a testament to my patience that I continue to watch this show knowing that Anika, who abruptly became psychotic, and suddenly had tendencies to I don’t know, push someone down the stairs, is being represented this way.

The fact that the decline in her health was so abrupt, and felt so demonized, is not something I can get behind. At least Grace Gealey makes it her own and does her best, even though she was done so, so wrong.

Then there was the Skye (Alicia Keys) and Jamal story line that caught everyone off guard, and put many on edge. There was an intimate, forgivable scene between the two that sealed the deal and made it a bit more likable than the angle the last episode tried to pull. Skye is the last thing Jamal is going to have worry about in the Spring, because “Song of The Year” nominees include: Jamal Lyon and Lucious Lyon.

Cue the music.

The end went out with a bang.

Or rather, a fall.

It’s not clear who pushed Rhonda down those steps, but something tells me when March rolls around, this will be another plot line that won’t be wrapped up as quick as a bow.

Overall, it was more solid than the rest of the season, and concluded on a cliffhanger that will keep viewers sticking around to see the outcome in March. It was a slick move on the writers parts, and I commend them for sticking this one through, despite the decline in not only viewers but also quality.

We’ll see what happens when March rolls around and dynamic duo Mimi and Camilla are in charge of the title the Lyon’s will kill to take back.

Literally.

*

Fall season as a whole: 7/10

Fall Finale: 8/10

Brooke Pawling Stennett is a college student pursuing a degree in Multimedia Journalism and Creative Non-Fiction in the old Windy City. She tends to lean toward the obsessive side of the tracks when it comes to books and music. She's an avid concert attendee (or at least she tries to!) and rambler. She'd like to travel the world and write about it, but in the only ways she knows how: sarcastically and full of internet jargon. Her opinions are her best ones, especially if they involve boy-bands and Netflix. . .even though she doesn't even have her own account. You can tweet her at @br_stennett and tell her how ridiculous (and totally great!) her opinions are.