Like millions of other Black folks, I found myself watching the season 2 premiere of Empire. I’m not going to lie, when the show first came out I wasn’t too interested in watching it just because I wanted to be different and gallop around on my high horse declaring to the world that “I will not be supporting anything related to FOX or Rupert Murdoch!” I was on my Dr. Boyce Watkins foolishness…
But then it happened. Season 1 ended & one weekend I found myself home alone due to the wife & kids being out of town. I’m not much of a TV watcher but I decided to press the big ON DEMAND button on my remote control just to see what new world would open up to me & there it was….Empire, Season 1…ON DEMAND. I thought to myself immediately, “One episode can’t hurt anybody.” Next thing you know I ended up binge watching the entire season. So here I am. I’ve dropped my super duper pro Black ways for 1 hour on a Wednesday night to watch the season 2 premiere.
As I was watching the season opener I was mentally taking notes on things to write about, but then I stumbled across a friend’s status update on Facebook which pretty much summarized everything I was thinking. It’s pretty damn accurate by the way. So if you haven’t watched Empire, season 2, episode 1 yet, close this blog post & revisit it after you watch the episode.
Empire S2 E1 recap by photographer Kristopher Armstead:
After being spoiled by the super interesting and well written season of Starz’ hit show Power, it’s kind of sobering to be ushered back into the “Gangster-Glee” like world of FOX’s Empire. Nothing reminded me of this more than Taraji’s “Cookie” character taking a pot shot at 50 Cent early in the episode. The writing in Empire feels like it’s being swallowed by its own idea. I really hope it doesn’t rely on guest appearances more than actual story content.
Another thing I feel like, is that this premiere episode border-lined on exploiting homosexuality as a “shock” gimmick. It’s odd to see this technique used when the director is an openly gay man. Also, the actor who plays Jamal (Jussie Smollett) seems to have gotten worse at acting somehow. He had some horrible lines, most involving him losing his temper and lashing out like a baby. However, so did Tasha Smith’s character. She probably had the worse acted scene in the entire episode when she was “crying” on the bed while Cookie was on the phone. Also, a lot of the story content did not make logical sense. The sets also were odd. Lucious viewed the benefit concert in his honor on a flat screen TV with gold paneling around it…in prison? Chris Rock’s character was not only able to beat & torture, but also decapitate Cookie’s cousin, AND place his head in a gift wrapped box, AND mail it to Cookie’s house. ALL from prison? Then we are supposed to believe that Lucious has so much clout that he could order a “loud and long” killing of the same man who had enough clout to pull off mailing a decapitated head in a gift box from max prison?
Also, how do you deliver such a big ticket actor like Chris Rock for ONE episode? Then you wrap up a storyline (that started half way through season one) with a super cliche “Oh, you think men are with you but they are actually with me” plot twist? This twist in a plot has only been used in every movie & TV show since forever. It’s one of the most overused “plot twists”. The main story is also incredibly convoluted and seems to have the same exact theme as season one. I really hope they pull a rabbit out of a hat and twist the story into something unique and interesting because it’s looking like this season is going to struggle to keep my attention.
Oh…and WTF is up with the gorilla in the cage thing at the beginning???
I agree with all of that 100%.