Wednesday, April 01, 2015

My Review of Empire's 1x07: "Our Dancing Days"

Written by Attica Locke
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Cookie: "This was always a good song."
Lucious: "It was about you."

And this was a cracker of an episode. Lucious finally telling the rest of his family about having ALS was much needed and the various reactions upon the reveal were brilliant to watch unfold. Jamal took it in his stride, Hakeem felt bad for his father while Andre worried about the business side of things publicly and then melted down in the shower privately with Rhonda trying to get him to calm down as well.

For me, it was a good way of showing the various conflicting emotions of Lucious's illness but the scenes with Lucious and Cookie were the highlight of the episode. From the moment he passed out earlier in the episode (as a result of that experimental drug not being effective at all), Cookie knew there was something not right. The biggest clue then came when Lucious temporarily lost his voice and she had to do her own speech for the investors at a important business meeting/concert at Leviticus.

I'm not entirely sure if it was wise for Cookie to jump back into bed with Lucious but considering the little stunt Anika pulled earlier in the episode with Elle, there was something delightfully karmic about her walking in on Lucious and Cookie getting busy at the end of this episode. That being said, not sure if we should get a Cookie/Lucious/Anika for the rest of the season. Cookie sleeping with her ex should be a one time only thing even if Terrence and Taraji exude serious chemistry off each other.

Keeping with the relationship woes - I hated the way Michael was written out of this episode. While he had a right to be mad at Jamal for the interview slip up and the break up was inevitable, it just felt like it was also done as an afterthought too. It might have had a better impact had Michael been given more to do character wise before he decided to leave Jamal as well. Unless he reappears later in the season or next season, but this wasn't a good way of exiting him - temporary or otherwise.

Sticking with Jamal for a bit - I liked that Lucious attempted to show some sympathy for Michael leaving him (try harder though, Lucious) and I don't really mind the storyline with Lola as well, though it would be wise if he actually got a proper DNA test (why is this never brought up during these sort of plots?) to find out whether or not he actually is the father. At least Cookie is smart enough to raise some doubts. That being said, Lola is lovely.

As for Hakeem - I liked that both him and Jamal made up with each other and his reaction towards Lucious's illness was out of concern for his father and not his career, so those are good points. I'm not really that enamoured with his relationship with Camilla and Naomi Campbell's acting leaves a lot to be desired but other than that, this was a better episode for Hakeem at the very least.

Also in "Our Dancing Days"

Olivia just leaving Lola at Empire was pretty cold. The episode told us she was a hairdresser, had an abusive boyfriend and was briefly married to Jamal when he was 18. They also had sex just the once.

Lucious (re Jamal/Lola): "How do you know it's not his baby?"
Cookie: "You got to have sex to make a baby, Lucious."

I liked Anika but spiking Elle's green tea just to fuck with Cookie was a pretty nasty thing to do.

Michael (to Jamal): "You're in love with your music. You don't have room for anyone else."

Camilla: "I'm not your backstreet slut, Hakeem. Treat me like you treat that girl."
Hakeem: "Why do you keep talking about Tiana?"

With everyone now in the know about Lucious's ALS, surely it can't be any longer before everyone else finds out that Andre has bipolar too?

Lucious (to Jamal, re Michael): "I'm not sorry he's gone but I am sorry you're not happy."

Anika: "It's a big night for you."
Elle: "Yeah, if you had told me a month ago, I'd be performing, I wouldn't have believed you."

Prior to Anika actually drugging her, Elle/Courtney actually scrubbed up really well in this episode. Still, at least we have Love on Revenge to tide us over, right?

Camilla (re Hakeem): "I can see why he's so talented."
Lucious: "You're gonna make me blush."

Standout music: Elle's "Walk Out On Me", Jamal/Hakeem's "Keep Your Money" and Lucious's "You're So Beautiful".

Cookie: "Lucious Lyon is a musical god and he's also a son of a bitch that had a dream. Still has a dream and nobody better ever try to get between Lucious and his dream."

Chronology: A day or two from where "Out, Damned Spot" left off.

I loved this episode. "Our Dancing Days" might have ended Jamal and Michael's relationship on a horribly frustrating and sour note but everything else plot wise came together pretty well though. It's no wonder this show has become such a mammoth in a such a short space of time either. It's gloriously addictive.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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