Wednesday, April 08, 2015

My Review of Empire's 1x09: "Unto The Breach"

Written by David Rambo
Directed by Anthony Hemingway

Andre (to Lucious): "Andre is carefree!"

This certainly wasn't a resting on it's laurels sort of episode. The weird thing is that at the start of this episode, it felt like we had missed something because how the hell did Cookie find out so quickly about Anika's betrayal? While I'm glad that Anika/Beretti's scheming against Empire wasn't dragged out, it did come out rather quickly for my liking.

However the fallout though was delightful. I like seeing Lucious and his family banding together to keep the artists they had from dropping Empire and heading to Creedmoor and I liked that it was done in a way that somewhat bonded everyone together for the most part - especially with Hakeem and Cookie.

Can I just how great was Hakeem in this episode? Sure he had one little moment where he threw a tiny strop about having to watch Andre and Lucious woo one artist but essentially, Hakeem was able to help calm Andre with Jamal in the lift and both him and Cookie worked brilliantly together in order to stop Anika from sinking her claws into Tiana, which personally I quite liked. Hakeem even deserves points for making it clear to Tiana that it's Camilla he wants to be with and not her. Basically, this version of Hakeem can stay as far as I'm concerned.

Of course wooing Tiana was probably a lot easier than Royal T. Cookie being the last woman standing in a mostly off screen drinking contest to keep the rapper/singer was amusing as was her drunken attempts of wooing Malcolm. He didn't cave into her advances this time but the episode certainly made the impression that those two will get it on at a later date though.

As for Jamal - I love that he socked it to Lucious about coming out at the White Party. While Lucious should've gotten a clue by now that no-one cares about Jamal being gay, this episode hammered it home a little more with British singer Estelle as Delphine wanting to sign with Empire as long as she got to work with both Jamal and Lucious.

The guest stars on this show have been great and Estelle was just brilliant. She has such a lovely, vibrant presence that I really Delphine as a recurring character for the next season. Also the recording session with Jamal was glorious with the live club performances with practically all of the Lyon clan and Tiana for good measure. Yes, she definitely has to return. Delphine is way too good as a character just for a one episode appearance.

However there was far heavier material in this episode than Lucious and Beretti/Anika's vendetta with each other. Andre melted down in spectacular fashion in this episode. First there was the massive panic in the lift with Jamal and Hakeem and then there was the explosive final scene in the boardroom with Rhonda and Lucious. Some spectacularly brilliant acting from Trai Byers throughout this whole episode. I really do hope Andre gets the help he needs now.

Also in "Unto The Breach"

This was a great episode for both Porscha and Becky who worked well to try and help save Empire too. Elle decided to stay with Empire, despite not appearing on screen.

Lucious: "Were you playing me with all those wedding plans to buy time?"
Anika: "You are accusing me of betrayal? After all those women, all those lies and now her?"

Anika didn't directly tell him but it was sort of implied that Beretti might have found out about Lucious's ALS. We also learned that Beretti lost a son to leukemia at an early age.

Jamal: "We're buying loyalty with hookers and blow? That's not Empire."
Lucious: "This is the music business."

Malcolm: "You know I got rules right?"
Cookie:"Man, break your rules. Rules are meant to be broken."

Jamal and Ryan are dating and we even got some nice making out with the two prior to Porscha interrupting them.

Beretti (re Anika): "Your tragedy talks in her sleep. She mumbles your name."
Lucious: "I got what I needed from her and I got rid of her. Oops, I think I did that to you too."

Jamal (to Lucious): "You said that families put aside their differences, so put aside your played out homophobia, unless it's more important to you than Empire."

Standout music: Jamal/Delphine's "Conqueror", Delphine and Tiana with the Lyons (minus Andre) on "You're So Beautiful", Jamal/Hakeem/Andre singing "Lean On Me" and Jamal's shirtless rendition of "All Of The Above".

Anika: "You little bastard."
Hakeem: "Look, I know Dad ain't do right by you but I gotta do right by him, sorry."

Chronology: I guess from where "The Lyon's Roar" left off. Oh and UK/Irish viewers can finally see the show as E4 have bagged the rights and will air it in the next few weeks.

Aside from the rushed discovery of Anika/Beretti working together, "Unto The Breach" was certainly a great episode. It was exceptionally great for the music and moreso for the Lyons to actually all work together as a family and for Andre's bipolar being brought to the forefront as well.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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