Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Review of Empire's 1x11: "Die But Once"

Written by Ilene Chaiken
Directed by Mario Van Peebles

Lucious (to Bunky): "It's my comeback concert, cause I'm about to come back like the Phoenix from the ashes."

Oh dear - the show went there. Of course by the time we'd get to the finale (and the massively popularity of the show became more apparent) that it would turn out that Lucious might not be on the way out after all. They say you can never kill a bad thing and this episode revealed that instead of ALS, Lucious actually has MG, which won't be killing him off anytime soon.

However it wasn't until the end of the episode that Lucious became privy to the fact that he was going to live so when he wasn't having Cookie removed from Empire, thumping a seething Hakeem or grooming Jamal to take over his company, he was also trying to deal with old fashioned writers block.

Much as Lucious can be a vicious bastard at times, I really liked that it was Jamal and a visit to their old home that awoke Lucious's ability to actually write a decent song and it was also rather nice to see the two of them work together on a song. In spite of their differences, this episode also showed some similarities too when Jamal got physical with Beretti over old songs of Lucious's as well. It's not a side of Jamal I want to see often but at the same time, this was still a great episode for Jamal nonetheless.

When he wasn't connecting with his father, both Jamal and Ryan christened Lucious's desk in their own way (thank you show) and I also loved the scene where at a signing for his album, a young lad told Jamal that he encouraged him to come out. I loved that little moment - both for the young lad in question and for the way it clearly affected Jamal as well too. Thank you show.

As for the rest of the Lyon kids - Hakeem really managed to stick it to Lucious twice in this episode. First with the diss rap that earned him a punch from his old man and then by having sex with Anika in front of Lucious too. For a tiny second I might have felt a little glimmer of sympathy for Lucious but it passed though.

As for Andre - he was willing to drop being CFO of Empire Records so he could spend more time with God/Michelle and Lucious ended up putting the skids on that by tempting Michelle with a Gospel album. While I was a little disappointed that Michelle gave in so easily, another part of me couldn't blame her either. However I'm still hoping that Andre doesn't cheat on Rhonda with Michelle.

However the most exciting stuff of this episode once again involved Cookie though. Lucious highlighted his jealousy of her and Malcolm well but it was him confessing in his sleep about killing Bunky that was the gem of the episode. I know Cookie was holding a pillow over his head (and repeatedly wished for his death) but will she really kill him? I'm going to go with a resounding no but either way, Lucious screwed himself royally there.

Also in "Die But Once"

Keeping with the cameos, we had Snoop Dogg in this episode, who thankfully wasn't as annoying as he usually can be at times.

Lucious: "This is my last show."
Becky: "Come on, don't say that."
Lucious: "Well, it is."

Becky wins points for putting Lucious in his place. Porscha loses some for her lack of discretion with Cookie and Malcolm though.

Malcolm (to Cookie): "We'll take it as fast as you want because you're in charge."

Cookie (to Carol): "You want to know why I put my name on the concert? Because hell wants the devil back and Lucious is on his way."

This was the first episode not to feature Rhonda at all and Anika had no lines in this one either.

Lucious (to Andre): "There's no higher purpose than being a maker of music. That's the voice of God."

Jamal (to Lucious): "I used to worship you and even though you hated me for being who I am and tried to beat it out of me, I worshiped the way you used to make music."

I still find the wigs they use in flashbacks for Cookie seriously distracting at times.

Beretti: "You're not going to drop me."
Jamal: "My daddy thinks I will."

Standout music: Jamal/Lucious's "Nothing To Lose", John Legend's "Made To Love" and Michelle's "For My God".

Lucious (to Andre): "Let's see who's more powerful - your God or your daddy."

Chronology: Not long from where "Sins Of The Father" left off.

Now that was a superb penultimate episode. "Die But Once" might have copped out a little by revealing that Lucious had a less threatening illness but other than that, the first season of this show is shaping up to end on quite a number. Looking forward to the second part.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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