Saturday, April 09, 2016

My Review of Empire's 2x12: "A Rose By Any Other Name"

Written by Ilene Chaiken
Directed by Michael Engler

Camilla: "Why don't you shoot me please?"
Lucious: "After the pain you caused my family, I don't owe you any favours."

It has not been a great few weeks for lesbian and bisexual women on television. We've seen the likes of The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries and The 100 most controversially bump off a slew of queer female characters recently and it seems that Empire got in on the action too as this episode brought about the downfall and deaths of Mimi and Camilla.

To be honest, I'm not angry about both characters getting taken out. I should be and there's plenty of other reviewers/fans who are but for me, while I liked Mimi enough as a character, I never believed her relationship with Camilla to be anything more than a convenience and this episode had Camilla effectively plotting behind Mimi's back before Hakeem dropped Camilla in it.

I am annoyed though that they couldn't get Marissa Tomei back for this episode and that she was poisoned by Camilla but other than that, I'm far less bothered than I should be. As for Camilla poisoning herself, it was dramatic enough but it mainly highlighted that Naomi Campbell just isn't that strong enough an actress to make you care for Camilla either.

I did like that ultimately Hakeem chose the rest of his family over Camilla and the latter's downfall was certainly deserved too. Lucious got to have his pound of flesh and take pleasure in Camilla losing everything before she did herself in. I am surprised the episode resisted the temptation to have Lucious be the one to directly kill Camilla though. Also for people lamenting the show killing off LGBT characters, we still have Tiana and of course, Jamal. Speaking of whom.

This week saw more fallout over that Skye subplot as the gay community gave Jamal a public bashing over flip flopping (with actual flip flops too) and Jameson himself needed some persuasion in order to give Jamal the benefit of the doubt. As for the public dissing of Lucious, I found it sort of amusing how Lucious managed to turn Jamal's rather justified public outburst of anger against him into an advantage but that's Lucious for you.

As for the rest of the episode, the hints of Andre heading for another breakdown are certainly coming into play. His paranoia over Rhonda is one thing but he lost it during the attempts of buying back more stock. I do like that everyone is aware and are trying to help Andre this time around. Despite Cookie's moment of horrific insensitivity, she did reach out to her son and Jamal/Hakeem's attempts of helping were quite affecting too. That being said though, Andre is totally right about Rhonda losing their baby by an attacker. I still don't think it's Anika though, who was absent this week.

Also in "A Rose By Any Other Name"

Lucious was planning a Richard II themed video which Cookie seemed to be mostly impressed by.

Andre: "I need you to have faith."
Rhonda: "Well, I don't need faith that's for sure."

Hakeem using his own image for the new logo was very him. It looked silly but I love that the title sequence for this episode ran with it.

Cookie: "That's the silver lining. Maybe Hakeem did you a favour."
Lucious: "I can't wait to return the favour."

Becky (to flash mob, re Jamal): "That's not even his song, stupid."

Carol and Porscha both want to be Cookie's assistant. There's a little subplot brewing.

Cookie: "I am trying to save Empire. That bitch can burn it down anytime she wants. Do you not understand that, Hakeem?"

Jamal: "I'm saying Lucious Lyon isn't even his real name."

Tiana's dislike for Mirage A Trois made itself known in this episode. That's going to be a fresh headache for Hakeem and Cookie soon.

Hakeem: "So now you believe in me, ma?"
Cookie: "Boy, I always believed in you. I made you my partner, didn't I?"

Standout music: Jamal's "Like My Daddy", Jamal/Hakeem's "Good People" and Hakeem's "Power Of The Empire".

Camilla: "He'll never forgive you."
Lucious: "What are you talking about? It was Hakeem who sent the videos to Mimi. How does that feel?"

Chronology: Not long from where Death Will Have His Day left off.

While I was surprised that A Rose By Any Other Name resolved the Mimi/Camilla a little too quickly than expected, I do think the episode was pretty strong though. There was some nice family moments with the Lyons and with the whole 'who pushed Rhonda' mystery looming, there's still a bit to go here. Not to mention everyone finding out about Anika's pregnancy.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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