Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Review of Empire's 2x18: "Past Is Prologue"

Written by Lee Daniels And Ilene Chaiken
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Rhonda: "You wanted that devil's child to be the only heir to the throne, didn't you? Didn't you?"
Anika: "You're damn right I did, you bitch."

Okay, so every season is going to see Anika getting her ass handed to her and even season is going to involve either her and/or Rhonda in a violent altercation and this episode had two of them. First of all, Rhonda made it pretty damn clear that she believed Anika pushed her and proceeded to slap her silly in front of Lucious and Cookie, only for everyone to take Anika's side over Rhonda (including Andre as well).

Then we had Anika threatening to jump off the Empire building due to her fear of being called to testify against Lucious and when her fears were later confirmed and she got served, Lucious stepped in to protect himself and married Anika, which managed to kill any good feeling he might have generated with Cookie in the process.

Unfortunately during the aftermath of the least romantic wedding ever, Lucious did make it abundantly clear to the audience that Anika actually pushed Rhonda, which disappointed me a lot more than it should've done. Then we had one final and violent confrontation between Rhonda and Anika and it really did look like both of them went over the edge while Andre watched on in horror. Are both of them gone for good? I doubt it but would they really kill off a pregnant woman? Rhonda on the other hand might not fair so well.

As for the rest of the episode, Hakeem's wedding to Laura predictably went to hell when an unwanted guest from Lucious and Cookie's dodgy days caused mayhem but to be honest, no-one was really rooting for the pair anyways so if this is the last we'll see of Laura, I can't say I'll miss the character that much. Hakeem wasn't ready for marriage to begin with.

As for Jamal, the great news is that Freda didn't kill him but he was largely dispirited in this one and while he did get a bit of his groove back when trying to organise music for Hakeem and Laura's non wedding, he also seemed desperate to break his family's toxic cycle with no success. As for Freda - well she's in prison and Lucious got some music out of her but it seems like we might not be done with her just yet.

Keeping with the reveals, I was intrigued that we learned about Lucious's father in this episode and that Tariq is actually Lucious's half brother as well. Nice soapy revelations there and with Leah sticking around, it seems more on Dwight Walker is going to come out.

Also in "Past Is Prologue"

Anika willing to murder a child is pretty dark, even for this show but Rhonda then tried to the same thing as well here.

Lucious (re Jamal): "He doesn't want to do music."
Cookie: "Yeah, that's what concerns me."

Xzibit guest starred in this episode as the rather troublesome Shy. I have a feeling he'll be back next season as well.

Lucious: "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Rhonda (to Anika): "I know you pushed me, bitch."

Andre (to Hakeem): "Come on, man, when was the last time Lucious went out of his way to help anybody, especially his own sons?"

Lucious's father being a cop I didn't see coming but I like it as a reveal. I hope we learn some more of Cookie's past too prior to meeting Lucious next season.

Cookie: "Anika, I know we have bad blood between us but you are carrying a life, my grandson so you'll never be alone, you hear me cos I know what that feels like. You're a Lyon now okay. I know that's what you always wanted, huh? To be one of us."

Cookie (to Lucious, re Anika): "I didn't save this bitch's life so she could ruin mine. There's gotta be another way."

Standout music: Veronika's "Hourglass", Jamal's "Hemingway" and Freda's "Turn Around".

Lucious (re Rhonda): "I know you pushed her."
Anika: "Excuse me for a minute please."

Chronology: A while since the events of Rise By Sin.

For a while, Past Is Prologue certainly delivered on the action. It was definitely a good way of ending what was ultimately a bit of a hit and miss season in parts. I still intend to watch next season but we'll need some less boardroom stuff though in parts and more into Cookie's past as well as a stable love interest for Jamal as I can't see DMajor lasting too long.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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