Friday, September 23, 2016

My Review of Empire's 3x01: "Light Into Darkness"

Written by Malcolm Spellman And Joshua Allen
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Lucious (to Bella): "Wait til we show them how dark hell can get."

And this one certainly started off darkly too. Last season we had the cliffhanger of Anika and Rhonda about to go over and one of them certainly did. Because there was no way this show was going to murder a pregnant woman, it was Rhonda who ended up taking the fatal dive and died within the first two minutes of the episode.

My thoughts - damn it! I really liked Rhonda and thought her and Andre were a great team and regardless of it being an 'accident', this makes Anika a killer in respects. Anika already caused Rhonda to miscarry and now she caused Rhonda's death and having Lucious cover it up as a suicide adds further insult to injury along with the lack of an onscreen funeral.

However we did get to see Rhonda haunting a distressed Andre towards the end of the episode and I'm hoping that Andre exacts some revenge on Anika within the first half of the season. Speaking of Anika, she gave birth to a girl named Bella and was forced to move in with Lucious in order to make the marriage convincing, which only further enraged Cookie and Hakeem in the process.

I'm not surprised that Lucious claimed Bella as his own and it's certainly leading to a battle of sorts with him and Hakeem but I'm also intrigued to see how dark Lucious can actually make hell because he's done quite a bit of that in the previous two seasons. As for his half-brother, Tariq, I'm not big on the character. Right now, he just seems a bit annoying and will inevitably fail to get Lucious though he did succeed in needling everyone else during that dinner scene.

As for Cookie, this wasn't her best episode. While she had some lovely moments with her sons and sisters, most of the episode was her just sniping at Lucious for marrying Anika. I do think she made a good decision by trying to put some distance between her and Lucious and not rising too much to Tariq's taunts though.

As for Jamal, I like that they're continuing on with his trauma but at the same time, he's willing to forgive and even help Freda while pulling Lucious apart (nothing different there but still great to see). I also seeing him working with Shyne's daughter, Nessa during this episode as well. Oh and when Hakeem wasn't trying it on with Tiana, he also seemed enamoured with Nessa as well.

- New regulars this season are Morocco Omari (Tariq), Xzibit (Shyne) and Bre-Z (Freda). Kaitlin Doubleday is now a special guest star.
- I think they're setting up a moment where Leah might actually pose a danger to Anika later in the season.
- There was a time jump in this episode, given that we skipped Rhonda's funeral and Jamal shaved his hair. We also got flashbacks to younger versions of Lucious, Cookie, Carol and Candace.
- Standout music in this episode included Jamal's Need Freedom with Nessa.

We've had stronger opening episodes but Light Into Darkness was a good way of getting things started. I'm sad to see Rhonda go but I'm hoping her death will spur Andre into action against Anika. As for the new regulars, so far I'm a little meh on them.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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