Friday, April 07, 2017

My Review of Empire's 3x11: "Play On"

Written by Janeika James & Jasheika James & Malcolm Spellman
Directed by Benny Boom

Cookie (to Anika): "You need to want more for your life, honey."

Well, the episode did start with Anika being back at Empire in the very job Becky wanted and had her winning over the latter through flattery (and probably some sincerity). Then Tariq stuck his oar in and Anika soon found herself dropping Bella off on Hakeem and appearing to once again be on the brink of selling out Lucious. 

Well, it's hardly the most disappointing of propositions and it was inevitable that Anika would turn on Lucious once again but it seems that we have Leah to thank for this one. When she wasn't being nasty to a female security guard at Empire, she was whispering poison into Tariq's ear in order to make him go after both Cookie and Anika this week.

Yup, Cookie herself wasn't impervious as it seems that there was some glitch with her parole conditions, leading to a heated confrontation between Lucious and Angelo in this one. The more and more this episode tried to signpost that Cookie should move on properly with Angelo (mostly via Candace), the flashbacks to Lucious and Cookie's wedding and the latter being pregnant with Andre indicated the opposite here. 

I have to admit that while the whole Lucious being addictive to Cookie is repetitive by now, the flashbacks with their younger selves have been great in further detailing their messy history though. Keeping with Lucious, he might have kept quiet about the kiss they shared but he still messed around with Jamal's studio time though.

Speaking of Jamal, he made some nice music with Tory before throwing a bit of a fit with her for working with Lucious but we also had him dump Derek and get together with Philip in this one. Meanwhile we saw some tension between Hakeem and Tiana as the latter struggled to accept Bella but Andre got some of the better material though.

Introducing Nia Long's Giuliana Green at the end of the episode was an interesting stroke. In less than five minutes we saw her cowering from an abusive husband to shooting in the back as the character is apparently going to be a key player in Andre and Shyne's campaign to take Lucious down. Not to mention a clear thorn in Cookie's side too going from the previews.

- At one point in this episode, Tiana seemed to be channeling Christina Aguilera's look from Lady Marmalade.
- I think this episode just set up the much needed coming out moment for Derek, right?
- Standout music: Jamal/Tory's Feels So Good and Veronika and Nessa's Throne.
- Chronology: From where Sound & Fury left off.

A strong enough episode but not quite as brilliant as the previous one. Play On was pretty on point with the music, the young Lucious/Cookie flashbacks continue to be strong and Guliana does seem like an interesting antagonist in the making too.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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