Tuesday, October 03, 2017

My Review of Empire's 4x01: "Noble Memory"

Written by Brett Mahoney
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Jamal (singing): "Yesterday I had a dream we were family. I woke up and you weren't next to me."

Sorry for the delay but with so many shows back on at the moment, I've only just caught up with the season premiere of Empire and to be fair, I really enjoyed this one. It's not the show at it's classic but it certainly had it's moments.

Last time we saw Lucious, he saved Cookie from a car explosion and lost his memories. Fast forward a few months later and it's not just his memories he's lost but also a leg. I have to admit to be genuinely surprised that the show went there but it's an interesting move nonetheless. However the focus was more on Lucious's memory loss and Empire's 20th anniversary for the Lyons this week.

Seeing the softer Lucious and his interactions with Cookie, Jamal, Hakeem and Andre was interesting, especially when he got visibly upset over more negative memories of his past (like not crediting Cookie for a particular song) creeping into the mix and the behind the scenes at the 20th anniversary for the Empire was handled well enough as well.

It's hard to tell if Lucious is genuinely unable to remember everything or is faking it to sniff out who nearly killed but either way, along with the quiet scheming of his nurse Claudia, I am finding this storyline great. Demi Moore in particular is bringing in a nice subtlety as a possible antagonist, compared to Diana being more blatantly soap opera villain this season.

Diana popped up in enough scenes to remind Hakeem that she's watching him while warning Warren to up his game with Jamal. I'm still somewhat enjoying Diana as a baddie but I do wonder if she can be sustained beyond the first half of this season. As for Jamal and Warren, despite the deception, there might be some potential with those two. Either that or I am being far too optimistic.

As for Andre, he was largely on edge as Shyne took out one loose end to finish up the episode. Either way, it doesn't seem like their great big scheme has actually worked out well for either one of them at this rate. It was also the least interesting aspect of the episode. I'm just bored of Shyne and I'm really hoping we lose him early this season as well.

- Bit of a crossover with Lee Daniels other musical series, Star as Queen Latifah's Carlotta appeared at the start of the episode and mentioned her girl group. Jamal popped up in their show.
- Both Warren and Tory have been upgraded to regulars this season. Anika and Leah also sat this episode out.
- Standout music: Love Me, the song that Cookie wrote and Jamal and Hakeem performed at the anniversary party.
- Chronology: Five months since Toil & Trouble Part 2.

Noble Memory kicks off the latest season off with an engaging starter. It's not the most explosive opening episode we've had but it's definitely an engaging one with lots of nice character moments and great music along with the earlier timeslot that doesn't seem to have effected the writing for the series either.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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