Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My Review of Empire's 4x16: "Fair Terms"

Written by Dianne Houston & Jamie Rosengard
Directed by Jussie Smollett

Eddie (to Lucious): "This is all you'll ever be."

Last episode saw Lucious take out Shyne rather gloriously and this week saw Eddie really stick the knife in at the 20 for 20 launch with his public outing of Blake's racist past and instilling more reason for the board to back him over the Lyons. With two episodes left, I do wonder Eddie is about to get a similarly gruesome fate that Shyne did last week.

Speaking of Shyne, there was something audacious in having Lucious give the speech he did at the former's wake but it also felt very in character as well. Even more audacious was Lucious being the one to convince Nessa to throw her lot in with the Lyons family with the promise of him getting justice for Shyne's murder. I can only wonder what that will come back to haunt Lucious.

Eddie and Anika certainly were working over time to undermine the Lyons at every turn and we even had Tiana do her best to undermine Cookie as well. As for the Blake reveal, I did believe his story about his father making him take that photo but at the same time, everyone had a right to be pissed off with that. Saying that, he can't be the only 20 for 20 artist with a skeleton in his closet. What else did Anika uncover?

As for the rest of the episode, the scenes with Cookie, her sisters and her mother were good. Not quite as good as the scenes with Poundcake and Maya from the previous episode but I did like the dinner scene and ensuing tension between Cookie and Renee felt realistic enough.

If the show could get a lot out of Leah, then they better do the same with Renee as well. The scene where Renee met her grandsons for the first time added a nice bit of poignancy to things as well. Plus we really do need a scene with Renee and Lucious within the next two episodes as well as he doesn't seem that enthused that Cookie is talking to her mother again.

- Hakeem's subplot with the whitesplaining movie director was a bit boring, with Haven predictably getting with him as well.
- Becky made it clear that she knew Jamal was uploading music online with his Collective. Jussie Smollett also directed this episode.
- Standout music: Jamal/Hakeem/Tiana's The Big 20 as well as some familiar favourites.
- Chronology: From where A Lean And Hungry Look left off.

Fair Terms was a bit of a letdown compared to the brilliance of the previous episode. Not strictly a bad episode as such and Jussie Smollett was fine on directing duties but it could've a bit more livelier than it was. The last scene though certainly did end things on an interesting note.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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