EMPIRE: “False Imposition” Review
Cookie (Taraji P Henson) is on the move in this week’s episode of Empire. She is managing Jamal (Jussie Smollett), who is living with his boyfriend in a very tiny and dirty apartment and is having serious creative flow issues. At Empire Records, Tiana (Serayah) comes to Cookie for help with a track, and signs with Cookie to represent her, a fact that really gets under Boo Boo Kitty’s aka Anika’s (Grace Gealey) skin. But Lucious (Terrence Howard) is starting to come around to having Cookie in the biz again. She continually shows that she’s resourceful, clever, smart, and knows her stuff.
After dropping Kidd Fo-Fo and having him snatched up by a rival company last week, we learn a little bit more about said company, Creedmore Records, which is being run by Billy Baretti (Judd Nelson). As it turns out, Baretti had been representing Lucious and had stolen millions from him by claiming the writing credit on every single one of his songs. When one of Baretti’s hottest talents, Titan (James Washington), gets arrested on gun charges, the media goes crazy, and Lucious sets his sights on stealing Titan away from Creedmore, even though it could be risky for Empire going public.
Back to Cookie. Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) is struggling to make his music authentic, and Cookie points out that it’s because he is privileged, spoiled, and lazy, so he can never be authentic about the streets the way that Titan can. When Hakeem and Tiana are scheduled to perform at the Teen Choice Awards announcements, Hakeem struggles to tame his lyrics and blows off a meeting with Cookie and Tiana to work on it. As it turns out, he’s in the bath with Camilla (Naomi Campbell), who is clearly a bad influence on him. Tiana walks in on the two of them in a very exciting dramatic moment. Once at the awards announcement, Hakeem is surprised to find that Tiana isn’t interested in where he puts his penis: she’s a businesswoman and publicly being with Hakeem is good for her image, so long as he shows up to meetings and puts on a good show.
But that’s not all that Cookie has her hands in. Anika tries to meet with Titan’s managers while he’s locked up, but a drive-by shooting nearly gets her killed and Lucious demands that she take a step back, since she is ill-equipped to handle the dangerous stuff. Cookie, on the other hand, goes to see Titan’s mother, a deeply religious Islamic woman. She gets plenty of information that allows Lucious to present Titan with an offer too good to refuse, and in the process we learn that a member of the Nation of Islam killed Lucious’ father.
A few other plot points: Hakeem gives Jamal the idea to use all the noise in his neighborhood as inspiration for his music writing. He does so, and it seems his short slump is over. Meanwhile, Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) will be shadowing Lucious as he works with Titan, furthering her own career ambitions. Lucious is forced to tell Anika that he has ALS, so the number of people who know is growing. And the detective investigating Bunkie’s murder asks Lucious about his whereabouts on the night of the murder and Andre (Trai Byers) lies, covering for his father. It turns out Andre has been covering for his father for a long time, no questions asked.
Nothing new on what Cookie and Agent Carter are up to, which was a plotline I didn’t miss, but I’m sure will be back next week. Also, there was less music this week, only very small clips, with only one full performance of “Dangerous” by Hakeem and Tiana, a really fun track.
Empire’s ratings keep going up and up, defying expectations. Are you watching?