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EMPIRE: “Our Dancing Days” Review

Lucious (Terrence Howard) takes the focus in this week’s episode of Empire as he produces a concert event for investors. After all, the more money people invest in Empire Records, the better it looks when the company goes public. But at the same time, he’s struggling with his health, and the tension is high among those vying for his attention and trust.

The drug treatment he’s undergoing for ALS is poisoning him, it turns out, hammering home the point that ALS has no cure. He collapses in front of Cookie (Taraji P Henson) while she is yelling at him for forcing Jamal (Jussie Smollett) to marry a woman when he was 18, especially since now there’s a child involved.

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This sets up the episode-long arc showcasing the connection that Cookie and Lucious still have. Lucious chooses Anika (Grace Gealey) over Cookie to ride with him in the ambulance, but he’s not unaware of her presence at the hospital where she is clearly concerned about him. At the rehearsal for the event, when Jamal and Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) are supposed to perform together but are having issues, Cookie gives them a lecture about how Lucious had a dream and they need to get over their personal stuff and get it together for him. Lucious hears this, and has Cookie’s back when Hakeem talks back.

All of this does not go unnoticed by Anika. Elle Dallas (Courtney Love) is clean and sober and ready to perform, but when she’s not looking, Anika spikes her tea in an attempt to make Cookie look like a fool. And she almost succeeds. Elle can’t perform and Cookie tells Lucious. Lucious isn’t upset, though. He goes out and sets up Jamal and Hakeem to perform while Cookie gets them to reconcile, at least enough to perform together without killing each other.

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But the night has other problems in store. Lucious suffers a symptom of ALS and can’t speak, right when he’s about to give a big speech to the investors. Anika and Andre (Trai Byers) start to squabbling over which one of them should give the speech instead, but Lucious stops them, picking Cookie to give the speech. Naturally, she says “to hell” with the teleprompter and speaks off the cuff in a rousing speech that has the investors laughing, cheering and clapping as she tells them all about Lucious’ dreams and how his dreams will make them all rich.

All in all, the night is a success. However, Hakeem and Jamal are both dealing with their own personal drama. After Jamal remained in the closet during his radio interview, Michael (Rafael de la Fuente) leaves him (called it!), and now Jamal is alone…except for his supposed daughter, whose mother has disappeared. Meanwhile Hakeem’s relationship with Camilla (Naomi Campbell) is growing turbulent, since she wants to be more than his dirty little secret.

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After the success of the Investors Event, Anika has to run off to Chicago for a meeting and Cookie corners Lucious, asking him what is going on with his health and he promises to come clean. He gathers the whole family to reveal the news to vastly different reactions. Andre immediately freaks out, pacing and rambling about the IPO, which makes Hakeem angry and they nearly come to blows before Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) takes Andre home where he has a breakdown. Lucious pulls aside Hakeem and Jamal, who seems to be handling the news the best, telling them that he needs to talk to Cookie, who is just silent, all of her sass and bravado gone.

Cookie is visibly upset, telling Lucious that he has to beat the disease, because she can’t lose him again. They have a serious heart to heart and then the inevitable happens: they kiss. And they don’t stop there, either. It doesn’t take long for them to move to the bedroom, rolling around and laughing as only two people who truly love each other can during sex.

But, being Empire, we need to amp up the drama, so who gets back from Chicago early? Anika, who sees the two of them. She turns away as the episode ends. This could be really bad for Lucious. After all, it’s Anika’s father who falsely claimed that Lucious is in good health. If he takes away that false document, the IPO won’t move forward.

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The only thing that really bugged me about this episode is the fact that no one ever brought up the idea of a paternity test. Jamal only slept with his ex-wife once, so the chances of impregnating her on one go is slim, but possible, yet no one is thinking to get a test? Also, they never say how long the two were married and when in that union the one-time sexual encounter took place. After all, if it happened on the wedding night and they were together for a year…Jamal would definitely know about the child. Too many questions about this.

One tidbit that was almost too quick to register was Cookie yelling at Porsha (Ta-Rhonda Jones) again. Continued setup for Porsha’s eventual betrayal? Time will tell.

Are you glad that Cookie and Lucious finally got together?

The Author

Mike Bowers

Mike Bowers

Mike is a TV-obsessed actor and writer living in Los Angeles, California.

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