EMPIRE: “Unto the Breach” Review
This week’s episode of Empire starts at a high intensity and stays there the entire episode as the Lyon family goes into crisis mode. Cookie (Taraji P Henson) discovers that Anika (Grace Gealey) went to Beretti (Judd Nelson) and tells Lucious (Terrence Howard). Just like that, Anika and Lucious are done and Anika works for Creedmoor. And Cookie gets to tell off Anika hardcore in a great little speech ending with “Bye Felicia!” Yup. She really said that. I love this character.
This starts the war between the two companies as Empire tries to retain all their old artists and recruit new ones as Anika tries to bring all of her clients over to Creedmoor. Cookie goes to the hood to get a rapper to stay with Empire and ends up having to out-drink him to win him over. I’m just gonna say it: Drunk Cookie is my favorite Cookie. When the security guard shows up to pick her up, she hits on him mercilessly. “Cookie’s my name. Take a bite.” Amazing.
Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) teams up with Cookie to keep Tiana (Serayah) from leaving. They’re not getting back together, but Tiana agrees to stay with Empire. Jamal (Jussie Smollett) also lands the hit artist Delphine (Estelle) after singing one of her songs with her.
Andre (Trai Byers), however, is having the worst of it. He gets some cash from the bank to offer as signing bonuses off the books, but he is getting more and more manic with every scene, since he decided to stop taking his meds. He almost has a meltdown when the three brothers get stuck in an elevator, and then actually does in the boardroom. It gets so bad that paramedics have to be called, and he’s sedated and taken off to the hospital. Some really spectacular acting by Byers in this episode.
Lucious has a lot to think about, especially after he and Beretti have a full out, guns drawn standoff, further cementing their enmity for one another. But Lucious is also forced to really think about who will take over Empire when he is gone. He has no respect for Andre, and he hates Jamal’s sexuality, so he basically tells Hakeem that he’s going to hand over the reigns to him, but Hakeem isn’t ready yet. We’ll see what Hakeem does with this information.
Jamal does show that he could very easily run the company. He stands up to Lucious, telling him straight up that he’s letting Jamal’s sexuality color the artists that Jamal wants to bring into the Empire fold. He reminds Lucious that they are at war, and it’s time to make heads roll, echoing Lucious’ own statements at the top of the episode. It’s clear to me that Jamal is the one who should take over as CEO of Empire when Lucious is gone, but only time will tell if Lucious will be able to let go of his bigotry to see it too.
The family is united once again at the end of the episode, with Lucious, Cookie, Jamal, Hakeem, Tiana and Delphine all singing “You’re So Beautiful” together at Leviticus. Poor Andre is left out of the family once again, and next week they will tackle the issue of his bipolar disorder together.
Empire keeps getting better and breaking records as it speeds along to the end of the first season. Who do you think will take over Empire Records?