The ratings tell one story — that each episode is better than the previous one — but Empire really started to hit its creative stride with Episode 9, where we saw Andre go a little crazy, and Anika’s plan to derail Empire’s future started its fermentation process. Episode 10 provided us with probably the pulpiest and most soap opera-y episode with much of the hour playing out in the Lyons’ home, including betrayals, bribery, and baby drama — and capped it all off with a firearms standoff.
The cauldron will get a big stir with tonight’s two-hour Empire finale, which is sure to bring a resolution to the crazy twists and turns the Lyons’ ride has taken us on. Here are a few things to watch for tonight (other than Snoop Dogg’s appearance).
(Obviously, there are spoilers below)
Billy Beretti’s Endgame
Judd Nelson’s character saw some of his plan go up in smoke as he attempted a coup of Empire’s talent, even going as far as hacking into their system to halt their defense. Hakeem and Jamal thwarted Beretti and Anika’s plan to steal a coveted artist, but you can bet that it’s not the last we’ve seen of the ruthless music mogul.
Beretti has a deep hatred of Lucious, stemming from their previous time together and subsequent betrayal that ensures he’ll continue to ruin Empire’s IPO progress. With two hours to fill tonight, we might be seeing Beretti try once again to stop the Empire freight train.
Malcolm and Cookie and Lucious
If you thought that Malcolm and Cookie’s budding relationship would fizzle, the end of Episode 10 changed that when he saved her life. If Lucious knows about Cookie and Malcolm’s sexy fling, then he’s not letting on. Lucious is interested in resurrecting their marriage, but Malcolm provides a formidable roadblock. There’s also the fact that Lucious impregnated Jamal’s ex-wife, which resulted in Cookie proclaiming, “I wish he would have shot you,” when Reg had the gun pointed at Lucious and Cookie.
It looks like Cookie and Lucious are done for the time being, but if we’ve learned anything about Terrence Howard’s character thus far, it’s that he always gets what he wants, even if his advances at the end of Episode 10 were swatted away.
Andre’s Mental Stability
Andre has become undone in the last few episodes, and if it weren’t for that, he’d have possibly the best chance of taking over Empire. He would also have a chance if Lucious didn’t look down upon “book smart.” The eldest Lyon is going through music and spiritual therapy right now, so it remains to be seen if his mental health will improve. Can he finally gain control of his bipolar syndrome and gain control of his father’s company? Andre’s wife is also a powerful ally in his struggle, but he’s pushed her aside. He’d be smart to get back in her good graces.
The Fate of Empire
Empire’s fate has many tentacles wrapped around it, the primary narrative being Lucious’ fading health and the notion that one of his three sons will have to take the wheel eventually, but who will it be? Jamal seems to have the healthiest head on his shoulders, but his lifestyle demands that his father look elsewhere for leadership. Andre is a mess (see above), and Hakeem is just too immature at this point to take the reigns.
Then, there’s the personal rift between Lucious and his sons — exacerbated in Episode 10 — that’s making it almost impossible for the Lyons to get along. Now that Cookie has a large portion of shares, it seems likely that she’ll gain eventual control of the multimedia giant when Lucious can no longer get out of bed. But, when will that time come, and with Empire’s constantly evolving landscape, will it ever happen?