Empire returns for the second half of its second season on Wednesday night. The first half ended with… well, everything, kind of. Too many things happened to list them all in one introductory paragraph. So instead of doing that, let’s do this: To help you prepare for the midseason premiere, and to help jog your memory about the avalanche of nutty plot twists that closed out the fall season, here are five open questions we have about the rest of the season two.
1) Is Rhonda dead or nah?
When we last left Empire, a pregnant Rhonda was lying motionless on the floor of her new mansion after someone — very possibly Lucious’ former fiancée Anika, who is now pregnant with the child of Lucious’ son, Hakeem, and who viewed Rhonda’s unborn baby as a potential rival for her unborn baby in the next generation’s struggle for Empire, which is all very normal for this show — pushed her down a staircase that the show had been teasing the audience with shots of for weeks as if to say, “Hey! Hey! A staircase! In the pregnant lady’s house! Get it?!” That was admittedly a terrible run-on sentence, but in my defense, it is hard to talk about Empire in anything other than terrible run-on sentences.
There are really two possibilities here: One, Rhonda died in the fall. Two, Rhonda lost the baby in the fall. I’ve seen the first few episodes of the spring season, but I won’t run out here spoiling major plot twists for you except to say that you get your answer pretty quickly. Which, I mean, yeah. It would be weird to end on a cliffhanger like that and just leave her on the floor for two episodes while Hakeem starts a vodka company or something.
2) What’s going on with the Whiteman-Barnes takeover of Empire?
Things were also happening on the business side of Empire in the midseason finale. Noted hip-hop loving lesbian billionaire Mimi Whiteman was actually secretly married to Camilla, the other older woman Hakeem had been sleeping with, and the two of them used their influence — and Hakeem’s treasonous vote — to oust Lucious from the company, because it had been something like five episodes since he had lost the company to someone and it was time to do that whole thing again.
The move gives Hakeem new power in his dad’s company, which is awkward because he also has that competitor label he created with his mom, and because he’s now teaming up with one former older lover (who just metaphorically threw one of his family members down the stairs), while expecting a baby with a different former lover (who may have literally thrown one of his family members down the stairs), and managing the career of a third lover, who is a virgin he signed to his label after he and another singer he managed broke up. For the love of God, Hakeem.