Even while deposed, Lucious Lyon looks every bit the part of of Empire's CEO as he's sitting in what is now Hakeem's chair. Make no mistake about it, he's still in charge and the family continues to center around his whims, schemes and intensifying insecurity. But, here, we learn more about the man who once was Dwight Walker. Finally, the payoff from all the flashbacks with his mother, whom early on we understood also suffered from being bi-polar. Little did we know her fate was so gruesome. Young Dwight Walker witnessed his mother's suicide and in the aftermath he later fled and grew to become a Lyon while on the streets. He told Cookie that Frank Gathers didn't break him bad; no, he saved his life. Yet, what we all see is that his rebirth as Lucious Lyon has been costly. Not only to his own soul and his family, now we see he spurned Freeda Gatz, which Cookie is only discovering she's the progeny of their enemy. Fan, it's almost time for you to meet shhh. Let's get into this episode, but now before getting cozy in this abandominium.
The focus finally returned back to Lucious and we learned a lot about the beleaguered mogul, including the truth about his mother, his name and his relationship to Frank Gathers. Does it make you change your feelings about him?
Ralph Bristout, Sr. Writer: My feelings about the guy hasn't changed, it's still the same. Everyone has a story. So while his tale happens to be stormy, Lucious hasn't even attempted to look in the mirror and move forward. After all of those years, he still chooses to hang on those dark clouds and remains oblivious to how it negatively affects all those around him.
Asmar Bouie, Digital Producer: I understand Lucious now more than ever. No wonder his behavior is more than irrational, with keeping something like this locked up inside him. I always thought Lucious was a representation of a man who experienced unimaginable adversity. No wonder he off'ed Bunkie without Blinking.
Taylor Cross, Marketing Coordinator: Lucious had a rough start in life and losing your mother to suicide is never easy but that doesn't justify lying to your family and belittling every person who doesn't share your opinions. Lucious needs to learn how to use those negatives to make a positive and create peace for his family.
Amber Mackie, Production Coordinator: For a quick second I began to sympathize with him. Very quick. There's no denying that Lucious lived a hard and sad adolescent life however, there is still no excuse for him to be so cold toward his own flesh and blood. What he did and said to Andre was mean and unnecessary. As far as I'm concerned, if Lucious wants to continue to give tough love to others then that's exactly what he will receive from me. He has to suck it up, just like he expects everyone else to do.
DaJuan Walker, Office Manager: Lucious' past is very interesting to say the least. Although I have sympathy for the trauma that was experienced in his childhood, my feelings about Lucious stay the same. His actions and decisions are derived from anger, frustration and embarrassment for his true identity (hence the birth of Lucious Lyon).
Hakeem's trip to DC was fruitful, after a pair of back and forth situations with his old boo thing and his new thing, he managed to get them both on stage. Will we ever go back to Hakeem as the punchline? Or will his character continue to rise and mature?
Bristout: Throughout this season, Hakeem has steadily been moving away from the butt of jokes and punchlines. He's maturing and last night, all of that was made clear with the engagement, producing for Jamal and other business moves.
Bouie: Hakeem's character will continue to mature but not after facing adversity with Anika carrying his child and Tiana's catching feeling again. Might be a bit much for the young mogul. He's had the most challenges this second season but I think he'll come through his own battles stronger.
Cross: Unfortunately, Hakeem is still a punchline for me. I don't really take him seriously and I'm not sure if he even really handled the situation between his two artists completely. Getting engaged because you had fun at your girlfriend's house is not really a sound decision buuuuuuuut hopefully things fall into place.
Mackie: I definitely think Hakeem is maturing...but ready to be engaged/married? Nah. Although I do think he loves Laura, I don't quite think he's ready to be a one woman man. After all, his response to Jamal when he told him it wasn't smart to be banging two of his artists was, "Then what's the point of being a mogul." Those aren't the words of a man ready to tie the knot. I also do think Hakeem longs for a family, a tight knit, loving family. Once he saw the bond that Laura's family had for each other it hurt him that he wasn't able to relate to that type of love. As tough as Hakeem tries to act it's evident that all he wants is to be loved, even if it means doing something that he isn't ready for.
Walker: I'm loving the new Hakeem. He's learning where and how he fits in as new CEO at Empire. The respect level toward Hakeem from both his parents and boo things have been successful and I'm looking forward to how his stint as CEO plays out.
Freeda Gatz caught mad feelings after one slight, being clipped from a song. Is Lucious playing with fire there or that's just a bunch of smoke?
Bristout: Young Freeda is from the streets and don't ever forget what Lucious told her last season: "You remind me of myself." All of that said, you can't overlook the young MC. I feel like she'll soon find out about Lucious' hit on her father, and from there we'll have a big Season 2 climax.
Bouie: To Freeda's credit I don't think Lucious understood how and what that song meant to Freeda and what he brought out of her when they made that song together. They established their friendship behind that song. Not to defend Lucious, but we know why his mind is in a disarray with him trying to mend his broken childhood.
Cross: Freeda Gatz getting upset over the video was a bit dramatic. However, to her defense, she probably was on the defense after her conversation with Jamal and Hakeem in BK. Imagine how she is going to feel when they reveal who killed her father. MESSYYYY! That is a secret that I hope is never revealed.
Mackie: I definitely think he is playing with fire. Freeda Gatz has been very loyal to Lucious, and I think she is beginning to see what everyone was warning her about. I think Freeda has proven she is not to be toyed with. Although she brushed off Hakeem and Jamal the first time, once she felt slighted by Lucious, she ran back to Jamal opening up to him about her past and laying down one of the hottest tracks I've ever heard her spit. However, I sure hope the news about Lucious killing her father doesn't get out, because if so there will really be a fire, a vengeful one at that.
Walker: PLAYING WITH FIRE! I am so afraid of Freeda Gatz! There, I admit it. I think Lucious is playing with more than fire with Freeda. Jamal wanting to work with Freeda is a huge save for Lucious. Freeda speaks the same language as Lucious, in regards to the streets, but, to be honest, it’s a fowler language.
Andre got a lot of screen time and there was a big scene with his fight against his father; does he become the latest threat to his family?
Bristout: "To hell with you." Whenever those words get mentioned, the result is never good. You immediately felt all the pain and anger in Andre's tone when uttering that statement, which should tell you that: He. Is. Through.
Bouie: I think when Rhomda realizes she was pushed down the stairs, Andre may possibly think his father is behind it. I doubt it, but with this show, you never know.
Cross: Andre is definitely a threat to his family because he is so unstable with his bipolar disorder. Learning more about his family background would be helpful for anyone's child and it may help him understand more about himself.
Mackie: Yes, he does and I'm so worried about Andre. He has every right to be irate and feel the way that he does. He's suffered with a mental illness his entire life that was hereditary while his father hid that secret from him and labeled him a "freak." He's been holding so much in for so long. After just losing his child and now learning that his grandmother was bipolar, Andre is liable to reach his breaking point at any given moment.
Walker: Andre will always be Andre. Every few episodes he has a mini melt down for reasons hard for anyone to understand. I can never take Andre as a real threat until he finds out who killed his child….
Line of the night: Well, that battle axe did know fur (Cookie); Then what's the point of being a mogul? (Hakeem); Because I did 17 years for a man who's real name I didn't even know….(Cookie); I was embarrassed by her, the same way I'm embarrassed by you (Lucious) or something else?
Bristout: I felt like Cookie spoke for all us viewers when she told Lucious, "Because I did 17 years for a man who's real name I didn’t even know." While we didn't do the fictional bid like she did, all of us sat through a full season and a half — which continues to feel like 17 years — to only find out that the Empire mogul isn't entirely who he say is.
Bouie: No line of the night for me, but what stood out was the conversations between Cookie and Lucious about his childhood and the fate of his mother.
Cross: "Well, that battle axe did know fur," by Cookie. Naomi Campbell's Camilla doesn't just get killed off a show. She exits with honor. YAAS!
Mackie: "Because I did 17 years for a man who's real name I didn't even know." That line by Cookie was so powerful it gave me chills.
Walker: "I was embarrassed by her, the same way I'm embarrassed by you." Lucious will never learn some things are better left unsaid. He's your son!