Holy flying flip-flops! With the Lyon family nothing is ever what it seems and this episode put a lot on the table about identity and shields, or, perhaps, smoke screens. It all started with Hakeem, as this season is increasingly putting its stock all in on the would-be heir. That visual of the youngest in charge sitting at the desk for his press conference evoked a Lucious vibe, including Hakeem's unveiling of the new logo: himself! Yet when the reporters scrambled it was Cookie barking out orders. Jamal seems to be supportive as he's stepped down from his vice chairman position. But soon as he leaves the meeting he's pelted with flip-flops from a protestor group who seem to be upset over allegations he flew the friendly Skye of Alica Keys' character. Meanwhile, Lucious is riddled with doubt: Who is he without his company? The deposed king who didn't see upheaval coming? Dwight Walker from Philadelphia? Or the cool, cutthroat misanthrope who will stop at nothing (cliché as it may be) to take back what's his? Even Cookie is playing a long-game, biding time playing nice and...then what? Will she go after Lucious or reunite with him? And Andre continues his roller coaster ride, which currently finds him off his medication and accusing his wife of adultery. Let's dive in, but not before we take a look at the tea on our iPad.
Whoa. Camilla murdered Mimi in a fit of jealous rage and then killed herself in a fit of shaming over what Hakeem did. What was your reaction to that?
Ralph Bristout, Sr. Writer: The death of Camilla threw me off. Just when we thought she was going to be an important factor in this new mid-season, this happens. We're only on episode two for crying out loud! This throws a monkey wrench in the Hakeem saga, because where does that leave him now?
Asmar Bouie, Digital Producer: I'm shocked at the way things turned out for Camilla so abruptly. I thought it would take a lot longer for the coup against her to come together. Then her committing suicide was sort of unexpected. But I guess in the world of Empire no one is above murder.
Taylor Cross, Marketing Coordinator: Camilla and Mimi were killed off the show fast but I wouldn't be surprised if Camilla had one more trick up her sleeve before she killed herself in front of Lucious. I was even more shocked that Camille was still trying to have a relationship with Hakeem! If she was more focused on the coin then she might of had a real chance.
Amber Mackie, Production Coordinator: When I discovered that Camilla killed Mimi I must say I was definitely shocked. I honestly thought that Mimi was going to take Camilla down with the evidence that Hakeem sneakily provided her with. But to see that Camilla was one step ahead of her was surprising. One thing I will say is, I don't think Camilla is dead. Although Lucious payed her a visit, holding her at gunpoint, letting Camilla know that he knew exactly what she'd done I don't believe that she drank the lethal concoction that killed Mimi. I think Camilla wants revenge. Granted that she looked heartbroken when she learned the truth about Hakeem from Luscious, she also looked furious. It is possible that she drank water or something that was completely harmless. One thing Lucious didn't do was stick around to watch her die. She popped back into Lucious' life before, when he thought he'd finally gotten rid of her, and it is possible she can do it again.
DaJuan Walker, Office Manager: Whoa is right! Now this was the Empire I tuned in to watch. I expected Camilla and Mimi's reign over Empire Records to be a slow journey through the remainder of the season but their death's are an indication we're in for a great spring finale.
Hakeem started the episode with an outrageous press conference and ended it with a surprising power move. Which is the real Hakeem between the two moves?
Bristout: Hakeem is still trying to find himself. Much like Jamal in season one, where he juggled roles like businessman, artist and henchman, Hakeem is at that fork in the road. I say the real Hakeem is the one that started off the press conference. Obnoxious, confident, and overzealous.
Bouie: I think Hakeem truly wants his family and those in the company to respect him and his decisions. That part of Hakeem shines through each episode. Unfortunately, he's still dramatically naïve so he comes across as a brat but at least he put his family first.
Cross: Hakeem is a leader but is a bit immature, which kind of works for him. His antics at the press conference showed that he still needs room to grow but why not make a sex tape while you're still young, right? Especially if you're Hakeem Lyon.
Mackie: I honestly believe Hakeem means well. We've learned throughout this series that although Hakeem can be loud, boisterous and self centered at times, he cares deeply for his family. One thing that he keeps reiterating is all that he's doing is for the family. Although he can get caught up in the hype at times, i.e. that outrageous press conference, he is proving that he isn't losing sight of the real goal.
Walker: Hakeem surprised me during this episode. I believe he's starting to understand the game and how to balance between his family and his own dreams. The last power move was a game changer.
Lucious broke the news to Camille that Hakeem made the move, where does that now leave him in the family’s plan to get the label back?
Bristout: I said this before and I will say this again: Lucious Lyon is all about Lucious Lyon. This is a guy we've seen throughout the course of this series go all out (and by any means) to ensure this. So what if he breaks the news to Camilla that Hakeem screwed her over, all he wants to do is get Empire back in his hands. I have a feeling we'll see the Cookie and Lyon Dynasty taking on Lucious and Empire again. While Cookie, Jamal, Andre and Hakeem are working together to get the label back, Lucious might already be working on his personal plan A, B, and C.
Bouie: I think Lucious is steps closer to claiming his company back anyway. I think it's only a matter of time, especially with Cookie back in the picture. However, I don't think he'll make it in without reconciling with Hakeem.
Cross: Lucious is back in formation. Breaking the news to Camilla got her out for good and that's a win for the Empire klan. However, if Lucious wants to get back on top then he's going to have to put his family first or risk losing everything again.
Mackie: It all depends on if Camilla is alive or not.... However, regardless of what Lucious told Camilla he will get that label back. One thing I've learned about Lucious is if he wants something, he gets it. And will knock down anyone or anything, to do so.
Walker: I think Luscious is all about his company. He will surely grow closer to reclaiming the Empire. With Hakeem's final game play, he's secure to gain his family's trust again.
Who will be the Empire CEO by season’s end?
Bristout: Lucious, Lucious Lucious.
Bouie: I think Lucious will head of Empire by season's end after everyone realizes this is a cross only Lucious can bear. "The Empire throne changes you" Jamal says. It might've even been a factor in the transformation from Dwight Walker to Lucious Lyon.
Mackie: Lucious will most definitely be the Empire CEO by season's end. Did you all forget that he threatened to kill his own son if he remained in his way? Lucious is ruthless, and I know that he will find a way to sit on the Empire throne again.
Walker: I feel Hakeem will still be CEO of Empire on paper but Lucious will be running it.
Line of the night: Boy, you better do what we discussed if you wanna stay alive let alone stay on as CEO (Cookie); I’m from South Philly, I see everything coming (Lucious); Shouldn’t take a PR team just drop your drawers, brother (Andre); This is our new logo (Hakeem); or something else?
Bristout: "Bitch, I'm from South Philly. I see everything coming." Best Lucious quote of the season thus far.
Bouie: Lucious telling Camilla "that feeling you have right now, it's like prison but 10 times worse" as he points the gun at her.
Cross: "Boy, you better do what we discussed if you wanna stay alive let alone stay on as CEO," from Cookie. YAAASSSS!!
Mackie: The line of the night for me was definitely when Cookie said to Jamal, "Your father is a tampon, we already knew that." I died.
Walker: Cookie's "Boy, you better do what we discussed if you wanna stay alive let alone stay on as CEO."