Empire: (S03E08) “Unkindness Cut”

“It wasn’t the wound that killed Caesar, but Brutus’ treachery- This was the (most) unkindness cut of all” Marc Anthony on Julius Caesar (William Shakespeare) …   and this is applicable on any given Wednesday for the souls of Empire; Loyalty, betrayal, deceit, love.

 The Captains Ball is the center story for this episode. With an intention of bringing Empire into the main stream… again, Cookie collaborates with Helen Van Wyeth, (Gina Gershon) high fashion designer and an associate of Diana (Mother) Dubois. Helen Van Wyeth seeks to diversify her Black Magic collection and she meets eith Cookie and Diana, during a full dress rehearsal and showing.  While there, Jamal is flattered into returning to the stage. Diana commissions him to write a song for Angelo and perform it at the Captain’s Ball.  He accepts, feeling it’s time. This pushes him to work on his PTSD therapy with a greater intensity. He finds out later, Lucious is his PTSD trigger!  Surprise?  At the same rehearsal, Nessa loves the glitz, glamour and glitter of Tiana’s performance. She tells Andre, “I want that” He gets it for her. He convinces Helen Van Wyeth, to use Nessa as the key performer at the gala, rather than Tiana or any other artist. She refuses. But he” makes her an offer she can’t refuse” in Tom Hagen (Godfather) style. This was one of my “never saw that coming”, moments. Although Andre has proven to be a formidable consigliere, I still didn’t see that comin! It was good and scary!

 Meanwhile back at the den, Lucious is still trying to find a way to get Tariq off his back. His man Thirsty reports, although they have people within the bureau, Tariq doesn’t appear to have any vices or skeletons in his closet.  Yet in a bizarre twist, Lucious comes up with something that may keep his mom, Leah and Anika civil towards each other as well as keep Tariq distant, off-balance and in check!

 The cute of the episode is when Hakeem confronts Andre about his role in replacing Tiana for the HVW event. Blocking Hakeem’s punches, Andre laughs and slaps him on the back of the head, pushing him towards the door.  It was a true childlike little brother-big brother, sibling exchange.  It happens.

 Yet it was a cryptic episode and not one of my repeats, rewinds or favs. Its intention isn’t immediately clear. However, it did carry a sense of mystery that is laying the ground work for something that we cannot even speculate. We only know the mid-season finale is next week and more of the “Unkindness Cut” will be revealed, when the other shoe drops.