Empire: (S03E10) “Sound and Fury”

After a 3 month hiatus, Empire is back in this midseason premiere.

At first glance, it looks like we’re back to the “same ol’ ‘same ol” “Lyon” cheating, stealing, scheming and witnessing all things cruel about the music business; it’s functional yet dysfunctional families and “The Lyons” In the midst of it all is music. Good music…mostly. Tonight is no exception.

The episode begins with Lucious, as Lucifer, walking thru a fiery Hell. He introduces his latest project, “Inferno” Surrounded by flames he brings the heat…actually she brings the heat, rap diva Remy Ma. She’s on fire, dancing and singing through the flames of Hell; complete with fire dancers and fellow rapper, Brikk (Sticky Fingaz ) It was good and sound.  ♩♩

Jamal is in rehab, for what seems like a minute. He doesn’t want to complete his program and tries to convince his ma and pop, his music is his therapy. He wants to come home.

Later, he escapes with fellow troubled artist, Tory Ash. (Rumer Willis) She’s cocky and not fanatically impressed with The Empire. She’s a fallen star and heroin addict. RW is convincing.

Through it all, Jamal just wants to sing; Tory just wants to sing & they do. The tease of their duet “A Simple Song” works well. They sound really good together, their voices are complimentary and compatible. RW can sing!… as well as dance. Who knew?! Good and sound. ♩.♩

In other sound matters, Hakeem & Tiana crash the” XStreme, Next stage” event in an attempt to upstage Nessa.  It ended badly; with the 2 women in a weave pulling, trac snatching, cat fight. Sound & fury. However the “trio” did well on the “unrehearsed” performance. I liked it. They should consider working together! ♩♩

Finally, tonight it’s Cookie’s at the bat! Lucious gives Anika the prestigious role of A/R, after he fires Xavier. He goes on to sing her praises, proclaiming her blood, sweat & tears are the DNA that flows thru the veins of Empire. But, but, but…Empire’s success was built on the back of Cookie! She reminds him of this in every episode…mostly.  Maybe this time, he’ll hear!

She goes “Lemonade” on his plaques , awards, gold records & all things glass, before striking his head! His efforts to get up & chase her while wounded was real. TH did a good job, stumbling, slipping & sliding while holding his head, tryna get a grip on anything for support and grabbing for Cookie at the same time.  I don’t recall if he’s ever said, “thank you” for her years of loyalty, blood, swear and tears, before, during and after prison time. I did miss a season. No doubt, this probably coulda saved him…a headache! …just sayin’

It was violent. The destruction of his offices and the club to the head was shocking. Without prejudice; I ain’t sayin she shoulda hit him, but I understand.

And so we’re back, with the same ol’ same ol? I hope not. This season, I’d like to see more about the music, the surprises, joys and challenges of the creative process and expression. More of the art & the unifying principles of song. I’d like to see Andre sing & Hakeem change his baby’s diaper! Something different; like the scheming Thirsty “thirsty” for Becky! He calls her “Hot Pocket”  Sweet for Thirsty.  Let’s see a show about music in the lives of a troubled, dysfunctional family rather than a dysfunctional family with a talent for music. There is a difference.

New Episodes of Empire usually air, Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m . Pacific Time