I hope so… but it’s always a struggle to be as good as you were the first time around. The second season of Empire returned last night on Fox. If you’ve been living under a rock and you’re not sure what show I’m referring to, it’s a show created by Lee Daniels which casts veteran actor, Terrence Howard (Lucious Lyon) and Taraji P. Henson (Cookie Lyon). It also introduced new actors such as Bryshere “Yazz” Gray (Hakeem Lyon), Jussie Smollet (Jamal Lyon), Grace Gealey (Boo Boo Kitty) and Trai Byers (Andre Lyon) to the Hollywood scene.
Last year when Empire began, I disliked it. I vowed to never watch it again and even casted it off my TV play list island. Of course, one of my good girlfriends convinced me to watch at least three to four episodes before making such a final decision. So reluctantly, I did. By the end of the season the show had redeemed itself. It made me a believer and even had me anxiously anticipating the next season.
However, about that last episode of Season 1? It was way too long. Any show which lasts for two hours is equivalent to watching a movie. Even with jaw dropping scenes and limited commercial interruptions it was just a bit much. This remembrance caused me to scrap the idea of refreshingly watching the episode prior to the beginning of this season. Lucky for me, I noticed on my DVR that the first episode of season 2 was going to be an hour. I also knew that there would be a brief summary at the beginning of the episode which would effectively catch me up to speed.
Let me start off with the highlights! I enjoyed the music during the show and the scene with Cookie and Lucious in the jail visitation room talking to one another like civilized exes. The on screen chemistry they have with one another is authentic and effortless. It reminded me of two friends just shooting the breeze. I also knew the Queen B was going to ask Judas for help when she needed it. And just like a good baby daddy lion protecting his family he handled his business. And let’s not forget the subliminal message at the beginning of the concert about #blacklivesmatter which made me smile on the inside. Last but not least, I’d like to give a shout out to fellow Murrow HS alumni, Marisa Tomei. She played that role!
Now here’s where I had a problem. As I initially tuned in I noticed two things. Numero Uno, during the first ten minutes they had damn near ten celebrity appearances. Secondly, the list of guest appearances which scrolled on the bottom of the screen took five minutes to get through. It was at that moment I said to myself, “Self, they are going for the GUSTO on this episode.” I continued to watch nonetheless and was unimpressed. They were trying to cram in too many different plots and tie up too many loose ends from the last season.
Now, for all of you who think I’m just being a naysayer who doesn’t know better, you’re entitled to your opinion and I’m entitled to mine. However, nothing about the episode made me think, scratch my head or ponder about what direction the show was heading in. From historical reference, we know the show will have sub-plots about sex, money, back stabbing, music and all of the obvious things. And we also know from the preview, Lucious will be released from jail. But couldn’t they have left that a secret? Am I expecting to much?
Overall, I’m hoping the show gets better because I would rather support scripted TV with good black actors than ratchet TV with people just trying to make a quick come up. I’ll continue to tune in. Will you?