Empire Season 1 Episode 6 Review: “Out, Damned Spot”


This week on Empire, everyone is cutting deals to make it to the top. Almost every storyline in the Empire universe gained speed this week, which is perfect given that it looks like Lucious isn’t going to be able to keep his illness a secret for much longer. Before tonight, I would have said that would be the biggest shock to the Lyon’s family, unless you watched the last minute.

After last week’s touching moment together, Cookie gets the wrong idea about Lucious asking her to come out with him. Cookie ends up dressed in all her bustie glory under a coat at a family gathering where Lucious announces his engagement to Anika. Seriously though, who invites their ex-wife to celebrate their new engagement to another woman?

As if this little show wasn’t taxing enough, Cookie adds another artist to her plate this week in the form of Courtney Love. Love plays Elle Dallas, Empire’s first major artist who hasn’t had a hit in 5 years due to drug problems and lazy management. Cookie is Elle’s biggest fan, and so she continues to push Elle to hire her, then to trust her to help get both of their careers back on top. What follows is a lot of powerful acting by Love as she screams, rages, and finally strips herself bare of all non-essential physical trappings and pours her heart out in her song. While Cookie finds success with Elle, she needs to watch her back should Anika get her claws into Porsche.

King Lucious, meanwhile, is determined to do anything it takes to extend his life and keep his legacy intact. He makes two important hires in the episode: one an ex-Navy Seal as a security consultant, and the other a doctor claiming to have connections to a non-FDA approved experimental drug that could help Lucious. Because of his desperation, Lucious also trusts Vernon with the truth about Bunky’s death. Vernon is appalled, and even goes off on Andre for suspecting Lucious and not saying anything. Andre explains that he’s always covered for his father even if he didn’t know what he was covering, and Vernon realizes he himself has always done the same thing. We also discover that Vernon has a history of sobriety problems, but he’s not letting that get in the way of protecting Lucious, or himself. So Vernon finds a man willing to take the fall for Bunky’s murder for a price, and Andre and Rhonda agree to keep their mouths shut.

Very quickly, because frankly it’s becoming annoying, Hakeem is still behaving like a child and is told so by both Cookie and Jamal. Hakeem is going around claiming to be a superstar and still begging for his big brother’s artistic help, which Jamal denies. Cookie was right when she said Hakeem could be a superstar, but he’ll be a fool first, and he’ll probably ruin it.

Some painful truth is spilled between Jamal and Michael this week, ending with the biggest shock of the season yet. Michael becomes concerned that he will be left behind as Jamal begins to experience the first taste of fame and success. Cookie does nothing to dispel Michael’s fears, instead telling him that he needs to prepare himself for what’s ahead. Sure enough Jamal’s newest songs begin gaining a lot of attention, so much so that he skips out on plans with Michael and even dodges questions in an interview about having someone special in his life. Yet the thing that may come between Jamal and Michael is something that neither of them expected: a girl (why hello there, Raven Symone) Jamal slept with towing a child that’s supposedly his. Cue my loud screaming and swearing now.

Cookie’s  Quotables:

– “You think I came here dressed like this for a friendly get together?”–to Lucious after revealing how underdressed she is for a family get-together.

– “You need to start preparing yourself, fame changes people”–laying some hard truth on Michael about the changes ahead.

– “It’s amazing what good music will have these young girls doing nowadays.”

– “What, touching each other? That’s nasty.”

– “Shut up, Porsche”–Cookie trying to get a football star to get Jamal’s song out there, if Porsche can stop interrupting.

– “It is do or die for me too…I’m all you got”–to Elle, explaining they need to work together to fight for their futures.

[Photo via FOX]

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