Empire Season 2 Episode 9 Review: “Sinned Against”


Empire amps up the emotion this week with a series of events which will come to a head in the fall finale. The question no longer is who will win the battle; the question should be will everyone win their own battles.

Lucious is actually squealing with pride at the thought of welcoming the next generation of his family. He buys Andre and Rhonda a house and claims he’s done testing Andre. Who is this man and what did he do with Lucious? Evidently babies are kryptonite to the man. Andre and Lucious continue to work on acquiring Swiftstream Media, but it comes with the catch that Lucious has to get Cookie to sign over her shares of his early works. Cookie isn’t budging, and Lucious isn’t budging on liquidating Empire’s other assets to make up the difference of what they need. Empire creator Lee Daniels cameos as himself to remind Lucious that Jamal is the future of Empire. After hearing this, Lucious is more willing to compromise if it means acquiring a bigger division that will lead his company into the future under his command. Nothing makes a greedy man want something more than telling him his time has passed.

Cookie, who we now know was originally Loretha, is running up and down Philadelphia with older sister Candace looking for Carol. Cookie hooks up with old friend Pepper (Rosie O’Donnell) for help. Cookie and Rosie were in prison together and Rosie offers to help Cookie find Carol. When Candace and Cookie do find Carol she is a mess, and is given the choice of which one of her sisters will take her in. Carol chooses to go with Cookie while her kids stay with Candace. Carol needs to watch herself though, because it seems there is a big secret she has been keeping from her big sister that she doesn’t want revealed.

Back at home her lesser half Laz has had enough of being told what to do by his buddies. He cuts ties with his crew to continue to genuinely help Cookie and Hakeem. His lies are exposed quickly when Lucious gets involved. Humiliated and betrayed, Cookie is all too happy to let Lucious handle the situation however he sees fit. On the bright side this is the push that Cookie needs to push Carol to go to rehab. Cookie can handle a lot, she has had to handle a lot. What she refuses to handle is the guilt of burying a sister that she could have helped.

Hakeem holds down the fort while Cookie is out of town. He is also having a good time with Laura, which only furthers an already deranged Anika’s spiral. Anika goes to Rhonda for advice, but I don’t think that Rhonda would be giving her friend such a big pep talk on fighting for her man if she knew that man was Hakeem. Anika crashes Hakeem’s party, makes a fool of herself, and then continues to try to convince Hakeem that they belong together. Hakeem firmly tells her that she will never be apart of his life, let alone his family. Little does he know!

Alicia Keys begins her guest stint this week as pop singer Skye Summers. She’s encouraged to stick to what she knows, but Jamal sees that she wants to do more. Jamal hears Skye’s new song and is in awe. She thinks that Skye is inspired by Jamal, Jamal tells her to forget the rules and throw them out the window. Their song “Powerful” is easily one of the most beautiful, inspiring songs I’ve ever heard (download on iTunes now, I’m just saying). Their powerful chemistry translates on the screen and leads to a kiss between the two. Wait, WHAT?!

Alright, I could save my PSA about looking past labels when it comes to sexuality and intimacy, but I want to start this conversation now. The word “intimacy” carries a very heavy weight. Especially in matters of artistry, when people share a close connection, it is very easy for labels to be thrown out the window. Given Jamal’s self-spoken identity as a gay man, at first glance, it is shocking that he would hook up with a woman. No, this does not mean that Jamal is suddenly straight, or was confused about being gay, or is bisexual. It simply means that he and Skye share a connection and are trying to figure out what it means.

Cookie’s Quotables:

  • “Sometimes bad dudes make decent fathers.” The first time in I can’t remember when that Cookie has given Lucious some credit for raising her children.
  • “Don’t kid yourself, Candace. It’s always on me.” Family obligations are complicated
  • “Correctional Cardio.” This worked for Cookie, so somebody better copyright this!

[Photo credit: Chuck Hodes/FOX]

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