Photo: Chuck Hodes/Fox

Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

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  • We got back-to-back episodes with new guest stars, and this week’s was a twofer as Phylicia Rashad hung out with Gina Gershon’s racist designer. Gershon/Helen’s angled bob wig sat like a hood on her head, which was apropos, given the character’s coded, bigoted remarks, e.g., “a certain level of class,” “those people,” “gangsters,” and my favorite: “A preference is not a prejudice.”
  • “Black and white” was the unofficial theme of the episode, which applied to discussions of race and morality. It wasn’t handled as adroitly as it could have been, but it did offer a necessary reminder that Cookie’s sacrifices for her family cost other people something, too—namely, their lives. I want good things for Cookie, and Frank Gathers was a very bad dude; but she also ordered a hit on someone who’d never done anything to her, and that can’t just be waved away.
  • However, if Cookie is the only person punished again, I will be pissed. As Jamal points out, Lucious needs to share in the blame. His dad wants all the glory of being a protector, but he’s also been happy to be shielded by his wife.
  • But wherever Empire thought it was going with that, the episode lost a little credibility with that hackneyed Godfather reference.
  • I guess it’s good to see Andre doing something other than suffering, but does he really just have to inflict it on others? Then again, the writers haven’t given him much of a personality beyond “bougie,” “tone deaf,” and “educated,” so there’s probably not much of an arc they could build from that.
  • Serayah and Sierra Aylina McClain are lovely, but Tiana and Nessa have nothing on the Lyon brothers—not in stage presence or rivalry. So their showdown was a big letdown.
  • I did not see that twist with Leah coming. Lucious and his mother actually working together? What’s next, not tearing his kids down?
  • Kudos to the show for remembering Tariq, Leah, and Thirsty this week, one of whom will presumably be forgotten when they make room for Tariq’s mom Fatima.
  • Speaking of Fatima, can we get Debbie Allen to play her?
  • Finally, what did Givenchy do to Empire to warrant being looked down upon with the Kardashians?

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