Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Empire stays messy in its midseason return

Photo: Chuck Hodes/Fox
Photo: Chuck Hodes/Fox
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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.

  • First, I know I missed the midseason finale, “A Furnace For Your Foes,” and I apologize. The end of the year is a crazy time around here, and I was sure the finale was the following week, and yeah. Moving on.
  • Empire’s not really known for cohesive storytelling (certainly not these days), but “Sound & Fury” felt especially scattered. There’s always an onus on midseason (or spring/winter) premieres to bring the audience up to speed, but isn’t that the point of the “previously on” segment? We had a lot of ground to cover, but isn’t that what the rest of the season is for?
  • Consider the way Angelo’s Ted Kennedy-esque storyline wrapped: He easily cleared his name offscreen. It wasn’t the biggest cliffhanger from the winter finale—that would be the whole “let’s kill my dad” thing, I suppose—but it was resolved so neatly that it felt like a waste of time. Lucious and Empire need to up their game.
  • I spoke too soon—I actually don’t need anymore of Lucious’ attacks on Cookie. I know the family squabbles make up most of the drama on this show, but it’s always much more compelling to watch them band together to thwart external threats. They can still fight amongst themselves, but when we’re at a point where patricide is being tossed around every third episode, it just feels like all the machinations are losing their impact.
  • Not so for Cookie, though, whose heart was broken yet again by goddamn Lucious’ scheming. I guess I’m glad Anika’s found a way to balance motherhood and a career, but we all know she’s only there to mess with Cookie’s mind. And Lucious only brought Anika on as head of A&R in retaliation to… Cookie wanting to start over? It’s just so shitty.
  • Cookie is a most magnificent woman scorned, though, isn’t she? I paused the screener repeatedly to see if I could make out “Hot Sauce” etched on her bat.
  • I hope this is the end of the Tariq storyline. I know it’s not, but I was relieved to hear his superior officer point out that he can’t investigate his own damn family.
  • Jamal’s substance abuse is obviously a coping mechanism for Lucious and Cookie’s regular heavyweight bouts. It’s a promising storyline, because it has far more realistic consequences than biweekly hostile takeovers. Not sure the writers will actually see it through, though.
  • Becky And Thirsty is the spin-off Empire fans deserve. Also: bye, Xavier.
  • I counted two “I don’t know her’s” in this episode.
  • We now know what Remy Ma’s Las Vegas residency will look like.
  • Hiii, Dr. Katz.
  • I couldn’t use this as the header image, so I’m including it here:

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