Will Empire's Second Season Be Able to Top These Shocking Season 1 Moments?
Like the rest of us, you’ve probably been impatiently counting down the days until everyone’s favorite musical melodrama – Empire, duh – finally returns on Wednesday.
Despite our overwhelming excitement to see Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), Lucious (Terrence Howard) and the rest of the Lyon family returns to the small screen, there is one worry that keeps nagging at us: How on earth are they going to be able to top the first season?
After all Empire packed a whole lot of drama into its very first season – we’re talking musical numbers, backstabbing, seduction, murder, attempted murder and jail time … to name just a few – and it’s hard to imaging what creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong will come up with that can top all of that insanity.
So what, exactly, is season 2 of Empire up against? Let’s take a look (warning: spoilers ahead).
Lucious Ends the Pilot with a Bang
Never let it be said that Empire didn’t know how to bring the drama from the very beginning. Case in point: The show’s pilot, which ended with Lucious shooting and killing Cookie’s cousin, Bunkie (Antoine McKay ), after the latter tried to blackmail him because Lucious had ordered him to spy on the newly freed Cookie. Reminder: That was all in the first episode.
Andre’s Emotional Meltdown
The reveal that oldest son Andre (Trai Byers) is bipolar was intense enough, but after watching him refuse to take his medication, viewers knew something big was going to go down. Still, nobody was expecting that “something big” to be a boardroom breakdown that resulting in Andre destroying the room, screaming at his wife and accusing his father of murder.
Hakeem’s Bedside Bad Manners
Both Hakeem (Bryshere "Yazz" Gray) and Anika (Grace Gealey) had plenty of reasons to be upset with Lucious: Anika was mad at him cheating on her with Cookie and Hakeem had been battling his father over him sending his older girlfriend, Camilla (Naomi Campbell) away. So it made sense that they would eventually team up to get revenge. Nobody was expecting that revenge to take place in the bedroom, but, hey, this is Empire.
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Jamal’s Coming Out
What better way to get back at your scheming, homophobic dad than by coming out on stage in front of a room full of industry executives, all while using a song that your father himself wrote? Right, Jamal (Jussie Smollett)? Well played, son.
Lucious Is the Daddy
It was horrible enough to find out that Lucious once forced Jamal to get married to a woman in order to hide his sexual orientation, but finding out that the Lyon family patriarch also slept with Olivia (Raven-Symoné) and ultimately fathered her child was mind-blowingly awful. And as if that weren’t shocking enough, the revelation took place while the entire Lyon family was being held at gunpoint by Olivia’s ex-boyfriend Reg (Jerod Haynes).
"Game Time, Bitches"
Just when you thought that they couldn’t pack any more twists into the season finale (keep in mind that this was after Cookie attempted to kill Lucious after finding out he killed Bunkie, Lucious let her know that he knew she tried, everyone found out that Lucious didn’t have ALS after all, Jamal turned against Cookie, Jamal was named CEO, Cookie, Anika, Andre and Hakeem teamed up to take Lucious down and Andre accidentally killed the key witness in a potential trial against Lucious), Empire decided to go out with one last shocked: Someone told the FBI that Lucious killed Bunkie.
You know what? We might need to take a nap to fully recover before season 2 premieres. Our hearts can’t handle this many shocks.
Empire returns Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.