To be quite honest I had completely lost interest in Empire after watching the first half of season two. The storylines were all over the place and I felt that the series was starting to lose its authenticity. My interest for the show returned after I watched the winter finale last December. The finale ended with a pregnant Rhonda getting pushed down the stairs.
When Empire resumed last month it was revealed that Rhonda had lost her baby. In a very emotional scene the whole family is crying and comforting Andre after he learns the devastating news that his child died. This scene in my opinion definitely shifted the tone of the show. I felt the series started to become more authentic again like it was in season one. Although the Lyons are a dysfunctional family, their love for one another is undeniable. I especially love the relationship that Cookie has with her sons.
The second half of the season touches on real and relatable issues. Rhonda struggles with her faith in God after she loses the baby which causes conflict between her and Andre. I thought this was a great topic to address because so many people deal with similar issues. People try to sugarcoat religious topics so it was great that Lee Daniels provoked this type of conversation.
Mental illness is also addressed more in this season. Andre suffers from bipolar disorder and he discovers that his grandmother had the same disorder. For years the family thought that Lucious’ mom Leah Walker was dead but they later find out she is still alive and that Lucious had been secretly paying to keep her confined in a mental health institution. Andre is outraged and has his grandmother released from the facility in hopes that they will be able to establish some type of bond due to the fact that they have the same mental illness.
What the family doesn’t know is that Leah has a more severe form of bipolar disorder. As a child Lucious was physically and mentally abused by her which sheds light on why he has the type of personality that he does. Lucious can come off as uncaring and flat out evil at times so by introducing his mother to the show you find yourself having more empathy towards his character.
I’m glad mental health was addressed more this season because in the black community we tend to overlook the severity of the disease and fail to seek professional help.
Although this season touched on some heavy topics there was still plenty of drama to keep fans in suspense. Anika reveals to the family that she is pregnant by Hakeem and Rhonda realizes that Anika is the one that pushed her down the stairs.
The finale leaves viewers with plenty of cliffhangers. Hakeem is left at the altar by Laura, and Lucious and Anika get married to prevent Anika from having to testify against him in court. Although this is only a business arrangement to help protect the family Cookie lets it be known that she is done with Luscious for good. The biggest cliffhanger happens at the very end of the episode. Rhonda attacks Anika while she is standing outside on the roof of a high building. As they wrestle back and forth hanging over the balcony the camera cuts to Andre as he runs out and screams with a look of horror on his face letting viewers know that one of the women have fallen to their death……. (Now that’s what you call a season finale)!
I definitely like the new direction the show seems to be going in for season three and I’m looking forward to tuning in when it returns in the fall!