This episode came correct.
It was so much cleaner, flowed well, hit you with something great at the end of every scene.
Terrence Howard delivered in this episode for real.
With Cuba Gooding Jr., Naomi Campbell, and Gabourey Sidibe having recurring roles—and cameos like Gladys Knight at the funeral, damn!—one would think the star-power in this show might be a distraction. But the show is already hectic as can be, plus, all of these big-time actors play their roles and seem like they will fit into the narrative very smoothly. As long as Taraji Henson and Terrence Howard hold it down like they have been, celebrity guests on the show will only be beneficial.
On the representation of media coverage:
The way media outlets cover everything that goes down in the ‘Empire’ universe is on point. ‘Empire’ shows sophistication in replicating what types of media outlets cover what kinds of stories, and they nail the execution of each media outlet’s communication style. Everything from the tv news channel that Lucious appeared on, to the magazine that broke the story of Kid Fo-Fo signing to a rival label, to “TMI” talking about the hot new couple of Hakeem and Tiana (who isn’t even Hakeem’s main…) is believable and makes the show feel that much more real.
Even the article title below the Hakeem/Tiana story looks just like some bullshit you would see on Buzzfeed.
Side note: TMI’s web layout looks even better than the actual TMZ’s.
On the acceptance of homosexuality:
Jamal took some well-aimed shots at Lucious in this episode. The scene where Lucious visits Jamal’s apartment, which he moved out of in a rushed, statement-making move, was particularly powerful. Through the dialogue and his actions, Jamal showed Lucious that he is exactly the kind of man Lucious wanted him to be. Along with being talented, Jamal took a big step in showing his dad that he is autonomous and isn’t afraid of leading a charge. When Jamal told his boyfriend they were about to bounce, he didn’t ask Jamal any questions or hesitate at all. He’s clearly THE man in the relationship, which is great to see because during Lucious’s little rant about not being able to understand Jamal, he expressed concern over Jamal “being somebody’s bitch”. After seeing Jamal tell Lucious, “I’m you on steroids” and then do everything he did in that last scene, Jamal seems like the furthest thing from a bitch.
This is a great development culturally because it directly attacks the stereotypical notion of gay men being effeminate. Another thing that ‘Empire’ is doing is making it easier to see a gay character for things other than his sexuality. One thing about the GLBT community is that their sexuality, or gender in the case of trans-people, is their most important identifier to society. Even though his sexual orientation is still a big deal in the show’s plot, Jamal is unique enough in a sea of stereotypical gay characters to make real progress toward GLBT individuals being understood as normal people with qualities aside from the traits that make them minorities. This struggle draws parallels to the issue of racial and ethnic minority representation in tv and film.
On the representation of today’s hip-hop/R&B scene:
Drake’s ‘0 to 100’ in the scene where Hakeem was at the club fit real nice.
Not sure if the Kid Fo-Fo story is even a mild allusion to an event in recent hip-hop history, but it added a good layer of depth to the industry side of the show.
That song Tiana did in the opening scene was awful, but kudos to the show for making V (Veronika Bozeman) a recurring character. Where else on tv do you see a dark-skinned Black girl rocking the bald look do her thing on a show that’s consistently pulling more than 10 million viewers per episode?
The show looks like it can only get better, definitely looking forward to episode 4!