"Empire" recap: "The Devil Quotes Scripture"

The episodes keep getting more and more ridiculous, but in a good way. I’m not even sure how to rationalize some of what I saw, but I will say that I’m glad that Jamal, one of the few sane people in this family, has finally taken his tail from between his legs and is now going to fight for Lucious’ empire just to spite him.

Jamal sang the song Puma gave Cookie (which is oddly already owned by Lucious? Maybe Puma forgot after all this time) and not only sang it well, but completely rearranged it into a contemporary song. But instead of giving Jamal the single for his own career, Lucious decides that since he owns the song, he’ll give it to John Legend instead. Thankfully, this slight in front of family, as well as the subsequent talk Lucious has at Jamal’s apartment, cement it in Jamal’s mind to go against Lucious. He even moves out of the apartment, which Lucious pays for.

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I had been thinking about how Lucious treats Jamal for a while, and I think a lot of his contradictory nature comes from fear. “Well, duh!” you might be saying, but hear me for a second.

When some parents find out their kid is gay, instead of loving them, they disown them or do something equally as awful (like send them to ex-gay therapy).  Others might hate that their kid is gay, but they flip-flop from threatening to disown them and belittling them to actually doing nice things for them, like help them out in tough situations, because they want to love their kid, but they feel like they don’t know how. They also think that if they threaten their kid (who is an adult now) like he or she is still in kindergarten, then the kid will “straighten up,” as it were, pun not intended.

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I feel like this is the parent Lucious is. He wants to punish Jamal, but somehow thinks he’s punishing out of love or that if he embarrasses him just one more time, Jamal will snap out of it. I think some proof of that is whenever Lucious brings up the fact that he does pay for everything Jamal has. Jamal moving out is severing the last tie Lucious has to his son.

All of this, and Cookie’s moment with Puma, is the normal part of the show. The rest of the show, including Bunkie’s funeral (which had Gladys Knight!) was straight bonkers. The title of this episode couldn’t have been more true; Lucious, in that heavenly white crisp suit, really was the devil quoting scripture. How can you invite Queen Gladys and just play God for a fool in church at the same time? Cookie’s right: If there is a Hell, he’s certainly going down there, for that and for all of his other transgressions. You’d think with his illness, he’d be trying to get his priorities straight.

What is up with Andre and Rhonda!? How do I comprehend this? What kind of kink is that? I’ve heard of some kinks before, but that kind does not exist in my world. Speaking of kinks, what’s with Hakeem? His mother issues need some therapy; he hates his own mom, but looks for a mother figure in Camilla (Naomi Campbell)? WOW, SON.

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Also, that dinner scene was something special. Having a campy praying scene with Cookie getting into Anika is always welcome.  Although I can predict that somewhere in Season 5 or something, Anika and Cookie are going to become unwilling frenemies-turned-actual comrades, if not full-out friends. Mark this down.

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What did you think of this episode? Give your opinions in the comments section below. Also, I think I’ll eventually get around to making a post about the costuming on Empire. There are a lot of color schemes and styles I’ve noticed and I need to talk about it.

Photo credit: Chuck Hodes/Fox