(Continuing from “Empire 1 x 9 Unto The Breach, Recap & Review: War and Peace)
We just left Lucious, Andre and Hakeem feeling good about convincing rocker Travie Wild to stay with Empire, but
Jamal is at that very moment calling his dad to let him know he’s still with Delphine and that they’ve got a real shot at bringing her to Empire. He’s totally excited, and he’s right to be. When a major star wants to record with you, that’s exciting!
Aren’t these one take wonders great? Got the mix right as they were doing it too – just like in real life. Okay, it’s not even close to real – it’s called creative license. Besides, it’s an excellent use of the song. It fits what Jamal’s gone through with coming out as well as what he and the whole Lyon family have been going through.
We all make mistakes, you might fall on your face, but you gotta get up…
What a perfect segue to where Cookie is! It’s not surprising, but when return to her at the studio with Royale-T and the Creedmore rappers, she and Royale-T are the only two drinkers still conscious (the studio owner was not involved in this nonsense and is still eating a bowl of cereal) Royale-T tells her that if she can do one more shot and still walk he’ll stay at Empire. She nearly pukes, but she does it! Royale-T is staying at Empire!
Hakeem finally confronts his father about not letting him do anything – especially if he’s the one Lucious has picked to run Empire one day. It’s right at the time Jamal calls his father, again. This time it’s to leave a message letting him know that Delphine’s contract is up after she releases this album. They really do have a shot to sign her and she’s agreed to meet with them that night! Lucious actually sees the call come in and ignores it. Instead he deals with Hakeem.
Why do you think I picked you to be the one who watches and learns firsthand?
Even if Hakeem is whom Lucious wants to run the company, in Lucious’s eyes (and rightly so) Hakeem isn’t ready to handle running Empire.
Meanwhile, things aren’t quite done for Cookie because she’s still got to get home from this bad neighborhood, while wearing expensive clothes and being very drunk. She’s perfect mark. Luckily Malcolm had followed her and rescues her from being mugged. Cookie throws herself at him, but it’s a no go. Malcolm says he won’t sleep with her because it’s his job to read people and situations and he sees that Lucious is in still in love with Cookie! Cookie, as drunk as she is, still manages to answer with some hard truth.
Cookie: Lucious don’t care about nobody but hisself.
Malcolm: The way he looks at you – whatever that is, it’s too intense – which means you’re off-limits.
Smart man, Malcolm. I wonder how long he’ll be able to hold out against the Cookie monster? What? You know Cookie’s going keep going after him!
Having set Hakeem straight on where he stands, Lucious is back in the war room where things are running full tilt. That’s when his personal assistant Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) comes running in with bad news. Travie Wild is with Berretti! He’s just ordered up his private jet to fly the guy to London! Furious and a bit panicked, Lucious heads out. Hakeem tries to follow him, but Lucious tells him to stop acting like a puppy and sends him off to locate Andre and that briefcase full of money.
The Family Fixes…
Let me just run down some of those Lyon family issues again. Hakeem is feeling like his father doesn’t think he’s man enough to be of any real help in the family business beyond rapping. Jamal is trying to get his father to get over his homophobia – at least in terms of Jamal being an asset to Empire, Andre is off his meds and seems to in a manic cycle, Cookie’s relationship with Hakeem is fragile, and she’s drunk, and Lucious is trying not to lose his best artists and not lose his IPO. Got it? Lets see how things go…
Hakeem and Jamal end up in the elevator together and tell each other what’s been going on. However once Andre gets in the elevator, they realize they’ve got a bigger problem. Andre has taken the briefcase full of money and bought a Lamborghini! He’s also speaking super fast about how his job is to wine and dine the artists “in style” and being all huggy-kissy with Hakeem. When Jamal taps Andre on the shoulder, Andre takes a swing at Jamal! Clearly something is very, very wrong with Andre! If that’s not bad enough, the power blinks and the elevator stalls!
Malcolm, who’s still driving Cookie back to Empire, realizes – via the crazy data streams on his phone – that Empire is being hacked from the 18th floor. That’s why the elevator’s stalled. They need to reset things to get things running again.
Lucious is unaware any of this is happening because he’s driven with some of his security people to try to stop Travie Wild from leaving, but he’s too late. It’s a wild west type standoff with SUV’s between he and Berretti and his security and Lucious with his. Berretti implies he slept with Anika, but Lucious gets the last word by saying he no longer feels sorry for him losing his son. That, is cold!
Back in the elevator Andre is completely spiraling out, but in the process he’s revealing some bitter truths. Like how their father doesn’t see him the way he sees Jamal and Hakeem and that they were just babies when things were really hard. It’s an intense, powerful scene. Andre is crying, yelling and banging against the elevator walls.
It was only me! Me! Me! You were babies! I worked harder than anyone up in here! I made Empire! 8 to 10, 8 to 10! Every day! …I’d go home and work!
Jamal’s the one who finds a way to calm Andre down by reminding him of a song that he and their mother would sing to calm Jamal and Hakeem down when things got scary with gunshots outside or Aunt Carol going crazy while high on drugs. It’s “Lean on Me.” Jamal slowly brings Andre into doing the song, and soon the three of them are singing and hugging, and I’m weeping. Tearing up just thinking about it. Really, it’s the scene of the night.
Everyone ends up regrouping in the war room. Even Cookie – who must have had a ton of coffee to be able to be in there and be clear in her thoughts. She brings the news that Tiana (Serayah McNeill) is getting ready to meet with Anika. Lucious is all set to go after her, but Jamal stops him with the news about Delphine. Lucious is says he’s rather go after Tiana even though Delphine is a bigger star that Tiana or Travie Wild!
Cookie shuts Lucious’s nonsense right down by saying she’ll handle getting Tiana back – and then tells Jamal to come with her. Jamal can’t believe she wants him to come. He’s even more shocked when she says that she needs him to! In that instant things have changed for Jamal. His mother has seen him as being helpful and valuable in a way his father hasn’t done all day.
Once they’re gonna stubborn Lucious tells Jamal he still doesn’t want to sign Delphine. Why? He won’t admit it, but it’s because Delphine has no problem with finding out that Jamal is gay! Jamal totally checks him.
You said families put aside their differences. So put down your played out homophobia – unless it’s more important to you than Empire.
With that Jamal storms off.
Obviously, nothing’s more important than Empire to Lucious, but first things first. He has security lock down Andre in the war room and call his wife…
Cookie uses Hakeem to waylay Anika on her way to meet Tiana. He plays it perfectly, asking why she’s doing this, how she’s a part of their family, can’t she forgive his dad. All the stuff you’d expect from a young kid. By the time she realizes what’s happening Porsha and some girls have arrived and block her from getting inside where Tiana is.
Hakeem goes into the to join the talk Cookie is having with Tiana. Tiana thinks Empire was getting ready to drop her because of the break up with Hakeem. Hakeem then vouches for his mother.
You will never find anyone who will work harder for you than Cookie
Once she learns otherwise she admits she’d like to stay at Empire. Even more than that, she wants to get back together with Hakeem. Surprisingly, Hakeem is mature about it and says that while he forgives her, he can’t date her again, not even to keep her at Empire, because he’s still in love with Camilla. I guess Hakeem’s decided that in this respect, he does not want to be like his dad!
Cookie seals the deal by telling Tiana that no matter what she’s family to them – and that Empire was built on family.
Lucious does go and have dinner with Delphine, her manager, and Jamal – at Empire’s club. That’s when we learn they had a chance to sign Delphine six years ago, but Anika didn’t want to sign her! Lucious informs her that Anika is gone and that he’ll be the one handling Delphine’s career if she signs with Empire. Delphine’s a huge fan – as a child she used to dream of doing a duet with Lucious – so it’s a done deal! In fact, Lucious tells her they can fulfill that duet fantasy right there!
Yep! It’s an Empire family affair: Lucious and Cookie are sitting on the piano and singing, while Delphine, Jamal, Hakeem and Tiana are all singing along. It looks like the breach – in the company and the family – has been dealt with. Except…where is Andre?
The last scene of Empire “Unto the Breach” is sad and chilling. Andre is still locked in the war room, a guard on each side, and his wife Rhonda in the center trying to get him to calm down. It’s bad. Andre’s yelling at everyone, and throwing things around. Lucious shows up and Andre questions him about who he’s picking to run Empire and offers him some “business advice.”
I’ve got a piece of advice for Andre – don’t tell a murderer you know his secret…
After that Andre gets totally out of control, pushing people and threatening to kill anyone who touches him. A stretcher arrives and they tackle him, inject him with a sedative and take him away. Lucious makes Rhonda sign the papers to have him committed for forty-eight hours.
All I’ve got to say is Trai Byers’s performances this episode are outstanding. The mix of real issues with his manic state, is painful to watch – scary and tragic all at once. You start to wonder where his choices – from the very beginning – have come from. The cold calculations, the sexual power game highs. Are they part of his mental illness, a result of what he’s gone through with his father since he was a child…or is it just the same thirst for power that his father has?
As for where all of this is going to go…we’re going to have to wait a week to find out!