Great directing and writing
Serayah shines as Tiana in "Me" music segment
Taraji P. Henson's hysterical clapback in the bathroom scene!
Jussie Smollett's beautifully haunting "I Am Who I Am" music segment
That twisted ending between Trai Byers, Sierra McClain and Kaitlin Doubleday!
Still no mention of a funeral or memorial service for Rhonda
Less of Bryshere Y. Gray's "Hakeem" in this episode
Downward spiral continues for Trai Byers' "Andre"
“Cupid Kills” takes us up, down and around in a massive roller coaster with a creepy, weird ending!!
If we thought last week’s Empire episode was intense, it had nothing on last night’s!! Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) may have some competition from Andre (Trai Byers) for Nessa’s (Sierra McClain) interest. But just as Andre and Nessa give in to their desires, a ghost from his past stops him in his tracks. Meanwhile, Andre and Tariq (Morocco Omari) go down in a massive fight, a moment of life and death in their hands. Angelo (Taye Diggs) and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) dress up for a fancy fundraiser, but Cookie causes some trouble in the uptight, black-tie affair in the only way she knows how. Luckily, inspiration from the event sparks a way for Tiana (Serayah) to become the best artist she was born to be! Jamal (Jussie Smollett) fights hard against Lucious to free Freda Gatz (Bre-Z) from jail, but his friendly plans backfire. Will there be a bigger strain between Jamal and Freda?
So many questions for only an hour-long show. Let’s discuss!!
Creepy love triangle forming between Hakeem, Nessa and now Andre!
Lucious being his pompous self, thinks he has the audacity and credibility to sign Nessa to Empire. But what he doesn’t know is that Shyne (Alvin Nathaniel “Xzibit” Joiner) has plenty of music labels ready to take his sister on. Lucious calls Hakeem to get Andre to sign Nessa, but Hakeem stupidly tells Shyne the amount they are willing to pay him for Nessa. And then Shyne exploits the same amount on camera!! We love (like?) Hakeem and his music, but he’s clearly not the businessman in the Lyon family.
A deal made by Andre and Tariq. Not with a fizzle, but with a bang!
After that, Andre attempts to swoop Nessa off her feet, literally! We see that not only is Andre taking a liking to Nessa, but it looks reciprocated. When Andre confronts Lucious about signing Nessa, Shyne storms in and punches Andre in the face!! We feel like putting extra ice-packs on Andre’s delicate face, because it’s been though so much already! Shyne even takes the fight a step further by pointing a gun to Andre’s head!! Our hearts are racing, hoping that Shyne doesn’t shoot our oldest Lyon, but Lucious grabs hold of the gun and points it to Shyne, instead. We sigh in huge relief as Shyne signs the papers for Nessa to work with Empire. That would have been a disaster if Shyne got hold of Andre like that, We’ve already lost a main character on the show, we don’t have room to lose anymore!
As Angelo and Cookie have their first date, Tiana feels empowered.
Angelo invites Cookie to a special secret event, which makes Cookie flashback to Barry back when they were kids. Her father had wanted her to stay with Barry; he knew that Lucious would bring her down, and they couldn’t afford to have that happen.
We feel the green envy of Cookie’s massive, glorious closet as she goes through many of her expensive, fabulous outfits. We’d love to take a tour of her closet, any day of the week! Cookie ends up with this beautiful, hot, red mini-dress…to a fundraiser. The fundaraiser is full of uptight, stuck-up, sophisticated, women in gowns, and men in tuxedos and black ties and bowties. This environment is beautiful, but it makes us nervous because Cookie sticks out like a gorgeous, glittery thumb. However, she knows how to make it work. She’s Cookie, after all!!
But things go from awkward to bad when Cookie hears a couple women talking about her. Her clapback was amazing, though!! We applaud hard for our girl walking out, scaring the other women off. She leaves, sneaking past Angelo. We’ve always known Taraji P. Henson plays her character perfectly, but in that moment was everything!! She could have taken things to a different level by beating those women up in the bathroom, but she merely used her fighting words and left. Applause!!
“Once I get finished whippin’ both of y’alls asses, you’ll wish you never met a hoodrat like me. Just wipin’ my hands, bitches.” – Cookie
Back at Empire, Angelo catches up with Cookie while on set of Tiana’s new music video for the Xtreme livestream. Angelo tries to win her back by saying they are more alike than she thinks. As sweet as it is for Angelo to explain himself, we still think it sucks how he didn’t let her know it was a black-tie affair. That could have saved Cookie a lot of more energy to put a better outfit together.
“I’m a artist not a reality show, Cookie!” – Tiana
As for Tiana’s comeback single to get Hakeem off her back, Cookie’s awful experience at the fundraiser is used for good inspiration to have. Cookie gets the amazing opera singer from that night () to do a feature on Tiana’s song, and the track and video are hot!! We love how Tiana’s character has grown enough to create a power-punch of a song against Hakeem’s diss track.
“’Sistas’? What do you know about black women?” – Becky
Lucious cuts in the middle of Cookie and Angelo’s moment, and even makes fun of the opera twist in the song. We all know he’s only making fun because Cookie was influenced by her date with Angelo. But not even his terrible opera-mocking can take Cookie and Tiana off of their high!! Go ahead, girls!!
In addition, the most interesting part of Lucious’ butting in was his story on how Cookie became…Cookie. We flashback to a young Lucious (Jeremy Carver) in a rap battle with young Cookie (Ajiona Alexus) watching. His friend tells young Lucious that Barry is looking for “Laretha”. Lucious reminds Cookie that she’s “his cookie” and he takes poor Barry to the back to beat him to a pulp. We feel so badly for Barry; all he wanted was for him and Cookie to have their happily-ever-after, and Lucious had to step in and spoil it. We hope this isn’t the last of Barry, though. But then again, Cookie kinda-sorta has Angelo and Lucious to deal with, so he’s probably better off finding someone else.
#FreeFreda or nah?
Jamal and his PTSD support group counselor, Philip (Juan Antonio) go back to the prison to visit Freda. But we gasp in horror and shock as we see Freda’s face beaten badly, her eye swollen shut. What happened to her?! Angelo later meets with Jamal, who gives him advice on how to score better with Cookie. To return the favor, Angelo hooks Jamal up with a top-shot lawyer to try to release Freda from jail. We think Angelo’s lawyer is awesome, because he advises Jamal to plead with the judge on how much Freda needs help. We cheer and hug our televisions as the Judge lets Freda go. Freda’s free!!!
“How does it feel to be just like your daddy?” – Lucious
Jamal exclaims this exciting news to Lucious, and we’re surprised when Lucious congratulates him. But our smiles turn into deep frowns as Lucious explains that he had his cronies beat Freda up in jail, and she was in on it. They both tricked Jamal to get her released because they knew he’d do anything to help. What makes it worse is when Lucious is glad that Jamal paid off the doctor for Freda’s medical records; now anything she says isn’t believable. Which lets Lucious off the hook for killing her father, and Jamal unknowingly made it happen!! UGH we know Lucious is evil and childish and a crook, but he’s an evil monster for tricking Jamal like that.
WTF was that ending?!
Jamal assures Philip not to take his medication with alcohol. But as soon as his PTSD counselor leaves, Jamal goes right back to the alcohol mixed with the pills. We’re disappointed in his ways not to get better properly, but once we hear the beautiful boy sing, we put our feelings aside, for now.
The crazy part is while Jamal is singing, Nessa goes to see Andre. We can feel their chemistry burn through the roof, and they wind up having sex on his desk!! Their connection is definitely a slow burn, since Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) is now gone, but it looks like Andre is starting to move on too fast. The fact that there is still no funeral, memorial service, or further mention of Rhonda confuses us, but the Lyons like to burn through people pretty fast. If they were to have a special moment for Rhonda other than her ghost appearing and reappearing in Andre’s mind, they would have done it already.
Speak of the blonde ghost, she pops up behind Andre, turning his and Nessa’s moment into a weird, trippy “threesome”!! We stare in shock, awe, nausea at this scene, but we admit that the production of the three characters is amazing. The way the camera pans from Kaitlin Doubleday, to Trai Byers, to Sierra McClain and back around again makes us dizzy and exhilarated, but we just can’t look away, it’s too good!! Director Hanelle M. Culpepper did a great job. Also, playing Jussie Smollett’s “I Am Who I Am” during Trai Byers and Sierra McClain’s scene added more drama and angst to both parts.
Final Verdict: “Cupid Kills” had so many twists and turns, and had our jaws on the floor from beginning to end.
“Cupid Kills” was a very good episode. It seems as though each week, the season gets more mature and intense, leaving us wanting more. Writers Matt Pyken & Attica Locke did a great job with Cookie, Lucious, and Andre’s lines. There were so many funny moments, as well as creepy ones. Music supervisor Jennifer Ross did a fantastic job with everyone’s music for this episode, especially dramatic singles like Serayah’s “Me” and Jussie Smollett’s “I Am Who I Am.” It will be a long two weeks without the next episode, but with a setup like this, there’s no telling what’s next.
Questions, Comments and Concerns
- According to Entertainment Weekly’s Tim Stack, the opera singer in real life is a good friend of Jussie Smollett. Hope she goes places after her feature on this episode.
- “My girlfriend’s black.” Don’t make you black too, Booboo.
- “@GabbySidibe never. Rhonda’s funeral is never.” Kaitlin Doubleday tweeted this last night. Is this true? If it is, it’s a shame. After all she’s been with the Lyons, the least they can do is give her a funeral. Or a memorial service on behalf of Andre.
- “I don’t know what ur surprised about. #Rhonda always been bout that life. U think she’s gonna stop havin 3somes just cuz she’s dead?” Jussie Smollett’s tweet from last night cracked all of Twitter up!!
Empire Review [3×04]: “Cupid Kills”