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EMPIRE Fall Finale: Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett & Trai Byers Deliver Top-Notch Drama!

If you missed the Empire fall finale on Wednesday night on Fox, you should catch-it! While it also gave the hip-hop soap a boost in its ratings numbers, it also showcased the power of three of its series stars: Taraji P. Henson (Cookie), Jussie Smollett (Jamal) and Trai Byers (Andre).

Courtesy/FOX

In story, the hour featured a heartbreaking intervention sending Jamal to rehab, but before that, mama Lyon needed Jamal to get it together to perform at The People’s Ball to help her beau, Angelo (Taye Diggs) get elected and garner votes.  After first demanding Jamal turn over his stash of pills, she later finds him puking his guts up and going through withdrawal, and he is late for his performance.  So, what’s a mother to do?  Well, show-off her plumbing skills – go under the kitchen sink where she threw away his pills down the drain – open the pipes up, and get some pills to help him get to the stage!

Courtesy/FOX

Later, after Jamal wows the audience he comes off-stage to be greeted by the Lyon clan and company telling him he is being taken to rehab right now.  Jussie Smollett played the betrayal of his family and in particular his mother and sadness beautifully, while Taraji P. Henson throughout the episode proved why “The Cookie Effect” as noted in the episode is in full bloom.

And as for Trai Byers, this season he got to show his acting chops and none more so, than when Andre reveals he suffers from bipolar disorder to Nessa, and he tells her how his late wife Rhonda helped him manage it. Nessa tell him: “I’m not gonna do any of those things for you. “I want you to learn to do them for yourself.”

Courtesy/FOX

Next, Andre who has been having hallucinations all season, has one last one, and this one is on the beach where Andre and Ghost Rhonda say their final goodbyes. But before she goes she tells the mentally unstable Lyon: “Promise me you will destroy that bitch that murdered me and killed our baby.”  Andre, in a show of symbolism, tosses his wedding ring into the water.  He then reveals to Shyne that he knows that he indeed liquidated his assets two weeks before Lucious’ assets were frozen.  He then very steely and confidently tells him how it’s going to be from here on out. That he is pulling the strings.  Andre tells Shyne to respect the heirarchy, “’til it’s time to kill my father.”  Andre looks down right scary.  The episode fades to black till Empire returns in March of the new year.

TV Line spoke to executive producer Sanaa Hamri in on what mght become of Jamal and his stint in rehab when the show returns in 2017:  “Jamal having to face pain-medication addiction, it’s a horrific thing. We see the rawness and the truth. It’s the unglamorous side of what a lot of artists have gone through over the decades — from Janis Joplin to Michael Jackson. We see what it does. It’s real. Cookie will do anything to get her son out of that pain, and that’s why she gave him those pills. It had to be addressed, but she couldn’t let him withdraw that severely. She and Lucious and the family all bonded in that amazing moment where Jamal has to go to rehab. He has to go through the program and come to terms with his addiction. And the journey now for him is if he can be sober — and if he can create being sober, which is a whole other thing.”

So, what did you think of the Fall finale of Empire?  What were your thoughts on the performances of Henson, Smollett, and Byers? Comment below!

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su0000
su0000

Empire has been excellent, it also holds variety..
It is one of my all time favorites..
I did not the last episode was the final 🙁 can’t wait for the return!!

James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

I am just glad to have another soap on the air even if this one is prime time—the show is very well written and it’s actors are always top-notch.

Jane
Jane

I don’t like theses people , the acting is expected , no surprises.
Cookies one liners have been funny , Lucius in bed with a rag on his head with his women about to go down on him as his mother walks in with Vaccum. Disgusting.

Paul
Paul

The show, like Glee, takes its popularity for granted with stunt casting and somewhat generic storylines… most of the time.
The thing that bothered me here is that cookie put her boytoy ahead of her son by drugging him up first to perform and then carting his ass off to rehab. I hope the rehab center is not once of those with a grand piano and a gay guy who also likes to sing so this dude gets the trifecta: a new album, a lover, and plenty of counseling sessions where he can break out in song.

All three of these Lyon sons got the worst parents. Lucious knows who killed his daughter in law and first grand child but to safe his ass he’d rather sacrifice his son’s. Cookie just drugged up her son so he could preform to help her lover. And the youngest son is just juggled and discarded by them both so often that the one who should be addicted to anything is that kid and it should be coke and heiroin or worse.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

On the one hand I ike the show. Great acting; talented musicians. On the other hand, it smacks of racism, anfi-semitism. It’s black power message not very subtle from the dialogue to the song lyrics. There ARE friendships and trust both in business and personal relationships between people of every hue and religion but “Empire” only features the bigoted aspect. The family barely blinked an eye when Rhonda died; Andre knew hsr since college.

As for the season finale, objectively it was very good. Andre has become a force this season and I’m curious to see where his psychological state takes him next. Nessa is gorgeous…Taye Diggs hadn’t had enough of a part but all things Cookie willl lead back to Lucious. Speaking of Lucious, I thought thd scene where Jamal sang his angst about all his father’s wrongs to the backdrop of the video of Cookie and her dad/sisters was very poignant. On an interior design note, each character’s home is stunning!

Breaking News

Chicago Police Believe That Jussie Smollett May Have Been “Active Participant” In His Own Attack

Saturday has brought with it some major twists and developments into the alleged assault on Empire star, Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyon) through multiple reports.  Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the on-going investigation told CNN that Chicago Police believe actor Jussie Smollet paid two men to orchestrate an assault on him.

The men in question, who are brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, were originally arrested on Wednesday, but released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited: “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete.”  Reports also say that the two men are fully cooperating with law enforcement.

Of note is: that the brothers are of Nigerian descent and teach online body building classes. The Chicago Tribune reports that Smollett follows the brothers’ workout page on Instagram.   One brother reportedly appeared in an episode of Empire, but was not credited it for it.

Smollett’s attack happened in the early hours of January 29th on the streets of Chicago, when Smollett told authorities that two men were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.”  He also noted that one of the attackers put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.

The sources told CNN there are records that show the two brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at an Ace Hardware store in Chicago.

“The new direction of the investigation is now based on the premise that Mr. Smollett was an active participant in the incident,” a law enforcement source close to the situation told Deadline.

In a statement from Chicago PD late Saturday: “We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation. We’ve reached out to the ‘Empire’ cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”

So, what do you believe at this juncture?  Do you think Smollett would stage a hate crime on himself? Could the police just not have found the true culprits? Share your theories on this developing story.

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Breaking News

‘Empire’s’ Jussie Smollett To Speak For First Time Since Attack On Good Morning America

While the Chicago Police Department continues its investigation into the attack, and a statement from his reps saying that the PD has found his account “consistent and credible”, Empire star Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyon) will open up for the first time publicly since the hate crime, perpetrated against him.

The interview will air on Thursday’s Good Morning America on ABC.  Robin Roberts was given the exclusive interview with the talented actor/singer.

In a preview for the interview when Roberts asks if at anytime during the attack he feared for his life, Jussie is seen breaking into tears.

According to the LA Times, while Smollett has been cooperating with police, investigators recently rejected his phone records as evidence because they claimed they“do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation as they were limited and heavily redacted.”

In a statement given to Deadline by Smolett’s reps on the situation, and any backlash, they clarified:  “Jussie is the victim here, which has been stated by the Superintendent of Police.  Jussie has voluntarily provided his phone records from within an hour of the attack and given multiple statements to police.  Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie’s account of what happened that night consistent and credible. Superintendent Johnson has been clear from day one that Jussie is a victim. We are continuing to work closely with the Chicago PD and remain confident that they will find Jussie’s attackers and bring them to justice.”

So, will you be watching Smollett’s interview tomorrow?  Share your thoughts on the developing story via the comment section below.

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Breaking News

‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett Makes First Public Statement Since His Attack

After being the victim of a reported racist and homophobic attack on Tuesday in Chicago, Empire favorite, Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyon) released his first statement since the events transpired.  Yesterday, a Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi called the incident an, “assault and battery case.”

Smollett, depending on his recovery and those very cold weather conditions in the Windy City. could be back filming Empire by early next week.

Jussie is is still scheduled to play a concert at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California tomorrow night.

In his statement, Jussie said: “Beautiful People, let me start by saying that I’m OK.  My body is strong but my soul is stronger.  More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words. I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level.  Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served. As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process. Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me.  With Love, respect & honor… Jussie.”

So, share your thoughts on what Jussie shared after his shocking attack via the comment section below.

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