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Empire

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!

Empire

Jussie Smollett Will Not Return To ‘Empire’ Relates Lee Daniels; 911 Call Released Of His Alleged Attack

The co-creator of Fox’s sudsy Empire, Lee Daniels, confirmed yesterday that actor/singer Jussie Smollett will not return to the series for its final season, after the renewal pick-up of the show’s sixth and final season was announced, where it left Smollett’s fate with the series a big ambiguous.

How the final blow of any possibility of Smollett’s return came to light was when Daniels was responding to a Variety report in which multiple production sources said that writing staff was breaking ideas for the final season with the expectation that Smollett would appear in the back half of the 18 planned episodes. However, Daniels strongly expressed upon that item that: “Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”

Smollett was written out of the final episodes of the show’s fifth season in the aftermath and backlash stemming from that he faked a hate crime against himself earlier this year in Chicago.

In addition on Wednesday, the city of Chicago (TMZ had already beat them to it) released 911 calls where a friend of Smollett’s called for help following his alleged attack.  A man (later identified as Smollett’s manager, Frank Gatson) said he “works with an artist” told the  operator that the victim did not want to file a report with authorities, but he was going to ‘make’ him.”

The caller added that the victim said the attackers put a noose around his neck expressing: “What’s really weird ma’m, just ‘cus I’m scared and I don’t know what it is, they put a noose around his neck.  They didn’t do anything with it, but put it around his neck. That’s pretty f—d up to me — sorry for saying it like that.”

A second 911 call was apparently made 15 minutes later after the police had not yet responded to the first call, where the caller said about Smollett, “He was jumped on the street and we’re just trying to report it.”

So, what do you think of the news that Smollett is definitely out of the final season of Empire? What do you think of the 911 call? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Breaking News

‘Empire’ Will End Its Run After Upcoming Sixth Season

Fox has announced during Monday’s pre-upfront call with the media that Empire’s upcoming sixth season (they just got renewed for that season just the other week) will ultimately be its last.

Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier expressed: “We are turning the final season into a large TV event — we are trying to go out guns a-blazing. You allow fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve.”

The final season will consist of 20 episodes.

As to whether Jussie Smollett would coming back for the show’s last hurrah, Collier only would say, “At this point, we have no plans for that.”   He also noted the writer’s room has not even been put in place for the new season.

Previously, Fox Entertainment along with 20th Century Fox Television extended Smollett’s option for the upcoming sixth season, but at that time also stated there were no plan for him to re-appear on-screen as Jamal.

Smollett claimed that he was the victim of an assault based hate crime, but later was accused of hiring two men to attack him and was indicted for filing false police reports/statements.  Fast-forward, the criminal charges were dropped in March, and Smollett has maintained his innocence.

As a result of all the bad publicity cast on Smollett and more, the series decided to cut Smollett out of the final two episodes of the 5th season.

So, sad to hear Empire will end after its next season, or do you think its time for the hip hop drama to go? Comment below.

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Breaking News

EMPIRE Renewed For Sixth Season; Jussie Smollett Future With Show Uncertain, But ‘No Plans” For Jamal To Return

Some major questions concerning the future of Fox’s sudsy, Empire have been answered, while the future of one of its main stars Jussie Smollett (Jamal) remains in question.

While the series got its season six pick-up, but there was another interesting development which was offered up in a statement by Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox that read: “By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for Season 6, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire.”

According to reps for Smollett, they have been told: “Jussie will not be on Empire in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal’s future open.  Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”

In Empire‘s official renewal statement from Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn today it said. “Empire continues to break barriers with its emotionally powerful storytelling, and it remains a core part of the Fox legacy. “We want to thank everyone on the show – Taraji, Terrence and the entire cast, as well as Lee, Danny, Brett, Sanaa, Brian, Francie, Dennis and their teams – all of whom have done a tremendous job this season.  We know there are so many more stories to tell, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for Season 6.”

When Jamal was last seen on Empire, he had tied-the-know.  Whether his departure will be for a number of episodes or permanent looks up in the air.

Smollett made national news when he told the police that two men jumped him around 2 a.m. on January. 29yh  on a Chicago street, yelling racist and homophobic slurs, and put a rope around his next and threw a substance in his face. After an investigation, Smollett was charged with filing a fake police report with the Chicago PD and later had all charges dropped against him, even though the evidence indicated he was guilty of setting the whole thing up.

So, what do you think of Empire getting renewed for a sixth season?  What should they do in regards to the character of Jamal and if Jussie Smollett should ever return?

 

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