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‘Empire’ Series Finale Brings Lyon Family Together; While Many Viewers Dissatisfied Over Makeshift Ending

Photo: FOX

Following Tuesday’s night series finale of Empire, which featured once again, brilliant performances from Taraji P. Henson (Cookie) and Terrence DaShon Howard (Luscious), many longtime viewers took to social media unsatisfied with its conclusion.  However, it should be noted that the shows producers did their best to use the footage they had in the can to craft something they hoped would be meaningful.

As previously reported, due to COVID-19, Empire had shot 18 episodes and a half of episode 19, of their 20 season order, when they were forced to shut down production.  Thus, the set-up and focus of the finale had to be significantly changed.

If you have not seen last night’s finale and plan to watch, do  not read any further for spoilers.

In an episode entitled “Home is On The Way,” which now makes complete sense post-viewing, Cookie and Luscious throughout trials, tribulations, realizations, deaths, and wrestling back control of the company, find their way back to each other.  Throughout the episode, viewers are treated to flashbacks of the duo’s long and twisted history – the good, the bad, the ugly, the dirty, and the nasty.

Photo: FOX

To get them back together, the series had to figure out what to do to with Yana, the musical protege with whom Luscious was involved with.  Backstage at a major concert event, Yana realizes that Luscious is not going to come on the world tour with her, because he still deeply loves Cookie.  He does not deny it.  When Yana’s father, Damon sees her backstage in what looks like she is hugging and all into Luscious, he pulls out a gun.  When we come back from commercial, we learn Yana was shot and killed, sending Damon on a spiral to get Luscious once and for all.

Following the shooting, Lucious tries to cancel the premiere of Hakeem’s Lyon legacy movie over concerns for the safety of his entire family,  but the Andre of old steps up and says they won’t let fear force the family to do that.

Earlier in the episode, Luscious had previously requested that in the event something should happen to him to please get a special letter he wrote to Cookie, where he opens up about his feelings for her.  When Cookie gets the letter, it is juxtaposed with the Luscious vs. Damon showdown; which Luscious ultimately wins when he clubs Damon over the head with his own prosthetic leg.

Photo: FOX

With the threat to their ultimate happiness eliminated, the series ends with the entire family attending the premiere party of the film Birth of an Empire, where Hakeem performs a rap, “The Oath,” as an ode to the Lyon legacy. The  lyrics of the song detail Cookie and Luscious’ family story and flashbacks from all six seasons are used throughout the rap.  Then came how to deal with the missing Jussie Smollett and the character of Jamal Lyon in said flashbacks.

While Luscious, Cookie, Andre and Hakeem’s flashbacks showed the actual actors who play their respective roles, Jamal’s flashbacks only showed a young child portraying the middle son of the clan – eliminating any appearance of Smollett from the finale; even via previously shot footage from the five seasons in which Smollett appeared.

Empire showrunner, Brett Mahoney spoke to TV Line as to the decision on ending of the finale: “I realized that the movie premiere, with the family coming together, with Cookie and Lucious recognizing their love for one another, we definitely have the spirit of what I had intended for our true series finale, It’s almost the idea that the family is more important than the empire. That the love that they have for each other is more important than anything else … that’s definitely where we’re headed in terms of the actual series finale.”

As to the premise from the beginning of season 6 that fans were hoping would be answered in the series finale – who blew up Cookie’s car and who shot Luscious – Mahoney shared: “I was not able to answer that in a satisfying way with what we had shot, so that’s why I’m hoping that we can really still shoot our intended series finale and answer those questions.”

The biggest cliffhanger to come out of the series finale from Tuesday night is; will Mahoney and company be able to re-group and shoot the series finale they intended; following any lessening of the COVID-10 safety measures in the coming months? Stay tuned.

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maybe they can make an Empire: The Movie!!!

hey Jimh..
The ending stunk!!
Empire deserved an ending that
respected the show, it got stink.
It should have been left until it could be given a proper ending..
a two-hour finial event upon returning to do it right.

Empire

Taraji P. Henson Says She Fired Her Entire Team After They Failed to Capitalize on Her Success as ‘Empire’s’ Cookie Lyon

When Fox’s hit primetime soap opera, Empire, hit the air it became a smash hit, especially due to its lead female character, Cookie Lyon, as played by Taraji P. Henson.

The actress played Cookie for all she was worth and the some becoming one of the more original soap and television characters. After all, Cookie went to jail for 17 years before being released, and was the wife of former drug dealer, now music mogul, Lucious Lyon played by Terrence Howard.

Now, Taraji revealed all was not kosher behind the scenes during a sit-down interview for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation (see below). It was there, she revealed that she had to fire her entire PR team and more, because of how they failed to capitalize on her rousing success at the time as Cookie.

Photo: Fox

The moment came about during the Q&A Henson was asked what was the best business decision she ever made.  She swiftly answered: “Firing everybody after Cookie,” adding, “Everybody had to f**ing’ go. Where is my deal? Where’s my commercial? Cookie was at the top of the fashion game. Where is my endorsement? What did you have set up for after this? That’s why you all haven’t seen me in so long. They had nothing set up.”

Empire fans recall that a ‘Cookie’ prequel had been in the works to continue the character after the series was canceled after six seasons, but nothing happened. At the time reports shared, Danny Strong, co-creator of the Empire was said to be co-writing the series, and it would come through Henson’s new production banner.

Taraji explained what went down behind the scenes: “All they wanted was another Cookie show, and I said, ‘I’ll do it, but it has to be right. The people deserve, she’s to beloved for y’all to f**k it up.’ And so, when they didn’t get it right, I was like, ‘Well, that’s it,’ and they had nothing else. ‘You’re all f**ng fired.”

Photo: JPI

Henson added that she felt like she had Stockholm Syndrome from the entire situation, which is defines as a syndrome ‘where hostages sometimes develop a psychological bond with their captors.’ (Think Kevin, Y&R!) The moral of Henson’s story was to make sure the people you pay and who work for you, understand that you are the talent and nothing happens without you including them collecting a paycheck off you.

Henson can currently be seen in the musical version of The Color People in movie theatres everywhere.

Check out her emotional and enlightening conversation with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation below.

Now let us know, do you think Cookie Lyon was one of the best TV characters and should have either been spun off into her own show, or Henson should have appeared in more commercial and endorsement deals given the popularity of the character? Weigh-in via the comment section.

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Empire

Jussie Smollett Releases New Rap Single ‘Thank You God’ Speaking On the Injustice of His Court Case

Now that former Empire star, Jussie Smollett (Ex-Jamal Lyon) is out of jail while appealing his conviction for the 2019 Chicago hate crime hoax, in which he was at the epicenter, the singer/actor wasted no time dropping a rap single.

On his Instagram account, Smollett posted a short clip of a new rap song, which speaks about his court case and the injustices brought down upon him by the system.

The track entitled,“Thank You God,” features Smollett rapping lyrics like: “You think I’m stupid enough to kill my reputation?”  He also raps, that there will come a day when he can sit down and talk with his followers.  He gives a mention to “D.L.” who many believe is CNN anchor, Don Lemon, who was originally one of Smollett’s main advocates.

Jussie served 10 days of jail time of his sentence of 150 days before being released . He also has 30 months of probation ahead of him and was ordered to pay $120,106 to the city of Chicago and a $25,000 fine for his actions.

Smollett says any funds raised for “Thank You God” will be donated to the Illinois Innocence Project, Rainbow Push, Secure The Bag Safety.

Check out Jussie’s Instagram post containing the rap below/

Now let us know, what do you think about Smollett releasing this track and still defending his innocence? Comment below.

 

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A post shared by @jussiesmollett

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Breaking News

‘Empire’ Star, Jussie Smollett, Sentenced to 150 Days In Jail For Fake Hate Crime Attack

Late Thursday, former Empire actor and singer, Jussie Smollett, was sentenced in Chicago more than three months after being found guilty on five felony counts to the alleged 2019 hate crime hoax that made national headlines, and got the actor fired from the former Fox primetime drama series.

In the sentencing, Smollett was sentenced to 150 days starting immediately.  In addition, he received 30 months’ probation, and has to pay the city of Chicago $120,106 in restitution, plus Jussie received an additional $25,000 fine.

Cook County Judge James Linn, who levied the sentence, came down hard in his words on Smollett due his actions noting he was, “selfish, arrogant and narcissistic.”  The judge added, “You wanted to make yourself more famous throwing a national pity party for yourself. You’re just a charlatan, pretending to be the victim of a hate crime.”

Linn went in on Smollett for his ‘performance’ and ‘pure perjury’ when the actor took to the witness stand in his own defense last year.

At the end of his sentencing, Smollett pulled down his mask to speak. He then let everyone in the courtroom know that he feels he is innocent, adding, “Your honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I did not do this. And I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that.”

Just before he was taken into custody, Smollett yelled again that he was innocent and raised a fist in the air as he exited.

Watch the sentencing of Jussie Smollett below, then weigh-in.  Did Smollett get enough of a sentence for his crime? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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