Smollett's character dealt with scurrilous blog rumors on Wednesday night's (March 13) series return.
Fox music drama Empire returned on Wednesday night (March 13) from a mid-season hiatus with the usual compliment of plot twists, heated arguments, snitches dangled from windows and palace intrigue swirling around the Lyon family. Unexpectedly at the center of the drama, despite modest screen time, was middle son Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett), who was dealing with some eerily familiar problems in the episode entitled "My Fault is Past."
Though the show was filmed weeks before Smollett became embroiled in some serious off-screen issues due to what Chicago police say was a faked hate crime attack in downtown Chicago on Jan. 29, eagle-eyed viewers likely could parse unintended, hidden meanings if they looked hard enough. In fact, Jamal's first scene included a lecture from mother Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson), who snapped, "The Lyons are Empire, you are Empire, so no matter what you think or how you feel about it, if it's tainted, we're all tainted," after Jamal demurred when asked to help his parents win back their imperiled musical kingdom.
Even more bizarre, when youngest brother Hakeem proposed roughing up the sibling's newly discovered stepbrother from another mother, Smollett's Jamal says, "We ain't gonna beat nobody's ass," another odd parallel considering Smollett is accused of paying two men -- one of whom he's worked with on Empire -- to beat him up in the alleged Chicago attack.