Every episode of Empire makes me ask a lot of questions, some of them loudly at the television. I’m that type of TV viewer who talks to the screen. I know nobody on the show is about to break the fourth wall and turn in my direction to answer. Also, Twitter is a mess during that hour if you, like me, partake in the live-tweeting of every episode.
So I am sharing the questions here in hopes some of you have answers. From small details about what two characters are doing to major plot points and storylines, these are the questions I was asking myself (and out loud) during and after Wednesday night’s episode of “Empire.”
What kind of contract does Tiana have with Empire Records?
At the beginning of the fourth episode, Empire’s princess Tiana asks Cookie if she can listen to her demo. If she’s signed, these songs shouldn’t be called demos; they’re potential singles. Luckily, the one she plays for Cookie, “Keep It Movin’,” is vintage Timbaland (the show’s music producer). Cookie’s feedback proves to be invaluable to Tiana — so much so, Tiana makes Cookie her manager.
What’s up with Titan’s security?
Titan, who is signed to rival label Creedmore Entertaiment, is one of the hottest rappers in the game — so hot that even Hakeem has all-access passes to see him perform in Brooklyn. Lucious is also a fan of Titan, and wants to sign him to Empire (more on that later), but would also like Hakeem to work as hard as Titan does on his music. Being petty, Lucious takes Hakeem’s passes and gives them to his assistant Becky. Somehow, a guy with a gun gets past the security and confronts Titan over some beef. How he got all the way inside the venue and past backstage security into VIP with a gun is beyond me. But Titan responds by shooting him. Mayhem ensues.
Does Anika have a heart?
While shaving, Lucious’ hand starts shaking uncontrollably, thus making it no longer possible to hide his ALS. He breaks the news of the disease to Anika and mentions that he has only three more years of life. One would think this reaction calls for an ugly cry, but Anika’s eyes are merely moist, like she has allergies. She doesn’t even hug him. Instead, she stands there for a second, thinks about the news she received, and reacts by helping him finish shaving.
What’s up with all the Tupac love?
Lucious wants Titan to be on Empire Records, saying everybody is calling him “the most authentic artist since Tupac.” It’s the second reference the show has made to Tupac, and it’s hard to ignore this is not intentional. Of all the rappers who can be referenced, only Tupac is being name-dropped. No one even disagrees when someone mentions how great Tupac is on the show. There’s no pushback or suggestion that Notorious B.I.G. or Nas is better.
Do Hakeem and Tiana — together known as Takeem — have any respect?
Takeem are openly making out on Lucious’ couch (that is probably very expensive), but Lucious and Anika don’t seem to mind. They merely disturb them when discussing an upcoming performance for the Teen Choice Awards nomination concert. But still, didn’t Hakeem deserve a more firm scolding than Lucious saying, “Man, you better get off my couch doing that.”
Are knee-high boots respectable attire in the home of a woman who belongs to the Nation of Islam?
I only ask because Cookie, in hopes of persuading Titan to sign to Empire, shows up to Titan’s mother’s house. Titan comes from a staunch Nation of Islam family, and though she seems to cover her head in a scarf out of respect, the boots she wears are a questionable choice. That’s a lot of thigh Cookie was showing.
Is Andre a rider?
Apparently, the oldest son is also the one most familiar with Lucious’ criminal past. When the detective in charge of Bunky’s case comes to Lucious’ office to question him about Bunky’s murder, Andre cosigns Lucious’ alibi saying they were watching a boxing match together the night of Bunky’s murder.
Why did Lucious take Anika to the hood and not Cookie?
Lucious pulls a play straight out of the Suge Knight playbook. He meets with one of Titan’s cronies at a diner deep in Brooklyn to see what can be done about Lucious’ situation. But Titan’s beef is firmly entrenched in gang warfare, and during the meeting, everyone is almost killed in a drive-by. This is a situation much better suited for Cookie, who probably would have been carrying just like Lucious was.
Will Jamal become a better artist now that he’s not living off Lucious’ teat?
The pure artist in the Lyon clan is now holed up in what looks like a pretty bummy apartment deep in Bushwick. The discomfort of Jamal’s new digs aside, hearing all the sounds of an underprivileged neighborhood going on outside his apartment seems to get Jamal’s creative juices flowing.
How big of a problem will Bill Beretti be for Lucious?
Bill Beretti is the head honcho at Creedmore Entertainment, and the guy who apparently discovered Lucious. He catches wind of Lucious scheming on Titan and goes to confront him at Empire. But it’s not taking Titan away from Creedmore that Bill has an issue with; it’s Empire going public. If Lucious doesn’t kill the IPO, Bill tells Lucious he will bury him with dirt from his past and change the name of Lucious’ club to “Cookie’s.”
Is beating your chest with your right hand the new handshake?
That’s what Lucious and Titan do after they discuss the details of Titan’s new deal with Empire Records. Even though Titan is handcuffed, he could probably still hold a pen to sign some papers, or at the least shake the man’s hand. Instead, two thumps to the heart with a closed right fist.
Will it ever be more than business between Cookie and Lucious?
In case you haven’t noticed, the two have displayed some exemplary co-parenting skills since the pilot episode. They’ve done so without the slightest hint of reconciliation on a romantic level. In episode four’s final scene, though, there are shades of two people who were once very much in love. Titan is now on Empire. Takeem is taking off (in spite of Tiana walking in on Hakeem with another woman), and they both found a way to do it together. They give each other praise, and as Cookie walks away, Lucious says, “Thank you, baby.” Cookie warns him, “You might want to clear that with Anika.” “Okay,” Lucious says. “Baby mama.” Cookie laughs and yells, “Still crazy, Lucious.”