TV Wrap: Empire Season 2, Episode 3 “Fires Of Heaven”

Lucious Lyon just might be the most nasty, chauvinistic, narcissistic, megalomaniacal, and heartless character getting around the TV universe at the moment, and my god, it’s enthralling. This week Lucious rises from the blazing pits of jail with money in his pocket and vengeance on his mind, ready to stop at nothing to crush Dynasty and everyone involved with it. And so begins Fires of Heaven, where throats are slashed like prices at a boxing day sale.

In a last supper style affair, the whole gang takes Lucious up on an invite to his welcome home dinner, and you just know it’s not going to be sunshine and rainbows. “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we war!” he declares, with a line that reminds you just how the high the stakes go in this universe. Everything, even the dialogue, is blown up to epic proportions. But, Cookie sees no need to wait until tomorrow. She is ready for war today, and performs the greatest jaw dropping moment of the season, slow motion pulling the table runner and all of its lavish toppings to the floor. Yeah, she did. And it’s these kinds of antics that just might be her undoing.

In this episode we get a real sense of the kind of game both Cookie and Lucious are playing. Cookie, ruled by her heart, is impulsive and ostentatious when making her moves. Lucious on the other hand, is ruled by some inner demon, always calculating and willing to do what needs to be done no matter the cost. More than ever, all the players are his pawns, and he is moving them at will. When he tries to get Anika to return to the dark side and help him take down Dynasty, you can’t help thinking he knows she is going to go straight back to Cookie, and it is all part of his master plan. But Cookie’s greatest trump card is the way he looks at her in that chain link dress when she crashes his party; he still loves her, and that could unravel him at any moment.

In a push and pull where you are never quite sure if Hakeem will jump ship at any moment, and a pact between Cookie and Anika is sealed, every alliance becomes meaningless. It seems no act is too terrible to be scrubbed from the record in the quest for ultimate triumph. But Lucious continues to torture Andre, who apparently is an exception to this rule. His eldest son desperately wants to get back in his good graces, but Lucious has more flashbacks of his manic mother (Kelly Rowland), and it becomes clear that this hate runs much deeper than any words Andre could say. Not even the promise of a grandchild is enough to get him back in Lucious’s graces. It’s all pretty weird, but no doubt there are some deep wounds that will be ripped open in due course to reveal all.

This week is jam packed with musical performances. Hakeem’s all Latina girl group Mirage A Trois (RIP Rainbow Sensation) try and channel their inner Destiny’s Child and do some hilarious push-ups in impossible heels. Hakeem drops his new track guerrilla style at Lucious’ homecoming with a guest appearance from Pitbull (who seems to be firmly on Team Cookie). And the much-anticipated Bre-Z (aka Freda Gatz) spits some street freestyle that proves she is the most legitimate talent on the show. A fictionalised version of Sway radio also comes in to play as the tastemaker of the Empire realm because “you can lie to everyone, even yourself, but never to Sway.”

But, what do you do if something threatens your livelihood? You buy it. And that’s just what Lucious does, purchasing the whole Apex Radio station just moments before Mirage A Trois premiere for Dynasty on air. Just to rub a little salt in the wounds he also picks up Hakeem’s new girlfriend and lead act Valentina and we are left with a closing shot of that evil, evil smile.

And yet again, the score pulls away in favour of the home team, but we are still forever rooting for that underdog, because, as we know too well, “you can’t keep Cookie down.”


Favourite Moments

– Anika to Cookie – “You’re badder than the animals whose prints populate your wardrobe”

– Lucious to Anika – “You’ve always been a little dirty, why not get a reward for it”

– Jamal to Becky (re: Bre-Z) “If he says musically she’s my everything, then what am I?”

– Lucious playing a piano ballad after crushing Andre’s soul

– Hakeem’s killer performance with lyrics like “I’m the Lion, you the cub”

– Bre-Z. Bre-Z. Bre-Z.