Welcome back to the weekly look into the Lyon’s den. You can catch up on previous episode coverage here.
Note: this episode contains triggering content discussing suicide, so read forward at your own discretion.
It’s hard to go back to the very first episode of Empire and think about how far the show has come; in terms of numbers, story lines, actors, guest starts, etc. due to the absolute roller coaster the show is now. While ratings aren’t as high as they used to be, and yes, the drama has become over-the-top and borderline unwatchable, the newest episode, entitled “The Tameness of a Wolf” is the epitome of a “throwback” to the old Empire.
We learn about the real Lucious Lyon.
No, not Lucious Lyon, multimillionaire manipulative wolf, hint hint, but Dwight Walker.
If you’ll remember in the previous episodes I mentioned that Kelly Rowland made an appearance as Lucious’s mother in flashbacks to his traumatic childhood. Rowland is back and with another story to tell.
On many levels, I am still hard pressed to forgive Lucious even after learning of the catalyst to his abusive ways. On the other hand, the outcome of this episode left audience members with the unrelenting decision to forgive and forget or continue despising Mr. Lyon.
But here’s the thing: Empire opens up too many doors to too many story lines. Will we ever see Dwight Walker? Why now? What do we, as audience members, have to gain from this knowledge?
Oh, yeah. The drop in ratings because everyone is tired of Lucious’s manipulating tactics.
It’s a ploy on the writers’s part to drop it in last minute in the season as a desperate plea to keep viewers invested. The writers are well versed to this “tag, you’re it” scenario where it becomes the audience’s job to determine where the show is going to go next, and for this particular door opening, it’s our turn to guess.
The episode not only features Lucious’s background, but in true Lyon fashion, the family opens up the episode attending Camilla’s (Naomi Campbell) funeral.
The scene is used as much as a shock factor as it is a way to confirm the death of Camilla, if audience members were still on the fence after the twisted Romeo-Juliet scenario in last week’s episode.
While we can see the scenes and dialogue for what they are, it’s the closest Empire has come to gaining back the edge they started with on season 1, episode one. It’s emotionally effective in a way that left me thinking about it long after it finished. While the practical questions still hung in the air, and the fact that I know this show too well by now to not see it for what it is, I felt more connected and sympathetic to the Lyon’s than I had in a long time.
Also, this episode featured Cookie’s birthday. I am always here for celebrating Cookie, and apparently so is Cookie herself.
With encouragement from Cookie, Lucious films a video for his award nominated song “Boom Boom Boom Boom” (yes that’s four booms, as featured previously) that depicts the traumatic event that Dwight Walker still carries with him to this day.
Roll the tape.
It all comes to a head when the Lyon’s congregate together to celebrate Cookie’s birthday, per Lucious’s request. Even the entire Lyon family is hating on Lucious right now for obvious reasons, and it doesn’t help matters when Cookie plays the music video for the family to see.
The music video tells the story of a young Dwight Walker and his mentally ill mother, who after trying to drown in him in the bathtub, turns a gun onto herself and commits suicide in front of Dwight.
Andre, is of course, furious due to Lucious’s lack of sensibility to tell his son (that also struggles with a mental illness) that his grandmother also suffered mentally. Lucious responds in correct Lucious Lyon fashion and assures Andre that he did it because he was embarrassed of his mother, and in turn, his son too.
Hakeem responds in correct Hakeem fashion and proposes to Laura, despite having made a sex tape with Camilla like, a week ago. This sends Tiana, Hakeem’s ex, into a green eyed super star.
Meanwhile, Rhonda is leaning on Boo Boo Kitty, AKA Anika, AKA the one who probably pushed Rhonda down the stairs and forced her into a miscarriage.
On the upside, Cookie is about to join the “We hate Lucious Lyon Club.” Freda Gatz is back. You know, the daughter of the guy Lucious had murdered in prison.
You know, the daughter that doesn’t know her new father figure killed her real father.
Overall, an immense improvement from the last episode. Will the trend continue?
Well, in true Empire fashion, probably not.