Love All, Trust a Few (5×4) – Empire

Andre’s got swagger, now that he’s out of jail. He looks weirdly refreshed, and sneaks into Lucious’ deals, having read his books since he was a young child. Andre makes for an interesting wingman for Lucious when they enter separately into a boxing gym, hoping to gain some investment funds. When that lead didn’t pan out, they enter an office of a wealthy-ish dude who claims he doesn’t have any money. Andre shooting the man in the knee makes for a convincing turn of events, as they’re able to walk out with a wad of cash and a promise to return demanding whatever money the gentleman wasn’t housing inside a safe.

We witness another moment where Cookie discovers a new artist, this time singing in the background of a track released on Instagram. Porsha cleverly “hired” interns to go through social media to find stars like Devon. Mario makes for a perfect guest star, working hard and singing so well in the junkyard/mechanics shop.

I appreciated that stories were written to reveal Cookie was behind in meeting Devon in person, as Becky is revealed to have offered the man a deal with Empire moments before Cookie implored him to come to Lyon Family management. The women had a great tiff, and Cookie cracked a joke about Porsha’s outfit looking like a bag of Skittles. IĀ lovedĀ that.

Empire tried to offer Devon a place on the mountain, using a strange comparison to Mount Rushmore as a way to convince Devon to join the ranks of Lucious, Marvin Gay and other black artists who made it big in the business. It was bizarre for myself to witness, but Giselle did well attempting to beef up Empire’s offer where Kingsley suffered.

The dude feels like a kicked puppy in the schoolyard after Lucious told him off publically at the Empire event. I guess Jeff needs to get his ego checked and realize a tech man using an algorithm to decipher how to plan out talent scouting and musicians’ careers just isn’t for everyone, Devon included.

After Cookie tried to get the young man to sign with Empire so that he could afford life-changing surgery towards his sister’s ailments, Devon turned it down, in favor of joining a family the Lyons created.

Hakeem and Tiana are in a wack spot in their relationship. Blake still obnoxiously sells the line that Hakeem’s song about the shooting is his, and continues to flirt with her in the photo booth. After they’ve finished the session, Tiana promises not to release the music, and keep it private between Blake and Tiana. We all know that’s going to bite someone in the ass later…

I do appreciate the sweet gestures Hakeem did to set up a picnic and give Tiana his full attention. He’s doing well, taking care of the kids since his music game is more relaxed with his lung injuries.

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giphy – TGON – Empire – Fox

But man, my favorite scenes from this episode have to come from the origins of Jamal and Kai’s relationship. Kai saved Jamal from being drugged at a bar, and they had words about each other’s professions, throwing jabs at Kai’s job. Jamal perceived him to be nothing more than a paparazzi man, writing fake ass stories about him in the press, and Kai determined Jamal to be a washed-up pop star.

Their relationship blossoms so much, as scenes from the initial dates, and the sudden arrival of Kai at 6am, explaining his HIV status are treated with care and respect. The fact that the writers wanted to offer an important moment in two men’s relationship, trusting Jamal with Kai’s private HIV status was so wonderful.

Which is why my heart breaks that Jamal hasn’t heard from Kai in days, as his boyfriend is in a war zone.

And can we talk about the ring? Jamal was going to put a ring on it before Kai left for his journalistic gig abroad. Like wow. These two are seriously in love. Which is why they better not kill Kai off and leave Jamal alone again.

I love the idea of Diane Dubois and Giselle working together to overthrow Jeff Kingsley. I want a woman in charge who knows how the music business works and can stay in power, as opposed to Anika’s many fruitless attempts at being head of A&R running things.

In conclusion, Jamal better NOT be in that casket. Lucious needs to quite getting himself shot, and Blake needs to back the hell off Tiana. Maybe she could get with a woman like she did in season 1, and look after the kids with Hakeem. I’d love to see that storyline.

Catch new episodes of Empire on Wednesday, at 8pm est/7 ct.

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