Empire Camilla Dies

Empire Recap: Arsenic and Bad Taste

Like a gaggle of indignant gay men using a rainbow of flip-flops and a reworked hip-hop jam to shame their favorite out star for allegedly sleeping with a woman, this week’s Empire was every shade of random.

Empire gay flip flopsHonestly, if Mulder and Scully knocked on my apartment door right now and told me I’d been abducted three or four times over the course of the hour, I’d actually feel a sense of relief. “Ohhhh… thank goodness! The writing on Fox’s flagship drama didn’t suddenly and inexplicably become slapdash: It was just those little gray dudes and their giant bulging eyes performing a series of invasive tests on me!”

For those keeping score at home, by the bye, you can now raise the count of “Lesbian Characters Recently Killed Off on Drama Series” to six: Score two for The Vampire Diaries, one for The 100, one for The Walking Dead and now a double pump from Empire. (Somewhere, the Governor of North Carolina is clapping alone in his living room.)

And in the case of Camilla and Mimi, their offings carried all the dramatic weight of when you empty your kitchen dishdrain filled with leftover cereal flakes into a trash bin.

As Wendy Williams would say, “A mess!” Even this week’s original songs had me like O_0.

I’m going to consider this a transitional episode — abruptly ending arcs of actors no longer available to the show, and (hopefully) planting some seeds that will bear fruit between now and the season finale. Therefore, let’s keep it pithy and recap the action from Season 2, Episode 12, “A Rose By Any Other Name.”

empire naomi campbellYOKO, OH NO! | It turns out Hakeem is back on Team Lyon, agreeing to help Cookie, Jamal and Andre bring down his lover/”Mama” (eeeewww!) Camilla — and he finally strikes the fatal blow by secretly videotaping their sexcapades (and her admission that she’s just waiting for wealthy wife Mimi to die). ‘Keem sends the tapes to Mimi, which prompts Marissa Tomei’s unseen character to sell off all her shares in Empire — as Andre & Co. snatch ’em up. Next thing we know, there’s Camilla, wiping down Mimi’s hotel room — where she just poisoned her cancer-stricken spouse and staged her drowning in a tub. (What in the actual whaaaat?!) If that’s not enough ridiculata, Lucious has caught the whole thing on his cameraphone. (Did he have an invisibility cloak?) He tells Camilla she’s not built for the death threats, the rape and the squalor of prison, and so she tearfully downs a shot of poison as Lucious points a gun at her. Note to Empire cast: You are all forbidden to use this episode as your Emmy submission reel.

Jussie SmollettDADDY ISSUES | I did not make up the “gays with flip-flops” story above (see photo above) — even though we gays really don’t go for flip-flops — which leads to Jamal learning from Jameson that it’s Lucious who’s spreading rumors about his tryst with Skye. Jamal responds with a song so terrible, it seems like a bigger threat to his career than a visit to the Land of Verboten Ladyparts, but whatevs! Bottom line is he knows his dad would sell him out for an American Sound Award — and so he tips the world off to the fact that Lucious Lyin (a typo, but it fits) is actually Dwight Walker. And then Lucious agrees to tell his whole “homeless orphan” backstory to a reporter from the tragically titled Q&A News who is definitely up to something nefarious.

empire andreTAKE ‘EM TO CHURCH | Did I mention Andre refuses to go to a doctor and recalibrate his meds – and his pastor is all “He’s also in God’s care — which is far more powerful than any doctor’s medicine”? Rhonda throws every inch of her body into a side-eye — and rightfully so — since Andre is accusing her of cheating now. But then Hakeem and Jamal drag him into the same sound booth where he tried to kill himself and say, “Oh, you’re on the verge of a psychotic break? Here’s a song we wrote for you! That should help everything!” Everyone has tears in their eyes, but mine are because I just want the episode to be done and then next week everything can get back on track. Also, Rhonda was working for Camilla’s new and ridiculous fashion line — but now Camilla’s dead. And Tiana has a new “song” that sounds like her shaking her booty in a sequined bodysuit. And Laura might disappear on tour as an opening act for with Tiana — which is OK, because I already have “Bottomless Mimosa” on my iTunes. (OK, the song is just called “Mimosa,” but my title’s better.

What did you think of this week’s Empire? Did you find it as bizarre and befuddling as me? Hit the comments — and do your best to help me make sense of it all, if you’d be so kind!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. ABG says:

    Everything I’ve read about these episodes is making me wonder if I should just consider the fall finale the actual series finale.

    • dan says:

      I read the recap first and … that’s how they’re getting rid of Naomi Campbell and Marisa Tomei’s characters? Ridiculous.

  2. Sally McLinn says:

    The writing still hasn’t improved. The only consistent in this ep was Taraji and her bad-as s acting. How many Ceo’s have run Empire? Does anybody believe that Hakeem could be a CEO? Does anybody believe the Camilla & Hakeem storyline? This ep jumped all over the screen and Terrence had so little time — ugh!

  3. Al says:

    This show is a bit of mess… But the ending was a shocker

  4. Jennifer says:

    Omg yes!! I thought I was going crazy for a minute. Wth?? Songs were terrible and it just seemed like they were trying to cram a seasons worth of shows in one episode!! I hope they get better.

    • mrmcgee says:

      Yes! I was going along with it until that final act. I was so confused, like thinking I’d missed a scene or something. We kept thinking “that’s it? For Camilla?” It was all so ridiculously rushed I thought it was going to be a fake out and Camilla would win again.

      I really like Empire, I do, but for them to resort to “sex tape” as a resolution to this whole plotline is lazy. The sad part is this episode was written by the showrunner!

      Were they trying to break a record for number of times they could say “bitch” in one episode?

      (I sadly like Tiana’s admittedly stupid song. What? It’s catchy!)

  5. Bandslee Lee says:

    This was a terrible episode. There was some nonsense about the legality of Mimi selling her stock that I completely missed due to an interruption – and I don’t even care. The whole episode was just awful.

  6. Christoffer says:

    Perhaps 6 -recent- gay women dead, but if we start counting since January 1th, that’s 12 dead LGBT women out of about… 21 LGBT women on broadcast TV. That’s a death rate of over 57% Now, I agree that LGBT characters should be treated the same as straight ones. But… I have yet to see 57% of the straight characters killed off.

    • Geo says:

      Yeah, the six lesbian characters killed have been killed off of four shows in the last three weeks. If you go make it the last 90 days, it becomes eight, I believe, and, yeah, if you go back to the beginning of the year (and remember, we’re only in early April), the number gets even larger.

      That’s seriously disturbing. I’m glad to see TV Line and other critics starting to take notice of this. I hope they’ll confront some of these showrunners about what’s going on exactly, and why the old and awful #buryyourgays trend has turned into a full-on bloodbath on the last four months.

      • Geo says:

        Sorry, that second line should read “60 days.”

      • Christoffer says:

        Yea, it’s horrible. And sadly, most critics don’t really notice it. And of those that do, a lot of them just do that *Wink Wink* We mentioned it! We don’t -really- care or know what the point is, but we mentioned it! *Nudge Nudge* thing. But some do, yea.
        And for everyone out there that don’t care about a community of people whose legacy on TV is “You get happy, you die” maybe you’ll care about the fact that it’s boring. It is beyond boring television. People see a lesbian character and the first thing they think is not “That looks like an interesting character” but “So when is she gonna die?” with the second thought being “And how are they gonna torture her?” And when you can predict a characters fate like that from the first time you see them, it’s boring.
        Believe it or not people, you can write interesting stories where the gay lady ends up happy. It -is- possible. Anyone that tells you a happy story is a boring story is a mediocre writer at best.

    • Chicago Dan says:

      #LesbianLivesMatter. It’s bad enough that many lesbian characters are horribly written and used for shock value, but the way they are being disposed of is a bit disturbing. Imagine if they killed the Gays like this….. Just when I ready to return to Empire after dropping it in fall. I really thought they’d reboot the show after a fall full of hubris.

  7. laurelnev says:

    Not really sure we should call Camilla LBGT, especially in light of the fact she basically said Mimi disgusted her, and the whole love act was just a part of the scam. (she couldn’t even wait for the terminal b*tch to die.) And judging from that 10 seconds of ear action, she was even too much for whoremongering Hakeem, who debased himself just to stick it to Cougar Mama. No, I don’t think we should call Camilla LGBT…just all around amoral and disgusting. She makes Anna Nicole look like Mother Teresa in comparison.

  8. Muffy says:

    More dropped story lines after only one or two episodes. This is ridiculous. Um, television series need arcs not snippets. I luv “Empire” but it’s still doing things it did in S2. Dropping storylines too quickly. 😤

  9. kirads09 says:

    Ok folks. Keep in mind this is – in essence – a SOAP OPERA. So, completely implausible things happen to keep the story moving forward. As despicable as he is,Lucious (Terrance) made that final scene for me – gave me literal chills. Next to Ray Liotta he is the best at “menacing” I have ever seen. I never felt Camilla was really lesbian or even bi anyway – she just used Mimi to gain control of Empire. It was still an entertaining episode and set the groundwork for things to come.

    • I’ve read through all the comments and finally gotten to one that sounds like we watched the same show. This show is pure escapism. It is a soap opera pure and simple. Personally I loved how the episode ended. Hakeem is a 22 year old rapper who feels entitled…of course he would make a sex tape to get rid of Camilla. And the only reason he wants her gone is because she wants his “new love” gone. I thought he acted just like a 22 year old swaggering male would. Completely agree about Camilla – it was a use situation and she got what she deserved. Seriously if they had dragged that situation out much longer everyone would have been complaining about how long it took and why so long. Empire moves at breakneck speed that’s one of it’s charms – at least to me.

    • Muffy says:

      Sorry, excuses do not work.

  10. Dude says:

    My God. While watching that last scene I was like, ‘Did I miss something?’ What a mess. That was pathetically bad.

  11. tvdiva says:

    Michael Slezak can I just say I luv your recap more than I luv this show? I am just in it for the recaps now.

  12. wrstlgirl says:

    Seriously considering taking this show of the DVR. I just can’t seem to stay interested anymore and the great characters I feel in love with from season one are unrecognizable. We’ll see.

  13. ivylass says:

    I’m thinking I’m done with this show. It’s fallen into parody land and I’m over the stereotypical Black Man is a Thug trope

  14. His Wife says:

    I’m not one to watch every show…but the scene where Andre was about to have a break and his brothers comforted him with song was very touching….
    I do like moments in the show such as that because I am sure that there are many people out here in the real world who has suffered a break at one point in their life as well as lost an unborn child or a child even. OR BOTH….that was very touching and I think that it was beautiful, the way that they lifted his spirits with song.


  15. His Wife says:

    I was very disappointed by the way that Cookie’s assistant was continually being called the “B” word by her sister. Coming into a meeting the way that they did??? Very, very unprofessional …I know that this is TV….but really!!!
    That was POINTLESS!!!!!! EMBARRASSING!!!!


  16. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    This episode was meh I didn’t really care that much about it. Only watched for Cookie and Jamal. That whole flip flop scene was like WTF and the retaliation song Jamal sang I LIKED IT okay!! The beat was really dope so…. overall I think next wks. Episode should be alright/better than this one.

  17. Darrick says:

    It. Was. Good. But. Did. Not. Get. Better. Till. The. End. But. Now. Who. Will. Run. Empire. Now

  18. melisa Stanio says:

    Yes I did thanks for clearing it up for me

  19. Nika says:

    Your attitude towards the scene with Jamal and Hakeem singing for Andre was so insensitive. Very clearly you have NO idea what a comfort it is in that situation to know that you have a support system ready and available for you. Jamal even said “this is all we know to do” or something like that. That’s all anyone can ask for. It was acted out with emotion and if it feels like it fell short, that’s because that’s how it feels in real life. Everyone falling short but trying hard. Not everything needs to be subject to arrogance and ignorance for the sake of the empty approval of an anonymous audience.

  20. afeez says:

    Pls does anyone know the title of the track Jamal and Hakeem composed for Andre?

  21. RZ says:

    It was a messy episode. Enough with the various characters walking into each others homes or offices without being stopped by security.