You know that old adage, “Angel in the streets. Freak in the sheets.”
It certainly applied to Empire‘s Rhonda Lyon — Wharton grad, fashion exec and loving wife who purred like an about-to-be-satisfied cat whenever hubby Andre used to come home and share his deviant tales of sexual-financial-political conquest.
Now, however, the script has flipped. Rhonda’s not in the streets at all — she dead! — but her inconvenient fall from an umpteenth-story balcony at the start of Season 3 isn’t stopping her from bringing energy both celestial and filthy to the
bed desk Andre is currently (and very unexpectedly) sharing with Nessa, the newest (and perhaps most talented) diva on the Empire Entertainment roster.
Oh yes, folks whose fandom intersects at the corner of Shondaland and Lee Daniels: Andre is gettin’ his Izzy/ghost sex on! And Rhonda is both an angel and a freak —although the aforementioned sheets are optional!
Yep, after sealing a $2.5 million deal to bring the highly sought-after Nessa to Empire — a process that involved Andre and his dad Lucious assaulting Nessa’s manager Shyne with a baseball bat/boot to the face — the P.Y.T. showed up at Andre’s office, where things got frisky in the amount of time it took Marvin Gaye to jump from the lyric “I got sick this mornin'” to the sentiment “let’s make love tonight.”
But just as Andre pulled the plug (not a euphemism) on the hookup and Nessa acknowledged the very recent loss of Andre’s wife, who to our wondering eyes should appear? But a come-hither blonde and nine words transcribed here: “We can do it together. We’ll both do it.”
Oh, girl! Rhonda just went and put the “specter” in “panty inspector.”
In Andre’s mind, as he tackled Nessa like a pile of unpaid invoices on his blotter, Rhonda clawed at his back and whispered words of encouragement in his ear. This was not the kind of Cialis moment the pharmaceutical ads foretold. But the real burning question at the end of the episode had less to do with Andre’s fractured mental state than it did his physical well-being.
Indeed, as we headed for the credits, there was Shyne and a heavily armed group of minions, preparing to go to war against Lucious and Andre. However it ends, this is not going to be good for Empire’s NASDAQ valuation.
In other news from Season 3, Episode 4, “Cupid Kills”:
* Taraji P. Henson got a gorgeous showcase of an episode, as Cookie accepted an invite from Angelo to a hoity-toity opera gala, then handled some deeply personal business in the ladies’ room from a pair of bougie bitches who made the mistake of referring to the Lyon matriarch as a hood rat. OK, sure, Cookie may have stood out like a sore thumb in a skin tight, red minidress as she shouted “You better sing that, girl!” at the end of an opera diva’s glorious aria, but she’s no charity case, trust and believe. “Once I get finished whoopin’ both of y’all’s asses, you’re gonna wish you never met a hood rat like me,” hissed Cookie, winning the battle with a mere flick of water off her fingertips.
Angelo worked hard to make up for the awful evening by turning to Jamal for advice — try something other than a suit, dude! — but as the new love interests reconnected at a Tiana video shoot featuring a hook from La Boheme (flawless!), Lucious slithered in, impersonated the soprano, and laid down a warning for Angelo. Back in their teenage years, Lucious gave young Loretha her nickname, and beat to a pulp the educated young rival who tried to win her heart. Angelo, though, has money-money-power, too, and lest we forget: Cookie is as much if not more an alpha player in this triangle than either of her eager pursuers.
* Jamal worked overtime to win Freda Gatz a release on bail — after she’d been brutally beaten in prison. After his unlikely plan paid off — with the help of both Angelo and Jamal’s own PTSD counselor Philip — Jamal learned Lucious was behind not only the violent jailhouse assault, but that he’d gotten Freda to buy in to the situation, the better to play on Jamal’s emotions. Now that Freda’s lied to the court about having had prior psychiatric problems, Lucious reasoned, she’s in no position to bring him down for his involvement in the murder of her drug kingpin dad. If that wasn’t ugly enough, poor Jamal had to deal with Lucious boasting about the pride he felt watching his son help perpetrate a fraud in the criminal justice system. No wonder the traumatized artist can’t stop mixing pills and alcohol — a nasty combo that hasn’t been lost on ridiculously chiseled Philip.
* In brief: Becky got passed over for the head of A&R gig she’d been seeking for some random white dude who is thisclose to parodying his own self. Hakeem thought it was a good idea to use a suckling pig with an apple in its mouth and the Empire logo imprinted across its side (gah!) to entice Shyne and Nessa to the label. And it turns out Nessa is good with numbers: Herself + Andre + His Deceased Wife = Three Way!
What did you think of this week’s Empire? Hit the comments with your thoughts!