Post Mortems
Empire Season 3 Recap

Empire: Did Donald Trump/Billy Bush Fiasco Inspire Cookie/Angelo Twist?

The following story contains spoilers from this week’s Empire. Proceed at your own peril.

Hell hath no fury like the Dubois family scorned.

In Wednesday’s Empire, Cookie rejected Angelo’s marriage proposal and then indirectly torpedoed his political career when his subsequent meltdown was caught on a hot mic (sound familiar?). Below, Ilene Chaiken assesses the fallout from the scandal and weighs in on whether a certain Access Hollywood tape inspired the plot twist. 

TVLINE | Is it just me or does Angelo have some serious anger management issues? That was quite a freakout. 
I would argue that his freakout was justified. Cookie pushed him to the brink. She humiliated him.

TVLINE | Is it fair to say that Good Guy Angelo is a thing of the past?
You will see a different Angelo going forward.

TVLINE | It seems like his mom is going to be the one to lead the anti-Cookie charge. 
Cookie fulfilled her worst fears. Diana is an ambitious mother. She worked long and hard on behalf of her son. She’s not going to take lightly that Cookie just destroyed years of planning and ambition. And she is going to deliver [retribution] in a very big way.

TVLINE | Was the hot mic twist by any chance inspired by a certain Donald Trump/Billy Bush scandal?
[Laughs] Certainly the [the Access Hollywood tape] was fresh in our minds when we broke the episode.

TVLINE | I feel like it’s worth noting that Cookie never actually accepted Angelo’s proposal on air. Yet, strangely, everyone assumed she had. 
In a romantic moment like that, the whole world is conditioned to think the woman is just going to fall to her knees and say, “Oh my goodness, yes!” It didn’t occur to anyone that Cookie’s incredible emotional reaction was anything other than joy. But, of course, Diana was reading it.

TVLINE | In non-Cookie news, Tariq is on the run. Was that the last we’ll see of him?
He makes a surprising reappearance in a later episode this season.

TVLINE | That is Rumer Willis doing all of her own vocals when Tory sings, yes? She sounds good.
Absolutely. She’s got an amazing voice. We cast Rumer in this role after hearing her sing. When we conceived of this character we wanted an Amy Whinehouse vibe, both musically and in terms of the character. And we talked about how hard it was going to be to find an actress who could also sing like that. But then Jussie [Smollett] sent me a clip of Rumer doing a cover of an Amy Winehouse song and she just blew us away.

TVLINE | Was it just a coincidence that you would go on to cast her mom, Demi Moore
Total coincidence. Demi was on our list, and the fact that Rumer was on the show and doing incredible work and having such a good time helped us in getting Demi to even consider [joining the cast]. She’s never done anything like this before.