Empire took an unorthodox approach to ejecting Jussie Smollett‘s Jamal from the show: it didn’t! Wednesday’s nuptial-themed episode, which served as Smollett’s Season 5 swan song after the actor was suspended from the series in wake of his disputed hate crime attack, did not address Jamal’s exit at all. However, the outing — titled “Never Doubt I Love” — did seem to confirm another cast member’s rumored, seemingly permanent departure (and solve that season-long coffin mystery at the same time).
In the hour’s closing moments, Trai Byers‘ Andre revealed to distraught dad Lucious that his successful cancer treatment took an irreversible, terminal toll on his heart. So dire is his condition that he may be dead in a matter of weeks — sooner if Andre has it his way. “I can’t go out like this, pop,” he cried. “I can’t just wither away… I’m going to end my life. I want to die the way I lived: on my terms.”
Andre dropped the bombshell at the end of a celebratory day that saw his brother Jamal marry Kai in a surprisingly hiccup-free ceremony officiated by the former’s bestie/colleague Becky. Smollett’s possibly final Empire scene ever arrived at the wedding reception when he shared a quiet, reflective moment with mom Cookie before the pair hit the dance floor. (Our guess: Someone in next week’s penultimate Season 5 episode will make mention of Jamal and Kai being off on their honeymoon.)
Regarding Smollett’s involvement in the still-not-officially-ordered Season 6, showrunner Brett Mahoney recently told TVLine, “No final decision has been made.” (As reported Wednesday, the embattled actor’s TV family has made it clear that they very much want him back.) Fox, meanwhile, is not commenting on Byers’ future with the show beyond the May 8 season finale.