Empire premiered Wednesday night, and boy was it a doozy. While many wondered if Lee Daniels and his crew could duplicate the show’s first season success, Empire lived up to the hype, pulling in over 16 million viewers and more tweets than any other broadcast drama series.
There were over 1.3 million tweets sent during last night's #Empire s2 premiere making it the #1 most tweeted broadcast drama series ever 🎉
— Empire (@EmpireFOX) September 24, 2015
Bottom line: people love Empire, and the premiere episode was FULL of juicy (and absolutely crazy) moments that will keep them coming back for more.
Missed any of it?
Here are 5 things we learned during the Empire season two premiere.
(warning: there will be spoilers)
#1 Empire’s writers pay attention to the news
Wednesday night’s episode began with a star-studded #FreeLucious concert that included appearances by Swizz Beats, Andre Leon Talley, Al Sharpton, and even Don Lemon. While it seemed like everybody and their mama popped up in the episode (um, even Petey Pablo), Empire’s writers started the show by discussing a very real issue: mass incarceration.
All year long #BlackLivesMatter has been in the news, so it was only fitting the inequalities in the justice system earned a mention during the show. While Lucious is indeed guilty of murder and deserves to be in jail, as Cookie mentioned in her (very weird) opening, America treats far too many young Black folks like animals in a cage.
#2 Boo Boo Kitty will do anything to win control of Empire (but she can’t twerk worth a damn)
We knew Boo Boo Kitty was mad at Lucious for still being in love with Cookie, but in Wednesday night’s episode she proved she’ll do just about anything to get back at her former beau and win control of Empire Records.
During the premiere, Cookie tries to get Mimi Whiteman, a female businesswoman, to invest $250 million in the company. While Mimi mulls over the deal, she seems way more interested in kicking game to Cookie, and later Anika. Later, Cookie throws Mimi a party full of beautiful women and encourages Anikia to seal the deal (ehem, flirt) with Mimi. The pair hit the dance floor, and apparently, it didn’t stop there.
Though Boo Boo Kitty “can’t even dyke right,” according to Cookie, she did sleep with Mimi to get the billionaire on board. Too bad for Cookie and company, Lucious intervenes and the plan backfires. Stiil, Anika was willing to take one for the team.
#3 Lucious Lyon still got the juice
Cookie’s plan to dethrone Lucious by courting Mimi failed because of one thing: Lucious.
While watching the #FreeLucious concert on TV, Lucious spots Mimi getting all close to his ex-wife. Sensing she’s up to no good, Lucious tells Jamal to find out what’s going on. Of course, he discovers Cookie is trying to take control of Empire via Mimi’s investment, so he gets to her first.
In fact, Lucious lets Cookie and the rest of the family think they were winning until they roll up to the board meeting to shut it down and find out he made his own deal with Mimi. Advantage: Lucious.
#4 Chris Rock can play a thug
I wasn’t sure how he was going to pull it off, but Chris Rock convincingly played drug kingpin Frank Gathers, the man who had Cookie testify against to get out of prison early.
While things end up going bad for him in the end, Gathers flexes his power by ordering a beatdown (and later execution) of one of Cookie’s associates.
#5 Jamal is turning into an asshole
At the end of last season Jamal was named CEO of Empire, and now he has the attitude to go with it. He’s beefing with his brothers, forsaking his art, and he told his mama to step. Even though Lucious dissed him for the majority of season one, Jamal is firmly on his father’s team this time around.
When his ex-boyfriend pops back up, Jamal’s jerky side comes out full force when he refuses to attend a LGBT event because he doesn’t like being around flamboyant men. Umm….WUT?
#6 If you mess with Cookie, you’ll probably die
Lucious may hate Cookie for trying to take over his beloved empire, but he won’t let anybody do her wrong. After Frank Gathers threatens Cookie by sending her the severed head of her friend, she goes to see Lucious for help. Despite their dysfunctional relationship (or maybe because of it?), Lucious “handles” Gathers, paying the drug kingpin’s own goons to inflict a “loud and long” beatdown on him until he’s Black History.
#7 This season is going to be messy!
This is probably a no-brainer, but season two of Empire looks like it’s going to be even more dramatic than the first. While season one was all about which Lyon would lead the pack, in season two, Cookie, Hakeem, Andre, and Anika break away to form their own company and challenge Lucious and Jamal for music industry domination. Who will come out on top? I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait and see.