‘Empire’ Season 1 Finale Recap: Jamal Takes Over Empire, Andre & Hakeem Plot Hostile Takeover, Patti LaBelle and Snoop Dogg Make Guest Appearances
There aren't many words that can sum up Empire's two-hour season finale. In fact, the cast and crew made a short video trying to find the perfect words to define the jaw-dropping, insane, oh-girl-no-she-didn't moments that brought the first season of Danny Strong and Lee Daniels' dramatic series to an end. With more than 15 million viewers tuned in, the only words anyone should be saying to recap the Empire season finale is "Game on, bitches!"
Since day one, Lucious Lyon has set out to name a successor to his multimillion-dollar conglomerate. His sons -- Andre, Jamal and Hakeem -- have fought relentlessly to take over the throne like Scar and Simba rumbled to the death in The Lion King; but in this Lyon's den, there's more than one rightful heir.
After coming to terms with his sins as a father, Lucious gets word that he's not actually dying and learns there's no imminent need to name Empire's next-in-line. However, he chooses to take his company into the future and name a vice chairman anyway. Andre was out of the running the moment daddy dearest realized he didn't house any musical talent. But in case that wasn't clear to the eldest Lyon, it was the moment Andre's family was forced to commit him to a psychiatric facility.
Then, unfortunately, it became even more clear when Andre told his father that he was giving his life to God. In most circumstances, that decision would helm a positive outcome, but according to Lucious, he is the "Messiah," and there can't be a greater power than him. Hakeem is young. There's no question as to whether or not he's ready to run a company. The simple fact is, he's not. So the only choice left for Lucious is Jamal. But Jamal and his father have never seen eye to eye -- not because Jamal makes bad business decisions, but in Lucious' eyes he makes bad life choices.
After reading countless media reports comparing Jamal to his father -- most state the son may in fact be better than the original -- Lucious gives his middle son an opportunity to prove himself as a man. He offers him a shot at running Empire if he can meet one condition: get Billy Baretti to sign over all the rights to Lucious' masters so the company can properly and profitably go public.
Since he's finally given a shot to feel his father's love, Jamal goes to Hakeem's house -- where Baretti just happens to be hosting a party as he attempts to sway Hakeem to leave Empire and rock with Creedmoor -- and channels his father's dog-eat-dog, I'm-from-the-streets personality by holding Billy B. over the edge of a skyscraper to get Lucious his masters back. Believe it or not, it worked. Thus, when Lucious brings his family together to announce the future of Empire, he lets them know Jamal now holds the company in his hands.
Fans would think Andre and Hakeem would be happy for their brother after the emotional elevator scene that took place two weeks back. But the word predictable should never be used to describe the Lyon family -- the unexpected always pops up. While Lucious gives Hakeem a jet and full creative control over his talent and his brand, Hakeem wants nothing to do with his father. And while Andre receives a hefty $100 million to divvy up between the upcoming Lyon Foundation, he decides he simply wants nothing to do with Empire because he's found the light and is working to get his life back on track with God. Lucious' response: "There's no higher purpose than being a maker of music. That's the voice of God."
To prove his power is equal or greater to that of God, Lucious tests Andre's beliefs by offering his music therapist -- you know, the one who puts God before everything -- a record contract and working as Empire's latest roster addition. But before doing so, he has this to say: "Let's see who's more powerful. Your God or your daddy?" Of course, Michelle the music therapist jumps at the opportunity. And Andre just watches how quickly she leaves the Lord behind for a little fame and a center stage spotlight. "My father is the devil, and you just spread your legs for him," he tells Michelle. But trust, she doesn't listen.
Since Anika left Lucious for Billy Baretti, she's officially on #TeamHakeem by trying to lure him from one record label to another. But when Keem lets her know working under Creedmoor is not an option, Boo Boo Kitty poses another option that quickly catches Hakeem's attention: a hostile takeover.
Obviously the chick who jumps from man to man is still a little bitter that she walked in on her ex-fiance blowing out his ex-wife's back. With the saying "don't get mad, get even" in mind, Anika finds a way to use Lucious' two angry sons to her benefit. Surprisingly, she even pulls Cookie into the mix. Oh, if you didn't know, Malcolm, the head of security, took Cookie away to a cabin for the weekend. Lucious got wind of the sextastic getaway and banned the woman who helped make him from Empire. But he gave her a 15-minute courtesy to clear out all of her things.
As Hakeem, Andre, Cookie and Anika plot to get what they think should rightfully be theirs, Lucious learns that he has a different disease, myasthenia gravis (MG) not ALS. In this case, MG is still a chronic disease, but highly treatable as opposed to his previous diagnosis. However, for the first few weeks of treatment, Lucious is required to take some serious sedation medication because insomnia is an inevitable side effect from his new treatment.
Lucious begins to hallucinate after taking his sleeping pills for the first time. He finds himself in an argument with Bunkie's ghost and lets Bunkie know his upcoming concert won't be a farewell event; it will be a welcome back event. "It's gonna be my comeback concert... I'm gonna rise of from the dead like your Messiah," he states. Oh, he also wonders why Bunkie is even there since he killed him.
Cookie is around and hears Lucious come clean about everything. She tries to suffocate him with a pillow since he's sleeping and all, but it doesn't go down the way she hopes. In fact, Lucious watches her murder attempt the next morning when he takes a look at the video from the cameras he had installed in his bedroom. So much for Cookie's shares of Empire.
To wrap things up, Lucious gets arrested for Bunkie's murder by the end of the finale. He immediately blames Cookie and lets her know she's going down, but with so many people after his head, there's no telling who set him up.
And before the season officially bids farewell, a lineup of all-star talent helps the show end in stellar style. Snoop Dogg, Juicy J, Rita Ora and Patti LaBelle all appear as themselves, working as artists under the Empire conglomerate. And we must say, damn, Patti's definitely still got it.
By the 1:59:59-mark, Empire finally goes public and Lucious comes clean about the history behind the real Lucious Lyon.
"Dwight Walker. That's my real name. Cookie don't even know that. I knew when I became an orphan at 9 that Dwight wouldn't last a week in those streets so I created Lucious Lyon, the immortal... I love you, son. I know I did some really terrible things to you; I was just scared. It's hard enough growing up in this world as a black man but then to be homosexual on top of that," Lucios admits, before Jamal cuts him off. "I'm proud of you too," Jamal says.
P.S. Rhonda kills Vernon!
Let the countdown to season two begin.
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