Liveblogging “Empire” 2.01 “The Devils Are Here”

The Lyons are back!

Welcome to the first Empire Liveblog! Join us and together we’ll traverse the insanity. Sit back and watch and feel free to comment.

Previously, on Empire

couture

We start at a massive rally for an egomaniacal borderline sociopath with dubious morals and a penchant for destroying his enemies. No, not Donald Trump, it’s for Lucious! People are waving signs and banners proclaiming “Free Lucious!” with the helpful exposition that he’s been held “three months without bail.”

Inside, we get our first glimpse of Cookie, who’s sporting a Captain Janeway bun that could have the whole of the Delta Quadrant hidden inside. Hakeem is sad, and she helps out by calling him ’stupid” twice in about 30 seconds. A-Ha! We learn that the rally and concert were put on by the family, even though, as Hakeem says “So we’re out there frontin’? You know and I know he killed Bunky. You got us here performing a Free Lucious concert, when we should be performing for the brothers and sisters who are really innocent.”

Cookie tells him they’re doing it for the good of the company, to keep up appearances while they plan their hostile takeover (keeping Jamal in the dark),and agrees that Lucious doesn’t deserve it, giving us the Cookie Quotable “Your father is a tampon.”

But they need to do something to impress some new wealthy investor named, if I heard right “Mimi Whiteman,” Really? Why not just name her “Honky O’Cracker.”

Meanwhile, the first Cookie Couture is some kind of sheer mess that looks like a Furry puked on her.

She meets Jamal outside, backstage at the concert, and he tells her that Bill Clinton is in the audience. She responds, “He better be if he wants his wife to get elected.” Jamal is looking hot, with an ultra plunging neckline that is very Ann Margret in Kitten With A Whip.

What in the world is going on? A guy in a gorilla suit is high over the stage in a cage, and as it’s gently lowered, the gorilla starts freaking out. The cage comes to the rest, a hush comes over the audience, and the gorilla pulls the mask off.

It’s Cookie.

Game.Set.Match.

Cookie starts ranting about injustice, and “how much longer are they going to treat us like animals.” The crowd roars.

EMPIRE: Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon in the ÒThe Devils Are HereÓ Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

We’ve got out first Porsha sighting! And Becky too!

They let Cookie out of her cage (no that’s not a metaphor, they actually … let her out of the cage.)

EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon, Ta'Rhonda Jones as Porsha and guest star Don Lemon in the ÒThe Devils Are HereÓ Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Celebrity cameos! We have Al Sharpton, Andre Leon Talley, and Don Lemon. Porsha gives him the brushoff because of what he did in ’Peterson,” but Cookie corrects her “It’s Ferguson, brain dead.”

EMPIRE: Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon in the ÒThe Devils Are HereÓ Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Jamal is ruling the stage, and Cookie stops everything for a moment to be a proud mother.

We cut to Lucious in prison, and he’s watching the concert on TV, and he looks almost … proud, too. Cookie’s cousin tries to approach him to talk about Frank Gathers, but as soon as Lucious hears the word Cookie, he orders his goons to remove the nuisance.

Back at the concert, we meet Mimi, played by the faboo Marisa Tomei, and Andre (who I guess is fully recovered from his little batshit insanity episode) is there, too.

EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon and guest star Marisa Tomei as Mimi Whiteman in the ÒThe Devils Are HereÓ Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Cookie takes her out to the stage to watch Hakeem perform. Mimi asks “Is Lucious the reason why we’re here?” Cookie responds “I hope that’s not the only reason.” Mimi looks Cookie up and down and purrs ’With you in that dress, Cookie, I can think of all kinds of reasons.” Cookie smiles, and the two sit close to each other, whispering in each other’s ears, as Lucious sees all on TV.

Back at the prison, Frank Gathers arrives (played by Chris Rock because why not), and a Gather goon warns Lucious to stay away from him.

Lucious walks toward Frank, and we get more helpful exposition. Frank reminds him that he used to work Frank twenty years moving biscuits. Aww, they worked together in a bakery.

EMPIRE: Guest star Chris Rock as Frank Gathers in the ÒThe Devils Are HereÓ Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Back at Empire, Jamal and Becky are discussing signing a new artist when Hakeem keeps trying to interrupt. Finally Jamal acknowledges him, and tells him the the cover art for his album is stupid, stupid, stupid, and Hakeem actually says ’I’m going to tell mom!”

Becky says “He’s crude, you’re rude,, and you’re both socially unacceptable.”

Andre, dripping with resentment, comes over to discuss a business schedule, and the harried Jamal says “I just want to get in to the studio.” Andre chuckles and walks away, and Jamal takes out his frustration on the frightened looking personal assistant who’s been trailing him. He tells him to set up a meeting with Hakeem, and when he’s told that he has a meeting with his father, says “figure it out, little boy.” Sorry, Jamal, douche does not suit you.

Jamal visits Lucious, who asks him “Who was that lesbian bitch in the red suit?” Mrs. Claus? (Oh come on, we’ve all thought it). Jamal doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and Lucious says “That was cuddled up with your mom at the concert.” Jamal shakes his head, and Lucious asks him to find out who it is. ’I know they’re up to something.”

Andre has a sweaty nightmare about burying a body, but luckily Rhonda is there to provide more helpful exposition about what happened over the summer. They both agree that this hostile takeover has to work so they can leave the messiness of murdering Vernon behind.

EMPIRE: Grace Gealey as Anika in the ÒThe Devils Are HereÓ Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Cookie wants to schmooze Mimi, and what better way than a lesbian pool party! Mimi is impressed, even more so when Boo-Boo Kitty makes an appearance. Cookie is upset, but Andre reminds her that this is a multi-million dollar deal, and they need someone with Anika’s business savvy to help out. Cookie reluctantly agrees.

Yay! Michael is back! He’s having dinner in Jamal’s new fancy digs, but Jamal is not the same sensitive soul he was last season. He sternly orders Michael to get rid of the private chef, and then kisses Michael, but grabs his head and tilts it back for a better look.

kiss

They talk about Jamal’s album blowing up on the charts, and Jamal thanks for him for putting together tomorrow’s LGBT meeting. They discuss the elephant in the room, Ryan, and Jamal tells him ’Ryan is a ho. I made a mistake.”

So … I guess that’s the last we’ll hear about Ryan?

Cookie tells Hakeem that Mimi is all set with her 250 million, and she’s going to act in the next 24 hours. Cookie wants Jamal to be a part of things when the takeover happens, so Hakeem has got to get over this beef with his brother.

Lucious meets the new prosecutor, who he calls a ’Black bitch in cheap shoes.’ She counters with “A black bitch with cheap shoes who will jam them right up your yellow ass.”

Miss Lawrence! The Bravo star is part of the LGBT meeting, doing a great Sylvester. Miss Lawrence tells Jamal she’ll be giving him an LGBT award, and would love to do a duet with him. Jamal is visibly uncomfortable.

EMPIRE: Trai Byers as Andre Lyon and Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon in the ÒThe Devils Are HereÓ Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

The moment of truth! Andre, Anika, Cookie, and Hakeem approach the boardroom where Jamal is speaking, and burst in. Cookie says “This is how it’s going to go. In partnership with a woman named Mimi Whiteman, we have taken a controlling interest in Denver Carrington, er, Moramax, er, Empire. But that doesn’t mean we’re taking it from you, Jamal. We’re taking it from Lucious. Our first order of business is to remove Lucious from the company.”

Hakeem smugly says ’Sorry, brother, it’s just business,’ and Jamal responds “yes, this is business. Right, Mimi?”

Mimi swivels around in her chair. Double-Crossed! Andre says ’We had a deal,” and Mimi tells him “I met with Lucious this morning and made a better deal.”

Cookie saunters over to Anika and whispers ’I thought I told you to sleep with her.’ Anika whispers back ’I did,” and we get this Cookie Quotable “You can’t even dyke right.’

As Jamal looks on smiling, Mimi tells them that without Lucious, the company is nothing. Jamal hits a button and we see Lucious on the TV, gloating, “Bwa-ha-ha … game over, bitches.”

Cookie tries to explain to Jamal why she did it, and that it was to protect him, but he’s not hearing it. “What you call protecting, I call backstabbing. At least when he threw in the trash can, he did it to my face.” Cookie reminds him that she was the one who took him out of that trash can, and it was her sacrifice that made this company. Jamal ignores her, and she delivers the ultimate insult “You’re turning into your daddy. I’m watching it happen.”

Ouch.

EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Guest star Chris Rock as Frank Gathers and Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon in the ÒThe Devils Are HereÓ Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Cookie’s cousin has been tortured by Frank, and finally confesses that it was Cookie who snitched on him.

Cookie’s sister Carol is waiting for her at home and frantically tells her that the roses and packages she’s been getting are from Frank. A terrified Cookie lifts the lid of the box that was just left by her door, and to her and Carol’s horror, it’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s head! If only. Actually, it is a head, but I couldn’t make out who it is. Was that Cookie’s cousin?

Michael is chiding Jamal for his reaction to Miss Lawrence, saying ’I know you’re not comfortable about flamboyant dudes like that.” Jamal insists it’s not true, but offers to donate a hefty sum so he won’t have to show up and be awkward.

But things are about to get worse. Jamal is in the studio trying to record when Cookie calls him and tells him to go immediately to Lucious’ house, and provides a couple of goons to make sure he’s safe getting there. She then tells Carol to stop blubbering like “Tammy Faye Bakker,” and get her and her kids over there, too.

Cookie finally visits Lucious in prison, and after some back and forth foreplay, tells him that Frank is after them, and he needs to fix it.

EMPIRE: Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon and Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon in the ÒThe Devils Are HereÓ Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Lucious fixes it, by confronting Frank. Frank tells him that his problem is with Cookie, not him, and they’re good. Lucious tells him that he loves Cookie, so if he he has a problem with her, he has a problem with him. Frank tells his goons ’Kill him. make it fast and quiet.” But Lucious has a surprise. Frank’s goons are actually working for him now. Double-Crossed! Lucious tells them “Kill him. make it long and loud,” and as he walks away, Frank is killed, long and loudly.

Cookie arrives at the mansion, and tells everyone that the crisis is over. Lucious has come through.

Now that the family is safe, Jamal tells everyone to get the hell out. Hakeem, Ronda and Andre leave, but Cookie tries to reason with Jamal. But he doesn’t want to listen to her. He tells her again “Get Out”. Cookie slaps in the face, saying “Who do you think you’re talking to? He doesn’t responds, so she slaps him again. He remains stoic, and asks “You done now, lady?”

A stunned Cookie leaves, and when Jamal shuts the door, he breaks down for a moment, and then gathers himself and marches defiantly away.

That’s it! Thanks for joining me!

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