I have been a fan of the show since day 1 and was excited for the new season but I have to say, there is a reason why the ratings have dropped in season 2. In season 1, there was more suspense and drama with all of the characters. For instance, I really don’t like this new direction with Anika’s character. I kind of doubt that someone who is as sophisticated as she’s previously been written would get caught up like this.
In Season 1, Anika was the smart, sexy successful head of A&R at Empire and now she’s a crazed lovesick woman. She went from being engaged to Lucious to sleeping with Hakeem who impregnated her. Now, thanks to advice from Rhonda, Andre’s wife who is also pregnant, Anika is on the warpath. While Anika is rightfully angry at the Lyon family because they have screwed her over so many times this is a self-destructive path she is on. I wish that the writers would have made Anika stronger and have her take control over the issues she faced this season. In the finale we are left with everyone pointing the finger at her and I am curious to see where the writers are going to take her character going forward.
Everyone went a little crazy this season, especially Hakeem, the only character who really created drama this year. Hakeem’s kidnapping and the ensuing dark period he went through and his rap battle with Freda Gatz brought some edge to the show that we didn’t see in Season 1. I was, however, disappointed with the arcs focusing on Hakeem’s love life or lack thereof. Aside from his encounters with Anika, there is really not that much going on with him and the women in his life.
The Season 1 love story between Hakeem and Camilla, the older woman he was secretly seeing, had more drama and suspense. In the finale, Camilla comes back and convinces him to turn his back on his family by voting Lucious out of Empire. When Empire comes back, Hakeem’s decision should bring consequences and put a strain on the family. This storyline has shown that Bryshere Y. Gray has come a long way as an actor, especially as this is his first role. His performance in the finale was a prime example of how much he has grown.
The infamous Cookie had some great scenes as well this season but not like season 1. There was a brief love story between her and Laz Delgado (Adam Rodriguez) but she and her actress, Taraji P. Henson, have been wasted this season. Hopefully in the second half she will be given more emotional depth.
Sadly, there wasn’t much going on with Jamal either this season other than being caught in the middle of Cookie and Lucious’ rivalry and his boyfriend Michael cheating on him. His relationship with Sky Summers (Alicia Keys) was an interesting twist so hopefully his bisexuality will be explored more this season.
Then there is Andre who was excited about becoming a dad and restoring his faith but that has cost him more than he is willing to pay. Unfortunately his storyline was dropped quickly instead of being explored to its fullest.
For such a highly anticipated show, I was disappointed that it didn’t live up to the hype of its first season. Hopefully, the second half of season 2 will be better.
Empire continues on March 30th 2016.
Rating : 2.5 crowns out of 5