The third season premiere of “Empire” came into it with some great pressure, especially when you consider how season 2 was by and large a polarizing affair.
Did we take a major step forward tonight? We’d say that for the most part, the verdict was a positive one because the focus was planted almost entirely on the Lyon family rather than some superfluous stuff that didn’t matter. Also, we were reminded once more how terrible a person Lucious can be.
Anika’s alive! However, as we told you earlier, Rhonda is dead, and he tried to his best in order to craft a narrative in which she was the perpetrator behind pulling down Anika. Nobody knows PR spin quit like Lucious, right? Of course, the result of him being so shady was having to live with Anika for a while in order to keep the ruse of their marriage being valid.
The most emotional part of the episode for us was seeing Andre still continuing to see Rhonda despite her death, and to see him swear off his religion and battle demons like never before. The Lyon sons have heart, and seeing precisely what happened to some of these characters was certainly heartbreaking, to say the least. Seeing Jamal struggle to recover from the shooting was the same way, but it was nice to see him try to take on some social causes.
In the end, “Empire” did a lot of good, interesting things in its premiere, and more importantly, it kept its focus fairly narrow and didn’t try to do too much. While this isn’t enough to christen the show as back to where it once was, we will at least consider this a solid start. Grade: B.
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