‘Empire’ season 3, episode 5 review: The brothers grim

Hakeem -We’re a little bit late when it comes to this particular “Empire” review, but better late than never, right? There is a lot to get to when it comes to “One Before Another,” and we gotta start with that title. What do we take from that? For us, the meaning that we want to extrapolate is that when it comes to the Lyon family, they’re interested in putting themselves before anyone else … and that’s about it.

The culmination of this episode to us brought an enormity of in-fighting between Jamal, Hakeem, and Andre, with the vast majority of it stemming from either secrets (Andre being with Nessa, something that Hakeem was less than pleased about) to creative differences (Jamal not wanting to turn his collaboration with Hakeem into some sort of diss track, leading to Hakeem to diss him instead). Why can’t they all just get along, or at the very least realize that if they want to get anywhere in this world, they need to work together?

Our greatest frustration with the Lyon brothers is that these three all have a terrible father, and while Cookie may at times have their interests in mind, she’s got her own you-know-what going on as well. They have to realize that nobody out there is going to have their backs like each other. Hakeem’s repeated pattern of having to look like the badass is creatively the most frustrating part of all of this, mostly because every time he gets up on a high horse about either his musical ability or business sense, someone kicks him right off of it and he careens into the nearest ditch.

Better news for Cookie – Hey, things with Angelo are starting to work out! This is really happening despite just about every sign that you’d imagine of it going the other way. They don’t have a lot in common in terms of interests, and they work in very different fields. Yet, they’ve got the common thread of loyalty, and that does go a long way. This show is almost at its best with Cookie romances. Taraji P. Henson’s got such a power to her that finding these spots that she can be vulnerable proves to be magnificent television time and time again. Plus, add in there Taye Diggs, who is basically the actor any good show wants to have as a recurring role — if not more.

Given that Diggs is no longer a series regular over on “Murder in the First” (as in, the show’s canceled), what would it take to promote him here?

Bad news for everyone with Becky – While we do love Gabourey Sidibe, the Becky story really isn’t going anywhere. We do appreciate the ins and out of the music business, and it’s what sets “Empire” as a series apart. Other than the whole “white mansplaining” line, though, what’s going to be remembered from this? We’re not sure that it will be much of anything. That’s the struggle that “Empire” as a whole faces; we’re three seasons into the run now, so most of that shiny-gold luster is starting to fade a little bit and we want to see the meat of the series.

This episode was a solid one, and we say that knowing that it was relatively quiet by Lucious standards and Rhonda apparently disappeared into thin air once she was done with the whole ghost-threesome thing that went down at the end of this past episode. (Then again, that may be a good thing — we don’t need this show to become either a daytime drama or that one season of “Grey’s Anatomy.”) The strength of the show is with the family, so as long as they provide them compelling conflicts, our sentiment is that “Empire” will be all right. Episode Grade: B.

What did you think of this episode of “Empire” and what do you want to see happen this season? For some other news on “Empire,” including some other recent reviews, be sure to head over to this link! We’ll have another review coming up on the show before long. (Photo: Fox)

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