If you’ve been waiting for most of “Empire” season 3 to see the series rise to what is more or less its full potential, wait no further: We had that on Wednesday night’s new episode. Not only that, but we’d go so far to say that “Chains at Midnight,” with its super-dramatic title and its super-relevant storytelling, may be the finest episode of the show since the end of the first season.
We don’t want to wait too long in this article without getting to the story’s main jaw-dropper, otherwise known as the thing that the majority of the internet is going to be talking about for some time: Andre being one of the main architects behind the Empire hack. This was a move that he made in an effort to seize further control of the business and prove himself to be successful at the business side of the operation. His crisis-management skills, as a result of that, were on-point. He managed to have enough emails leak and songs be deleted for it to be considered a serious threat, but not so much that it would lead to the end of the country.
He even found himself a perfect fall guy in Gram, given his distaste for the label and his recent beef with Hakeem. Even Tiana was able to corroborate his feelings towards Lucious and company, which coupled with an good old-fashioned frame job, was enough to leave him off somewhere beaten. In the eyes of Lucious, the case was closed and Andre was one of the heroes. Now, he and Nessa can continue to focus on building their own super-power within the company.
There is a part of this story that does feel repetitive, if for no other reason than it feels as though we’re getting stories about (insert person here) being incredibly power-hungry to the point that they try to overtake the company and things blow up in their face. The one difference here is that Andre is legitimately a threat more so than Hakeem ever was, mostly because he’s calculated, he’s not impulsive, and he doesn’t have his business to fall back on. He may also be more willing to play dirty without either one of his brothers around, and with Rhonda now dead and buried, that chip on his shoulder is nearly as large as his head.
The end(?) of Cookie and Angelo – Is the show’s most entertaining romance officially over? We’re not altogether sure. It definitely seemed that way at the midway point of the episode, given that the Empire hack led to an extremely compromising picture of Cookie turning up for the public to see. She in turn distanced herself from Angelo, saying that she couldn’t live with herself if her skeletons caused his Mayoral campaign to crumble.
When he started talking to the press, we thought this was going down a particularly heartbreaking direction and he was going to throw her under the bus and drive over her on his way out the door. Then, he took off his own suit and tie, and used the moment to make a point about equality and the objectification of women. It was a great moment, notable because of Cookie’s reaction and revelation that she loved this man, only to have let him go. We’d consider that move of solidarity to also be a moment of hope.
Tonight’s two funniest moments were both Cookie-related: Lucious throwing a chair through a TV when he saw that image of Cookie along with most of Empire’s other employees, and Cookie snatching the mic from Lucious in the middle of the introduction during the “hey, we’re not hacked anymore!” party he threw for his employees.
Bad news Becky – Becky’s one of the few naive people left on this show. She made a deal with Xavier that she’d help him correct his Tiana disaster by releasing a new single and claiming the old one was a demo that got leaked. However, when the new single came out, he was the one who took credit and left her ready to throw Lucious’ said chair in his direction.
Trouble for Jamal – After starting to recover from the hack and his songs getting erased, he’d settled in to a moment of intimacy with D-Major. Unfortunately, when D-Major woke up he realized that Jamal may have overdosed, and he had to figure out a way to wake him up. The good news is that the guy’s alive … but that may be the only good news, as he’s in need of some pretty-serious help.
Overall – One heck of a strong “Empire” with a lot of stuff going on, and all of it entertaining. Sure, some elements were over the top such as the men coming to beat up Gram or Angelo’s big shirtless statement, but it’s “Empire.” It’s at least more in the realm of reality than Andre having a threesome with a ghost. Episode Grade: A-.
Next week – You’ll be able to check out some other news related to “Empire” and the future by heading over to the link here right now! Leave us a comment in the box below and tell us your thoughts on this episode and what you want to see happen next time. (Photo: Fox.)