Last night's episode of Empire might have been the best of the season, but then again, I say that about nearly every episode. But thanks to Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett) finally coming out publicly and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) continuing to be the best thing to happen to TV since, well, Viola Davis got away with murder, "The Lyon's Roar" certainly ranks high. And ratings followed suit with an impressive 13.75 million viewers tuning in. Below, let's have a kiki over TV's guiltiest pleasure having its gayest episode to date.
I Dream of Cookie
First of all, can we talk about Cookie's I Dream of Jeannie hair? I'm not even going to start on that throwback blonde bob because there are other more pressing matters at hand -- such as this jumpsuit:
In fact, last night's episode was a standout in the costume department, thanks to Lucious Lyon's (Terrence Howard) White Party. Lucious and Jamal turned it out in sherwanis, while Anika (Grace Gealey) finally gave me a reason to like her.
If she committed more of her tricks in a maribou chubby, she could give Porsha (Cookie's assistant) a run for second place on the "Best Characters on Empire" list I keep for myself.
Jamal + Ryan
Jamal, apparently already over Michael, meets a new man -- Ryan Morgan (Aussie Eka Darville) -- who not only knows what it's like having a homophobic black father, but doesn't let it bother him.
Jamal takes Ryan's words to heart and takes a hatchet to the closet door.
"You're So Beautiful" may just be the catchiest song to come out of Empire and it also serves as the centerpiece for Jamal's public coming out. Of course, everyone had different reactions to it. Lucious, for instance, not pleased.
Cookie was a bit more understanding.
But Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) had the best, and most touching, reaction.
And in the end, Empire left us with this uplifting message:
Cookie v. Camilla
The showdown I've been waiting for all season did not disappoint. You know shit was going to go down as soon as they did a Sam Peckinpah zoom on Cookie spotting her baby being devoured by cougar Camilla Marks (Naomi Campbell).
Cookie then opened up the library, put on her reading glasses, took out her bookmark and schooled Camilla in multiple languages. Who knew she was such a cunning linguist.
Cookie Is the New Black
That vaginal volley aside, Cookie was serving some serious Orange Is the New Black realness, while giving us a hint of that singing voice fans of classic pimp anthems might remember. Give Cookie a solo!
I'm finally getting on board with Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday), Andre's scheming wife, who looks like she finally ran completely out of fucks.
Andre's Got a Gun
Eldest Lyon scion, Andre (Trai Byers), has been kind of boring this season, and he nailed just why: he's got no talent. His storyline's been the least compelling because he can't sing like Jamal; can't rap like Lucious or Hakeem; and can't just own the world like Cookie.
But his mental breakdown is really adding to the soapy melodrama that makes Empire so much fun to watch, so let's see where this loose canon is going to fire off next.
Was anyone else on the floor experiencing the last moments of life escape from their bodies when Jamal sang to his little girl? Gotta go, feeling things.