“Empire” Loose Ends: Was That Cookie In A Gorilla Suit?
After a long, Cookie-less summer, “Empire” is back with a vengeance. So many things happened! Lucas is in jail. Boo Boo Kitty’s getting goosed by Marisa Tomei. Jamal’s turned into a real dick. And, if you were playing a drinking game that involved taking a shot every time you saw a guest star — Andre Leon Talley! Chris Rock! Al Sharpton! — you probably didn’t make it to the end before passing out. Now that the world’s campiest show is back on air, we’ll be gathering here every Wednesday to discuss some loose ends, stray observations and things of note. It’s not a recap, per se — it’s recap-ish. Let’s go.
What An Interesting Take On Black Lives Matter, “Empire”
Lucious is in jail for the very real murder of Bunkie. Ever the businesswoman, Cookie organizes a massive Black Lives Matter-esque protest, #FreeLuscious. It’s a ham-fisted attempt at touching on the large and very important issue of prison reform? But …. the crime that Lucious is locked up for is one that he actually committed. Like, we all saw him do it. On camera. Last season. He killed Bunkie. It’s okay.
Hey, also, this happened.
Yeah, that’s Cookie in a gorilla suit, being lowered on stage in a cage. Once she removes herself from the gorilla suit, she’s wearing a really incredible Gucci dress, but before that? She’s a black woman in a gorilla suit in a cage at a protest staged for her very-guilty husband who is in jail. Some of your alarms should be ringing. But, as the costume designer explained to Vulture, it was actually a tribute to Marlene Dietrich in “Blonde Venus,” a horrifyingly antiquated and racist film that features a blonde-afroed Dietrich in said gorilla costume, dancing in front of a bunch of people in blackface holding spears. Then she sings a song called “Hot Voodoo.” It’s racist! It’s like old-timey-Hollywood-didn’t-know-any-better-racist. Thank god the internet exists to clarify murky references, yeah? Lee Daniels, you are a ridiculous man.
Welcome Mimi Whiteman, The Best Villain In The Entire World
Marisa Tomei as Mimi Whiteman, a predatory lesbian shark villain in a high couture three-piece patterned suit is the best thing that could have happened to this show. She seduced Cookie at the concert, colludes with Lucious — who somehow gains the ability to FaceTime from prison — sleeps with Boo Boo Kitty at Cookie’s urging, and slinks around answering to the name Ms. Whiteman. Lee Daniels named the only other white person on this show (aside from Blowjob Bib Rhonda) Mimi Fucking Whiteman. What a time to be alive.
Hey, Is Andre Still The Hottest Lyon? Yeah, I Think He Is
My god. Crazy old Andre sort of got his shit together, grew a lil’ beard and is now so, so very hot. He was the hottest Lyon before, of course, but that beard really turned the volume up. He is, as the kids say, fire.
A Brief Programming Note About Chris Rock as “Frank Gathers”
Chris Rock plays a villain. That villain is named Frank Gathers. Chris Rock has a daughter that Luscious is going to sign. Chris Rock also orchestrated getting Cookie’s cousin’s head delivered to her in a box on her doorstep as a threat — FROM JAIL. And, alas, Chris Rock also meets his demise at the hands of his former henchmen who Lucious pays off via his giant, Scrooge McDuck-size coffers of gold and connections. Sorry Chris Rock. It was nice to see you, though.
Jamal’s a dick. Of course Hakeem has a fucking hoverboard. No one knows that Vernon’s dead, except for Andre, but as long as he keeps waking up all sweaty and oily and shit, we’re good with it. Jamal’s weaselly little boyfriend is back, the Australian is gone somehow, and Miss Lawrence makes an appearance!! For the uninitiated, see below.
So: Jamal kicked Cookie out of her own house, told Hakeem that he’ll never release his record and, in general, has ended up being kind of a dick. He’s basically his father all over again. What will happen next week?! AHHH I don’t know, I can’t wait. See you later, bye.
[All gifs via GIPHY]