Monday, August 29, 2016

Emmy Episodes: Empire

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. This year, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Empire: Season 2, Episode 17 “Rise by Sin” (C+)
Nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series (Taraji P. Henson)

Now this is an Emmy episode. I’m not a fan of this show, and clearly Emmy voters aren’t all that much either since they only nominated Henson this year. That may actually work in her favor since she stands out as the true star of this soap-filled show. She took home the Golden Globe on her first try earlier this year since the show premiered in January 2015, and now I think she’s headed on the path towards a very possible Emmy win. The fact that this episode centers around an awards show doesn’t hurt, though let’s hope that the event won’t be nearly as dramatic. It’s clear from everything that happened in this episode that Lucious is a terrible human being, lying about his mother having killed herself, cruelly telling Jamal that he’ll celebrate the day he dies from AIDS, and that’s only the stuff we witnessed in this hour. You’d think that Oscar nominee Terrence Howard might be the one worth watching, but the look that Henson shoots at him when they lose the award encapsulated the fantastic nature of her performance. She walks all over this show and everyone on it, yelling at her friend that she doesn’t care about her and boldly declaring “We ain’t the Partridges! We ain’t the Brady Bunch!” She also demonstrates a range of emotions, confessing about snitching to get out of prison and then going into full-on motherly mode when Jamal got shot. It’s great to see that Henson found a role worthy of her talents after being the blandest part of a show I enjoyed much more, “Person of Interest.” I’d be more than happy if she won given her level of commitment to this performance even though I’m obviously rooting for some of her competition.

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