Jamal Is Going Full Lucious On 'Empire'

by Keertana Sastry

I never thought that my favorite character from Empire Season 1 would end up like this. In the Empire Season 2 premiere, Jamal turned against his family, proving that he is becoming more and more like his father by kicking them out and alienating them, while staying under Lucious' thumb as he sits in prison. Now, I know what people are going to say in defense of Jamal. His mother and brothers tried to complete a hostile takeover behind his back and remove Lucious from Empire, thereby betraying him — the man named as Lucious' successor — and taking him out of his new position on top. Of course Jamal has every reason to feel upset by this blindside. But his growing anger, roughness, and hatred comes from a deeper place, a place that only Lucious could have brought out because he knows it oh so well.

When we first met Jamal at the start of Empire, he had a lot to prove. His father basically hated him for his sexuality and totally overlooked his talent and abilities. Instead, Lucious tried to groom Hakeem as his successor and led Andre on, thereby pitting all of his sons against one another. Thankfully, for a while Hakeem and Jamal were on the same page, but that all changed once Lucious finally saw something inside Jamal that he wanted in a leader: Ferocity and anger. To remember more of what happened in Empire Season 1, check out the drunk recap video below.

Lucious took two things that made Jamal so determined and turned them into negative traits. All he had to do was give Jamal his approval, toss aside his other sons, and poison Jamal against the family by making him the successor. But now the problem is pretty apparent to the audience and not Jamal: Lucious will never truly be done with running Empire. With that much greed and selfishness, it's no wonder he's still running the show behind bars, even though his son is now technically in his position.

When Cookie got out of jail in Season 1 and tried to help Jamal become successful, there was obviously a side of her that did it out of spite, but she has been the only person who is consistently trying to keep her family together. Jamal has now pushed her out of his life and will most certainly feel the effects of having only Lucious on his side. We can already see in the Season 2 premiere how much Jamal is becoming like his father in the worst ways. He insulted his mother, he wants to bury Hakeem's album, he treats his boyfriend Michael like dirt, and worst of all, is doing Lucious' bidding and agreeing with his horribly inaccurate opinions about his own family and loved ones.

It's truly upsetting to see Jamal go from so fiercely independent to such a heartless puppet. If he would have just been open enough to see where Cookie was coming from and why she wanted to initiate this takeover this for their family, they could've avoided this falling out. Jamal's problem is that right now, he is only seeing things at face value. He has no idea the terrible positions Lucious has put his other family members in and how hard they've worked in the past to be good enough for him.

This season, Jamal needs to find his way back to his own personality, needs, and passions. The job of running Empire is already showing signs of strain on Jamal's music career and personal life. Perhaps he'll realize that running the company the way Lucious does it isn't the right way and finally lead Empire the way he wants to. That's how Jamal can get back into my good graces in Empire Season 2.

Images: Chuck Hodes/FOX (2)