Will Lucious' Mom Be On 'Empire' Outside Of Flashbacks? Kelly Rowland's Character Is The Key To His Past
Lucious Lyon is one of the most hateful characters on TV right now, yet I just can't look away. He's reached new levels of depravity and conniving in Empire Season 2, but viewers have also been given some context for why he is the way he is through haunting flashbacks of young Lucious and his mother. Former Destiny's Child member and current solo artist Kelly Rowland plays Leah Walker on Empire ; and if the flashbacks are glimpses into Lucious' psyche, then he's been thinking an awful lot about her lately. Will fans ever see Lucious's mother in the present day timeline of the show?
There's little to go on so far to piece together what it was like for Lucious while he was growing up. But the scenes with Rowland show a mother and son with an extremely special bond; it's the two of them against the world. They're alone in the flashbacks, yes, but it's the performances by Rowland and young actor Shannon Brown that really sell the closeness of their little family. The sheer love between Leah and her son Dwight (Lucious' given name) make it all the more heartbreaking to watch Dwight see his mother unravel. He's only a child, but he's astute enough to know that something is very wrong. In the episode "Fires Of Heaven," Leah hits a high and then an extreme low, suggesting that she may have Bipolar Disorder. And Lucious' experience caring for the adult who's meant to be caring for him certainly doesn't excuse his attitude towards Andre's mental illness, but it does shed some light on his emotional journey.
Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken told Variety that Leah Walker will be an extremely important character to Season 2 of the series, and that fans should not expect to have all the answers right away.
You learn a lot of things, and we reveal them slowly — it's a very slow burn over the course of the season...Who is Lucious Lyon? How did he become the person he is? This is the story we're telling with Kelly Rowland in the flashbacks. And the reveals will ultimately be very consequential.
There are two ways to interpret Chaiken's comment about the flashbacks: A) Rowland will only appear in flashback, with effects of those experiences rippling through to the present day; or B) The Lucious Lyon origin story will be told through flashback, and the story will change tracks when they meet again. Either way, the impact on his character will be huge.
Leah's fate is the clue to unlocking a major Empire mystery. One of the turning points in Lucious's life occurred when he was orphaned at 9, under circumstances that haven't yet been outlined for the audience. This must be the point in his childhood when he and his mother parted ways. Was she institutionalized? Is she still alive? Did Lucious leave her (or vice versa) by choice or by necessity?
I hope and trust that these questions will be answered as Season 2 of Empire chugs forward.
Forgot what happened last season on Empire? Check out the (drunk) recap below.
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