Andre's Conversion To Christianity On 'Empire' May Have Darker Motivations Than We Realize
I've always felt that Andre was the least appreciated of the Lyon brothers on Empire . Jamal was too talented, Hakeem was too wild, and Andre was... too smart? Too put-together. But as the series went on, viewers began to understand the complexities of eldest Lyon, as well as his struggle with Bipolar Disorder. After suffering from a breakdown in Season 1, Andre is finally putting the building blocks of the life he wants back in place. He's back at Empire, his wife is pregnant with their first son, and things seem peachy — or are they? Andre may be up to something on Empire.
After being sent to a Christian music therapist (played by Jennifer Hudson) in Season 1, Andre, a man who grew up with money and power as his family's dual houses of worship, decided that in order to completely free himself of his many sins, he must dedicate himself to God. While everyone has the right to practice any religion they choose and there a lot of people who convert to Christianity for authentic reasons, in the case of Empire and the story it is telling, I'm very interested in the motivations of why Andre has chosen now, of all moments, to get himself baptized and become a Christian. Is it because he truly seeks the light of God? Or is it because it has become convenient to his corroding lifestyle to ask for forgiveness?
In Season 1, Andre was slowly and silently unraveling. He wasn't getting the respect and responsibility he felt he deserved from his father at Empire, so he began to take it out on everyone else. He physically assaulted his brothers, treated his mother poorly, and threatened Vernon, probably as a means of acting out. Andre did not feel bad about any of this. In "Be True," Andre tells his father that he hated him so much and wanted to cause him so much pain that Andre went into his studio, put a gun to his head, and pulled the trigger. Obviously, it didn't go off.
Now, Lucious is clearly not a saint (he's more like a purveyor of the devil), but for Andre to want to hurt his father that badly shows both calculation and malice. He planned to do that to Lucious. He wanted to hurt his father, and he certainly didn't feel he had to be forgiven for that.
Then Rhonda and Andre mistakenly killed Vernon and buried his body in the woods at the end of Season 1. Afterwards, Andre obviously felt guilty and said so, but he has become more and more sure that he is the sinner to end all sinners as Season 2 has progressed. I really believe that Andre was very close to going to the police and selling out himself and his wife for Vernon's murder. This was likely derailed because Lucious found out about the whole thing and took care of it in that special way that only Lucious can, but Andre has let guilt eat him up.
It's affecting him so much, Andre has now decided that the only thing he can do is become a Christian and repent to God. For Andre, Christianity doesn't seem to represent a life of humility, service, and grace, but more so a life in which your sins will be erased with one confession (though he's not Catholic) or admission.
As Andre's sins have increased in ferocity, moving from beating up his brothers to setting up Jamal's robbery (he confessed to this in "Be True") to actual, real-life murder, he has chosen to bring the Church into his life. The way I see it, Andre is taking one of two paths. He has either recognized that he has fallen too far and seeks to correct his life before his baby is born and he really has to pay for his bad decisions, or he is slowly becoming more and more like his cruel, evil father and joining the Church so that Lucious won't expect any sort of retaliation from his son.
I hope for morality’s sake that the former is the right answer, but wouldn’t the latter make for a much, much more intriguing Empire storyline? Viewers have seen that Andre is capable of horrible things, just like Lucious, so there might be much more brewing under the surface of his new commitment to religion.
Images: Matt Dinerstein/FOX; Giphy (3)