Fox's new series Empire is only a few episodes in and already it's brought a satisfying twist to one of the series' most interesting plotlines. During Wednesday night's episode of Empire, "The Devil Quotes Scripture," Jamal finally stops taking his father's abuse and not only stands up to Lucious, but also walks out on the lavish life that he paid for. Jamal moved out of his apartment complex just minutes after having a huge confrontation with his father, and finally made a decision I've been waiting for since the first time Lucious rudely insulted his son about his sexuality: Jamal is ready to take the empire away from his father. He's finally ready to join the fight to become the next leader of Empire Entertainment. Question is, can he do it?
At the moment, Empire is doing a bang-up, if not very subtle, job of pointing to Jamal as the lovable underdog in the fight for the throne. In fact, it might be the one thing that's a little too obvious, alongside the fact that Jamal and Lucious are really quite similar. A flashback showing both Lucious and Jamal singing the same song definitely proved that idea. But can Jamal play dirty when necessary? Can he work with others, produce hit records, and gain enough traction to truly enter this fight?
Andre is the business-minded Lyon brother, while Hakeem has raw talent mixed with the huge bonus that is having his father's vote and love. But what does Jamal have? Empire seems to be trying to convince us that Jamal is the most talented brother of them all. But I've got to say that from what we've seen of the Lyons so far, Jamal needs more of that X-factor in his music.
He needs some edge, he needs some grit. In fact, he needs more heart and emotional struggle. The only song that really gives us insight into Jamal's psyche is the one from above that he wrote about Lucious, "Good Enough." And his absolute best song is "No Apologies," for which he collaborated with Hakeem. So what needs to happen first is for Jamal to stop being so stubborn and listen to his mother's musical ideas. She's pretty damn smart and there's a reason she's the one who was able to found Empire Entertainment in the first place.
Once Jamal gets his music career on the same track as Hakeem (or perhaps even surpasses him), he needs to learn about the business. This is where playing dirty is going to come in most handy. It would be nice to see Jamal be able to run the company without any shady or creepy dealings (Andre getting down and dirty with the Deputy Mayor on Wednesday night was downright uncomfortable to watch). But that being said, Jamal will have to fight.
Finally leaving his father's clutches should bring out a side of Jamal we have yet to see, so it's definitely too early to really make any proper judgments on what his chances are. But I can't wait to see much more of the fire that finally appeared in Jamal's eyes at the end of Wednesday night's Empire.
Image: Michael Lavine/FOX