Wow. There is no better word for Wednesday night's episode of Empire than intense. While the Empire label was dealing with Annika betraying the company by going behind Lucious' back to Berretti, the Lyon family also had to finally face head on Andre's bipolar disorder when he stopped taking his medication and suffered a breakdown that led to him being taken out of the offices in a medical gurney. But while Andre's situation started to unfortunately boil over, the other Lyon brothers were working hard to try and save the company, and no one more than Jamal. A few weeks prior, Jamal had decided to prove his worth to Empire and get in the race to take over the company, and his potential was finally shown during "Unto The Breach" when Jamal used the news of his coming out and his business savvy to help Lucious sign major artist Delphine to their label, played by the one and only Estelle.
Now how on Earth would Jamal's sexuality play a part in getting an artist to Empire's roster? Well that's definitely something Lucious would have never been able to understand, considering he told the Empire staff to put aside any differences they all had and work together a family to save the company, and yet he was finding it difficult to do the same thing with Jamal's recent coming out performance at the White Party. Fortunately for Empire, other artists were quite blown away by the act.
Jamal began coming into his own as an artist and a business leader in "Unto The Breach," starting with filming a rather intimate and D'Angelo-like video for his new song "All Of The Above" with his new boyfriend Ryan, the videographer from the White Party. Ryan told Jamal that Delphine was so impressed with Jamal's decision to come out so publicly with a song originally recorded by his father. And when they finally met to record a song together, news that Delphine's contract was ending came up. Jamal wasted no time at all to jump at the chance to sign her, but his father was harder to get on board.
He called Lucious several times to set up a meeting with Delphine to no response, until finally he confronted Lucious about the idea who was quick to ignore it until both Cookie and Hakeem pointed out how big of a star Delphine was and how crucial it would be for Empire to sign her. But Jamal knew why Lucious was hesitating, he knew that it was because his gay son brought the idea and the client to him through his coming out performance. And Jamal called him out on it immediately and with a brilliant force.
Jamal strongly suggested to Lucious that he wasn't comfortable with his gay son starting to prove that he could take over Empire from him and asked him if he was really going to let his ancient and ridiculous homophobia get in the way of the company he worked so hard to build.
Finally and for what might be one of the only times Lucious has done anything that made sense, he agreed to meet with Delphine with Jamal and the two convinced the artist of their dedication and love for her by not only selling the company and the family-aspect of Empire to her (because that's literally all they ever talk about on this show when it comes to the label). They then got onstage at Lucious' club to perform "You're So Beautiful" all together, and were joined onstage by Cookie, Hakeem and Tiana, who also agreed to stay with the company and the family.
Look out Lucious, you might be grooming Hakeem for your throne, but Jamal is smart enough to take it out from under them both and run it better, more cleverly and with more openness than ever before. Wouldn't that be a sight to see?
Images: Chuck Hodes/FOX; empireenterprises/Tumblr