Despite Wednesday night's episode of Empire, "Unto The Breach," having a major storyline involving Anika's betrayal of Lucious and the company, the only person I could focus on was Andre. The eldest Lyon son was still reeling from the abuse and anger he took from his father in the previous episode, and decided to flush his medication down the toilet rather than try to keep up appearances. But that big move turned out to be a dangerous one for Andre, as he suffered a breakdown during Empire Entertainment's time of crisis. That breakdown not only proved that Andre needed help with his bipolar disorder, but also that his family, and especially Lucious, needed to begin taking notice of his struggle.
After Cookie revealed that Anika had betrayed Lucious by going to his biggest competitor Baretti, it was all hands on deck at Empire to try and hold onto the musicians they had on their roster and desperately gain whoever they could as well. Jamal and Hakeem played their parts in protecting the company's assets and started to prove their business worth to their father, but Andre was struggling and drowning in the combined weight of his responsibilities, stress, and disorder.
Things started to take a turn for the worse and Andre's family began realizing something was going on when he, his father, and his brother went to meet with a famous artist, Travie Wild, to get him to sign to Empire. Travie wasn't happy with the idea of giving a label 30 percent of his revenue when he could easily release his own music and keep the profits, but Andre tried to change his mind with a brand new idea of what an independent record label could do. While Andre's ideas were top-notch, his behavior was starting to become erratic and began to worry his brothers.
Later, all three Lyon sons were stuck in an elevator and Andre started to break down in a fit of rage. He screamed that he had worked the hardest out of all the Lyon boys when things were at their worst as he helped build the company while his brothers were still babies. But he knew that his dedication would never put him on top of the Empire throne. Jamal tried to calm Andre down by singing "Lean On Me," a song that the boys used to sing as kids together to calm each other down. And for a while it worked. Until Andre got back into the boardroom with his father.
Clearly Lucious is a major trigger for Andre, as he had yet another episode of rage and anxiety when he felt he couldn't do anything during the label's crisis with Anika. It got so bad that Lucious felt the need to lock Andre in the boardroom and call Rhonda in to supervise. But the damage had been done. By the time Lucious came back, Andre could not be calmed down, and he had to leave the offices in a stretcher to be watched over at an institute for 48 hours as permitted by Rhonda.
In a preview for next week's episode, Andre's new psychiatrist tells the family about his disorder and they all seem to take it pretty hard, despite Lucious' only line about it in the promo being that he won't allow people to say his son has a mental illness. If Lucious won't put aside thoughts of his business or public image to care about his son's well being, I find that absolutely reprehensible. But considering how he's treated Andre in the past and the fact that he's told his eldest son that he doesn't really feel like he's part of the family, maybe it shouldn't be a surprise.
Clearly Lucious is becoming a negative presence in the lives of the entire Lyon and Empire family. Screw someone taking over for Lucious after he dies, maybe it's time for someone to dethrone him, or at least help him see what is actually important in his life. Because now more than ever, Lucious needs to care for his family, especially Andre. And isn't the Empire label and Empire the show really all about family?