Does Lucious Really Have Amnesia On ‘Empire’? His Track Record Suggests That The Mogul Might Be Faking
Lucious Lyon is a lying liar. So should viewers really trust that Lucious has amnesia on Empire? He says whatever he can in order to get his way usually, and that includes everything from not admitting he’s the father of his own grandchild (he claimed it was Jamal who was the baby daddy) to murdering an associate of his in cold blood and covering it up. Lucious woke up in the Season 3 finale with apparently no memory of who he is or what he was doing in the hospital. But could he be faking it?
Andre has been trying to kill Lucious since he was born (basically), so in the Season 3 finale, the plan was afoot — he and Shyne launched a bomb plot to kill Andre's father. It was very Shakespearian. But, after being embraced by his father, Andre folded like a cheap suit and went back on the plan, racing to his father’s car to stop his parents from getting in it before it exploded. Alas — he was mostly too late. Cookie was fine, but Lucious was badly injured.
After a three-month time jump, Lucious is in the care of Demi Moore — I mean, a hands-on nurse that is a little too touchy feely with Lucious, if you know what I mean. She says that she isn’t “at liberty” to talk about Lucious’ test results, even though Cookie and their sons are Lucious’ family. Lucious can’t recognize anyone or anything, and it’s assumed that he has amnesia. But does he really?
For what its worth, the Mayo Clinic says that amnesia "refers to the loss of memories, such as facts, information and experiences. Though forgetting your identity is a common plot device in movies and television, that's not generally the case in real-life amnesia. Instead, people with amnesia usually know who they are. But, they may have trouble learning new information and forming new memories." That doesn't really sound like Lucious's symptoms.
Empire creator Lee Daniels told TV Guide that fans should not be skeptical — Lucious’ brain is toasted. "Fans should not be questioning it, it's not a long con," he said. "He really has lost his memory. It's hard for me to believe that, but he really has lost his memory."
If it’s hard for the creator of the whole series to believe that Lucious has lost his memory, why should loyal viewers believe that Lucious’ amnesia is legitimate? On the plus side, this memory loss has also wiped out Lucious’ remembering of everyone he hates and why he hates them — it’s the softer, gentler side of Lucious Lyon, especially in his relationship with Cookie. Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie, told TV Guide in the same interview, “We see the angel that he could be. [Cookie] doesn't know how to accept it, because it's foreign to her. I think it's nice, but she wants that old thing back."
Showrunner Ilene Chaiken told Deadline that Lucious’ amnesia in Season 4 is a complete “reset” of the series. She said:
“Lucious in Season 4 is going to be dealing with the aftermath of this event, the damage to his mind and his body. Whether or not his memory is permanently or just temporally impaired is certainly one of the questions we’d begin the new season with. Who is Lucious now? What is he dealing with? How has it affected him? How has it changed him? And how has does affect every member of his family depending what the answers to those questions are. That is a big part of our story in Season 4 and that is a real reset.”
And Chaiken isn’t too keen on Lucious’ condition being called “amnesia,” either. “A trope that would have been called amnesias in another era of television," she told Deadline. We’re hoping to reinterpret that trope in a more realistic way that has some kind of scientific and medical credibility, but it still is a really interesting thing to explore with a character we’ve come to know very well.”
So the showrunners and creators say that this memory loss is legit and real for Season 4, but I still don’t believe Lucious Lyon any further than I can throw him. His writing may say “traumatic brain injury,” but his track record says “trickery.”