(PCM) Last nights season one finale of the hit FOX drama “Empire” was nothing short of explosive. The two-hour finale gave us so many game-changing moments that we don’t even know where to begin. Some relationships were repaired, others were destroyed and the one particular catfight that was inevitably going to occur finally went down.
**Spoiler Alert** Plot details about the season finale are mentioned below
The first major reveal of the finale occurred when we learned that Lucious was actually misdiagnosed and is no longer suffering from ALS. However, after taking some new medications for his new far more treatable illness he hallucinates in bed and confesses to the death of Bunky just as Cookie enters the room.
Upon hearing his horrific confession, Cookie is understandably distraught and nearly decides to take Lucious’ life into her own hands and attempts to smother him with a pillow. Lucious later sends out a warning to Cookie in the form of gifting her with a gift-wrapped pillow, when he is handing out apology presents to his family.
Hakeem decides to court his father’s rival record label Creedmore and even releases a new rap song in which he publicly slams Luscious and sleeps with his father’s ex-Anika. Jamal has mended his relationship with Lucious and receives the key to become his father’s successor in taking over Empire. We also see Jamal, in an attempt to prove himself to his father, dangle Creedmore record executive Beretti over a balcony to get him to agree to sign over Lucious’s original demos back over to Empire. Definitely a major change in character.
Cookie is cut out of the company after Lucious learns about her relations with security guard Malcom and turns Jamal against her after he shows him footage of Cookie attempting to smother him with the pillow. Hakeem and Andre join together in an attempt to forge a hostile takeover and regain control of Empire from Lucious and Jamal. They enlist the help of sworn enemies Cookie and Anika and of course a major catfight reminiscent of something out of Dallas in the 1980’s ensues between the two before they begrudging agree to work together to bring down Lucious.
Vernon is accidentally killed when he visits Andre in an attempt to work together when things get out of hand and we learn that Andre’s wife Rhonda is now pregnant. Just as Lucious is about to hit the stage for the tribute concert, he reveals to Jamal that his real name is Dwight Walker and is then promptly arrested for his involvement in the murder of Bunky. As he marched out of the venue in handcuffs he immediately thinks that Cookie sold him out, but as he is marched past both Hakeem and Andre he sees the true culprits who sold him out. The episode concludes with Lucious behind bars with the haunting line “The day will come when Lucious Lyon will return. Game time, b**ches.”
We were recently able to catch up with Empire’s Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyon) and Yazz (Hakeem Lyon) to talk about the epic finale and what will be in store for season two.
On their wonderful on-screen chemistry and the way in which their relationship has evolved throughout the season.
Yazz: “As you’ve seen throughout the season, the brothers, they’re clashing. There is a lot of success going on. They’re making a lot of money and it’s about if they’re going to stick together through the new adventures that are going on in their lives. The season finale is where you get to see that. It’s going to be crazy.
Jussie Smollett: “Yea, and as far as the relationship and the chemistry between both Hakeem and Jamal and, obviously, essentially, myself and Yazz, the thing about Hakeem and Jamal is that they compete and there are other people that really have their hands in the pot of their brotherhood, but at the same time they always find themselves back to each other. They always find their way back to each other somehow.
I think that’s the beautiful thing about them is that families fight; families have issues. Not exactly as many issues as the Lyons family, but, families fight and they have issues and then they come back together at the end of the day and they’re a family. I think that it speaks volumes about brotherhood, the fact that Hakeem is so supportive of Jamal. Jamal is so supportive of Hakeem, but then it leads into our friendship and our brotherhood outside of the work.
I feel like I watch the show sometimes, like when Yazz was performing “Nothing but a Number,” my character was excited, but my character was excited because I was genuinely excited because that was the first time I heard the song and I loved it and he was killing it. There’s that brotherhood and camaraderie that we share. I think that’s what you see.”
On whether or not they are happy and satisfied about where their character ends up after the finale.
Yazz: “I’m definitely happy about where my character is.”
Jussie: “I’m excited because there’s so much more to come. The dope thing about Season 1 is that there are still questions to be answered in Season 2. You know what I’m saying? I feel like Season 1 was the set up and then Season 2 will be, okay, let’s go back and let’s clean up all of the Lyons’ stuff, if you will. I’m very happy. I’m very excited where Jamal, where his journey has taken him, from beginning to now, and where it’s going to end up going. I’m very excited.”
Yazz: “And we’re excited about Andre. Where he goes, he gets better and better. I feel like his story is real important and it grows and people can learn from his experiences”
On who would be their dream guest stars for Season Two
Jussie: “For me, it’s Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson and Brandy. I really want them just because I want to sing with them.”
Yazz: “For me it’s Madonna, Queen Latifah, and Rihanna.”
On fan reaction to the series
Yazz: “The fans are amazing.It’s just pandemonium, but it’s a dream come true. We’re working with the greatest, Oscar-nominated, actors and directors, so it’s great. I’m in a great place. Jussie’s in a great place and we’re blessed.”
Jussie: “For me, it’s been a really wonderful experience thus far. Everybody has been really supportive and loving. I just get the most beautiful letters from kids, both homosexual children and heterosexual children, telling me that somehow they relate to Jamal in so many ways and I feel like that’s the – as an artist, we don’t always get these types of roles to come along, that really say something about what you care about, but when they do, you jump at the chance.
I feel like that’s what we all did. I feel like we all, in our own individual ways, fought so hard for these roles because of what it meant and what it said. It’s so entertaining and it’s so glamorous and fantastic, but it also is saying something about where our society is today and that means so much. When I get those letters, I’m a crying fool anyway, because I’m a Cancer, but it’s just really, really emotional and I love it. It’s been wonderful.”
On working with Snoop Dogg in the finale
Yazz: “It was great to work with Snoop. I can’t tell you what we’re doing, but we had to prepare for our scene for like an hour in his trailer. It was good to vibe out with the legend Snoop Dogg and to get some jewels I can take into life and use and to apply them to my everyday life.”
On what they have both personally taken away from working on the series.
Yazz: “There were many elements, darling, but no, it’s family, family, family. You got to talk to your family. You got to stay grounded. You need to pray a lot. You need to eat healthy. There are a lot of things that tie into it but definitely staying prayed up, and keeping the family involved.”
Jussie: “For me, it’s been like to piggyback on what Yazz was saying, it is, what we took away from it is I think that Yazz and I, separately, in our own ways, are so, so, so dedicated to our families and then what we came away with it, it was another – more additions to our family, if you will, with this cast and the crew. Such incredible people but, also, I feel like what I’ve seen is the stereotypes that society tries to push down our throats actually are not real.
That what we’re seeing is we’re seeing the very people that society wants us to believe would not accept someone like a Jamal, those are the very people that are coming up to me being like, brother, I love you. I respect you. Keep doing what you’re doing. So for that, it’s really – I don’t know if it’s opened my eyes because I feel like my eyes saw that already, but I feel like what it did is that it killed that cycle that started to feed itself of, that there are really, really genuine and good, honest, respectful, and loving people in the world. So, I really love it. That’s why I love the viewers so much, because that’s what they show every single day.”
On what they hope that viewers will take away from the show
Jussie: “Love. Just love.”
Yazz: “Family. It’s love and family conflict in situations. It’s a family show, so you get to experience family situations that you can learn from in your household. Stuff that Hakeem does, idiotic stuff he does, you would teach your son, like, that’s going to happen you if you keep going that route. It’s great. The fans keep watching each week and it’s loving.
Nobody’s perfect and you’ll get that on the season finale. Everybody is an enemy. Everybody is a villain. Nobody is safe in Empire.”
On their human activist work
Jussie: “My mom didn’t even really give us a choice growing up. Look, we had a choice what sports we played. We had a choice in what music we listened to. We had a choice in the careers that we chose. We did not have a choice in being activists because that was the one thing that she said, if you do nothing in your life, you’ve got to give back. So, what you do is you’ve got to collect your own stuff so that you can properly give back.
But it’s just who we are. It’s literally like, it’s the thing that feeds me the most. If I didn’t do it, then I would feel empty. But I talk to the young youth in the city, I talk to young LGBT youth. I talk to young women with babies that have been raped or have suffered through domestic violence and have gotten out of it. That’s what I do, you know what I’m saying? So, as far as, has it changed me? No. It’s just further cemented who I am in my own life and the work that I know that I’m here, put on this earth, to do.”
Yazz: “And to piggyback a little bit off what he said, I had a close friend get killed from violence in the streets and, from 16 years old, I went out talking to the kids, because that really touched me internally, that somebody that got killed was that close to me. I went out, at 16 years old, me and my mom would pack up a Camry and drive to Michigan, use our own money, and we weren’t really that fortunate, and we would go out to these schools and I would perform.
I would talk to the kids and give them a little bit of inspiration because I was really hurt from that situation and from there, I kind of built a fan base through talking to the kids and letting them know, this is possible. You’ve just got to follow your dreams. If I’m here on stage from Philadelphia, you can be just like me. I did that since I was 16 years old and from there it just – I got Empire.”
The post Jussie Smollett And Yazz Talk Empire’s Theme Of Family And Love appeared first on TV News.