"Empire" concluded its record-breaking first season in a way only the Fox series -- and perhaps the "crazy ass mind of Lee Daniels" -- could: bold, shocking and completely batsh-t crazy.
Daniels and co-creator Danny Strong have officially driven this train off the rails, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, this finale lacked some of the emotional depth previous episodes have been able to accomplish (the elevator scene immediately comes to mind). On the other hand, watching Cookie and Boo Boo Kitty go head to head in the Best Catfight of 2015 (possibly ever, TBH) was a hell of a thing to witness.
Do I think "Empire" suffered from its rapid-fire pacing? Yes. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the twists, turns and OMFG moments that the finale had to offer. Lucious' drug-fueled, Robert Durst-like fever dream was one of the most delightfully ridiculous things I've seen on TV this season, and it's one of the reasons so many people have gotten hooked on "Empire." It's unapologetically fearless.
So without further ado, here are the seven most gasp-worthy moments from "Empire"'s season one finale:
Lucious isn't dying.Fox
Remember when Lucious was diagnosed with ALS in the series premiere? Well, LOL, he doesn't actually have ALS, but rather MG (myasthenia gravis) -- a similar but treatable chronic condition. Sorry Cookie, but the devil is going to have to wait to get his hands on Lucious. [insert evil cackling here]
Cookie nearly kills Lucious.Fox
After taking his first dose of meds for his MG, Lucious made the mistake of mixing it with his sleeping pills. While in a dreamlike state, he "saw" Bunkie and pretty much confessed to killing him -- right in front of Cookie. Obviously, this didn't sit well with Cookie, who already wanted to kill Lucious for tearing apart her family. She took a pillow and contemplated suffocating him to death, but she ultimately got spooked when Lucious (who was still asleep BTW) grabs her hand. Lucious later gave her a pillow as a gift because somehow, LUCIOUS KNOWS ALL.
Boo Boo Kitty sleeps with Hakeem.Fox
Yep. I totally called this one. Hakeem wanted to hit his dad right where it hurt (kinda like how Lucious punched 'Keem right in the face), so not only did he threaten to sign with Beretti, he also hooked up with Anika, which had to be painful for Luscious to see. But just to be clear, this means Lucious has shared partners with two of his sons. Gross.
Jamal inherits the Empire.
Bow down to the new king of Empire Entertainment! After rejecting Jamal his entire life for being gay, Lucious declared him the future king of the Empire -- no, but actually, there was a legit scepter involved -- to the disappointment and frustration of Hakeem and Andre. To be fair, Jamal did earn it. Not only was he the only Lyon who put the business before family drama and person grudges, he proved to be a loyal successor to the throne when he nearly killed Billy Beretti to get him to sign over the ownership of Lucious' early Empire tracks.
There's a hostile takeover in the works.Fox
Of course Andre and Hakeem, with help from Anika, were going to team up to take Lucious and Jamal down. OF COURSE. But I wasn't truly shocked until they brought on Cookie. Cookie, having been fired from Empire for sleeping around with that hot security dude (we barely knew you, Malcolm!), was a persona non grata at Empire. So she turned to Hakeem and suggested they build their own empire together. But Hakeem, having recently read Machiavelli (casual), had a different plan: Operation Hostile Takeover. Cookie agreed to the plan, but she wasn't thrilled to be working with Boo Boo Kitty. And this is where things got seriously AWESOME. Hakeem, Andre, Anika and Cookie end up in a room together to talk about the takeover -- and not even two seconds later Cookie and Boo Boo Kitty started throw down. Weaves were pulled, pearls where destroyed and it was amazing. Fake-ass Halle Berry didn't stand a chance.
Anyway, in order for their takeover to be a success, they need a cool $500 million, half of which is being fronted by a rich tycoon with a "punk ass" grandson, and a scandal involving Lucious. This would force Empire stocks to plummet, so Cookie and co. could have a majority stake in the company. At this point, we feel bad for Jamal. He and Lucious had just come to an understanding -- Lucious apologized and it seemed genuine! -- and now his entirely family is trying to take the company out from under him.
Uncle Vernon is dead.Fox
Oh, wait, and PREGNANT Rhonda killed him. Vernon came to Andre (with a bottle of wine) to apologize for everything. But what was supposed to be a peaceful meeting turned into a deadly brawl when Andre and Vernon kicked the crap out of each other. Rhonda entered and tried to break up the fight... by striking Vernon in the head with a candlestick. As Vernon bled out on the carpet, Rhonda pleaded with Andre not to call the cops because for some reason the pretty, pregnant white woman is afraid she'll actually go to jail (LOL). So they pretty much just let Vernon die. But the joke is ultimately on them because when Lucious was arrested for Bunkie's murder, Vernon was Agent Carter's star witness. If there's no witness, then Lucious is going to be back at Empire sooner than they think.
Lucious gets locked up.Fox
It seems fitting that this season of "Empire" would end with a caged Lyon. "It's game time, bitches."