"Empire" has finally returned, and while there's so much from "The Devils Are Here" to discuss -- "Empire" taking on the mass incarceration of black men! Cookie putting Don Lemon in his place! Jamal being the actual worst to the rest of his family! -- we can't stop focusing on season two's apparent retooling of Anika (Grace Gealey). Specifically, how happy we are that they're seemingly transitioning her from Cookie's (Taraji P. Henson) preening, borderline obnoxious nemesis to a fun and likable person in her own right.
What evidence do we have that this is actually happening? Simple: in this case, it's more about what we didn't see -- scenes of Anika lording her relationships with Lucious and/or Hakeem over Cookie, scenes of Anika slyly using her youth and beauty to get ahead, scenes of Anika actively trying to sabotage Cooke -- than what we did. But what "Empire" had for Anika in the premiere was also pretty great, as Cookie got her proverbial rocks off using Anika (or "Anita") as a honey trap to lure in Marisa Tomei's Mimi Whiteman, while Anika actually begrudgingly played along. And that booty-pop! Oh, the booty-pop. It was glorious:
Anyway, here's why "Empire" turning Boo Boo Kitty into a member of the Scooby Gang -- and maybe even Cookie's friend?! -- is a great idea:
Because Cookie + Boo Boo Kitty = Magic.
"You can't even dyke right!" -- Cookie Lyon
Cookie's not-so-subtle digs at Anika were gold throughout season one, but the prospect of a begrudging mutual respect between the two is even better. Basically, we're all about a relationship where the passive-aggressive (or just blatantly aggressive) insults remain, but much of the pure vitriol is gone -- because A, feminism, and B, we don't need a character we love as much as Cookie to be needlessly cruel to the woman now that they're on the same side.
Because she wouldn't be believable otherwise.
Let's be real, here -- Hakeem and Anika probably won't be heading to the chapel anytime soon. Or ever. So we need a reason for Anika to stay on the show, besides "she's engaged to Andre IRL." (Which she totally is.) Bringing her into the fold as a secondary female lead with a whole lot of insider knowledge about Empire Entertainment is a way, way smarter move than keeping her on as an antagonist, as it's completely unbelievable that the Lyon fam would keep her around, at all, if she was still acting like a total jerk.
Because The Bechdel Test.
We love "Empire," but man oh man is it a boy's club. So why wouldn't we celebrate Cookie having the opportunity to work with a woman who is just as powerful, intelligent, and beautiful as she is? Watching Cookie and Anika learn to get past their differences and power forward for their own common good should definitely be one of the best parts of season two -- and if jealously over Lucious has nothing to do with it, even better.