As much fun as it is to watch "Empire" go off the rails, the Fox series finds its strength in its more subtle moments. Last night's (March 4) episode demonstrated "Empire"'s duality between the fantastical and the truly genuine -- and how powerful it can be when it hits the brakes every once in a while.
The highlight of the episode occurred when all three Lyon boys found themselves trapped in a elevator together. A classic recipe for drama, the malfunction was a result of Empire Entertainment rival Billy Baretti's security breach. And while the soapy "stuck in an elevator" set-up ripped a page right from "Dynasty"'s book, it was what happened in the elevator that we need to talk about. Andre had a total meltdown, and his younger brothers came to his rescue in the most beautiful way.
Andre's breakdown in "Unto the Breach" was prompted by his decision to go off his bipolar medications. And then it was exacerbated by Baretti's direct attack on Empire Entertainment. Andre stepped into the elevator with his bros right after he had just taken Empire's cash into his own hands and bought a Lamborghini. When he finally realized the severity of his actions, he flipped the eff out. (No joke: we'd be terrified of Lucious too.)
He lashed out at Hakeem and Jamal, and in return, they comforted Andre with a soothing rendition of "Lean On Me," the song he used to sing to his little brothers when anything bad happened growing up. It was a pivotal moment in the episode, if not the entire season, and it showed "Empire"'s true potential.
As much as we love Cookie's insults and GIF-able scenes, "Empire" can be so much more than that. The way that the "Empire" writers have treated Jamal's coming out and now Andre's sickness proves that they can attack tough storylines with nuance and subtlety. TBH, we'd sacrifice some the of the #IshCookieSays if that meant more moments like that elevator scene.