Just like that, it's game over — not only for the second season of Empire but also, apparently, for at least one main character on the hit Fox series.
So let's stop right here for a minute and get the standard disclaimer out of the way. This article will definitely contain spoilers from this week's Season 2 finale of Empire, titled "Past is Prologue." If you haven't yet caught the episode, circle back around to this review after you do.
Now, onto more pressing matters: What the what, you guys? While the show has been hinting all season long that someone in the Lyon family fold would die this season, I still wasn't expecting the big twist regarding who that person might be.
Just last week, Jamal was shot at the ASAs by his friend and fellow rapper, Freda Gatz (who, in her defense, was trying to shoot Lucious for killing her father and then lying to her about it). And while Jamal's real life alter ego, actor Jussie Smollett, seemed to suggest on his Twitter feed that he was indeed leaving the show, I wasn't buying it.
He's far too much of a fan favorite to get written off so early in the show's run, and the producers apparently thought the same thing, since Jamal emerged alive and well in the finale.
Several weeks ago when teaser trailers of the shooting scene first began airing, I posited that it would not be an actual Lyon who dies — not Lucious, Cookie, Andre, Jamal or Hakeem. It would simply be too risky to kill off a core character while the show is still technically building its viewership.
So who did that leave? Lucious' newfound mom? Nah, she's too new. No one is that invested in her yet and her death would lack impact. Thirsty? I guess not, since the theories about him being Lucious' secret brother haven't panned out so far. Andre's wife Rhonda? Anika, aka Boo Boo Kitty?
Ding, ding, ding!
In the finale's final few moments — which were totally lit — Rhonda finds Anika on a rooftop (or close to it) balcony and once again rages out. She'd already attacked Boo Boo Kitty earlier in the night, revealing to the family she remembered it was Boo Boo who pushed her down the stairs and made her lose her unborn baby.
So Rhonda seized her opportunity to exact that vendetta on the balcony and the two started to throw down. It was a seriously soapy fight, but you've got to give 'em all credit for really going for it.
Then, just as Andre walks onto the balcony, we hear a woman's scream as Andre cries out "No!" in desperation.
Naturally, we didn't see which woman went over the balcony. We didn't even get so much as a tiny teaser clip for next season. All we got was a massive cliffhanger as the scene cut to darkness.
So I'm just going to go ahead and say the thing you're not supposed to say: I hope Boo Boo Kitty is the one who went over that railing. Yes, she's pregnant. Yes, it's horrible for me to wish such a thing on this lady and her unborn child.
But she is fictional, after all. At least, that's how I'm justifying it to myself so I can sleep better at night. The bottom line is Boo Boo Kitty is totally shady and she has pulled some messed-up shit throughout the series.
That's not to say Rhonda has been a perfect angel, but she obviously went through a lot recently with the loss of her baby due to Boo Boo Kitty. Plus, she is just about the only thing that keeps Andre even-keeled, so there is no telling what might happen to him if she does die.
As a side note here, I'm sure this was an emotional scene for Trai Byers, who plays Andre, to shoot. Grace Gealey, aka Boo Boo Kitty, is Byers' wife in real life — and Kaitlin Doubleday, aka Rhonda aka his TV wife, is Gealey's real life BFF.
Backstory aside, there are certainly arguments to be made for the show choosing to keep Boo Boo Kitty around. For starters, would they really kill two babies in one season? That seems unlikely, even for a show as dramatic as Empire.
Not to mention the fact that Boo Boo Kitty is now married to Lucious in order to protect him from the feds. They are both covering for each other and that gives her a whole lotta power she didn't have before. I imagine she could do some damage next season in the Lyon family and that would admittedly make for compelling TV.
Still, blah blah blah — I want her gone. Ha! So harsh, but so true.
Is it possible that neither of the women went over that railing? Eh, I suppose it's possible... but not likely. In an interview with TV Line, showrunner Ilene Chaiken revealed, "One of them is simply going to win the fight, and the other is likely to be gone. It's in the hands of the gods, and whoever survives is going to have quite a story."
I don't know about you, but for me, fall cannot come fast enough. Season 3 is shaping up to be pretty damn explosive.
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