The show can be so maddening at times because it feels like a rollercoaster, but one with all drop and very little climb, and the ascent is as important as the descent.This episode was both touching and entertaining, however, this critic is correct. Pacing is a serious issue on Empire, namely because of the current schedule. This is a complicated story with a lot of moments and moving parts. Because of this, we totally just breezed right by Porsha spying on Anika and Anika meeting with Barretti. And we still haven't dealt with the consequences of Cookie putting a hit out on the wrong dude.
The pacing issues also mean that plot elements usually seem to turn up a bit too early, or a bit too late. After Anika caught Lucious and Cookie in the act, for example, within minutes into the following episode, she had revealed to Lucious that she knew about the affair and they were having it out. “Unto The Breach” continues Empire’s tendency to rush through story beats that should feel more significant. Following her decision to defect to Creedmoor, Anika is playing it cool, planning some hilariously grand wedding with Lucious. Cookie storms in with Porsha, revealing to Lucious that Anika went to Billy Barretti. Anika storms into the driveway, where she and Lucious have an emotional confrontation while Cookie and Porsha start behaving as if they’re auditioning for Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes On A Cruise.
It’s a wild, unhinged cold open, which was fantastic for those viewers who most value Cookie as a sass dispenser, but it felt entirely too rushed. It boggles the mind that a show like Empire would zoom past an opportunity to do a simple, elegant mole plot. Let’s say Anika, furious about Lucious’ affair with Cookie, goes to work as a double-agent for Barretti, collecting damaging information or somehow sabotaging the label from the inside. That would work. What’s great about Empire is that because of its cast, its characters and its setting, every one of them unique, it could be a phenomenal show just by dusting off the most shopworn nighttime soap plots and plugging them into this unprecedented formula. Instead, it misses what seem like obvious opportunities. (Source)
The opening of last week's episode left my head spinning. Instead of being like, "Aw, shit!" I was more like, "Wait...huh???"
On the one hand, the writers are making some clever decisions, and Taraji P. Henson continues to deliver over the top, cray-cray performances that are just begging to becomes GIFs. For example, Anika's betrayal puts Empire on lockdown. Lucious declares war and the whole family goes into defense mode, trying to protected their most viable candidates. A particularly "hood" client is assigned to Cookie, which means she has to go back to that bullet-ridden, ratchet-ass recording studio Jamal nearly got shot in a while back (and the bad-ass owner is still there, eating his cereal).
Cookie flashes her 17 years in prison like a badge of honor to rapper Royal-T, showing him that while his posse is made up of posers, but she's the real thing. So Royal-T offers a challenge: if Cookie can still stand and walk after drinking several shots of Purple Drank, he'll stay with Empire.
Flash forward to later, everybody in the studio is passed out except for Cookie and the rapper, and guess who's the last bitch standing? You know it!
Which leads to sheer hilariousness. Cookie is wasted at this point, stumbling out of the studio to a waiting car guarded by that fine new head of security portrayed by Derek Luke. And just when we thought Cookie's natural lack of a filter couldn't get any worse, Wasted Cookie starts hitting on Malcolm,in the most - I don't know, Cookie on Steroids? - kinda of way, telling him that yes her name is Cookie and he needs to take a bit, to "eat these Cookies", and so on, and so forth, and I was laughing out the whole time, because she's on her back in the backseat of his car with the cameraman filming between her legs - seriously.
And through it all, Malcolm remains the consummate professional and gentleman, telling her he won't be going there because he's noticed that whenever Lucious is looking at Cookie, it's intense.