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In case anyone cares, EMPIRE  is back and the season opener aired last Wednesday.  As the resident pop culture vulture, I would be remiss if I didn't provide a re-cap for anyone who missed the return of this hip hop soap opera. 

Watching the first installment, I  could understand how,  like the Roman Empire, this show is in danger of toppling.  Rating are on a downward slide and one reason for this could be the plot redundancy so apparent in the premier episode. Rumor has it that fewer celebrities will be making cameo appearances, a decision I question because familiar show biz faces popping up were what kept things entertaining.  Apparently Naomi Campbell didn't get the memo because  she is back. Having made  good on her promise to mount a hostile take-over and seize the reins of Empire from Lucious Lyon who banished her for making out with Hakeem, his youngest son, she reunites with Hakeem and invites him to share her power by declaring himself to be the company's new leader.

As expected the chic, ubiquitous Cookie continues to walk the runway, hoping to find a recipe that will enable her to create her version of the Lyon legacy. and put a stop to its medley of musical CEOs, wherein every time the music stops, a new leader seizes the throne   Preferring to work solo, her sometimes loving husband,  Lucious Lyon, still on the radar of the Feds, attempts to mow down all the troublesome wildebeest grazing on his turf, interfering with his plan to reclaim his high-jacked dynasty. The fact that his album is competing with his middle son, Jamal, for an award show trophy does not seem to command his interest. 

Between all of this intrigue, is the updating of the cliff hanger from the final episode of last season. Instead of dying from a fall down the stairs, the pregnant wife of Andre, the oldest son, survives the tumble but loses her bundle as mystery surrounds who did the dirty deed that ended her motherhood. Could it, as the plot hints, have been Lucious' ex-girlfriend who is now the third leg of the triangle comprised of Hakeem and Naomi Campbell. Coming together to mourn this loss, Cookie and her crumbs  decide to once again stop feuding and find a way to recapture their legacy.  

Somewhere between all of this drama,  Cookie is given a crash course in the fluidity of love as seen through the eyes of the gay middle son, Jamal, an interval  which, of course, calls for a forgettable rendition of a song he has written about the subject. 

 Anyway, this is kinda how it all went down and you get the idea,- or maybe you don't.  The second installment will air on Wednesday, promising more of the same. Unfortunately.

Elsewhere, the final episode of the OJ murder case runs tonight, and  we get to find out whether or not Simpson is found guilty and if Marsha Clark and Chris Darden drown their sorrows in bed together.   It's been  a thrilling(?) 10-week excursion into the past, providing the TV audience with a suspenseful recounting of this sensational crime that Americans can't enough of. Spoiler Alert:  OJ beat the rap and nothing came of the Clark/Darden hook-up.    


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