True to its sense of outlandishness, Season 3 of Empire opened with a major character death within the first minute. Perhaps you saw this one coming.
The prior largely disappointing season ended with Rhonda trying to toss a 10-months pregnant Anika off the roof in retaliation for the time Anika allegedly pushed Rhonda down the stairs and caused Rhonda to lose her baby. Last night’s premiere settled that argument by having Rhonda plummet off the ledge and onto the hood of a car just as Lucious and Jamal were engaging in small talk about the feds. Blood slowly spills from her mouth. Welcome to another melodramatic beginning to our favorite frustratingly up-and-down soap. Subsequently, on the roof, Andre, kinda tight about the death of his wife, had no choice but to lunge at Anika’s throat in response. Believe it or not, it’s at this exact moment that her water breaks.
Empire is still in righteously ridiculous form, with its third notable death following Camilla’s (Naomi Campbell) death by poison in Season 2 and the early offing of Lucious’ right-hand man Vernon (Malik Yoba) in Season 1. Rhonda’s demise is neither shocking nor tragic enough to warrant tremendous feels, but it does open up a new world of sad scenarios for Andre and his bipolar disorder. This was made clear immediately in a scene where Andre screams, hollers and sees the ghost of Rhonda (WHY WAS HE LEFT ALONE AFTER THE DEATH OF HIS WIFE?) (OH YEAH, THIS IS A TV SHOW). Post-Rhonda, everyone quickly returns to business as usual—Alert: there’s a very good new singer on the premises, Nessa, who steps up to perform a tribute to police brutality victims after Jamal has a PTSD flashback on stage. But ODDLY, Andre is the only family member who seems a bit choked up about a person close to him dying! Strange.
What happens from here? Hakeem probably tries to woo Nessa (but she has a dark past) while Cookie and Lucious threaten people and Jamal wears a variety of white/off-white shawls. We’re obliged to watch next week’s episode because it introduces Mariah Carey’s character Kitty.
Goodbye, Rhonda, and R.I.P. to the Blowjob Bib.