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Not So Sci-Fi Anymore: NASA Wants to Grow Potatoes on Mars

Not So Sci-Fi Anymore: NASA Wants to Grow Potatoes on Mars


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Growing potatoes like the astronaut Matt Damon played in ‘The Martian’ isn’t so far-fetched after all

Scientists are testing 65 resilient spud varieties and using soil from one of the driest places on Earth.

NASA scientists and researchers at the Lima-based International Potato Center are trying to figure out a way to grow food on Mars, specifically potatoes. Sound familiar? Matt Damon’s character in the film The Martian was a stranded astronaut and botanist that grew potatoes on the barren planet in order to survive.

The teams are working together to determine which type of potato could be “best suited for extraterrestrial farming to support a human settlement on Mars,” reports The Wall Street Journal. They are using soil from the Pampas de La Joya Desert in Peru, one of the driest spots on Earth, to help simulate Mars-like growing conditions, and the scientists have selected 65 spud varieties which are known to be the most resilient.

“It’s got to be a Martian potato that tastes good,” said Julio Valdivia-Silva, a Peruvian astrobiologist with NASA. “It’s a big challenge to take a living organism somewhere else. We’ve never done this before.”

The tubers will be planted in over 1,300 pounds of soil that is transported from the desert to Lima. The potatoes that grow successfully will then be planted in a simulator that factors in the atmospheric conditions on Mars. The average temperature on Mars is -84 degrees Fahrenheit, with lows of -284 degrees. Its atmosphere has 96 percent carbon dioxide, has high levels of radiation, and the planet has 60 percent less gravity than Earth.

Scientists predict that the potatoes will have to be planted under controlled conditions, in domes, as the open atmosphere of Mars is extremely harsh. The ability to grow food on Mars, should humans colonize it in the future, would reduce costs and risks of transporting food by shuttle. Raymond Wheeler, plant psychologist at NASA, says, “If something goes wrong, if you can produce some of your own food in situ, then you have that as a means to sustain yourself. This will be important for achieving sustainable-type systems.”


‘Empire’ Recap: Cookie and the Not-So-Virtual Reality

When was the last time you woke up to discover all your hair had been cut off by an intruder? Last year? Two years ago? Though I haven’t found any published studies on this matter, my guess is nearly everyone wakes up with their hair cut off at least once every few years. But in the world of Empire, it’s probably more like a weekly thing. These people are vengeful AND bored, so if you’re going to do business with any of them, think about sleeping in a padlocked helmet. Just a tip!

“The Unkindest Cut” was one of the crazier episodes of Empire I’ve seen in a while. Though the actual storylines weren’t particularly shocking or eventful, the episode was still crazy in a scene-by-scene kind of way. First of all, Gina Gershon guest starred(!). Second of all, a little girl had all her hair cut off in her sleep. Thirdly, there was a seduction scene you needed to see to believe. Also Jamal was attacked by Freda Gatz in a virtual reality world. What an episode. Let’s talk about it!

Here we met a new character played by an actress who honestly shocked me when I realized she hadn’t appeared on Empire before now: Gina Gershon! Yes, the immortal, legendary Cristal Connors herself had somehow not been on Empire yet? But now here she was, playing Helen von Wyeth, a bizarrely accented, possibly racist high fashion designer! And already I knew this was going to be an amazing episode.

Gina Gershon was collaborating with Cookie on a runway show that would feature a performance from Tiana, plus she encouraged Phylicia Rashad to get Jamal to create a theme song for Taye Diggs’s campaign. Jamal sprang at the chance, but Cookie’s extreme side-eye of her own son meant that she had doubts his PTSD would allow him to participate. Ouch!

But yeah, in general, Gina Gershon’s character was real difficult to work with. For one thing, she insisted that Tiana straighten her hair and wear an all-white gown with a train while performing hip-hop choreography. For another, she was clearly pretty racist. Also, what on earth was her accent anyway? Was it British, or was it just rich-lady? The only thing that was NOT in question was that Gina Gershon was brilliant and perfect as always.

Speaking of brilliant and perfect, this purple-haired friend of Tiana’s returned for another amazing, silent reaction shot. God I love her so much. I would watch this spinoff!

Nessa was helping Tiana take off one of Gina Gershon’s one-of-a-kind couture gowns and accidentally set it onto a vape pen (?) and it caught fire! Oh, Nessa.

Porsha attempted to salvage the situation, but Tiana was MAD as H*CK and she wanted everyone in her dressing room to know about it!

Her trash talk included but was not limited to: Empire Entertainment, the fashion world, Africa, Gina Gershon, music, fate, the criminal justice system, the fourth Transformers movie, possums, Neil Patrick Harris, trigonometry, the Vatican, and parquet flooring. Tiana read EVERYONE without mercy.

Meanwhile Nessa just sort of put lipstick on and smirked. She burned that dress on purpose! And sure enough, hours later a video of Tiana going wild went viral. Nessa, you sly dog you.

Speaking of sly dogs, Tariq confronted Lucious’s crazy mom during a doctor’s appointment and attempted to convince her to be an informant against her son. He felt this was a good option because earlier in the day she and Lucious had gotten in a shouting match in a fancy restaurant. But would she turn state’s evidence against her own son? It really looked like it!

Haha OK. So. Jamal needed to get over his PTSD ASAP, and his sober counselor apparently dabbles in virtual reality programming? So he designed a VR scenario that would help Jamal address his innermost anxieties! But this just meant we were treated to a scene of Jamal attempting to play piano while wearing a giant plastic VR mask and looking stressed. Man, it was so good. Obviously Lucious barged in and shamed Jamal for attempting to get better, so it didn’t end up working. But it DID work in getting me to laugh out loud. This show is amazing.

We were then treated to another scene in which Gina Gershon was brushing her daughter’s hair and explaining to Andre that white people have more class than black people (basically). Because Andre is a (secretly insane) professional, he sort of just smiled and nodded, and then accepted that she did not want to work with Tiana anymore. But then he cryptically warned her on the way out…

And the next morning, the little girl woke up to this!

Like, wow. That’s crazy, even for this show. So who do we think broke in and cut the girl’s hair off? Thirsty? Becky? The ghost of Rhonda? It was a dark trick on Andre’s part, but guess what? Gina Gershon was too scared to part ways with Empire after that! So I guess that was just a good business strategy on Andre’s part.

In general Andre’s relationship with Hakeem was not the best. They tussled over Nessa, then just sort of family pride stuff. Who even knows. Brothers fighting brothers. But the rift was realer than ever now, which meant Hakeem was probably hungry for some revenge. Or at least he was going to spit on Andre’s decor a little more. At least that.

Yeah, so now that Tiana was out of the picture, Nessa took her place at the fashion event! Very All About Eve. To her credit, Nessa’s a talented and fun performer, so it was win-win all around. She was also now one step closer to being Andre’s lover AND Empire’s main breadwinner. A new power couple has arrived.

To cheer up Tiana, Hakeem treated her to an ice cream buffet (!) and then started braiding her hair (to “practice” for his daughter). But in my opinion both of them were now at low points and could benefit from a team-up. What do you think?

Ummm OK. THIS SCENE. This scene was Platonic Ideal Empire. Lucious arrived home to find Anika dressed in lingerie and systematically destroying all his priceless antiques until he gave her a job at the office? Perfection.

It even culminated in some weird tabletop rough play until it was interrupted by Lucious’s MOTHER who informed them she has to EAT on that table. Yeah, this scene was a real diamond. And Anika might even get a job out of it!

I also loved when we got this fake-out of Lucious possibly moving in to strangle his mother with a necktie only to reveal that she had pretended to work with Tariq in order to become a double agent (and get some free ice cream)! That’s some motherly love right there. But was Lucious’s mom sane all along, or was she still a crazy person? Who even knows! They made quite a pair either way.

In our final scene, Jamal debuted his new song, which was a rather rude one about Lucious and how terrible he is. If you can believe it, Lucious was not a fan.

He told off everybody in the room and reminded them that they only have the lives they have because he provided them. But he also spilled that Cookie had helped organize the hit on Chris Rock, which came as a surprise to Jamal. The entire family had blood on their hands in some way, shape or form, and throwing Lucious under the bus was probably not going to be the best idea on Jamal’s part. Lesson learned!

I really enjoyed “The Unkindest Cut” mostly due to how crazy some of it was. This was classic Empire, blending family melodrama with wild concepts. A little girl getting her hair cut off? Anika’s seduction scene? Jamal in that VR mask? Gina effing Gershon?! This show can be a true and hilarious marvel when it wants to be. Here’s hoping next week’s Winter finale continues to bring the crazy.


‘Empire’ Recap: Cookie and the Not-So-Virtual Reality

When was the last time you woke up to discover all your hair had been cut off by an intruder? Last year? Two years ago? Though I haven’t found any published studies on this matter, my guess is nearly everyone wakes up with their hair cut off at least once every few years. But in the world of Empire, it’s probably more like a weekly thing. These people are vengeful AND bored, so if you’re going to do business with any of them, think about sleeping in a padlocked helmet. Just a tip!

“The Unkindest Cut” was one of the crazier episodes of Empire I’ve seen in a while. Though the actual storylines weren’t particularly shocking or eventful, the episode was still crazy in a scene-by-scene kind of way. First of all, Gina Gershon guest starred(!). Second of all, a little girl had all her hair cut off in her sleep. Thirdly, there was a seduction scene you needed to see to believe. Also Jamal was attacked by Freda Gatz in a virtual reality world. What an episode. Let’s talk about it!

Here we met a new character played by an actress who honestly shocked me when I realized she hadn’t appeared on Empire before now: Gina Gershon! Yes, the immortal, legendary Cristal Connors herself had somehow not been on Empire yet? But now here she was, playing Helen von Wyeth, a bizarrely accented, possibly racist high fashion designer! And already I knew this was going to be an amazing episode.

Gina Gershon was collaborating with Cookie on a runway show that would feature a performance from Tiana, plus she encouraged Phylicia Rashad to get Jamal to create a theme song for Taye Diggs’s campaign. Jamal sprang at the chance, but Cookie’s extreme side-eye of her own son meant that she had doubts his PTSD would allow him to participate. Ouch!

But yeah, in general, Gina Gershon’s character was real difficult to work with. For one thing, she insisted that Tiana straighten her hair and wear an all-white gown with a train while performing hip-hop choreography. For another, she was clearly pretty racist. Also, what on earth was her accent anyway? Was it British, or was it just rich-lady? The only thing that was NOT in question was that Gina Gershon was brilliant and perfect as always.

Speaking of brilliant and perfect, this purple-haired friend of Tiana’s returned for another amazing, silent reaction shot. God I love her so much. I would watch this spinoff!

Nessa was helping Tiana take off one of Gina Gershon’s one-of-a-kind couture gowns and accidentally set it onto a vape pen (?) and it caught fire! Oh, Nessa.

Porsha attempted to salvage the situation, but Tiana was MAD as H*CK and she wanted everyone in her dressing room to know about it!

Her trash talk included but was not limited to: Empire Entertainment, the fashion world, Africa, Gina Gershon, music, fate, the criminal justice system, the fourth Transformers movie, possums, Neil Patrick Harris, trigonometry, the Vatican, and parquet flooring. Tiana read EVERYONE without mercy.

Meanwhile Nessa just sort of put lipstick on and smirked. She burned that dress on purpose! And sure enough, hours later a video of Tiana going wild went viral. Nessa, you sly dog you.

Speaking of sly dogs, Tariq confronted Lucious’s crazy mom during a doctor’s appointment and attempted to convince her to be an informant against her son. He felt this was a good option because earlier in the day she and Lucious had gotten in a shouting match in a fancy restaurant. But would she turn state’s evidence against her own son? It really looked like it!

Haha OK. So. Jamal needed to get over his PTSD ASAP, and his sober counselor apparently dabbles in virtual reality programming? So he designed a VR scenario that would help Jamal address his innermost anxieties! But this just meant we were treated to a scene of Jamal attempting to play piano while wearing a giant plastic VR mask and looking stressed. Man, it was so good. Obviously Lucious barged in and shamed Jamal for attempting to get better, so it didn’t end up working. But it DID work in getting me to laugh out loud. This show is amazing.

We were then treated to another scene in which Gina Gershon was brushing her daughter’s hair and explaining to Andre that white people have more class than black people (basically). Because Andre is a (secretly insane) professional, he sort of just smiled and nodded, and then accepted that she did not want to work with Tiana anymore. But then he cryptically warned her on the way out…

And the next morning, the little girl woke up to this!

Like, wow. That’s crazy, even for this show. So who do we think broke in and cut the girl’s hair off? Thirsty? Becky? The ghost of Rhonda? It was a dark trick on Andre’s part, but guess what? Gina Gershon was too scared to part ways with Empire after that! So I guess that was just a good business strategy on Andre’s part.

In general Andre’s relationship with Hakeem was not the best. They tussled over Nessa, then just sort of family pride stuff. Who even knows. Brothers fighting brothers. But the rift was realer than ever now, which meant Hakeem was probably hungry for some revenge. Or at least he was going to spit on Andre’s decor a little more. At least that.

Yeah, so now that Tiana was out of the picture, Nessa took her place at the fashion event! Very All About Eve. To her credit, Nessa’s a talented and fun performer, so it was win-win all around. She was also now one step closer to being Andre’s lover AND Empire’s main breadwinner. A new power couple has arrived.

To cheer up Tiana, Hakeem treated her to an ice cream buffet (!) and then started braiding her hair (to “practice” for his daughter). But in my opinion both of them were now at low points and could benefit from a team-up. What do you think?

Ummm OK. THIS SCENE. This scene was Platonic Ideal Empire. Lucious arrived home to find Anika dressed in lingerie and systematically destroying all his priceless antiques until he gave her a job at the office? Perfection.

It even culminated in some weird tabletop rough play until it was interrupted by Lucious’s MOTHER who informed them she has to EAT on that table. Yeah, this scene was a real diamond. And Anika might even get a job out of it!

I also loved when we got this fake-out of Lucious possibly moving in to strangle his mother with a necktie only to reveal that she had pretended to work with Tariq in order to become a double agent (and get some free ice cream)! That’s some motherly love right there. But was Lucious’s mom sane all along, or was she still a crazy person? Who even knows! They made quite a pair either way.

In our final scene, Jamal debuted his new song, which was a rather rude one about Lucious and how terrible he is. If you can believe it, Lucious was not a fan.

He told off everybody in the room and reminded them that they only have the lives they have because he provided them. But he also spilled that Cookie had helped organize the hit on Chris Rock, which came as a surprise to Jamal. The entire family had blood on their hands in some way, shape or form, and throwing Lucious under the bus was probably not going to be the best idea on Jamal’s part. Lesson learned!

I really enjoyed “The Unkindest Cut” mostly due to how crazy some of it was. This was classic Empire, blending family melodrama with wild concepts. A little girl getting her hair cut off? Anika’s seduction scene? Jamal in that VR mask? Gina effing Gershon?! This show can be a true and hilarious marvel when it wants to be. Here’s hoping next week’s Winter finale continues to bring the crazy.


‘Empire’ Recap: Cookie and the Not-So-Virtual Reality

When was the last time you woke up to discover all your hair had been cut off by an intruder? Last year? Two years ago? Though I haven’t found any published studies on this matter, my guess is nearly everyone wakes up with their hair cut off at least once every few years. But in the world of Empire, it’s probably more like a weekly thing. These people are vengeful AND bored, so if you’re going to do business with any of them, think about sleeping in a padlocked helmet. Just a tip!

“The Unkindest Cut” was one of the crazier episodes of Empire I’ve seen in a while. Though the actual storylines weren’t particularly shocking or eventful, the episode was still crazy in a scene-by-scene kind of way. First of all, Gina Gershon guest starred(!). Second of all, a little girl had all her hair cut off in her sleep. Thirdly, there was a seduction scene you needed to see to believe. Also Jamal was attacked by Freda Gatz in a virtual reality world. What an episode. Let’s talk about it!

Here we met a new character played by an actress who honestly shocked me when I realized she hadn’t appeared on Empire before now: Gina Gershon! Yes, the immortal, legendary Cristal Connors herself had somehow not been on Empire yet? But now here she was, playing Helen von Wyeth, a bizarrely accented, possibly racist high fashion designer! And already I knew this was going to be an amazing episode.

Gina Gershon was collaborating with Cookie on a runway show that would feature a performance from Tiana, plus she encouraged Phylicia Rashad to get Jamal to create a theme song for Taye Diggs’s campaign. Jamal sprang at the chance, but Cookie’s extreme side-eye of her own son meant that she had doubts his PTSD would allow him to participate. Ouch!

But yeah, in general, Gina Gershon’s character was real difficult to work with. For one thing, she insisted that Tiana straighten her hair and wear an all-white gown with a train while performing hip-hop choreography. For another, she was clearly pretty racist. Also, what on earth was her accent anyway? Was it British, or was it just rich-lady? The only thing that was NOT in question was that Gina Gershon was brilliant and perfect as always.

Speaking of brilliant and perfect, this purple-haired friend of Tiana’s returned for another amazing, silent reaction shot. God I love her so much. I would watch this spinoff!

Nessa was helping Tiana take off one of Gina Gershon’s one-of-a-kind couture gowns and accidentally set it onto a vape pen (?) and it caught fire! Oh, Nessa.

Porsha attempted to salvage the situation, but Tiana was MAD as H*CK and she wanted everyone in her dressing room to know about it!

Her trash talk included but was not limited to: Empire Entertainment, the fashion world, Africa, Gina Gershon, music, fate, the criminal justice system, the fourth Transformers movie, possums, Neil Patrick Harris, trigonometry, the Vatican, and parquet flooring. Tiana read EVERYONE without mercy.

Meanwhile Nessa just sort of put lipstick on and smirked. She burned that dress on purpose! And sure enough, hours later a video of Tiana going wild went viral. Nessa, you sly dog you.

Speaking of sly dogs, Tariq confronted Lucious’s crazy mom during a doctor’s appointment and attempted to convince her to be an informant against her son. He felt this was a good option because earlier in the day she and Lucious had gotten in a shouting match in a fancy restaurant. But would she turn state’s evidence against her own son? It really looked like it!

Haha OK. So. Jamal needed to get over his PTSD ASAP, and his sober counselor apparently dabbles in virtual reality programming? So he designed a VR scenario that would help Jamal address his innermost anxieties! But this just meant we were treated to a scene of Jamal attempting to play piano while wearing a giant plastic VR mask and looking stressed. Man, it was so good. Obviously Lucious barged in and shamed Jamal for attempting to get better, so it didn’t end up working. But it DID work in getting me to laugh out loud. This show is amazing.

We were then treated to another scene in which Gina Gershon was brushing her daughter’s hair and explaining to Andre that white people have more class than black people (basically). Because Andre is a (secretly insane) professional, he sort of just smiled and nodded, and then accepted that she did not want to work with Tiana anymore. But then he cryptically warned her on the way out…

And the next morning, the little girl woke up to this!

Like, wow. That’s crazy, even for this show. So who do we think broke in and cut the girl’s hair off? Thirsty? Becky? The ghost of Rhonda? It was a dark trick on Andre’s part, but guess what? Gina Gershon was too scared to part ways with Empire after that! So I guess that was just a good business strategy on Andre’s part.

In general Andre’s relationship with Hakeem was not the best. They tussled over Nessa, then just sort of family pride stuff. Who even knows. Brothers fighting brothers. But the rift was realer than ever now, which meant Hakeem was probably hungry for some revenge. Or at least he was going to spit on Andre’s decor a little more. At least that.

Yeah, so now that Tiana was out of the picture, Nessa took her place at the fashion event! Very All About Eve. To her credit, Nessa’s a talented and fun performer, so it was win-win all around. She was also now one step closer to being Andre’s lover AND Empire’s main breadwinner. A new power couple has arrived.

To cheer up Tiana, Hakeem treated her to an ice cream buffet (!) and then started braiding her hair (to “practice” for his daughter). But in my opinion both of them were now at low points and could benefit from a team-up. What do you think?

Ummm OK. THIS SCENE. This scene was Platonic Ideal Empire. Lucious arrived home to find Anika dressed in lingerie and systematically destroying all his priceless antiques until he gave her a job at the office? Perfection.

It even culminated in some weird tabletop rough play until it was interrupted by Lucious’s MOTHER who informed them she has to EAT on that table. Yeah, this scene was a real diamond. And Anika might even get a job out of it!

I also loved when we got this fake-out of Lucious possibly moving in to strangle his mother with a necktie only to reveal that she had pretended to work with Tariq in order to become a double agent (and get some free ice cream)! That’s some motherly love right there. But was Lucious’s mom sane all along, or was she still a crazy person? Who even knows! They made quite a pair either way.

In our final scene, Jamal debuted his new song, which was a rather rude one about Lucious and how terrible he is. If you can believe it, Lucious was not a fan.

He told off everybody in the room and reminded them that they only have the lives they have because he provided them. But he also spilled that Cookie had helped organize the hit on Chris Rock, which came as a surprise to Jamal. The entire family had blood on their hands in some way, shape or form, and throwing Lucious under the bus was probably not going to be the best idea on Jamal’s part. Lesson learned!

I really enjoyed “The Unkindest Cut” mostly due to how crazy some of it was. This was classic Empire, blending family melodrama with wild concepts. A little girl getting her hair cut off? Anika’s seduction scene? Jamal in that VR mask? Gina effing Gershon?! This show can be a true and hilarious marvel when it wants to be. Here’s hoping next week’s Winter finale continues to bring the crazy.


‘Empire’ Recap: Cookie and the Not-So-Virtual Reality

When was the last time you woke up to discover all your hair had been cut off by an intruder? Last year? Two years ago? Though I haven’t found any published studies on this matter, my guess is nearly everyone wakes up with their hair cut off at least once every few years. But in the world of Empire, it’s probably more like a weekly thing. These people are vengeful AND bored, so if you’re going to do business with any of them, think about sleeping in a padlocked helmet. Just a tip!

“The Unkindest Cut” was one of the crazier episodes of Empire I’ve seen in a while. Though the actual storylines weren’t particularly shocking or eventful, the episode was still crazy in a scene-by-scene kind of way. First of all, Gina Gershon guest starred(!). Second of all, a little girl had all her hair cut off in her sleep. Thirdly, there was a seduction scene you needed to see to believe. Also Jamal was attacked by Freda Gatz in a virtual reality world. What an episode. Let’s talk about it!

Here we met a new character played by an actress who honestly shocked me when I realized she hadn’t appeared on Empire before now: Gina Gershon! Yes, the immortal, legendary Cristal Connors herself had somehow not been on Empire yet? But now here she was, playing Helen von Wyeth, a bizarrely accented, possibly racist high fashion designer! And already I knew this was going to be an amazing episode.

Gina Gershon was collaborating with Cookie on a runway show that would feature a performance from Tiana, plus she encouraged Phylicia Rashad to get Jamal to create a theme song for Taye Diggs’s campaign. Jamal sprang at the chance, but Cookie’s extreme side-eye of her own son meant that she had doubts his PTSD would allow him to participate. Ouch!

But yeah, in general, Gina Gershon’s character was real difficult to work with. For one thing, she insisted that Tiana straighten her hair and wear an all-white gown with a train while performing hip-hop choreography. For another, she was clearly pretty racist. Also, what on earth was her accent anyway? Was it British, or was it just rich-lady? The only thing that was NOT in question was that Gina Gershon was brilliant and perfect as always.

Speaking of brilliant and perfect, this purple-haired friend of Tiana’s returned for another amazing, silent reaction shot. God I love her so much. I would watch this spinoff!

Nessa was helping Tiana take off one of Gina Gershon’s one-of-a-kind couture gowns and accidentally set it onto a vape pen (?) and it caught fire! Oh, Nessa.

Porsha attempted to salvage the situation, but Tiana was MAD as H*CK and she wanted everyone in her dressing room to know about it!

Her trash talk included but was not limited to: Empire Entertainment, the fashion world, Africa, Gina Gershon, music, fate, the criminal justice system, the fourth Transformers movie, possums, Neil Patrick Harris, trigonometry, the Vatican, and parquet flooring. Tiana read EVERYONE without mercy.

Meanwhile Nessa just sort of put lipstick on and smirked. She burned that dress on purpose! And sure enough, hours later a video of Tiana going wild went viral. Nessa, you sly dog you.

Speaking of sly dogs, Tariq confronted Lucious’s crazy mom during a doctor’s appointment and attempted to convince her to be an informant against her son. He felt this was a good option because earlier in the day she and Lucious had gotten in a shouting match in a fancy restaurant. But would she turn state’s evidence against her own son? It really looked like it!

Haha OK. So. Jamal needed to get over his PTSD ASAP, and his sober counselor apparently dabbles in virtual reality programming? So he designed a VR scenario that would help Jamal address his innermost anxieties! But this just meant we were treated to a scene of Jamal attempting to play piano while wearing a giant plastic VR mask and looking stressed. Man, it was so good. Obviously Lucious barged in and shamed Jamal for attempting to get better, so it didn’t end up working. But it DID work in getting me to laugh out loud. This show is amazing.

We were then treated to another scene in which Gina Gershon was brushing her daughter’s hair and explaining to Andre that white people have more class than black people (basically). Because Andre is a (secretly insane) professional, he sort of just smiled and nodded, and then accepted that she did not want to work with Tiana anymore. But then he cryptically warned her on the way out…

And the next morning, the little girl woke up to this!

Like, wow. That’s crazy, even for this show. So who do we think broke in and cut the girl’s hair off? Thirsty? Becky? The ghost of Rhonda? It was a dark trick on Andre’s part, but guess what? Gina Gershon was too scared to part ways with Empire after that! So I guess that was just a good business strategy on Andre’s part.

In general Andre’s relationship with Hakeem was not the best. They tussled over Nessa, then just sort of family pride stuff. Who even knows. Brothers fighting brothers. But the rift was realer than ever now, which meant Hakeem was probably hungry for some revenge. Or at least he was going to spit on Andre’s decor a little more. At least that.

Yeah, so now that Tiana was out of the picture, Nessa took her place at the fashion event! Very All About Eve. To her credit, Nessa’s a talented and fun performer, so it was win-win all around. She was also now one step closer to being Andre’s lover AND Empire’s main breadwinner. A new power couple has arrived.

To cheer up Tiana, Hakeem treated her to an ice cream buffet (!) and then started braiding her hair (to “practice” for his daughter). But in my opinion both of them were now at low points and could benefit from a team-up. What do you think?

Ummm OK. THIS SCENE. This scene was Platonic Ideal Empire. Lucious arrived home to find Anika dressed in lingerie and systematically destroying all his priceless antiques until he gave her a job at the office? Perfection.

It even culminated in some weird tabletop rough play until it was interrupted by Lucious’s MOTHER who informed them she has to EAT on that table. Yeah, this scene was a real diamond. And Anika might even get a job out of it!

I also loved when we got this fake-out of Lucious possibly moving in to strangle his mother with a necktie only to reveal that she had pretended to work with Tariq in order to become a double agent (and get some free ice cream)! That’s some motherly love right there. But was Lucious’s mom sane all along, or was she still a crazy person? Who even knows! They made quite a pair either way.

In our final scene, Jamal debuted his new song, which was a rather rude one about Lucious and how terrible he is. If you can believe it, Lucious was not a fan.

He told off everybody in the room and reminded them that they only have the lives they have because he provided them. But he also spilled that Cookie had helped organize the hit on Chris Rock, which came as a surprise to Jamal. The entire family had blood on their hands in some way, shape or form, and throwing Lucious under the bus was probably not going to be the best idea on Jamal’s part. Lesson learned!

I really enjoyed “The Unkindest Cut” mostly due to how crazy some of it was. This was classic Empire, blending family melodrama with wild concepts. A little girl getting her hair cut off? Anika’s seduction scene? Jamal in that VR mask? Gina effing Gershon?! This show can be a true and hilarious marvel when it wants to be. Here’s hoping next week’s Winter finale continues to bring the crazy.


‘Empire’ Recap: Cookie and the Not-So-Virtual Reality

When was the last time you woke up to discover all your hair had been cut off by an intruder? Last year? Two years ago? Though I haven’t found any published studies on this matter, my guess is nearly everyone wakes up with their hair cut off at least once every few years. But in the world of Empire, it’s probably more like a weekly thing. These people are vengeful AND bored, so if you’re going to do business with any of them, think about sleeping in a padlocked helmet. Just a tip!

“The Unkindest Cut” was one of the crazier episodes of Empire I’ve seen in a while. Though the actual storylines weren’t particularly shocking or eventful, the episode was still crazy in a scene-by-scene kind of way. First of all, Gina Gershon guest starred(!). Second of all, a little girl had all her hair cut off in her sleep. Thirdly, there was a seduction scene you needed to see to believe. Also Jamal was attacked by Freda Gatz in a virtual reality world. What an episode. Let’s talk about it!

Here we met a new character played by an actress who honestly shocked me when I realized she hadn’t appeared on Empire before now: Gina Gershon! Yes, the immortal, legendary Cristal Connors herself had somehow not been on Empire yet? But now here she was, playing Helen von Wyeth, a bizarrely accented, possibly racist high fashion designer! And already I knew this was going to be an amazing episode.

Gina Gershon was collaborating with Cookie on a runway show that would feature a performance from Tiana, plus she encouraged Phylicia Rashad to get Jamal to create a theme song for Taye Diggs’s campaign. Jamal sprang at the chance, but Cookie’s extreme side-eye of her own son meant that she had doubts his PTSD would allow him to participate. Ouch!

But yeah, in general, Gina Gershon’s character was real difficult to work with. For one thing, she insisted that Tiana straighten her hair and wear an all-white gown with a train while performing hip-hop choreography. For another, she was clearly pretty racist. Also, what on earth was her accent anyway? Was it British, or was it just rich-lady? The only thing that was NOT in question was that Gina Gershon was brilliant and perfect as always.

Speaking of brilliant and perfect, this purple-haired friend of Tiana’s returned for another amazing, silent reaction shot. God I love her so much. I would watch this spinoff!

Nessa was helping Tiana take off one of Gina Gershon’s one-of-a-kind couture gowns and accidentally set it onto a vape pen (?) and it caught fire! Oh, Nessa.

Porsha attempted to salvage the situation, but Tiana was MAD as H*CK and she wanted everyone in her dressing room to know about it!

Her trash talk included but was not limited to: Empire Entertainment, the fashion world, Africa, Gina Gershon, music, fate, the criminal justice system, the fourth Transformers movie, possums, Neil Patrick Harris, trigonometry, the Vatican, and parquet flooring. Tiana read EVERYONE without mercy.

Meanwhile Nessa just sort of put lipstick on and smirked. She burned that dress on purpose! And sure enough, hours later a video of Tiana going wild went viral. Nessa, you sly dog you.

Speaking of sly dogs, Tariq confronted Lucious’s crazy mom during a doctor’s appointment and attempted to convince her to be an informant against her son. He felt this was a good option because earlier in the day she and Lucious had gotten in a shouting match in a fancy restaurant. But would she turn state’s evidence against her own son? It really looked like it!

Haha OK. So. Jamal needed to get over his PTSD ASAP, and his sober counselor apparently dabbles in virtual reality programming? So he designed a VR scenario that would help Jamal address his innermost anxieties! But this just meant we were treated to a scene of Jamal attempting to play piano while wearing a giant plastic VR mask and looking stressed. Man, it was so good. Obviously Lucious barged in and shamed Jamal for attempting to get better, so it didn’t end up working. But it DID work in getting me to laugh out loud. This show is amazing.

We were then treated to another scene in which Gina Gershon was brushing her daughter’s hair and explaining to Andre that white people have more class than black people (basically). Because Andre is a (secretly insane) professional, he sort of just smiled and nodded, and then accepted that she did not want to work with Tiana anymore. But then he cryptically warned her on the way out…

And the next morning, the little girl woke up to this!

Like, wow. That’s crazy, even for this show. So who do we think broke in and cut the girl’s hair off? Thirsty? Becky? The ghost of Rhonda? It was a dark trick on Andre’s part, but guess what? Gina Gershon was too scared to part ways with Empire after that! So I guess that was just a good business strategy on Andre’s part.

In general Andre’s relationship with Hakeem was not the best. They tussled over Nessa, then just sort of family pride stuff. Who even knows. Brothers fighting brothers. But the rift was realer than ever now, which meant Hakeem was probably hungry for some revenge. Or at least he was going to spit on Andre’s decor a little more. At least that.

Yeah, so now that Tiana was out of the picture, Nessa took her place at the fashion event! Very All About Eve. To her credit, Nessa’s a talented and fun performer, so it was win-win all around. She was also now one step closer to being Andre’s lover AND Empire’s main breadwinner. A new power couple has arrived.

To cheer up Tiana, Hakeem treated her to an ice cream buffet (!) and then started braiding her hair (to “practice” for his daughter). But in my opinion both of them were now at low points and could benefit from a team-up. What do you think?

Ummm OK. THIS SCENE. This scene was Platonic Ideal Empire. Lucious arrived home to find Anika dressed in lingerie and systematically destroying all his priceless antiques until he gave her a job at the office? Perfection.

It even culminated in some weird tabletop rough play until it was interrupted by Lucious’s MOTHER who informed them she has to EAT on that table. Yeah, this scene was a real diamond. And Anika might even get a job out of it!

I also loved when we got this fake-out of Lucious possibly moving in to strangle his mother with a necktie only to reveal that she had pretended to work with Tariq in order to become a double agent (and get some free ice cream)! That’s some motherly love right there. But was Lucious’s mom sane all along, or was she still a crazy person? Who even knows! They made quite a pair either way.

In our final scene, Jamal debuted his new song, which was a rather rude one about Lucious and how terrible he is. If you can believe it, Lucious was not a fan.

He told off everybody in the room and reminded them that they only have the lives they have because he provided them. But he also spilled that Cookie had helped organize the hit on Chris Rock, which came as a surprise to Jamal. The entire family had blood on their hands in some way, shape or form, and throwing Lucious under the bus was probably not going to be the best idea on Jamal’s part. Lesson learned!

I really enjoyed “The Unkindest Cut” mostly due to how crazy some of it was. This was classic Empire, blending family melodrama with wild concepts. A little girl getting her hair cut off? Anika’s seduction scene? Jamal in that VR mask? Gina effing Gershon?! This show can be a true and hilarious marvel when it wants to be. Here’s hoping next week’s Winter finale continues to bring the crazy.


‘Empire’ Recap: Cookie and the Not-So-Virtual Reality

When was the last time you woke up to discover all your hair had been cut off by an intruder? Last year? Two years ago? Though I haven’t found any published studies on this matter, my guess is nearly everyone wakes up with their hair cut off at least once every few years. But in the world of Empire, it’s probably more like a weekly thing. These people are vengeful AND bored, so if you’re going to do business with any of them, think about sleeping in a padlocked helmet. Just a tip!

“The Unkindest Cut” was one of the crazier episodes of Empire I’ve seen in a while. Though the actual storylines weren’t particularly shocking or eventful, the episode was still crazy in a scene-by-scene kind of way. First of all, Gina Gershon guest starred(!). Second of all, a little girl had all her hair cut off in her sleep. Thirdly, there was a seduction scene you needed to see to believe. Also Jamal was attacked by Freda Gatz in a virtual reality world. What an episode. Let’s talk about it!

Here we met a new character played by an actress who honestly shocked me when I realized she hadn’t appeared on Empire before now: Gina Gershon! Yes, the immortal, legendary Cristal Connors herself had somehow not been on Empire yet? But now here she was, playing Helen von Wyeth, a bizarrely accented, possibly racist high fashion designer! And already I knew this was going to be an amazing episode.

Gina Gershon was collaborating with Cookie on a runway show that would feature a performance from Tiana, plus she encouraged Phylicia Rashad to get Jamal to create a theme song for Taye Diggs’s campaign. Jamal sprang at the chance, but Cookie’s extreme side-eye of her own son meant that she had doubts his PTSD would allow him to participate. Ouch!

But yeah, in general, Gina Gershon’s character was real difficult to work with. For one thing, she insisted that Tiana straighten her hair and wear an all-white gown with a train while performing hip-hop choreography. For another, she was clearly pretty racist. Also, what on earth was her accent anyway? Was it British, or was it just rich-lady? The only thing that was NOT in question was that Gina Gershon was brilliant and perfect as always.

Speaking of brilliant and perfect, this purple-haired friend of Tiana’s returned for another amazing, silent reaction shot. God I love her so much. I would watch this spinoff!

Nessa was helping Tiana take off one of Gina Gershon’s one-of-a-kind couture gowns and accidentally set it onto a vape pen (?) and it caught fire! Oh, Nessa.

Porsha attempted to salvage the situation, but Tiana was MAD as H*CK and she wanted everyone in her dressing room to know about it!

Her trash talk included but was not limited to: Empire Entertainment, the fashion world, Africa, Gina Gershon, music, fate, the criminal justice system, the fourth Transformers movie, possums, Neil Patrick Harris, trigonometry, the Vatican, and parquet flooring. Tiana read EVERYONE without mercy.

Meanwhile Nessa just sort of put lipstick on and smirked. She burned that dress on purpose! And sure enough, hours later a video of Tiana going wild went viral. Nessa, you sly dog you.

Speaking of sly dogs, Tariq confronted Lucious’s crazy mom during a doctor’s appointment and attempted to convince her to be an informant against her son. He felt this was a good option because earlier in the day she and Lucious had gotten in a shouting match in a fancy restaurant. But would she turn state’s evidence against her own son? It really looked like it!

Haha OK. So. Jamal needed to get over his PTSD ASAP, and his sober counselor apparently dabbles in virtual reality programming? So he designed a VR scenario that would help Jamal address his innermost anxieties! But this just meant we were treated to a scene of Jamal attempting to play piano while wearing a giant plastic VR mask and looking stressed. Man, it was so good. Obviously Lucious barged in and shamed Jamal for attempting to get better, so it didn’t end up working. But it DID work in getting me to laugh out loud. This show is amazing.

We were then treated to another scene in which Gina Gershon was brushing her daughter’s hair and explaining to Andre that white people have more class than black people (basically). Because Andre is a (secretly insane) professional, he sort of just smiled and nodded, and then accepted that she did not want to work with Tiana anymore. But then he cryptically warned her on the way out…

And the next morning, the little girl woke up to this!

Like, wow. That’s crazy, even for this show. So who do we think broke in and cut the girl’s hair off? Thirsty? Becky? The ghost of Rhonda? It was a dark trick on Andre’s part, but guess what? Gina Gershon was too scared to part ways with Empire after that! So I guess that was just a good business strategy on Andre’s part.

In general Andre’s relationship with Hakeem was not the best. They tussled over Nessa, then just sort of family pride stuff. Who even knows. Brothers fighting brothers. But the rift was realer than ever now, which meant Hakeem was probably hungry for some revenge. Or at least he was going to spit on Andre’s decor a little more. At least that.

Yeah, so now that Tiana was out of the picture, Nessa took her place at the fashion event! Very All About Eve. To her credit, Nessa’s a talented and fun performer, so it was win-win all around. She was also now one step closer to being Andre’s lover AND Empire’s main breadwinner. A new power couple has arrived.

To cheer up Tiana, Hakeem treated her to an ice cream buffet (!) and then started braiding her hair (to “practice” for his daughter). But in my opinion both of them were now at low points and could benefit from a team-up. What do you think?

Ummm OK. THIS SCENE. This scene was Platonic Ideal Empire. Lucious arrived home to find Anika dressed in lingerie and systematically destroying all his priceless antiques until he gave her a job at the office? Perfection.

It even culminated in some weird tabletop rough play until it was interrupted by Lucious’s MOTHER who informed them she has to EAT on that table. Yeah, this scene was a real diamond. And Anika might even get a job out of it!

I also loved when we got this fake-out of Lucious possibly moving in to strangle his mother with a necktie only to reveal that she had pretended to work with Tariq in order to become a double agent (and get some free ice cream)! That’s some motherly love right there. But was Lucious’s mom sane all along, or was she still a crazy person? Who even knows! They made quite a pair either way.

In our final scene, Jamal debuted his new song, which was a rather rude one about Lucious and how terrible he is. If you can believe it, Lucious was not a fan.

He told off everybody in the room and reminded them that they only have the lives they have because he provided them. But he also spilled that Cookie had helped organize the hit on Chris Rock, which came as a surprise to Jamal. The entire family had blood on their hands in some way, shape or form, and throwing Lucious under the bus was probably not going to be the best idea on Jamal’s part. Lesson learned!

I really enjoyed “The Unkindest Cut” mostly due to how crazy some of it was. This was classic Empire, blending family melodrama with wild concepts. A little girl getting her hair cut off? Anika’s seduction scene? Jamal in that VR mask? Gina effing Gershon?! This show can be a true and hilarious marvel when it wants to be. Here’s hoping next week’s Winter finale continues to bring the crazy.


‘Empire’ Recap: Cookie and the Not-So-Virtual Reality

When was the last time you woke up to discover all your hair had been cut off by an intruder? Last year? Two years ago? Though I haven’t found any published studies on this matter, my guess is nearly everyone wakes up with their hair cut off at least once every few years. But in the world of Empire, it’s probably more like a weekly thing. These people are vengeful AND bored, so if you’re going to do business with any of them, think about sleeping in a padlocked helmet. Just a tip!

“The Unkindest Cut” was one of the crazier episodes of Empire I’ve seen in a while. Though the actual storylines weren’t particularly shocking or eventful, the episode was still crazy in a scene-by-scene kind of way. First of all, Gina Gershon guest starred(!). Second of all, a little girl had all her hair cut off in her sleep. Thirdly, there was a seduction scene you needed to see to believe. Also Jamal was attacked by Freda Gatz in a virtual reality world. What an episode. Let’s talk about it!

Here we met a new character played by an actress who honestly shocked me when I realized she hadn’t appeared on Empire before now: Gina Gershon! Yes, the immortal, legendary Cristal Connors herself had somehow not been on Empire yet? But now here she was, playing Helen von Wyeth, a bizarrely accented, possibly racist high fashion designer! And already I knew this was going to be an amazing episode.

Gina Gershon was collaborating with Cookie on a runway show that would feature a performance from Tiana, plus she encouraged Phylicia Rashad to get Jamal to create a theme song for Taye Diggs’s campaign. Jamal sprang at the chance, but Cookie’s extreme side-eye of her own son meant that she had doubts his PTSD would allow him to participate. Ouch!

But yeah, in general, Gina Gershon’s character was real difficult to work with. For one thing, she insisted that Tiana straighten her hair and wear an all-white gown with a train while performing hip-hop choreography. For another, she was clearly pretty racist. Also, what on earth was her accent anyway? Was it British, or was it just rich-lady? The only thing that was NOT in question was that Gina Gershon was brilliant and perfect as always.

Speaking of brilliant and perfect, this purple-haired friend of Tiana’s returned for another amazing, silent reaction shot. God I love her so much. I would watch this spinoff!

Nessa was helping Tiana take off one of Gina Gershon’s one-of-a-kind couture gowns and accidentally set it onto a vape pen (?) and it caught fire! Oh, Nessa.

Porsha attempted to salvage the situation, but Tiana was MAD as H*CK and she wanted everyone in her dressing room to know about it!

Her trash talk included but was not limited to: Empire Entertainment, the fashion world, Africa, Gina Gershon, music, fate, the criminal justice system, the fourth Transformers movie, possums, Neil Patrick Harris, trigonometry, the Vatican, and parquet flooring. Tiana read EVERYONE without mercy.

Meanwhile Nessa just sort of put lipstick on and smirked. She burned that dress on purpose! And sure enough, hours later a video of Tiana going wild went viral. Nessa, you sly dog you.

Speaking of sly dogs, Tariq confronted Lucious’s crazy mom during a doctor’s appointment and attempted to convince her to be an informant against her son. He felt this was a good option because earlier in the day she and Lucious had gotten in a shouting match in a fancy restaurant. But would she turn state’s evidence against her own son? It really looked like it!

Haha OK. So. Jamal needed to get over his PTSD ASAP, and his sober counselor apparently dabbles in virtual reality programming? So he designed a VR scenario that would help Jamal address his innermost anxieties! But this just meant we were treated to a scene of Jamal attempting to play piano while wearing a giant plastic VR mask and looking stressed. Man, it was so good. Obviously Lucious barged in and shamed Jamal for attempting to get better, so it didn’t end up working. But it DID work in getting me to laugh out loud. This show is amazing.

We were then treated to another scene in which Gina Gershon was brushing her daughter’s hair and explaining to Andre that white people have more class than black people (basically). Because Andre is a (secretly insane) professional, he sort of just smiled and nodded, and then accepted that she did not want to work with Tiana anymore. But then he cryptically warned her on the way out…

And the next morning, the little girl woke up to this!

Like, wow. That’s crazy, even for this show. So who do we think broke in and cut the girl’s hair off? Thirsty? Becky? The ghost of Rhonda? It was a dark trick on Andre’s part, but guess what? Gina Gershon was too scared to part ways with Empire after that! So I guess that was just a good business strategy on Andre’s part.

In general Andre’s relationship with Hakeem was not the best. They tussled over Nessa, then just sort of family pride stuff. Who even knows. Brothers fighting brothers. But the rift was realer than ever now, which meant Hakeem was probably hungry for some revenge. Or at least he was going to spit on Andre’s decor a little more. At least that.

Yeah, so now that Tiana was out of the picture, Nessa took her place at the fashion event! Very All About Eve. To her credit, Nessa’s a talented and fun performer, so it was win-win all around. She was also now one step closer to being Andre’s lover AND Empire’s main breadwinner. A new power couple has arrived.

To cheer up Tiana, Hakeem treated her to an ice cream buffet (!) and then started braiding her hair (to “practice” for his daughter). But in my opinion both of them were now at low points and could benefit from a team-up. What do you think?

Ummm OK. THIS SCENE. This scene was Platonic Ideal Empire. Lucious arrived home to find Anika dressed in lingerie and systematically destroying all his priceless antiques until he gave her a job at the office? Perfection.

It even culminated in some weird tabletop rough play until it was interrupted by Lucious’s MOTHER who informed them she has to EAT on that table. Yeah, this scene was a real diamond. And Anika might even get a job out of it!

I also loved when we got this fake-out of Lucious possibly moving in to strangle his mother with a necktie only to reveal that she had pretended to work with Tariq in order to become a double agent (and get some free ice cream)! That’s some motherly love right there. But was Lucious’s mom sane all along, or was she still a crazy person? Who even knows! They made quite a pair either way.

In our final scene, Jamal debuted his new song, which was a rather rude one about Lucious and how terrible he is. If you can believe it, Lucious was not a fan.

He told off everybody in the room and reminded them that they only have the lives they have because he provided them. But he also spilled that Cookie had helped organize the hit on Chris Rock, which came as a surprise to Jamal. The entire family had blood on their hands in some way, shape or form, and throwing Lucious under the bus was probably not going to be the best idea on Jamal’s part. Lesson learned!

I really enjoyed “The Unkindest Cut” mostly due to how crazy some of it was. This was classic Empire, blending family melodrama with wild concepts. A little girl getting her hair cut off? Anika’s seduction scene? Jamal in that VR mask? Gina effing Gershon?! This show can be a true and hilarious marvel when it wants to be. Here’s hoping next week’s Winter finale continues to bring the crazy.


‘Empire’ Recap: Cookie and the Not-So-Virtual Reality

When was the last time you woke up to discover all your hair had been cut off by an intruder? Last year? Two years ago? Though I haven’t found any published studies on this matter, my guess is nearly everyone wakes up with their hair cut off at least once every few years. But in the world of Empire, it’s probably more like a weekly thing. These people are vengeful AND bored, so if you’re going to do business with any of them, think about sleeping in a padlocked helmet. Just a tip!

“The Unkindest Cut” was one of the crazier episodes of Empire I’ve seen in a while. Though the actual storylines weren’t particularly shocking or eventful, the episode was still crazy in a scene-by-scene kind of way. First of all, Gina Gershon guest starred(!). Second of all, a little girl had all her hair cut off in her sleep. Thirdly, there was a seduction scene you needed to see to believe. Also Jamal was attacked by Freda Gatz in a virtual reality world. What an episode. Let’s talk about it!

Here we met a new character played by an actress who honestly shocked me when I realized she hadn’t appeared on Empire before now: Gina Gershon! Yes, the immortal, legendary Cristal Connors herself had somehow not been on Empire yet? But now here she was, playing Helen von Wyeth, a bizarrely accented, possibly racist high fashion designer! And already I knew this was going to be an amazing episode.

Gina Gershon was collaborating with Cookie on a runway show that would feature a performance from Tiana, plus she encouraged Phylicia Rashad to get Jamal to create a theme song for Taye Diggs’s campaign. Jamal sprang at the chance, but Cookie’s extreme side-eye of her own son meant that she had doubts his PTSD would allow him to participate. Ouch!

But yeah, in general, Gina Gershon’s character was real difficult to work with. For one thing, she insisted that Tiana straighten her hair and wear an all-white gown with a train while performing hip-hop choreography. For another, she was clearly pretty racist. Also, what on earth was her accent anyway? Was it British, or was it just rich-lady? The only thing that was NOT in question was that Gina Gershon was brilliant and perfect as always.

Speaking of brilliant and perfect, this purple-haired friend of Tiana’s returned for another amazing, silent reaction shot. God I love her so much. I would watch this spinoff!

Nessa was helping Tiana take off one of Gina Gershon’s one-of-a-kind couture gowns and accidentally set it onto a vape pen (?) and it caught fire! Oh, Nessa.

Porsha attempted to salvage the situation, but Tiana was MAD as H*CK and she wanted everyone in her dressing room to know about it!

Her trash talk included but was not limited to: Empire Entertainment, the fashion world, Africa, Gina Gershon, music, fate, the criminal justice system, the fourth Transformers movie, possums, Neil Patrick Harris, trigonometry, the Vatican, and parquet flooring. Tiana read EVERYONE without mercy.

Meanwhile Nessa just sort of put lipstick on and smirked. She burned that dress on purpose! And sure enough, hours later a video of Tiana going wild went viral. Nessa, you sly dog you.

Speaking of sly dogs, Tariq confronted Lucious’s crazy mom during a doctor’s appointment and attempted to convince her to be an informant against her son. He felt this was a good option because earlier in the day she and Lucious had gotten in a shouting match in a fancy restaurant. But would she turn state’s evidence against her own son? It really looked like it!

Haha OK. So. Jamal needed to get over his PTSD ASAP, and his sober counselor apparently dabbles in virtual reality programming? So he designed a VR scenario that would help Jamal address his innermost anxieties! But this just meant we were treated to a scene of Jamal attempting to play piano while wearing a giant plastic VR mask and looking stressed. Man, it was so good. Obviously Lucious barged in and shamed Jamal for attempting to get better, so it didn’t end up working. But it DID work in getting me to laugh out loud. This show is amazing.

We were then treated to another scene in which Gina Gershon was brushing her daughter’s hair and explaining to Andre that white people have more class than black people (basically). Because Andre is a (secretly insane) professional, he sort of just smiled and nodded, and then accepted that she did not want to work with Tiana anymore. But then he cryptically warned her on the way out…

And the next morning, the little girl woke up to this!

Like, wow. That’s crazy, even for this show. So who do we think broke in and cut the girl’s hair off? Thirsty? Becky? The ghost of Rhonda? It was a dark trick on Andre’s part, but guess what? Gina Gershon was too scared to part ways with Empire after that! So I guess that was just a good business strategy on Andre’s part.

In general Andre’s relationship with Hakeem was not the best. They tussled over Nessa, then just sort of family pride stuff. Who even knows. Brothers fighting brothers. But the rift was realer than ever now, which meant Hakeem was probably hungry for some revenge. Or at least he was going to spit on Andre’s decor a little more. At least that.

Yeah, so now that Tiana was out of the picture, Nessa took her place at the fashion event! Very All About Eve. To her credit, Nessa’s a talented and fun performer, so it was win-win all around. She was also now one step closer to being Andre’s lover AND Empire’s main breadwinner. A new power couple has arrived.

To cheer up Tiana, Hakeem treated her to an ice cream buffet (!) and then started braiding her hair (to “practice” for his daughter). But in my opinion both of them were now at low points and could benefit from a team-up. What do you think?

Ummm OK. THIS SCENE. This scene was Platonic Ideal Empire. Lucious arrived home to find Anika dressed in lingerie and systematically destroying all his priceless antiques until he gave her a job at the office? Perfection.

It even culminated in some weird tabletop rough play until it was interrupted by Lucious’s MOTHER who informed them she has to EAT on that table. Yeah, this scene was a real diamond. And Anika might even get a job out of it!

I also loved when we got this fake-out of Lucious possibly moving in to strangle his mother with a necktie only to reveal that she had pretended to work with Tariq in order to become a double agent (and get some free ice cream)! That’s some motherly love right there. But was Lucious’s mom sane all along, or was she still a crazy person? Who even knows! They made quite a pair either way.

In our final scene, Jamal debuted his new song, which was a rather rude one about Lucious and how terrible he is. If you can believe it, Lucious was not a fan.

He told off everybody in the room and reminded them that they only have the lives they have because he provided them. But he also spilled that Cookie had helped organize the hit on Chris Rock, which came as a surprise to Jamal. The entire family had blood on their hands in some way, shape or form, and throwing Lucious under the bus was probably not going to be the best idea on Jamal’s part. Lesson learned!

I really enjoyed “The Unkindest Cut” mostly due to how crazy some of it was. This was classic Empire, blending family melodrama with wild concepts. A little girl getting her hair cut off? Anika’s seduction scene? Jamal in that VR mask? Gina effing Gershon?! This show can be a true and hilarious marvel when it wants to be. Here’s hoping next week’s Winter finale continues to bring the crazy.


‘Empire’ Recap: Cookie and the Not-So-Virtual Reality

When was the last time you woke up to discover all your hair had been cut off by an intruder? Last year? Two years ago? Though I haven’t found any published studies on this matter, my guess is nearly everyone wakes up with their hair cut off at least once every few years. But in the world of Empire, it’s probably more like a weekly thing. These people are vengeful AND bored, so if you’re going to do business with any of them, think about sleeping in a padlocked helmet. Just a tip!

“The Unkindest Cut” was one of the crazier episodes of Empire I’ve seen in a while. Though the actual storylines weren’t particularly shocking or eventful, the episode was still crazy in a scene-by-scene kind of way. First of all, Gina Gershon guest starred(!). Second of all, a little girl had all her hair cut off in her sleep. Thirdly, there was a seduction scene you needed to see to believe. Also Jamal was attacked by Freda Gatz in a virtual reality world. What an episode. Let’s talk about it!

Here we met a new character played by an actress who honestly shocked me when I realized she hadn’t appeared on Empire before now: Gina Gershon! Yes, the immortal, legendary Cristal Connors herself had somehow not been on Empire yet? But now here she was, playing Helen von Wyeth, a bizarrely accented, possibly racist high fashion designer! And already I knew this was going to be an amazing episode.

Gina Gershon was collaborating with Cookie on a runway show that would feature a performance from Tiana, plus she encouraged Phylicia Rashad to get Jamal to create a theme song for Taye Diggs’s campaign. Jamal sprang at the chance, but Cookie’s extreme side-eye of her own son meant that she had doubts his PTSD would allow him to participate. Ouch!

But yeah, in general, Gina Gershon’s character was real difficult to work with. For one thing, she insisted that Tiana straighten her hair and wear an all-white gown with a train while performing hip-hop choreography. For another, she was clearly pretty racist. Also, what on earth was her accent anyway? Was it British, or was it just rich-lady? The only thing that was NOT in question was that Gina Gershon was brilliant and perfect as always.

Speaking of brilliant and perfect, this purple-haired friend of Tiana’s returned for another amazing, silent reaction shot. God I love her so much. I would watch this spinoff!

Nessa was helping Tiana take off one of Gina Gershon’s one-of-a-kind couture gowns and accidentally set it onto a vape pen (?) and it caught fire! Oh, Nessa.

Porsha attempted to salvage the situation, but Tiana was MAD as H*CK and she wanted everyone in her dressing room to know about it!

Her trash talk included but was not limited to: Empire Entertainment, the fashion world, Africa, Gina Gershon, music, fate, the criminal justice system, the fourth Transformers movie, possums, Neil Patrick Harris, trigonometry, the Vatican, and parquet flooring. Tiana read EVERYONE without mercy.

Meanwhile Nessa just sort of put lipstick on and smirked. She burned that dress on purpose! And sure enough, hours later a video of Tiana going wild went viral. Nessa, you sly dog you.

Speaking of sly dogs, Tariq confronted Lucious’s crazy mom during a doctor’s appointment and attempted to convince her to be an informant against her son. He felt this was a good option because earlier in the day she and Lucious had gotten in a shouting match in a fancy restaurant. But would she turn state’s evidence against her own son? It really looked like it!

Haha OK. So. Jamal needed to get over his PTSD ASAP, and his sober counselor apparently dabbles in virtual reality programming? So he designed a VR scenario that would help Jamal address his innermost anxieties! But this just meant we were treated to a scene of Jamal attempting to play piano while wearing a giant plastic VR mask and looking stressed. Man, it was so good. Obviously Lucious barged in and shamed Jamal for attempting to get better, so it didn’t end up working. But it DID work in getting me to laugh out loud. This show is amazing.

We were then treated to another scene in which Gina Gershon was brushing her daughter’s hair and explaining to Andre that white people have more class than black people (basically). Because Andre is a (secretly insane) professional, he sort of just smiled and nodded, and then accepted that she did not want to work with Tiana anymore. But then he cryptically warned her on the way out…

And the next morning, the little girl woke up to this!

Like, wow. That’s crazy, even for this show. So who do we think broke in and cut the girl’s hair off? Thirsty? Becky? The ghost of Rhonda? It was a dark trick on Andre’s part, but guess what? Gina Gershon was too scared to part ways with Empire after that! So I guess that was just a good business strategy on Andre’s part.

In general Andre’s relationship with Hakeem was not the best. They tussled over Nessa, then just sort of family pride stuff. Who even knows. Brothers fighting brothers. But the rift was realer than ever now, which meant Hakeem was probably hungry for some revenge. Or at least he was going to spit on Andre’s decor a little more. At least that.

Yeah, so now that Tiana was out of the picture, Nessa took her place at the fashion event! Very All About Eve. To her credit, Nessa’s a talented and fun performer, so it was win-win all around. She was also now one step closer to being Andre’s lover AND Empire’s main breadwinner. A new power couple has arrived.

To cheer up Tiana, Hakeem treated her to an ice cream buffet (!) and then started braiding her hair (to “practice” for his daughter). But in my opinion both of them were now at low points and could benefit from a team-up. What do you think?

Ummm OK. THIS SCENE. This scene was Platonic Ideal Empire. Lucious arrived home to find Anika dressed in lingerie and systematically destroying all his priceless antiques until he gave her a job at the office? Perfection.

It even culminated in some weird tabletop rough play until it was interrupted by Lucious’s MOTHER who informed them she has to EAT on that table. Yeah, this scene was a real diamond. And Anika might even get a job out of it!

I also loved when we got this fake-out of Lucious possibly moving in to strangle his mother with a necktie only to reveal that she had pretended to work with Tariq in order to become a double agent (and get some free ice cream)! That’s some motherly love right there. But was Lucious’s mom sane all along, or was she still a crazy person? Who even knows! They made quite a pair either way.

In our final scene, Jamal debuted his new song, which was a rather rude one about Lucious and how terrible he is. If you can believe it, Lucious was not a fan.

He told off everybody in the room and reminded them that they only have the lives they have because he provided them. But he also spilled that Cookie had helped organize the hit on Chris Rock, which came as a surprise to Jamal. The entire family had blood on their hands in some way, shape or form, and throwing Lucious under the bus was probably not going to be the best idea on Jamal’s part. Lesson learned!

I really enjoyed “The Unkindest Cut” mostly due to how crazy some of it was. This was classic Empire, blending family melodrama with wild concepts. A little girl getting her hair cut off? Anika’s seduction scene? Jamal in that VR mask? Gina effing Gershon?! This show can be a true and hilarious marvel when it wants to be. Here’s hoping next week’s Winter finale continues to bring the crazy.


‘Empire’ Recap: Cookie and the Not-So-Virtual Reality

When was the last time you woke up to discover all your hair had been cut off by an intruder? Last year? Two years ago? Though I haven’t found any published studies on this matter, my guess is nearly everyone wakes up with their hair cut off at least once every few years. But in the world of Empire, it’s probably more like a weekly thing. These people are vengeful AND bored, so if you’re going to do business with any of them, think about sleeping in a padlocked helmet. Just a tip!

“The Unkindest Cut” was one of the crazier episodes of Empire I’ve seen in a while. Though the actual storylines weren’t particularly shocking or eventful, the episode was still crazy in a scene-by-scene kind of way. First of all, Gina Gershon guest starred(!). Second of all, a little girl had all her hair cut off in her sleep. Thirdly, there was a seduction scene you needed to see to believe. Also Jamal was attacked by Freda Gatz in a virtual reality world. What an episode. Let’s talk about it!

Here we met a new character played by an actress who honestly shocked me when I realized she hadn’t appeared on Empire before now: Gina Gershon! Yes, the immortal, legendary Cristal Connors herself had somehow not been on Empire yet? But now here she was, playing Helen von Wyeth, a bizarrely accented, possibly racist high fashion designer! And already I knew this was going to be an amazing episode.

Gina Gershon was collaborating with Cookie on a runway show that would feature a performance from Tiana, plus she encouraged Phylicia Rashad to get Jamal to create a theme song for Taye Diggs’s campaign. Jamal sprang at the chance, but Cookie’s extreme side-eye of her own son meant that she had doubts his PTSD would allow him to participate. Ouch!

But yeah, in general, Gina Gershon’s character was real difficult to work with. For one thing, she insisted that Tiana straighten her hair and wear an all-white gown with a train while performing hip-hop choreography. For another, she was clearly pretty racist. Also, what on earth was her accent anyway? Was it British, or was it just rich-lady? The only thing that was NOT in question was that Gina Gershon was brilliant and perfect as always.

Speaking of brilliant and perfect, this purple-haired friend of Tiana’s returned for another amazing, silent reaction shot. God I love her so much. I would watch this spinoff!

Nessa was helping Tiana take off one of Gina Gershon’s one-of-a-kind couture gowns and accidentally set it onto a vape pen (?) and it caught fire! Oh, Nessa.

Porsha attempted to salvage the situation, but Tiana was MAD as H*CK and she wanted everyone in her dressing room to know about it!

Her trash talk included but was not limited to: Empire Entertainment, the fashion world, Africa, Gina Gershon, music, fate, the criminal justice system, the fourth Transformers movie, possums, Neil Patrick Harris, trigonometry, the Vatican, and parquet flooring. Tiana read EVERYONE without mercy.

Meanwhile Nessa just sort of put lipstick on and smirked. She burned that dress on purpose! And sure enough, hours later a video of Tiana going wild went viral. Nessa, you sly dog you.

Speaking of sly dogs, Tariq confronted Lucious’s crazy mom during a doctor’s appointment and attempted to convince her to be an informant against her son. He felt this was a good option because earlier in the day she and Lucious had gotten in a shouting match in a fancy restaurant. But would she turn state’s evidence against her own son? It really looked like it!

Haha OK. So. Jamal needed to get over his PTSD ASAP, and his sober counselor apparently dabbles in virtual reality programming? So he designed a VR scenario that would help Jamal address his innermost anxieties! But this just meant we were treated to a scene of Jamal attempting to play piano while wearing a giant plastic VR mask and looking stressed. Man, it was so good. Obviously Lucious barged in and shamed Jamal for attempting to get better, so it didn’t end up working. But it DID work in getting me to laugh out loud. This show is amazing.

We were then treated to another scene in which Gina Gershon was brushing her daughter’s hair and explaining to Andre that white people have more class than black people (basically). Because Andre is a (secretly insane) professional, he sort of just smiled and nodded, and then accepted that she did not want to work with Tiana anymore. But then he cryptically warned her on the way out…

And the next morning, the little girl woke up to this!

Like, wow. That’s crazy, even for this show. So who do we think broke in and cut the girl’s hair off? Thirsty? Becky? The ghost of Rhonda? It was a dark trick on Andre’s part, but guess what? Gina Gershon was too scared to part ways with Empire after that! So I guess that was just a good business strategy on Andre’s part.

In general Andre’s relationship with Hakeem was not the best. They tussled over Nessa, then just sort of family pride stuff. Who even knows. Brothers fighting brothers. But the rift was realer than ever now, which meant Hakeem was probably hungry for some revenge. Or at least he was going to spit on Andre’s decor a little more. At least that.

Yeah, so now that Tiana was out of the picture, Nessa took her place at the fashion event! Very All About Eve. To her credit, Nessa’s a talented and fun performer, so it was win-win all around. She was also now one step closer to being Andre’s lover AND Empire’s main breadwinner. A new power couple has arrived.

To cheer up Tiana, Hakeem treated her to an ice cream buffet (!) and then started braiding her hair (to “practice” for his daughter). But in my opinion both of them were now at low points and could benefit from a team-up. What do you think?

Ummm OK. THIS SCENE. This scene was Platonic Ideal Empire. Lucious arrived home to find Anika dressed in lingerie and systematically destroying all his priceless antiques until he gave her a job at the office? Perfection.

It even culminated in some weird tabletop rough play until it was interrupted by Lucious’s MOTHER who informed them she has to EAT on that table. Yeah, this scene was a real diamond. And Anika might even get a job out of it!

I also loved when we got this fake-out of Lucious possibly moving in to strangle his mother with a necktie only to reveal that she had pretended to work with Tariq in order to become a double agent (and get some free ice cream)! That’s some motherly love right there. But was Lucious’s mom sane all along, or was she still a crazy person? Who even knows! They made quite a pair either way.

In our final scene, Jamal debuted his new song, which was a rather rude one about Lucious and how terrible he is. If you can believe it, Lucious was not a fan.

He told off everybody in the room and reminded them that they only have the lives they have because he provided them. But he also spilled that Cookie had helped organize the hit on Chris Rock, which came as a surprise to Jamal. The entire family had blood on their hands in some way, shape or form, and throwing Lucious under the bus was probably not going to be the best idea on Jamal’s part. Lesson learned!

I really enjoyed “The Unkindest Cut” mostly due to how crazy some of it was. This was classic Empire, blending family melodrama with wild concepts. A little girl getting her hair cut off? Anika’s seduction scene? Jamal in that VR mask? Gina effing Gershon?! This show can be a true and hilarious marvel when it wants to be. Here’s hoping next week’s Winter finale continues to bring the crazy.



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