According to Lee Daniels, the entire purpose of his show Empire is to “bring America together”, and in a way, he kind achieved that by casting Jussie Smollett in the role of Jamal Lyon. Had Jussie not become a TV “star”, it probably wouldn’t have had the same impact when he allegedly orchestrated a phony hate crime against himself, thus creating a common enemy for Americans to despise. So good job, Lee! But sadly, the unification of America came at a cost. Lee says that the Jussie ordeal has been a real bummer for the cast and crew of Empire. And when Empire suffers, we all suffer.
In advance of the second episode after Empire’s mid-season premiere, Lee posted a video on Instagram explaining that the episode was filmed before Jussie, who appears in the episode, cried wolf so loudly that villagers on the other side of the world heard it. According to Variety:
“These past couple of weeks have been a freakin’ rollercoaster,” Daniels said in the video. “Me and my cast have experienced pain, anger, sadness and frustration, and really don’t know how to deal with it.”
“This is not what the show was made for, the show was made to bring America together, to talk about the atrocities that are happening right now on the streets,” Daniels concludes in the video.
Lee was so clearly broken up about it all, that he felt the need to speak up before he even had a chance to finish brushing his teeth. Or maybe it’s because Baby Wipes Howard has a clause in his contract that the entire crew, creator and executive producer included, brush their teeth no fewer than 30 times a day, so Lee’s basically never not brushing his teeth.
Hey, I guess it’s one way to MAGA (Make America Gargle Again). Last night’s episode should be the last to feature Jussie as “Smollett has been removed from the final Season 5 episodes”. I don’t know how they are planning on explaining his disappearance but according to Cinema Blend, SOMEBODY in the Lyon family is going to die. But it might now be Jamal.
As much as it would be simple to kill two birds with one stone and reveal Jamal as the Lyon in the coffin, Jussie Smollett’s arrest may have come too late for such a twist. Only two episodes weren’t completed by the time Fox and Empire made the decision to finish the season without him. If Jamal hadn’t been meant as the character dying from the beginning, there might not have been time to change the whole storyline and kill off Jamal rather than another Lyon.
I don’t know, I haven’t watched Empire since season one but the plot made absolutely no sense at all back then, so I don’t think anyone would bat an eye if Jamal was abducted by George Clinton looking aliens from Planet Fitness. Somebody let Lee know he can have that idea, FOR FREE.