DVD Review: “Empire: The Complete Third Season” Gets Down Right Dirty While The Music And Internal Conflict Continues To Heat Up

“Each season has become more intriguing as the patriarch, Lucious (Terrence Howard) and matriarch, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) of the Lyon family, do everything in their power to exercise their individual and rightful ownership to the Empire...”


A hip-hop mogul must choose a successor among his three sons who are battling for control over his multi-million dollar company, while his ex-wife schemes to reclaim what is hers.

Season three immediately starts with pure drama as pregnant Anika Lyon (Grace Byers) and Rhonda Lyon (Kaitlin Doubleday) duke it out on the rooftop while Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) walks away from the altar thinking he can run right back into the arms of ex – Serayah (Tiana Brown). In the midst of the struggle, Rhonda ends up dead after being thrown over the rooftop and Anika goes into labor just in time to escape the reality that she is responsible for her death. Lucious (Terrence Howard) is so busy trying to launch his the family’s new streaming service, Empire-X-Stream, that he gets caught in the crosshairs with Tariq Cousins (Morocco Omari) who is investigating him. The birth of Bella Lyon whose father is Hakeem seems to cause everyone to take a brief pause and gush over the baby who is technically the daughter of Lucious because he is still married to Anika. While forging through the pains of labor, Lucious reminds Anika to get her story straight about the death of Rhonda as police are waiting nearby to investigate.

While Andre (Trai Byers) is having flashbacks about Rhonda, Jamal’s (Jussie Smollett) addiction to painkillers is affecting his ability to perform on stage and Hakeem is trying to prove to everyone that he is man enough to handle fatherhood while still maintaining relevance in his musical career. Local politician Angelo Dubois enters the picture as he and Jamal partner up to host an event for gun violence awareness. The event becomes successful in more ways than one as Angelo becomes Cookie’s new love interest even though both realize they are not good for each other. Phylicia Rashad who plays Diana Dubois (Angelo’s mother) slides right in as the mother from hell who is having no parts of Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) thinking she is going to be with her son and destroy his good reputation.

As the season progresses, Lucious tries to maintain his sanity and his holdings at Empire while his family is losing all control. Cookie does the motherly thing and seeks vengeance with Lucious through the pairing up with several new artists that can assist in bringing Jamal and Hakeem’s music back to the forefront while Andre’s trumped-up arrest lands him in more trouble than the family bargained for. Superstar Kitty (Mariah Carey) teams up with Jamal to assist in his healing and Lucious is faced with the reality that Cookie and Angelo’s relationship is a bit more than he can handle. The season highlights are the hacking of Empire which causes more dissension among the Lyon family, Lucious and Shynes forced alliance, Hakeem’s 21st birthday, Bella’s removal via Child Services, the volatile relationship between the Lyon and Dubois family, the internal wars between the host of new artists that are vying for Hakeem, Jamal and Andre’s attention, and finally Lucious’ failing health takes its toll on the entire empire of Lyons.

As the season comes to an end, the Vegas expansion which includes acquiring Leviticus Casino comes with its share of triumph and tragedy for the Lyons family. Giuliana’s (Nia Long) crimes are exposed and her former dealings with Angelo destroy all hope of a relationship with Cookie. The Lyon siblings have divided in order to conquer Lucious, and Tariq who has become one of Lucious’ worst nightmares ends up becoming a fatality, courtesy of Leah before he can inform Lucious of the Dubois’ part in Bella’s disappearance. Andre, who has been burned by the entire Vegas dealings, orders Shine (Xzibit) to perform a hit on his father and fails to retract it when he realizes much too late that Lucious does have his back after asking Cookie to turn over the reins so they both can retire. The season ends when Lucious’ hit goes awry and he ends up with amnesia after being in a coma.

Each season has become more intriguing as the patriarch, Lucious (Terrence Howard) and matriarch, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) of the Lyon family, do everything in their power to exercise their individual and rightful ownership to the Empire while doing everything in their power to maintain their ride or die relationship that will prevail amongst everything that happens. A host of stars such as Mariah Carey, Birdman, French Montana, Fetty Wap, Remy Ma, Tinashe, Estelle, Rumor Willis, Demi Moore, Eva Longoria, Vivica A. Fox, Tasha Smith and others, were added to the musical and administrative lineup this season that only enhanced its appeal to its massive following. Season four is breathlessly awaited as Lyon fans brace for Lucious’ comeback.

Now available on DVD


Tracee Bond

Tracee is a movie critic and interviewer who was born in Long Beach and raised in San Diego, California. As a Human Resource Professional and former Radio Personality, Tracee has parlayed her interviewing skills, interest in media, and crossover appeal into a love for the Arts and a passion for understanding the human condition through oral and written expression. She has been writing for as long as she can remember and considers it a privilege to be complimented for the only skill she has been truly able to master without formal training!
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