Saturday, December 19, 2015

Are YOU Seeing Red Yet?

Happy Holidays, Intellectual Minds! We at Mello & June would like to wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! With Christmas literally around the corner, which, by the way, I still can’t believe I’m saying this again, but here we are! Anyway, I thought I might stimulate your mind a bit with something fun to think about, besides the stress of the holidays.

Many of you have stopped watching the Hottest Show on the Planet—Empire! Why? I have no idea, but I must say you’ve missed a very explosive season thus far. Why am I talking about Empire? Well, for one, I can’t wait for the rest of Season 2 coming next March 2016. I really want to see if my detective skills are still up to par.

If you missed the season cliffhanger, you missed a dynamic one! Everyone is talking about who pushed Rhonda Lyon down the spiral staircase. I immediately took to social media to see what you’ve been talking about and as I figured most of you think Anika a/k/a Boo-Boo Kitty is the guilty party. But, as you know, the writer in me causes me to think completely the opposite of the standard norm. What many of you fail to realize is what we writers call in the industry “red herrings.” Are you familiar with the term? If you read a lot this is something an intellectual mind comes to expect. Without giving you the definition of what it is, I’ll explain it in examples below and perhaps you’ll begin to see where my thinking is at.

Lee Daniels and Danny Strong are brilliant writers. They masterminded a storyline that is keeping us Empire fans all abuzz. The scenario was set up quite a few episodes ago. Remember when Anika ran into Rhonda at the same clinic. Anika being there because she’s pregnant, and once again, everyone assumes it’s Hakeem’s baby, but if you recount the timeline, it could just as easily be Lucious’s child. Just before Lucious got locked up at the end of Season 1, she immediately took up time with Hakeem to get back at him. Folks, she had been sleeping with Lucious before they fell out which means she was knockin’ da boots with both father and son, so I can’t say for certain the alleged baby she’s carrying is automatically Hakeem’s. That’s the first of the red herrings. 

Second, what lots of you forget is that Lucious, my favorite character I love to hate, is despised by many people and has lots to answer to for his actions. We were given a lot of back story about Lucious’s upbringing. His mother, Leah, played by Kelly Rowland, seemed to be what is known as Bipolar—in other words, a fancy new word for the old manic depressive. She enjoyed playing Russian roulette. Remember Lucious hid the bullets in his backyard as a little boy? Unfortunately, she found one which sparked his memory to write the lyrics to Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom (I, for the life of me, could not get that damn song outta my head! Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang—I love it!) Bottom line, Lucious’s mother had mental issues. There’s another red herring.

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, just stick with me, it will start to make sense soon. When Season 1 ended, I began reading about the lineup of celebrity characters that would be making their cameo appearances for however long that would be for Season 2. I mentioned to a few friends about midway Season 2 that I noticed Camilla hadn’t resurfaced yet and I wondered why? When Mimi Whiteman, played by Marissa Tomei, first appeared in Season 2 Episode 1, we learned right away she was gay. Lucious peeped that watching a live feed of the Free Lucious Rally Cookie threw together in Central Park. Not to mention Anika slept with her too, trying to get in Cookie’s good graces. Lucious managed to get Mimi to join his side when he learned that Cookie and his sons, minus Jamal, were planning a corporate takeover. This was Mimi’s plan all along. She could have easily gone along with Cookie, but she wanted a bigger fish to fry and Cookie wasn’t it. Every time Mimi would be up-in-arms about her “lover” she never said who this lover was, but we just knew it was someone. I said at that point since I hadn’t seen Camilla’s character pop up, the lover must be Camilla played by Naomi Campbell. And, folks, it turned out I was right. I’m so sorry I hadn’t written a blog post about that, but that’s ok, I’m getting ready to bring you on home now.

So, anyone who is anybody has been saying it was Anika who pushed Rhonda down the staircase. She certainly doesn’t want Rhonda’s baby to be the heir to the Empire throne. She’s turned into a beautiful bitter hater, but has she turned so bitter she’d be willing to try and kill Rhonda and her unborn son? Hmmm? So that only leaves one question. Who else had a motive? Plenty of characters! I got into some rather controlled heated debates about why I feel Anika isn’t the person who did it, and here’s why.

Keep in mind, when Lucious was shooting up his office, Cookie was trying to get him to calm down and give her the gun. Jamal and Andre were in the living room, so we know where they were at the time Rhonda was being pushed. But here’s who wasn’t there and my picks of potential pushers.

Hakeem has a huge ax to grind with his father. He hates him, that’s first and foremost, and we have no idea what conversation took place between he and Camilla. That chick must have some good stuff because she got that fool to go against his own father and his legacy. He’s still pissed because Lucious made Jamal the head of the company, when he felt it was his by far. That was the whole reason he and Cookie started Lyon Dynasty. He dropped his father’s last name for God’s sake. The boy is angry as hell. To hurt his father and the Lyon clan, why couldn’t he be the one to push Rhonda down the stairs? He’s the right size and height. The hood the person was wearing could be molded to make it appear it was Anika, but the figure was in shadow, so none of us knows for sure. That folks is a red herring, hello!

Does anyone remember Officer McKnight? Oh, who is that, you’re asking? Officer McKnight was the guard in the penitentiary where Lucious was holed up, played by Ludacris. The scene was setup to make us think he was dead, but as I pointed out to you before, we never saw him dead. All we know is that Thirsty was taking care of things for Lucious, but we never saw McKnight dead. Luda is the right height and size to have been our mysterious pusher. He definitely had an ax to grind with Lucious too. Remember how he treated him in lockup? He refused to give Lucious his meds. He was in cahoots with the District Attorney. Umm hmm! Think about it! 

Freda Gatz, played by Bre-Z, Lucious’s rapper protégée. She may be the daughter that Lucious never had, but what if Freda got word from the streets that Lucious killed her father, Frank Gathers, played by Chris Rock. She’d most definitely want to hurt him the way she was hurting for losing her father. We have no idea what Freda knows and she’s the right size, but not the right height. Hmm, no worries. You can find wedged sneakers to take care of that or add lifts to regular sneakers. And with that sharp ass haircut she sports, her head definitely could fit the Anika mold. You hoo, I hear the red herrings calling out!

Lucious has a motive too! In fact, he has a huge one. If you don’t know by now, Lucious is the devil. Hell, his name is as close as you’re going to get without calling him Lucifer. The only reason Andre was put back in his good graces is because he found out Rhonda killed Vernon and Andre and Rhonda disposed of the body as a cover. Remember when he and Thirsty rode up on Andre and Rhonda while they were trying to dig Vernon’s body up? Lucious was so thrilled with this news, he let Andre back in, but don’t for one second ever underestimate Lucious. He isn’t at all that crazy about the fact Andre is all churched up and sanctified now. Remember his flashbacks when his mother, Leah, tried to drown his ass when he was a little boy. In her psychotic mind, she thought she was cleansing his soul, but she damn there killed him. This is why he couldn’t stand to watch Andre get baptized. These thoughts are still on Lucious’s mind.

He bought the house for Andre and Rhonda to show them good faith, but Lucious isn’t really feeling them. Do you recall when Andre kept begging his father to let him back in Empire and Lucious kept telling him no. Andre immediately whipped out the “baby card,” as Cookie suggested he do to advise Lucious he was going to be a grandfather? Cookie felt Lucious would have a soft spot. Turns out, Cookie and Andre couldn’t have been more wrong. Do you remember what Lucious said to Andre? He asked him flat out was it a good idea for him to have a baby? The reason Lucious asked that is because he knows his mother was crazy and he knows that Andre is a great deal like his grandmother, and he figured with having a baby, the “crazy” genes may affect the baby too. I have to say, I damn sure feel where Lucious is coming from. But that’s a fear he’s going to have to live with because all his sons have his DNA. And shit, Cookie’s family isn’t exactly an exemplary example of great parenting either! At any rate, Lucious isn’t that thrilled about having a grandchild by Andre being the father. Trust and believe, Lucious isn’t feelin’ that at all! Not with what he knows about his own mother. Lucious could have had someone push Rhonda down the stairs. Hell, you all didn’t even realize Camilla and Mimi were thick as thieves. Are you seeing red yet?

And last, but certainly not least, good ole brotha Thirsty! Umm hmm that’s right, Lucious’s right hand man—his replacement for Vernon. Oh yeah, why not Thirsty? But, you ask, what is the motive? That’s easy—Lucious put him up to it. Hell, if Lucious could kill Bunky and all the others he’s smoked throughout the years to build up his empire, why not have Thirsty take out the grandchild he truly doesn’t want? Let’s be real, folks, eventually Lucious is going to have to get rid of Thirsty because he knows way too much! But for now, why not use his hatchet man to take care of some ugly business? Thirsty is the right size and height and his head shape could fit the Anika mold as well. I’m just saying. And if you trust Thirsty, you better have your ‘trust meter’ examined! There’s that red herring again!

Seriously, folks, the main reason I really don’t feel it’s Anika is because it’s too damn obvious. Lee and Danny set it up that way to make us think that’s who it is. Everything points to her, but I just told you other characters who could be potential pushers. Hell, you’d take all the fun out of what I just wrote if it is Anika. Of course, it’s highly likely that it is, but with this hot storyline this second season, why on earth would Lee and Danny go there? I’m having a ball spinning this story all kinds of ways. And folks, the bottom line is this; you have to think outside the box for real. Don’t just assume because of what you’re shown, is what you’re seeing. Didn’t the Rodney King video teach you anything? You can’t forget about characters that were introduced to us in the beginning—and I’m talking from Season 1 up through this point in time. Start paying attention to the celebrity cameos and their roles in the story. They bring clues, and many of you are missing them. When we’re not shown a character being killed, you can’t assume they are dead. And even if they are dead, writers have a way of resurrecting a character if there’s enough buzz to do so. Remember the infamous ‘Who Shot JR.?’ Case in point, Camilla is back. Many of you forgot about her because out of sight out of mind. That is a writer’s trick! I do it all the time when I write. Don’t believe everything you see. Don’t believe everything you don’t see! Confusing, eh? That’s ok, it makes for great writing and TV. As my mom always says, “practice makes perfect!” (Chuckle!)

Before I go, I have one more red herring to throw atcha. Remember Laz Delgato, played by Adam Rodriguez—Cookie’s lover. We never saw Lucious kill him. We assumed that because of the way he and Cookie talked, but what if he’s not dead? He’s the right size and height. That hood could have fit perfectly on his head too! There are several other characters I could throw at you, but I think I’ve given you enough red herrings to last until March 2016. I enjoyed venturing down this road with you.

Again, for those of you who’ve abandoned the show, you’ve exited way too soon. The show is really good and the storyline is going completely off the charts. There are so many red herrings Lee and Danny have thrown our way, we’re drowning with suspicion. I’m a writer and I know how this goes, which is why I don’t think like most people. Everyone looks for the obvious, and I venture down a completely different path. If you read lots of murder mysteries, you will understand my thought process. I love when I figure out a whodunit before I get to the end of a story, but what I love more is when a writer throws so many red herrings at me and stumps me sometimes. I have a great track record in figuring out who killers are in mysteries, so I wonder how close I am with this one? Hmm, only time will tell. 

I do know one thing. Out of all the characters in the Empire cast, there are only two I trust implicitly and that’s Lucious and Cookie. They may fight with each other and do little dirty things to get at each other, but they are ride-or-die all the way for the other. They will never let anything or anyone stand in their way, and that goes for children and family. When it comes to their union and bottom line, they’ll take you out. They have each other’s backs no matter what. They will win in the end—always, with or without you! Never forget that!

Until next time, Happy Reading, my friends!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Put your Detective Skills to the Test!