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Empire - Light in Darkness (Season Premiere) - Advance Preview: "A King Without a Queen"

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3.01 - "Light in Darkness"
Directed by Sanaa Hamri
Written by Malcolm Spellman and Joshua Allen
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington

EMPIRE picks up exactly where Season Two ended – Hakeem left at the altar, Lucious and Anika married and Anika and Rhonda fighting on the roof – until someone falls. Also, Lucious pursues his music legacy with his streaming service, while clashing with his half-brother, Tariq (Morocco Omari), who is leading a federal task force investigating him in the all-new “Light in Darkness” Season Premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 21 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Check out my other Empire advance previews:

3.01 - "Light in Darkness" (September 21, 2016)
3.02 - "Sin That Amends" (September 28, 2016)
3.03 - "What Remains is Bestial" (October 5, 2016)
3.04 - "Cupid Kills" (October 12, 2016)
3.05 - "One Before Another" (October 19, 2016)
3.06 - "Chimes at Midnight" (October 26, 2016)
3.07 - "What We May Be" (November 2, 2016)


The problem with advance previews is that I really can't reveal too much about what has actually happened that will spoil something major - and when you have to preview a premiere that follows a life or death cliffhanger, well, it's problematic. I enjoyed season 2, and the finale ended at the moment we sort of begin with. Well, we begin elsewhere, but the identity of the fallen woman comes basically in the first minute or two when the death happens in a very public way. It isn't glided over either - there'll be a bit more of a confrontation, leading to a very tense and brilliant scene at the hospital. If anything though, this moment will help define the light vs. dark theme of season 3, setting the tone pretty well and in turn makes for a great premiere.

Lucious indeed has his hands full in this episode, and he will continue to have Tariq (Morocco Omari) on his back. In an effort to smooth things over, Luscious invites him around for a family dinner. It gets very heated, and that scene is another highlight of the premiere. In the end, you'll get a sense that Tariq is going to continue to reign hell in Luscious's life, one that promises he will not get a moment alone. Our Cookie, Queen of TV, hasn't taken well to the fake marriage of Luscious and Anika at all, so even though we saw some promise at the end of season 2 of a rekindling spark between them, that spark is seemingly fading fast here. Can I also just say I am glad that Luscious's mother is still on the show, because she is continuing to add creepiness and unpredictability to Empire. I watch her and wonder what is going on in her mind and what it will set her off to do.

After Hakeem made some progress with his choices in season 2, it seems like a lot of that is coming crashing back down as he is forced to deal with a lot of things at once. There is a tense scene in the recording studio with new series regular Shyne (Xzibit), and there's a bit of a stand-off too. Jamal is going to have his "recovery" season this year, and the effects of his shooting at the hands of Freya is not going to be easily forgotten. The ordeal seems to be effecting his performing abilities, and that's when newcomer Nessa (Sierra McClain) will step in. She has a great voice by the way. And Andre? Again, I can't say much about him, but no matter which outcome of who dies (Rhonda or Anika), he's going to go on his darkest journey yet, and this episode sets up a sort of Psycho-type storyline for him. If Rhonda dies, obviously he's going to be devastated. If Anika dies, he will have to deal with the fact that his wife is a murderer, and his faith and morals will be put into question. The possibilities are boundless.


- Jamal will sing a song that has a nod to the Orlando tragedy.
- Someone gets their fingers broken (and may be out of a job).
- The sex of the baby (unborn or not) is revealed.
- Empire Stream has its premiere.
- There is a flashback to how Cookie and Luscious first met as teenagers.
- There is a nice scene between Cookie and her sisters, but it doesn't last long.
- Tiana will have a small role, but I can see things developing (hopefully for the better).
- Strength of family is important, a message always delivered best by this show.


I enjoyed this season 3 premiere a lot. It begins in the heart of the action, so we don't instantly have a slow-burning premiere. It may take it a step down after the initial 10 minutes, but it's filled with tense scenes and brilliant character interactions that will set up some potentially interesting stories. I can definitely see how much darker Empire can get, and judging from the premiere alone, I think Season 3 will have a better, clearer direction than Season 2.


- "I'm done with God."
- "You lied to me."
- "What's a King without a Queen?"
- "I don't see no brooms around here."
- "You ruined it... forever."
- "You're about as trustworthy as a snake in a hamster cage."
- "Speaking of family, how did you get yours to participate in this sham?"
- "We are all going to go down if we follow you."

Any questions about the season 3 premiere of Empire? Let me know how excited you are about this episode in the comments and be sure to watch it when it airs on FOX at 9pm, Wednesday September 21st!

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
SpoilerTV Senior Staff Writer and award-winning author of the 'Abyssal Sanctuary' series. Gavin joined SpoilerTV in August 2014 and, as of 2016-17, reviews Pretty Little Liars and Salem. Previously, he reviewed 2 Broke Girls, Devious Maids, Mistresses and Sleepy Hollow. Gavin also writes special anniversary articles, most recently for Charmed and Desperate Housewives. You can contact him at
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