Empire Season 4 Episode 10 Review: Birds in the Cage

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You can always count on Cookie Lyon to step up for her man. 

On Empire Season 4 Episode 10, Lucious was still locked up at Nurse Claudia's cabin in the woods, and Cookie and Thirsty wasted no time in looking for him. 

Demi Moore has been great as Nurse Claudia throughout Empire Season 4, but I can't help but feel a little disappointed about the swift resolution of this plot. 

Hi, I'm a Nurse! - Empire Season 4 Episode 10

Empire has a habit of burning through storylines at a breakneck speed. In fact, that's one of the most significant flaws with this series, and one that I've been vocal about in previous reviews. 

The moment Cookie knew that Nurse Claudia was involved in all of it, the penny dropped. She knew there was no way that Lucious would move on with the villain. 

Related: Empire Channels Misery In Explosive Trailer

It was ludicrous that Cookie went on the mission alone. Yes, her sons were dealing with some heavy stuff, but there must have been someone who would be willing to investigate Lucious' whereabouts. 

When Cookie was ultimately captured, it seemed like a therapeutic process for her and Lucious to chat about their differences in a controlled environment. 

I Want My Man! - Empire Season 4 Episode 10

By controlled, I mean Claudia threatening to off them at every turn because they were "terrible people." Cookie perfectly got her way, and it made Claudia think about whether Lucious was too far gone for redemption. 

The final fight was spectacular, but my main concern with it was that it was cut short by Lucious throwing a punch at Claudia. The scenes that followed were very telling about just how different Lucious and Cookie are.

Cookie: I’m going to ask you one thing: Do I have to worry about this bitch?

Lucious would usually kill first, and think about it later, but he miraculously grew a conscience.Who would have thought that after all these years, Lucious would be the one to think rationally about something?

Then there was Cookie, who was egging Lucious on to kill the deranged nurse. It may not seem like it, but this represents a significant turning point in the relationship. 

Lucious: Do you know who I am? Do you know what I’m going to do to you? Do you know what type of pain I’m going to bring on you?
Claudia: We’ll discuss this when you’ve had a little more rest. [Claudia shoots Lucious with tranquillizer and walks over to him]. I know exactly who you are and what I’m doing to you.

It's certainly an exciting way to take things, but I hope this storyline gets some room to breathe. It would suck for Lucious to return to his former ways without much of a reason why. 

A Changed Lucious? - Empire Season 4 Episode 10

Cookie has long looked at Lucious as a man who looks after his family ... even if it involves murdering someone who poses a threat to them. Will she be able to get on board with this new and improved Lucious, or will she start to see him in a whole new light?

That will be one of the more intriguing questions as we head into the back half of Empire Season 4. There have been so many missteps with this series since Empire Season 2 that it's difficult to tell how long this period of good storylines will last. 

Empire Review: Who Died?

The flashbacks really benefited the main plot of the episode. Yes, we've had a lot of flashbacks of Cookie in prison, but "Birds in the Cage"gave Taraji P. Henson her best material to work with yet. 

Cookie Must Save Lucious - Empire

Cookie needed to adapt quickly when she was locked up, or she would have likely not survived the seventeen-year stint in the big house. 

Even Jamal was given a meaty story to work with, and I cannot wait to see what he does with it. He may not have meant to, but he took a life, and that's going to have a profound effect on him. 

I thought you we were like the Princes of England. You were the stable one. What’s his name ? William?

Hakeem

Angelo was the worst and needed to go, but I would have preferred him to wind up in prison. Jamal may be off the drugs, but he's hurting, and it would be unsurprising to see him spiral out of control once again. 

The three brothers sticking together proved that, even when the family is at odds with each other, they can come together to put on a united front.

At least Angelo's death served a more significant purpose: It brought the brothers back together. Thanks, Angelo!

The Brothers Stick Together - Empire Season 4 Episode 10

Hell, even Andre is not out of the woods. I never thought I'd say this, but Hakeem is the sanest brother in the family. Generally, I hate the midseason breaks, but something about "Birds in the Cage" felt fresh and exciting. 

Let's hope the show stays on track, and we get back to this being the show we loved during Empire Season 1

Other tidbits from the episode:

  • Cookie had so many different looks throughout the episode that it was hard to keep up. Her vibrant hairstyles are the biggest scene-stealers on this show. 
  • Nurse Claudia using Lucious' music against him was sick, but a stroke of genius at the same time. 
  • I am so on board with Becky's pregnancy storyline. Any scene involving Becky is guaranteed to be a good one. 
  • It felt off to have Porsha so detached from Cookie's storyline. They are always joined at the hip. 

Okay, Empire Fanatics! 

What did you think of the midseason premiere? How will Cookie react to this new Lucious?

Hit the comments below. 

Remember you can watch Empire online right here via TV Fanatic. Get caught up with all the family drama right now. 

Empire continues Wednesdays on Fox. 

Birds in the Cage Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (30 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Empire Season 4 Episode 10 Quotes

Lucious: Do you know who I am? Do you know what I’m going to do to you? Do you know what type of pain I’m going to bring on you?
Claudia: We’ll discuss this when you’ve had a little more rest. [Claudia shoots Lucious with tranquillizer and walks over to him]. I know exactly who you are and what I’m doing to you.

Take it easy. You still have a little of the sedative in your system.

Claudia