Spoilers ahead for the October 17 episode of Empire on Fox. If you haven't caught the episode yet, feel free to check out some of our spoiler-free stories until you get the chance to tune in.
The Season 5 premiere of Empire ended on a killer cliffhanger revealing a major death is on the way. The mystery is going to play out through the entire season, so the premiere naturally didn't show who was going to be in a coffin. The good news for fans dying for details is that the October 17 episode of Empire ended on another flash-forward that gives a little bit more away. The bad news is that it was a bloody mess, and the death just got more complicated. Oh, Empire.
Let's start with a quick recap of the flash-forward action. The big death was first revealed in the final moments of the fifth season premiere when time flashed forward six months, when Lucious was seen standing grimly over a coffin. He said "I'm sorry" to the casket, and it felt pretty clear that whoever died was somebody important to Lucious. A second flash-forward was set during the funeral. Thirsty Rawlings came up to tell Lucious that the limo was waiting and ask who he wanted to ride with.
Lucious told Thirsty that he intended to ride alone, but before he could get going, a pair of federal agents came and told Lucious they needed to talk. At that point, it was impossible to say if the feds wanted to chat with Lucious because they suspected him of something, there had been some development in whatever resulted in the big death, or they were just a thorn in his side unrelated to the death.
Well, the flash-forward in the latest episode may be hinting that Lucious is going to be in trouble with the feds. At the very least, the situation leading up to the big death is going to be very messy. This latest flash-forward was set five months in the future, so it takes place before the funeral. Lucious stumbled out of a room, looking very shaken.
It's not difficult to guess why he was shaken up, as the flash-forward quickly reveals that he's covered in blood on one side of his torso. At first, it's impossible to say if the blood is his or that of somebody else, and Lucious looks more confused than agonized or enraged. When he pulls back his jacket to examine the blood, however, it looks an awful lot like he's the one bleeding. Lucious seems to be quite seriously injured.
Whatever happens that leads to the death, a lot of blood will be shed in the final chain of events. Unless the funeral is held a full month after Lucious stumbled out clutching his bloody side, the incident in the latest flash-forward probably didn't immediately result in the big death.
Of course, it's not out of the realm of possibility for somebody on Empire to hide a body and conceal a death, which could conceivably work for a month. Still, my money is on the big death happening as a consequence of Lucious' bloody encounter, not because of the bloody encounter.
The events of the episode prior to the flash-forward may have dropped a valuable clue about who sets the events in motion and what character is the one to bite the dust. The final scene before the flash-forward featured Giselle visiting Diana in prison, and Diana seems like more than a match for Giselle. Nevertheless, Giselle struck a nerve when she brought up the Lyons, and here's what Diana had to say:
The Lyons. Oh yes, the Lyons. Kingsley promised me he would teach the Lyons. They need to know how it feels to put one of your own into the ground.
Given that Diana's ominous line about the Lyons needing to learn the feeling of burying one of their own came directly before the flash-forward to a bloody Lucious, we can probably be confident that Diana is going to have something to do with what goes wrong for the Lyons. After the events of Season 5 so far, Diana appears to have come to the conclusion that she can't really count on Kingsley to get things done on his own.
Diana will still need some help if she's going to take down at least one of the Lyons. After all, she is still locked up in prison. Considering what may be mutual disdain for Kingsley and a mutual desire to make the Lyon family pay, Giselle could turn out to be a valuable ally to Diana. She's not the most trustworthy person in the world and the recent death of Eddie hasn't changed her for the better.
It should be interesting to see who Diana surrounds herself in her mission to destroy the Lyons. Although the episode did add to the mounting evidence that it is indeed one of the Lyons who dies rather than a friend or somebody else important, we still can't say for certain that it's one of the major members of the family. Cookie's death would be the biggest deal, and I'm not sure Empire would do anything that gets rid of Taraji P. Henson unless she wanted to leave the show.
The three Lyon boys are arguably in the most danger. Andre proved that he's still a wild card, so he could wind up in a dangerous situation that escalates a little too high. Hakeem seems determined to stay out of messes, but he doesn't have the best luck. Jamal is in love and looking to marry his boyfriend (who is unfortunately missing and possibly dead); wouldn't it be classic Empire for the show to kill him off after he believed he could marry Kai?
We'll have to wait and see. Empire is off next week due to the World Series, so you'll have to last an extra week between episodes this time around. New episodes of Empire typically air on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. If baseball isn't up your alley and you're still in the market for other shows as well, take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule. For some streaming TV options, swing by our 2018 Netflix premiere guide.