Spoilers ahead for the April 24 episode of Empire on Fox.
Empire has been an intense affair throughout Season 5 thanks to the building suspense over which member of the Lyon family will be dead by the end of the finale in May. The latest episode still featured some dark and foreboding moments, but it was more happy than sad thanks to the event that allowed Empire to make TV history: Jamal and Kai's wedding. Actress Gabby Sidibe, who plays the irrepressible Becky, shared the history-making aspect of the episode ahead of its airing on April 24:
Same-sex marriages have taken place with increasing frequency on television in recent years, but as Gabby Sidibe pointed out in her tweet, Empire's wedding between Jamal and Kai was the first time that two black gay men got to tie the knot on TV. To Empire's credit, the show actually allowed the wedding to go off with minimal hitches, especially considering the rocky road Jamal and Kai had to navigate to get where they were.
Their romance seemed doomed earlier in the season despite how much they clearly loved each other. Cookie was vehemently against their relationship after she learned that Kai was HIV+ and before she understood how the two men were handling it safely, and the Lyon family drama put such a strain on their relationship that they even called off their engagement for a while.
It wasn't until Jamal performed a touching number at the beginning of the "Trust" tour that they were able to reconnect, and the timing couldn't have been better. Jamal needed all the love he could get after he learned about Andre's prognosis. Despite the events that threatened to derail the nuptials in the April 24 episode -- ranging from Kai's HIV+ status leaking to the press, Damon kinda sorta crossing lines with Cookie, and the feds closing in on Lucious and Empire -- the event was just about perfect.
Lucious agreed to walk Jamal down the aisle with Cookie, Becky officiated, Chaka Khan performed a song, the vows were heartfelt and funny, and Becky even swore in a church, much to the amused chagrin of everybody present.
Sure, as viewers found out at the end of the episode, Andre was aware that he was dying within a matter of weeks (or months, at most) throughout the entire affair and is planning on killing himself, Teri is hiding her pregnancy, and it's only a matter of time before the feds make a big move, but it was a loving episode that made TV history in the best way.
Of course, a big question now is whether helping to make TV history will be Jussie Smollett's final contribution to Empire. Smollett made headlines earlier this year when he claimed he was brutally attacked on the streets of Chicago, and the subsequent investigation resulted in Smollett himself being arrested for allegedly staging the attack, possibly to try and win a higher salary from the show.
The charges have since been dropped, but Jussie Smollett was already cut from appearing in the final two episodes of Season 5, and rumors of recasting Jamal began to circulate. Empire technically hasn't been renewed for Season 6 just yet, so fans may not hear the fate of Jussie Smollett's Jamal until news breaks concerning Empire's future.
The final two episodes will air the next two Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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