Empire Delivered A Major Jamal Update, So What About Jussie Smollett?

empire jamal lyon fox jussie smollett

Spoilers ahead for the March 31 episode of Empire on Fox, called "Love Me Still."

The final season of Empire upped the ante in "Love Me Still" when Andre's secret came out at his failed wedding, resulting in Teri escaping, Andre trying to attack Cookie, Lucious pulling a gun on Andre, and Andre wrecking the venue. Before all of this went down, however, Empire delivered an update on the middle Lyon brother. Jamal has been MIA with his husband Kai due to actor Jussie Smollett's real-life issues, but he's been busy off-screen.

The Lyons revealed what was happening with Jamal at the dinner the night before what was supposed to be Teri and Andre's wedding. When Hakeem protested that the wedding was happening even though "Jamal's not even here," Andre dropped some happy news concerning his brother:

Andre: I spoke with Jamal. The adoption closes today. He and Kai are in Nairobi picking up their new baby.Cookie: See? We are twice blessed. We have a new grandbaby and a new daughter-in-law.

Jamal and Kai's marriage is evidently going strong, and they're expanding the family! They apparently couldn't make it to Andre's wedding because they're adopting a baby from Africa. Even Cookie thought it was okay for him to miss the wedding for such a special event, and Andre and Teri technically were already married. Jussie Smollett's real-life legal troubles have probably resulted in Jamal getting a happier life than he would have if he'd been able to stick around!

It doesn't sound like there would be much necessarily keeping Jamal away from returning once the adoption goes through, and Cookie seems to be looking forward to having another grandchild. Does this twist mean that Empire is building to a Jussie Smollett return before the end of the final season? It's not like a lot of joy is on the way fo the Lyons considering Lucious and Cookie might be dying, so some fans might be happy to see Jamal again.

Jamal fans might not want to get their hopes up too high. The case against Jussie Smollett took another dramatic turn back in February, and Empire creator Lee Daniels seemed pretty firm about Smollett not returning in Season 6. Daniels also explained Jamal's absence ahead of Season 6, and Jamal's reasons for staying away seem as valid now as they did then. Daniels explained to TVLine:

Jamal is taking a sabbatical from the family. He doesn’t want to be caught up in Lyon family drama, which is very much in keeping with his point of view last season — that [the family business] should be something that the family moves away from.

Frankly, if Jamal hears about how drastically Andre's wedding went wrong, including his dad pulling a gun on his brother after his brother tried to attack his mom, I wouldn't blame him for extending his stay overseas indefinitely. Not a whole lot of Empire is left before the final credits roll, so I honestly think this episode set the stage for Jamal to stay absent without fans having to suspend their disbelief.

Unfortunately, fans may be waiting a while to find out what happens before the final credits roll, as the final two episodes couldn't be completed before Empire had to shut down production due to the coronavirus. I'm guessing Empire will eventually produce and release those last two episodes as a special TV event, but only time will tell. For now, you can catch new episodes of Empire airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

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.