What’s Worth Watching: Empire Raps Up

Empire Finale
Chuck Hodes/FOX
Empire Finale

Empire, “Die But Once/Who I Am” (Wednesday, March 18, 8/7c, Fox)

Who wouldn’t want to be part of the most outrageously entertaining surprise hit of the new TV year? As the first season of the deliciously soapy musical melodrama comes to a too-soon close, the two-hour finale features guest appearances by Jennifer Hudson as mentally fragile Andre’s music therapist and (as themselves) Snoop Dogg, Rita Ora, Juicy J, and Charles Hamilton. That’s a mighty glittery talent roster, but it’s all just backdrop to Empire‘s main headliner and head-turner: Taraji P. Henson, whose joyfully scene-chewing performance as Cookie Lyon, the ferocious, campy lioness, is at the center of oh-so-many family intrigues.

Expect the power plays pitting brother against brother, son against father, and husband against wife to reach epic proportions in the season’s oversized climax. If what we’ve seen so far is any indication, the drama will find new ways to go over the top and beyond. Music to our ears.