‘Empire’ Returns With a Tearful Jussie Smollett & Twitter Has Strong Feelings

Chuck Hodes/FOX

Empire returned on Wednesday, March 13, for the first time since star Jussie Smollett was arrested for alleging staging his own hate crime.

Though Smollett has been cut from the final two episodes of Season 5, he did shoot a number of episodes prior to the scandal.

In the episode that aired on Wednesday, Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon is featured, but not as much as some of the other characters.

Jamal decides to end his engagement with fiancé Kai Givens and he sings an emotional song about losing love.

Fans had a difficult time watching Smollett on Empire considering his current situation, and many fans took to Twitter to share their thoughts.

As for the actor’s future on the show, executive producer Brett Mahoney recently told EW it was a difficult decision to write him out of the last episodes of the season.

“It was a very difficult decision, but I think in terms of allowing the cast and the crew to really get the work done without a great deal of disruption in terms of the day-to-day and the stress of the day-to-day, and, in addition, allowing Jussie the time to really deal with what he’s been confronted with and allow him the time to focus and prepare his case, this seems like the logical decision to make,” he explained.

“It’s a matter of trusting the process and allowing the legal process to play out and see where it goes from there. And it’s too early to think about what we would have to do if we didn’t have Jussie.

He continued, “We have such a strong ensemble and we have so many stories to tell for all of these fascinating characters that it’s bigger than one character, but it’s too early to think about the show without him.”

Empire, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox