Oh, how we’ve missed the Lyons. Ever since Empire’s midseason finale aired in December, we’ve been waiting for the show to return and answer some major questions. (Is Rhonda alive? Did she lose her baby? How long have Camilla and Mimi been married and/or working together? There’s simply so much that we’re dying to know.)
Thankfully, our Wednesday nights are once again complete. The hip-hop industry’s fiercest fictional family is back with an all-new episode tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET on Fox, and we're ready to get some answers after not-so-patiently waiting out the months-long break. Here are five reasons we can’t wait for tomorrow's midseason premiere.
1. Cookie, Cookie, and more Cookie
Fresh off of her Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a TV Drama, Taraji P. Henson is back on our screens as the Lyon family’s glamorous and over-the-top matriarch. Last we checked in with Cookie, the ultimate diva had headed back to prison—only this time, she wasn’t spending time behind bars. Instead, Cookie treated her locked-up friends to a live-streamed Lyon Dynasty performance on Family Day. But after learning that Hakeem voted against the Lyons’ wishes and voted to remove Lucious (Terrence Howard) from power at the label, Cookie was not feeling the family love.
2. Jamal’s Love Life
There’s no shortage of sex on Empire—but while some of the power-hungry characters are getting it on just to get ahead, Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is the show’s resident romantic. After breaking up with his longtime boyfriend, Michael, Jamal did something that we—and even he—never saw coming: He hooked up with a woman. But no matter how much he cared for the purple-haired Skye Summers (played by Alicia Keys), Jamal realized that he was still in love with Michael and broke things off with Skye.
No matter who he’s with, we just enjoy seeing Jamal in love—and Smollett feels the same way. “Jamal is one of my favorite people in the world too,” he said in InStyle’s September 2015 issue. “He's saving my life in many ways.” While Smollet’s character explored his sexuality in the first half of season two, the actor himself came out in a drama-free way on the Ellen show last March. “For me it's not a big deal,” Smollett said of publicly discussing his sexual orientation for the first time. “But it was to others, and I understand that. One day I'll sit down and talk to everybody about my history, my past, and what I've been through. But that's not the story I want to tell right now.”
3. A New and Vengeful Leader
Naomi Campbell made her triumphant return as Camilla Marks, Hakeem’s former lover who took off after Lucious threatened her in season one. Turns out, Camilla was plotting her revenge the whole time she was away—and in a major twist, we discovered that she's actually married to Mimi (Marisa Tomei), the scheming board member trying to take control of Empire.
By the end of the midseason finale, the power-duo had done just that. Thanks to Camilla's persuasive ways, Hakeem voted to kick Lucious off his throne—proving that Campbell’s character has more pull than ever before. She’s such a fan favorite, in fact, that the model and actress is often mistaken for her Empire alter-ego IRL. “I’ll be at the airport, and someone will shout out, ‘Hey, Camilla!’ and I’ll say, ‘Wait, I’m Naomi!'” Campbell revealed to InStyle in November 2015.
4. Baby-Mama Drama
Last we saw Anika Calhoun (Grace Gealey), she seemed to have officially gone off the deep end. Enraged after being broken up with by two Lyon men—her former fiancé, Lucious, and his son, Hakeem, with whom she had an affair—Anika is doing whatever she can to claw her way back into the family. And when it was revealed that she’s pregnant with Hakeem’s baby, it seemed that Anika may have found her golden ticket.
While Gealey recently told InStyle that we’ll be seeing “much more of her [character’s] humanity this season” and that “she’s not inherently evil,” Anika isn’t getting much sympathy from fans right now. Her jealousy of Andre’s expectant wife, Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday), seemed to be nearing dangerous heights just before Rhonda was pushed down the stairs by an intruder as the midseason finale came to a close. Whether she survived the fall—and if Anika was behind it—remains TBD.
5. The Fashion Statements
From Cookie’s colorful furs to Tiana’s performance getups, season two has been packed with eye-catching flashy ensembles—and with costume designer Paolo Nieddu at its helm, the show has a more high-fashion feel (Nieddu replaced Rita McGhee, who crafted the characters’ wardrobes in season one).
Back in September, Nieddu told InStyle that he planned to elevate the show’s style in its sophomore season. “I love pushing the lines of reality and fiction, and will be adding even more glamour to the world of Empire,” he said. “The characters are going through new chapters in their lives and have all the past experiences from season one behind them, which will allow them and their styles to grow." To relive the greatest fashion moments from the first half of season two, check out our gallery—and be sure to tune in to see the looks firsthand on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.