Empire: 5 Ways to Be More Scary than Chris Rock
Empire returned last night for season two. The ep. kicked off with a #FreeLucious rally. To make a point about the justice system, Cookie Lyon dressed in a gorilla costume and hovered above the rapt crowd in a cage. You’d think that would be the most deliciously absurd moment of a deliciously absurd series, you’d be wrong. What was absurd was casting the talented Chris Rock as a terrifying drug kingpin, Frank Gathers, who winds up in the hoosegow. You could tell he was fearsome because all the prisoners backed up against the wall when he walked in. I love you, Chris Rock. We all love you, but, oh, Honey, no. You’re not scary, my love. Here are five inmates Frank Gathers can learn from.
1. If you are going to be a cannibal, be a cannibal. Take Donald Groves on Oz. He wasn’t the biggest or the toughest, Groves was mild-mannered, but he was also incarcerated because of his misunderstanding of the term “family dinner.” Everyone gave him his space. Frank Gathers was supposed to be a cannibal, but the execs got cold feet, so I guess we were supposed to infer that his dining scenes were significant, but he just seemed peckish. Either you are a chianti and fava beans-loving sociopath or you are not, don’t be lazy about it. Having Chris Rock pushing something around on his plate was not frightening.
2. If you’re going to make crazy faces, go for it. Chris Rock made the acting choice to scrunch up his face a lot. That just makes it look like your nose itches. If you want to make alarming faces, emulate Orange is the New Black‘s Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren; she has resting crazy face. She’s not even mad here and you would go on the other side of the yard just to avoid her.
3. Be 50 Cent. No other instructions, just be 50 Cent. Kanan smirks on Power and it’s a blood-chilling experience. Additionally, he may know how to rise from the dead. You see Kanan coming your way and you do not collapse into giggles like you do with Frank. You hightail it to the Eden Roc Miami Beach, a luxury resort and spa and hope he doesn’t find you.
4. Okay, if you can’t be 50 Cent at least get a proper prison strut and some attitude. Power’s Tommy Egan didn’t mince the halls, the man brought some swagger to the situation. Bonus points, he was not blinded by prosecutor Angela Valdes’ luxuriant chestnut tresses. That takes a certain strength.
5. Don’t wait around for your henchman to do your dirty work. Frank needed a crew and it still didn’t work out for him. If you are a true gangster you will take down your adversaries in the blink of the eye. You will bring the badassery that only a 5′ 1″ black woman who accidentally time-traveled to 1781 can display when cornered in a cell by a sadistic officer. Chris Rock should watch Sleepy Hollow. (Fox should also watch Sleepy Hollow and promote it during Empire, but I’m going to stay focused here.) You don’t wait for damn sexy hobo, Ichabod Crane, to come to your aid, no you take that jackass sadistic officer down on your own — no weapons, just your own might. You unleash some BAMF Abbie Mills realness and then you leave with the damn sexy hobo so he can go serve his wife some divorce papers. Long story.
Empire airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on Fox.