‘Empire’: Why Many Fans ‘Cannot Stand’ Andre Lyon and Jeff Kingsley’s ‘Ridiculous’ Storyline
After Cookie Lyon shot and killed Tracy Kingsley in self-defense, her deceased son and Lucious’ eldest child, Jeff Kingsley, “possessed” Andre, who has bipolar disorder. Many fans are “over” the “ridiculous” storyline as they feel it doesn’t make sense and depicts an inaccurate portrayal of mental illness.
Andre Lyon and Jeff Kingsley on ‘Empire’
The ivy-league college-educated son of Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) competed against his two younger brothers, Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) and Jamal (Jussie Smollett), for control of their father’s music label after an ALS diagnosis.
While the smartest in the family, Andre (Trai Byers) does not share the same musical wit as everyone else but played a big part in their company going public. However, he struggled with a bipolar diagnosis and had a strained relationship with his father due to his interracial relationship and lack of musical ability.
In the second season, his jealous stepmother, Anika (Grace Byers), murdered his pregnant wife, Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday), causing the Empire CFO to spiral. He later got revenge by spiking Anika’s drink, making his ex-stepmother hallucinate and fall to her death.
Andre went away to jail for his part in her death and helped a young inmate, Quincy (Skylan Brooks), get out of jail. He later fell in love with Quincy’s mother, Teri (Meta Golding), and they married and welcomed a child into the world together.
Things were seemingly going well until Lucious’ estranged eldest son, Kingsley (A.Z. Kelsey), returned, seeking revenge. Lucious used to sell crack to a woman on his block named Tracy (Amanda Detmer), who he cheated on Cookie with and got her pregnant before the Lyons had their boys. However, the music mogul abandoned his first son and never told his current family about his oldest child.
Jealous of his younger brothers’ lives and craving Lucious’s attention, Kingsley tried to steal the company but ended up tragically dying by suicide instead.
At the same time, Andre, who had cancer at the time, needed a heart transplant. Therefore, Cookie struck a deal with Tracy for her son to receive Kingsley’s main organ.
Tracy obliged, but increasingly wanted more control of Empire. She then held the Lyons at gunpoint, causing Cookie to shoot and kill her first.
Why fans are tired of the Andre and Kingsley storyline
After his mother’s death, Kingsley’s spirit returned and took over Andre’s mind to ruin the company as revenge. The eldest son has caused his younger brother, who is now the CEO of Empire, to commit acts of violence to get his way at work and home, scaring Teri away.
The majority of the final season has revolved around the two brothers and Andre’s terrorizing behavior while under the control of Kingsley. Many fans have complained about their storyline as they feel it doesn’t connect.
One Reddit user pointed out that Kingsley was not an “elite masterminded criminal” while alive, so it doesn’t make sense for him to become a “murderous person” who has taken over Andre.
They also feel that Andre has already suffered enough, and he had a good ending with Teri, but the writers “threw it away with the Kingsley storyline.”
Additionally, some believe the show “spent half of the last season” trying to endear the audience to Kingsley, so turning him into the villain is “ridiculous.”
Several viewers have complained their storyline is “conflict for the sake of conflict,” way too soap opera-y, and “triggering” for some people. Finally, many do not appreciate the “depiction” of bipolar through Andre as they feel it encourages negative stigmas about those with mental illness.
For example, numerous fans have expressed on social media that they would never date someone with bipolar disorder as they wouldn’t want to deal with someone like Andre. Empire airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on Fox.