FOX's hit nighttime soap, EMPIRE, will air its season one finale in a special two-hour denouement titled "Die But Once/Who I Am" on Wednesday, March 18, at 8:00 p.m. ET. In the explosive last pair of episodes, Jamal and Lucious are on their way to forming a music-centered relationship, but once again, Lucious has a secret that's about to change everything! Meanwhile, Hakeem decides to flirt with the enemy while trying to figure out what the best move for his career is. Additionally, Cookie not surprisingly !51; is "cooking" up a plan of her own!
"It's a very explosive finale," series executive producer/co-creator Danny Strong tells Soaps In Depth. "Not surprisingly, given the nature of our storytelling, many things will go down and be resolved. Alliances will shift and yet it may or may not be completely resolved by the time it's over."
Strong promises he won't "Laura Palmer" the fans of EMPIRE referring to the season one finale of TWIN PEAKS (in which viewers were still left wondering who offed Laura). In other words, Lucious will likely reveal to which son he'll be turning over his music business. "A lot will be resolved," Strong previews.
Was there much pressure to make the finale jam-packed so that folks will keep talking about the series until it returns for season two? "Some people [may have] felt pressure, but I didn't," Strong says. "I never think that coming up with story that will try to outdo something is the way to come up with a good story. It needs to come from characters, conflict and fundamentals of what makes a good story."
Strong adds that he and his team asked themselves: "How can we conclude the season in a way that we've set up and play in a way that's exciting, powerful and fun, but also keeps the door open for a place to go to in season two? It was tough! Ilene [Chaiken, executive producer] and I wrote the final episode together. But there were a lot of re-writes."
According to Strong, the network and studio "pounded" the EMPIRE writers with notes in a good way! "The notes made it better," he allows. "They were really good. I think we really pulled it off." Of the finale, he predicts: "People are going to dig it!"
For more on what made EMPIRE the breakout hit of this television season, don't miss our feature in the new issue of CBS Soaps In Depth, still on sale!