TV Club: Empire returns the same as it ever was, for better and for worse

The key to understanding Empire is knowing what was left out of “The Devils Are Here.” The scene where Frank Gathers (guest star Chris Rock) sits across from Jamel, pressing him for answers on who snitched on him, wasn’t just supposed to have Frank ravenously attacking a plate of mystery meat while wearing an inexplicably blood-spattered bib. There were supposed to be shots of human remains so as to make clear that Frank is a cannibal. The higher-ups at Fox reportedly pleaded with Lee Daniels, who directed the premiere from a script by Danny Strong and Ilene Chaiken, to cut the more explicit shots of human body parts. Daniels finally relented, Rock was called back in for reshoots, and now the scene is considerably tamer. Gathers is still a cannibal—Cookie casually compares him to Idi Amin—he’s just not sucking on a human wrist like a neckbone …

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