***Caution: Spoiler Alert For Those Who Have Not Watch This Past Wednesday’s Empire Episode, “Fires of Heaven”***
In this past Wednesday’s Empire episode, “Fires of Heaven”, there is a scene that grips me. Andre is meeting his dad, Lucious, at his dad’s office and Andre then announces that Lucious will become a grandfather. At first, Lucious is ecstatic to hear this news, but then questions his son on the possibility of his unborn child inheriting mental illness. Andre smiled confidently at dad, assuring him it wasn’t possible that anyone else in their family, apart from himself, would have the disorder. Lucious then remembers when his mother showed symptoms bipolar disorder. She bought him dozen of gifts telling him it was his birthday, but young Lucious ,then known as Dwight, says it’s not and tells her she to return her purchases. His mother then slips into depression and he tries to console her.
Now, mental illness is caused by various genetic and environmental factors such as inherited traits, brain chemistry, and environmental exposures before birth (e.g. unborn child exposed to alcohol) (MayoClinic). Though in Andre’s case, although unknown to him , it is genetic. I think what triggered the gene to trigger within him was the trauma he has experience throughout his life. Yes, we can argue that Hollywood over dramatizes mental illness for viewership sake, though they did get this right. Some mental illnesses can be due to genetics.
According to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are five major mental disorders that share genetic roots: autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia. For example, for families like the Lyons family, the chances of a second degree family member (e.g. Andre’s grandmother) having bipolar disorder is 5 in 100 (Rethink Mental Illness). So maybe, Andre’s child may not have it??? Unfortunately however, there is no cure for the disorder. But… if Andre’s child display any signs of it, Andre must begin intervention for his child right away. Although it might have been late for him, it may not be late for his child.
I guess we will have to see after what happened in that episode the outcome of the Lyons family. I mean Lucious practically pushed Andre aside, fearing Andre was trying to use his unborn grandson as leverage to get back into the company. Somehow, I feel it was a mix of both: telling his dad about the great news and hoping it could help Andre get back into Empire. Another question I’d like to know is why is Lucious keeping the past about his mother a secret to his family??? I guess we’re going to have to see.