AVClub: It’s a real shame “Rise By Sin” didn’t come at the beginning of the season. Not this specific episode obviously, which braids together a bunch of season two’s dangling threads, but something similar to it. This episode and the last episode are far from perfect television, but they boast a sense of urgency and purpose that the rest of Empire’s second season has sorely lacked. The show finally feels dense and brisk, so even when the overall plot doesn’t quite hold together—which is most of the time—there are a lot of elements being serviced equally. That’s how the best nighttime soap operas work, by emptying a dump truck full of story on the viewers and letting them fish out the parts they’re most interested in. So an episode like “Rise By Sin” feels like it’s working even when individual pieces don’t fit together.