Now is the perfect time to catch up on Fox's multigenerational music dynasty saga Empire. The Terrence Howard-led cast is set to strike back on March 30 after the over-the-top cliffhanger midseason finale "Et Tu, Brute?" found the Lyon clan steeped in even more than its standard share of record industry turmoil. Lucious is struggling to maintain control of his business, Cookie throws a concert at the prison that kept her locked up for 17 years and someone gets tossed down a flight of stairs.
There are a number of ways to catch up on the most recent episodes of the Lee Daniels-produced series. Both Fox and Hulu will let you stream the five most recent episodes of the series without paying up or signing in. The latter service also offers the first three episodes of the first season, if you're looking to dip your toes in before committing to a binge session.
If you simply need to pick up an episode here or there, all of the a la carte options are pretty much created equal, at $2 for standard definition and $3 for high definition. Beyond that, the math gets a bit more complicated. If you're looking to full-on binge before March 30, a premium Hulu account is your best bet. You can stream all 22 existing episodes (12 from Season 1 and 10 from the first half of Season 2) for a subscription starting at $8 a month, and an additional $11 will get you that content commercial-free.
As far as actually buying full seasons, the prices fluctuate a bit more from service to service, but all are generally within a few dollars of one another. The second season usually runs about $15 more than the first, as it'll include a total of 18 episodes when all is said and done. Most of the services also include some bonus material, such as behind-the-scenes looks with the show's cast and crew.
You'll find the full breakdown of your watching options below. We've rounded all of the prices that end in 99 cents up to the nearest dollar.
If you're simply interested in catching up on the most recent season, you can accomplish the task directly from the source. Fox's site has the first 10 episodes of Season 2 (up through the recent midseason hiatus). Episodes five through 10 are available to stream for free on your PC (albeit with online commercial breaks). The first five episodes require a Fox Now account (along with your cable provider login); the same goes for streaming the show to a TV or mobile device.
Amazon Video (à la carte)
Empire is not included in Amazon's $99 Prime Video subscription. However, the show can be downloaded as individual episodes or full seasons, the latter of which come with some bonus behind-the-scenes content.
Streaming ($8 a month for limited commercials, $12 a month for no commercials)
Hulu fans might just have the best (legal) option for streaming Fox's hit show. A smattering of episodes are free for everyone, including the five most recent episodes (a la Fox), as well as the first three from Season 1. You know what they say — the first taste is always free. Once you're officially hooked into the goings-on at Empire Entertainment, check out Hulu's two different plans: an $8 limited commercial version, or the full $12 a month, which will get rid of the ads altogether.