Last time on Empire, Lucious bought Apex Radio, which controls most of the urban radio stations in the country. That action threw the survival of Cookie and Hakeem’s fledgling label, Lyon Dynasty, into question. There was even more bad news for Hakeem. Lucious signed Valentina, the lead singer of his all-girl group, to Empire Entertainment. It’s a good thing Lucious isn’t vindictive, right?
In “Poor Yorick,” the warring family tries to set aside their differences long enough to shoot a music video for a track from Hakeem’s leaked album that features Jamal. Let’s see how that works out. This is Empire, after all.
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Keep Your Enemies Close
The FBI raids Empire Entertainment while Jamal is in his recording studio performing a song for a reporter from Rolling Stone. Jamal has nabbed the cover, and shares that his new album, titled “The Artist,” will be produced by the great Lucious Lyon himself. Jamal’s interview is interrupted when he gets news of the raid. Becky films the trashing of Lucious’ office until the FBI confiscates her phone.
Anika goes to see Cookie and asks about working with her again, especially since Anika hooked up the performance in front of Pitbull. Cookie isn’t amused, but she is more concerned about Lucious having the ability to keep their label’s music off the radio. She prods Hakeem to make some new music to release online, but he is still obsessed with producing his all-girl group. Anika breaks the news that Empire is being raided by the Feds, which puts a smile on Cookie’s face. She tells Hakeem to get Valentina back, and tells Anika that if she can sign Royale-T, she is back in with Lyon Dynasty.
More Unwelcome Surprises
Now it’s time for Cookie to be surprised when she opens the door to leave the office and runs headlong into another FBI squad with a warrant to search the premises. Meanwhile, a sleeping Lucious, and his lady friend, are roused by Lucious’ slimy attorney, Thirsty Rawlings, who knows that the FBI will be there soon.
When prosecutor Roxanne Ford enters Lucious’ bedroom, she is met with a cheerfully naked Lucious who invites her “to look wherever you like.”
Back at Empire, investor Mimi Whiteman and Jamal meet with the board. In order to protect Lucious, they will put all projects aside and put future ones on hold. Jamal is even going to cancel Rolling Stone. (I am a little fuzzy on how this exactly protects Lucious.) Well, Lucious strolls in and announces that they will, in fact, expand. He plans to use the raids to bump up Empire Entertainment’s street cred, and Mimi Whiteman is in total agreement.
One Big Happy Family
Rawlings joins the family for a meeting and explains that the FBI has nothing on them, or else they wouldn’t be using these harassment tactics. Lucious thinks that Vernon has decided not to testify against him. Hakeem asks his father if he killed Bunkie. Lucious swears on his soul that “he could never lay a finger on that man.” Rawlings instructs the family to act like a close-knit family until Vernon can be located and persuaded not to testify. Cookie is not happy about play-acting with Lucious.
Andre continues to be haunted about what happened with Vernon, wakes up in the night and gets sick. Rhonda doesn’t seem nearly as broken up about what happened as she actually killed Vernon while defending her husband.
Lucious meets with Andre, and once again flashes back to his childhood are shown. This time, the younger Lucious is being interviewed by Child Protective Services, and is begging to stay with his mother. Lucious knows he hasn’t been the best father, but he wants to make up for it by being a good grandfather. Andre asks his father if he can come back to Empire as the CFO if he can make this entire murder case disappear. Lucious responds that if Andre can make the case go away, he can have whatever he wants. Well, it looks like Andre has found a way back into the fold.
Truce or Consequences
Cookie decides to ask Lucious for a truce of sorts. Hakeem will do a music video with Jamal, if Lucious agrees to allow Lyon Dynasty music on urban radio, and to not steal any other artists. Lucious won’t budge on the radio, but agrees not to poach any artists or take any of the master recordings. The exes then have a hilarious put-down session while calling each other Grandma and Grandpa.
Lucious goes to see Hakeem, and tells him that he should sue him for leaking the album. In a weird way, Lucious thinks that his son is handling the setback well, and he makes a beat for his youngest child. Hakeem turns him down, and Lucious leaves.
Taking a Stand
Cookie is plenty angry to see Mimi Whiteman with Lucious at the video shoot. Since Mimi owns 20% of Empire Entertainment, she is staying. Lucious comes up with the concept of the video, which is some sort of post-apocalyptic Black Panther hybrid dealing with police oppression. Cookie scoffs at the concept, but Mimi, who is apparently Lucious’ new best friend, agrees with it.
Hakeem listens to the beat, and really likes it. Just like everything in Lucious’ world, there is a price: Hakeem can have the beat if he comes back to Empire Entertainment. Lucious will even let Hakeem manage Valentina and will put Hakeem’s music on the radio.
Cookie Faces a Threat
Outside of the video shoot, Cookie is arrested by the police on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court. Meanwhile, the artist brings in the portrait that he painted of Jamal for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Lucious and Jamal love it, but Hakeem calls it stupid. Lucious tells Hakeem that he made Jamal the head of the company because he doesn’t need to rely on Cookie. Hakeem takes out a knife and slashes the portrait. Lucious is secretly proud. During the video shoot, the brothers get in a shoving match and Hakeem tells the spectators that he is never coming back.
And She Fights Back
Prosecutor Roxanne Ford goes to see Cookie. An individual jumped over a subway turnstile and gave the name of Cookie Lyons. Cookie looks at the picture and realizes that it is her assistant, Porsha. Ford threatens Cookie that if she doesn’t get what she wants, she will come after Cookie’s sons. Ford even threatens to leak Andre’s bipolar condition. While sitting in the interrogation room, Cookie remembers sitting in her jail cell, crying and begging God to let her die.
She asks for Ford to come back. Cookie gets creative and tells Ford that she doesn’t know if Lucious killed Bunkie, but that Bunkie was trying to stop Lucious from doing the Apex Radio deal. Ford is pleased, and tells Cookie that the deal will be hung up for years. That is certainly music to crafty Cookie’s ears!
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Digging up the Past
Andre tells his wife that he is going to dig up Vernon. Rhonda is afraid of going to jail for murder, but she is even more afraid of what her husband says next. God has been speaking to him, and telling him that he must go back to Empire. Andre promises that he will take the blame for Vernon’s murder if something goes awry. Rhonda insists on going with him. (It’s obviously not my idea of a romantic date, but whatever.)
They dig for a while in front of a tree with a hole in it, which was the marker. Rhonda discovers that all the trees have holes in them. Finding Vernon will be like finding a pine needle in the forest. They agree to give up and are about to fill in the holes when a car pulls up. It is Lucious, who had Rawlings put a tracking device on Andre’s car.
Rhonda confesses to hitting Vernon with a candlestick and accidentally killing him. Lucious is pleased that they killed Vernon, and did such a good job disposing of the body. They dig up Vernon, and put him in the trunk of a car. Andre takes a moment to say some loving words to his dearly departed Uncle. Lucious embraces his son and welcomes him back to Empire Entertainment.
Hakeem is at a bar when he sees a shy Latin songstress take the song for the first time ever. Cookie, sprung from jail, has a chat with Anika and informs her that Lucious never told Anika to steal Cookie’s music masters. Cookie knows that Lucious is lying, but she can’t trust Anika. Once again, Anika is left out in the cold.
Prosecutor Ford faces a more gruesome surprise when she gets into her car and sees Vernon’s corpse in the passenger seat. Lucious, back in his office, burns a photo of himself with Bunkie and Vernon in the good old days.
I really liked this episode of Empire, even though it was a bit hectic. I am a bit grossed out about a family digging up corpses together, but maybe that’s just me.
Empire airs Wednesdays at 9pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)