On this episode of Empire, titled “Full Circle,” Thirsty works to get Anika out of jail, Lucious looks for an old friend, hoping to get answers about his past, Becky betrays Jamal and Cookie comes up with a way to keep Empire Entertainment afloat. 

Leah was conspicuously absent during Lucious’ welcome home dinner, but mommy’s back, and she tries to drown her one-legged, amnesiac son in the bathtub. This triggers memories from Lucious’ childhood when Leah would hold him under water. Claudia saves Lucious from his mother who will only say she’s trying to help her son because “evilness is in him.”

Cookie Moves In

Cookie isn’t about to be sidelined by Claudia, so she decides to move into Lucious’ mansion. She wants Claudia to know that Lucious is everything to her and her boys, and she’s going to do whatever it takes to get him back. Claudia may be in charge when it comes to Lucious’ mental well-being, but it’s Cookie who is calling the shots.

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Anika Threatens Cookie

Anika goes before the judge, hoping to be released on bail, but the judge isn’t inclined to let her out since she stands accused of murdering a former federal agent. The judge orders that Anika will stand trial in six months. Before being led back to jail, Anika asks Hakeem to have Cookie come to see her. Anika tells Hakeem to let his mother know that she remembers January 7, 2015 — the day Bunkie was killed. 

Cookie and Thirsty pay Anika a visit. Anika wants out, but Cookie isn’t convinced Anika didn’t kill Tariq, accusing her of being a snake since day one. Anika offers to bite, but Cookie doesn’t take kindly to threats, especially from Boo Boo Kitty. Cookie and Lucious already paid Anika 25 million to leave town and keep her mouth shut, but she’s still around, still running her mouth and still in the way.

Thirsty says he can get Anika in front of the U.S. Attorney immediately, but in order to get out of jail, she’s going to have to play nice, shut up and do exactly what he says. 

Becky Stabs Jamal in the Back

It’s business as usual at Empire Entertainment. Jamal is recording the main title theme song for a movie for which he hopes to earn an Oscar nod, Becky is serving as the temporary head of A&R, Hakeem is searching for his next big hit and Andre is trying to sell Empire XStream.

Becky is having some trouble getting Jamal and Hakeem to fall in line. Both have a tendency to go rogue, even when Mama and Daddy aren’t distracted. When Jamal has creative difference with the client and won’t bend, Becky gives the song to Tory Ash behind Jamal’s back. Becky’s defense is that she’s giving the client what he wants which is her job, and Jamal threatens that if Becky pulls a stunt like this again, she won’t have a job at all. 

Lucious Tracks Down an Old Friend

Claudia takes Lucious to one of his favorite restaurants, hoping it will bring back some memories. The owner, Clem, enthusiastically greets Lucious. Clem remarks that Lucious usually only comes in with Eddie Barker who is a famous arranger, composer and super producer. Clem is eager to catch up on old times, but Claudia shuts him down. Claudia’s methods are starting to irritate Lucious, so he decides to take matters into his own hands and goes behind her back to ask Clem how he find Eddie. 

Lucious ditches Claudia, grabs a cab and crashes a family wedding to speak to Eddie (Forest Whitaker). Eddie tells a story about Lucious beating the crap out of the program director of a radio station and shoving the guy in the trunk of his car, driving around town and slamming on the breaks. Lucious has a flashback which seems to send him into a panic attack. 

Claudia is hysterical and has no choice but to turn to Cookie. Claudia wants to call the police, but Cookie puts a kibosh on that but quick. The last thing they need is that kind of attention from the long arm of the law. Cookie questions what may have set Lucious off, and as soon as Claudia mentions Eddie, Cookie has no doubt that’s where he is. Claudia wants to go get him, but Cookie wants Lucious to stay put; he’s with family, and that’s what’s going to bring the old Lucious Lyon back. 

Thirsty Comes Through Again

Thirsty makes good on his promise, and he gets the U.S. Attorney to the jail. Thirsty argues that Anika has been afraid to come forward with details pertaining to her defense because she fears for her life. The FBI didn’t take any action against Tariq when he became obsessed with Lucious and repeatedly stalked and harassed Anika. Thirsty has photos that show Tariq with Anika. He also has a doctored recording that makes it sound like Tariq raped Anika. She swears that Tariq wanted her to run away with him, and when she refused, he got so angry he tried to kill her. 

Thirsty tells the U.S. Attorney that what happened to Tariq was self-defense, and no jury in the world that will find Anika guilty. 

Leah Flies Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Eddie delivers Lucious home, and Eddie reveals to Cookie that he knows Lucious doesn’t remember him or much of anything else for that matter. Cookie makes a half-hearted attempt to cover for her ex-husband, but she finally admits Lucious has a traumatic brain injury. 

Eddie wants to know how Cookie is holding up. She tells him Empire is making money, but according to Andre, not for long. They’re going to have to start liquidating assets, and she doesn’t know how much longer she can keep Lucious’ condition quiet. Eddie advises Cookie not to sell anything. She needs to get the Empire artists to help hold her up and show their support through music. That’s what Lucious would want (If he knew what the hell was going on.)

Cookie finds Leah going through her drawers. Leah wants a gun. But this time it isn’t Lucious she’s after, it’s Claudia (Why nobody has addressed the fact that Leah tried to drown Lucious is odd.) Leah thinks Claudia is a threat to the family, and the way to deal with threats is to cut them down. Then Leah reveals that she killed Tariq. 

Realizing that Leah is not just bat shit crazy but also a homicidal maniac, Cookie and Claudia arrange to have the men in white coats come to take her away (Ironically, it’s a woman and a couple of guys dressed in black.) Leah pleads with Lucious not to have her committed, but he signs the papers. Leah’s next move is to try and strangle Claudia. She also tells Lucious she knows he’s a monster, and from the day she was born, she tried to exorcise the evil right out of him. But it just got bigger and stronger (Talk about going out in a blaze of glory.) 

Andre’s Almost One Night Stand

Several detectives arrive at Empire Entertainment to question Andre about Giuliana who is still missing. One of them turns out to be a woman, Pamela Rose (Teyonnah Parris), who Andre almost hooked up with a few nights earlier, but he had performance issues (She told him he was missing out on the best piece of ass he would ever have.) Thirsty promises full cooperation and walks the men out.

Pamela Rose stays behind, and Andre wants to know if their botched attempt at sex was actually a set up. Pamela swears she didn’t know who he was, but Andre isn’t convinced their initial meeting was a coincidence (This is a guy who is paranoid on his best day, and these are not good times for Andre Lyon.) He want to know if Pamela picks up strange guys in bars and has sex with them often, and she reminds him they didn’t have sex because he couldn’t get it up. 

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20 for 20

Becky fesses up to Cookie about what she did to Jamal. But when Cookie learns the movie producer is so pleased with the final product that he threw in big bucks for marketing and offered to finance the video, she gives Becky a pass. Cookie knows Becky loves Jamal, so she warns Becky not to let her heart get in the way of her ambition. Cookie decides to make Becky the permanent head of A&R on the spot. 

Cookie holds a huge press conference and makes a huge announcement. While Lucious continues his sabbatical, Empire Entertainment is going to move forward with a bold new project — releasing a new album for every year they have been in operation. Cookie promises 20 new albums by the end of the year — Empire’s 20 for 20. 

Andre is pissed. He feels like Cookie ambushed the Empire XStream sale and lied to everyone in that room. He knows Lucious didn’t approve of this huge undertaking because the man barely knows his own name. Andre tries to explain to his mama that the success of one album pays for the creation of another. He wants to know how she plans to finance 20 with no money coming in. Cookie doesn’t have a concrete plan, but she’s determined to figure something out. Andre pitches a fit, figuring this is all going to come back on him. 

Cookie does what Cookie does best and puts a man in his place. Andre isn’t allowed to pop off to the woman that “birthed and breastfed his ass into this world.” If he comes at her again, he’ll be dusting off his resume. Cookie knows that Lucious would never tolerate that type of insubordination. 

Lucious learns that Claudia is leaving. She’s arranged for a replacement. Lucious apologizes for his stunt, insisting it had nothing to do with her, but Claudia says they can’t work together if there’s no trust. Lucious begs her to stay because he doesn’t feel safe being left with all these crazy people who are a constant reminder of what a horrible person he used to be. The two cuddle up, and Claudia promises she’s not going anywhere.

Jamal sulks about Becky, but he and Warren sing it out. Anika comes knocking at Hakeem’s door and Cookie looks comfortable sitting on Lucious’ throne.

Is this the beginning of the end of Jamal and Becky’s friendship? Will Pamela Rose expose Andre’s role in the attempt on Lucious’ life? Will Cookie turn to Eddie for help with her new project? Will Anika’s return complicate Hakeem’s life? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Empire airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on FOX. Want more news? Visit our Empire page on Facebook.

(Image Courtesy of FOX)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.