On this episode of Empire, titled “Fortune Be Not Crost,” the entire Lyon family supports Hakeem as he goes to court to fight for custody of Bella, a former Empire Entertainment artist returns and Diana continues to plot to take down the Lyon family.

Andre is seeing a new therapist, and he’s got a lot to say about his relationship with Detective Pamela Rose. He admits his family has a “dicey” relationship with law enforcement, so their romance is probably not going to work out. Andre isn’t sure he can trust Pamela, but he can’t stop thinking about her. Andre’s acting a bit manic, but is it the euphoria of being in love, or is it time for some new meds?

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The whole Lyon family heads to court to support Hakeem as he battles Anika for custody of Bella. Cookie speaks to Angelo, letting him know that she and his mother have put their differences aside, and she thinks it’s time to end their petty feud., but Angelo makes it clear he isn’t his mother. 

Angelo comes out swinging, attacking not only Hakeem’s character, but calling out the Lyon family as a bunch of “no-collar criminals masquerading as a music company.” He refers to Cookie and Lucious as violent, lawless kingpins or Hip Hop’s Bonnie and Clyde. If Bella remains in their care she’ll wind up damaged, injured or dead. 

Friends and family from both sides take the stand to speak out on behalf of Anika and Hakeem. Tiana sings Hakeem’s praises as a committed father, and Angelo decimates her, accusing her and Hakeem of having threesomes and doing drugs with Bella under the same roof. His attack is so vicious, Tiana is left as a quivering mess. Angelo gets chastised by the judge who calls a recess, giving everyone some time to regroup.

Hakeem doesn’t show Tiana any sympathy, complaining that she should have fought back instead of crying like some “punk.” He’s worried he’ll lose Bella because Tiana is weak. Hakeem blames Tiana for the whole situation. If she hadn’t given Cookie a heads up about his plans, he’d be in Cuba with his daughter right now. He thinks Tiana is nothing but a snitch. Tiana realizes Hakeem is stressed out, but she dumps him, warning him that when he gets his head back, he shouldn’t bother to come looking for her. 

I Love it When You Call Me Big Poppa

A blast from the past returns: J Poppa (Mo McRae). Becky’s ex wants to be part of Empire Entertainment’s “20-for-20” line up, and Shyne’s going to produce the first single. Becky questions what Shyne knows about Christian music, and he states he’s been known “to catch the Holy Ghost from time to time.” 

Andre is concerned about Becky and J Poppa’s past relationship interfering with work and expresses his hope that they can keep things professional. 

J Poppa and Shyne get to work, and it doesn’t take long for Becky to start flexing her A&R muscle, telling J Poppa his new track sounds too much like his last album. J Poppa questions if Becky wants a hit album, or would she prefer to continue her power trip. Becky asks Shyne to clear the studio, and it feels like things are about to get either really salty or really sexy. 

Becky refuses to let J Poppa treat her like one of his fans, especially not in front of Shyne. J Poppa accuses Becky of being jealous. He moved on, traveling the world and selling millions of records while Becky has been stuck in the same place. 

Becky reminds J Poppa that he was the one who gave her an ultimatum, and when she chose her job, he dumped her. But now she’s running the place. J Poppa plants a kiss on Becky and yada, yada, yada….sex.

Lucious Plays the Dwight Card

Cookie takes the stand. She admits that she spent 17 years in prison because of mistakes she made trying to make her dreams come true. She recalls having to raise her kids from prison, especially Hakeem. Now she sees him giving his baby girl all the love she couldn’t but wanted to give him. Hakeem’s a better parent than the one she had the chance to be. 

Angelo brings up the fact that Lucious took up with Anika while Cookie was still in prison. He questions if she was upset that Anika gave birth to his first grandchild; so upset that Cookie may have considered harming baby Bella. Cookie is adamant that Bella is family, and nothing or nobody could make her harm her own flesh and blood.

Angelo calls to the court’s attention that while in prison, Cookie was involved in several altercations, even winding up in solitary confinement for many violent incidents. Cookie responds that it was prison, she did what she had to in order to survive. 

Angelo asks if Cookie ever threatened Anika, and Cookie replies they threatened each other, but those were just words — they’re both still here. Cookie doesn’t deny getting into a fight with Anika but claims it takes two to tango. She also points out that all of that went down prior to Bella’s birth. Angelo still tries to paint Cookie as a woman with a grudge, and Cookie brings up the time she talked Anika out of jumping off a building, or that when Anika feared for her life, she came to Cookie, asking her to look out for Bella. 

Angelo doesn’t like being blindsided, and he tries to keep his cool but decides to bring up how Cookie pistol whipped him. Hakeem gets upset watching Angelo go after his mama and is unable to keep his emotions in check, and he and Anika begin yelling at each other. The judge threatens to throw them both in jail if they don’t keep their mouths shuts and warns Angelo that his fangs are showing. 

Lucious wants to take the stand. Cookie doesn’t think it’s a good idea, even if Lucious feels like his old self. Everyone knows Angelo has dirt on their family, but Lucious wants his family to trust that he knows what he’s doing. Hakeem agrees that his dad should testify.

When questioning Lucious, Angelo brings up Lucious’ ties to hardened criminals, and the fact that anyone who has ever come up against him seems to disappear or wind up dead. Lucious pulls the Dwight card. He doesn’t get mad, he gets meek. Somebody tried to blow him up, and he doesn’t know why. He doesn’t remember much, but he knows he wasn’t the nicest guy. Angelo finds Lucious’ amnesia…convenient. Lucious is willing to discuss anything Angelo might know about is past after the hearing, but this is about Bella.

Lucious talks with great love about Bella and all the good memories she’s given him, and credits his granddaughter for making him want to heal. Angelo doesn’t know how to deal with this version of Lucious, so the music mogul scores one for the home team. 

Legally Blind

Even though Lucious’ testimony went well, Hakeem’s lawyer can’t predict the judge’s ruling. Hakeem gets pissed, fires his lawyer and decides to represent himself. His family suggests this isn’t the best idea but are surprisingly docile about this incredibly stupid scenario.

The judge advises Hakeem to rethink his decision, but it’s his right, so she won’t stop him. Hakeem calls Anika to the stand. Hakeem capitalizes on the fact that Anika hasn’t been around for half of Bella’s life. Anika doesn’t know her daughter’s favorite color or stuffed toy. What song calms her down when she’s scared? What’s her bedtime? Of course, Anika is unable to answer any of these questions. 

Anika argues she just got back. Hakeem tells Anika that he wanted her to get to know Bella. His door has always been open, and he would have never cut her out of her daughter’s life. And now Anika’s trying to take Bella away, and she doesn’t even know her. 

Finally, something happens that makes sense — Diana arrives. Hakeem doesn’t let anyone know about his past ties with Diana which is another stupid move because a heads up would prove incredibly helpful before she blows the whole situation wide open.

Diana reveals that she’s been spending every Tuesday afternoon with Bella and Hakeem for the past five months and while she finds Hakeem to be pleasant and an attentive father, his family is unscrupulous. Thirsty urges Hakeem to object, but Hakeem sits there, probably regretting his decision to fire the one person who could save his ass.

Diana reveals that she videotaped these visits. On the first tape, Hakeem talks trash about his dad and his family right out of the gate. He also says that Bella can’t be trusted with either one of his brothers: Jamal is a pill popper, and Andre is straight-up crazy. 

Hakeem objects, and the judge asks Diana how many more tapes they have to sit though. Diana remarks that there’s just one other in which Hakeem wishes his mother was still in jail. Thirsty tells Hakeem he’s just lost his daughter.

Cookie has a few choice words for Hakeem about letting himself get played by Diana. He talked against his family.

The judge comes to a decision. She praises Hakeem for his courage, and she has no doubt he loves his daughter, but by his own words, his family poses a risk. Anika may not be perfect, but she offers a safe and stable home, so the judge awards Anika full custody.

There Will Be Blood

Cookie and Diana encounter each other in the ladies room, and Cookie has a few choice words, including “treacherous” and “bitch” for the DuBois matriarch. Cookie makes it clear she wants the woman out of her family’s life for good. 

Diana, Anika and the rest of the DuBois clan go out to celebrate. They may have taken down the youngest Lyon cub, but Diana isn’t done yet. Diana has her sights set on Jamal next. Warren swears he’s up to the task. 

Someone joins the group, and it’s Andre’s new shrink. By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. 

Lucious swears to Cookie they’ll get Bella back. Cookie hopes the old Lucious is back because she really needs him. Lucious swears he’s out for blood, and he’s going to make it spill like a river. And you know what? It’s about damn time.

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Will Hakeem go off the rails now that he’s lost custody of Bella? Are you ready for Lucious to start playing dirty? Can the Lyons take down the DuBois family? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Empire returns with a new episode Wednesday, November 29 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.