Last time on Empire, the board of Empire Entertainment named Cookie and Lucious co-CEO’s of the company. Although Lucious pretended to be happy, I think that Cookie should watch her back. Harper Scott, the reporter that Lucious angered by calling off their rendezvous and by giving away her exclusive story to another magazine, wasted no time getting back at Lucious.
At the gala, Harper presented Andre with a photo of his grandmother, Leah Walker, living in a group home for people with mental illness. That is difficult to digest as Lucious had just brought Andre to Leah’s grave where Andre spent some emotional moments bonding with his grandmother, who also has bipolar disorder.
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This episode of Empire, titled “The Lyon Who Cried Wolf,” sees the fallout from Lucious’ secret and how it affects his emotional and personal music video detailing his childhood. Good luck handling that, Lucious.
We kick off with Andre playing bingo with his grandmother at the facility where she lives. He is there as a volunteer and doesn’t reveal his true identity to his grandmother. When she loses the game, she exhibits a flash of temper and tosses her chips off the table. After studying Andre’s eyes, she asks him if they are kin.
In the recording studio, Hakeem and Jamal are laying down a track. It is awesome! I really think that part of Empire‘s appeal is these amazing musical collaborations. Hakeem is hoping to get the song in the Ryan Coogler movie. Becky points out that Coogler is concerned about who will sing the female part of the song. Hakeem is thinking his ex-girlfriend Tiana would be a good choice. Becky and Jamal feel that Hakeem’s fiancee, Laura, may have issues with Hakeem working with Tiana. Hakeem knows that Laura will be cool with it. Good luck with that, buddy.
An Artistic Vision
Cookie and Lucious meet with D-Major, the musical director of the ASA Awards. Lucious wants to base the Lyon family performance off of one of his tracks, but D-Major wants to use Jamal’s music since he is the most nominated artist. Cookie thinks that is a great idea, but Lucious refuses. The co-CEO’s bicker and argue, and Cookie insults Lucious’ weight. Cookie introduces Jamal to D-Major, and Jamal is shocked to discover that he is not performing one of his new songs. I guess Cookie should have checked with her sons before promising to deliver a Lyon family performance. When Jamal calmly states that he wants to do his music, D-Major knocks him down a peg. Hakeem is also not in love with the idea of performing with his father.
Cookie’s sister, Candace, shows up and makes the mistake of calling Cookie by her actual name — Loretha. Candace wants their sister, Carol, to start caring for Carol’s children again. Carol is fresh out of rehab, and Cookie’s excuse that she only has a two-bedroom apartment doesn’t change Candace’s mind.
Jamal interrupts D-Major’s recording session and plays his song with Freda Gatz for the ASA musical director. He isn’t happy that Jamal is wasting his time and is even less happy when Jamal puts his hand on his shoulder. D-Major orders his entourage to leave, and when Jamal gets in his face, I thought for sure that Jamal’s going to get punched. Instead, D-Major kisses him, and they end up in a steamy make-out session.
Meanwhile, while Hakeem and Tiana are recording Hakeem’s new song, he notices Tiana looking at him. She gives him a kiss on the cheek before heading out to the club. I would definitely say that Hakeem is thinking about getting back together with Tiana.
Meet Leah Walker
Rehearsal at the club deteriorates within minutes as Lucious and his sons squabble over each of their parts. Cookie screams at them all and tells them that they are going to work together as a family. Andre appears and he has a guest who may have something to say about family: Leah Walker. Cookie is totally confused and asks Andre who he is with. Andre asks Lucious why he sent her away to a facility for 21 years and never visited.
Lucious sent someone there every month with an envelope of cash to keep her hidden. Lucious looks stunned and emotional at the same time. When Leah reaches out to touch his face, Lucious storms off. D-Major arrives to watch rehearsal, but Jamal tells him that Cookie and Lucious are dealing with some family drama. D-Major acts pretty cold and decides to leave.
Cookie asks her ex-husband why he lied about his mother. Lucius says that everything was true. She did hold the gun to her head and pull the trigger, but there were no bullets in it. He feels that his mother did die the day she was committed to an institution. Later, Lucious saw her by chance living on the street. He and Cookie were on welfare and already had children. Cookie is understandably hurt that Lucious kept this secret from her. Lucious blames Andre for bringing all of this stuff up, and that is why he brought Andre to the cemetery. He adds that no one understand how dangerous she really is.
No Place like Home
Somehow, Laura has learned that Tiana is doing a duet with Hakeem on a song that Hakeem told her would be at the top of the charts. Hakeem acts like it was the producer who wanted Tiana, but Laura feels that he should have fought for her.
Andre and Rhonda (well, mostly Andre) decide that Leah needs to stay with them at the hotel in an adjoining room. Suddenly, Andre sees slimy attorney Thirsty Rawlings hustling Leah out to a car along with Cookie and Lucious. Cookie tells her son that Leah needs to be at the home, and Lucious adds that Leah is nothing like Andre. Leah does want to go home with “her Dwight.”
Lucious moves her into the mansion and has a private nurse on duty. More importantly, elderly housekeeper Juanita is in charge of making sure that Leah swallows each of her pills, that she has no phone in her room and no visitors.
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Revenge is Sweet
Thirsty is driving Harper Scott through the darkness. The poor woman thinks that she is going to see Lucious to get a statement. I have a very bad feeling about this. She boldly asks Thirsty if he is going to kill her. He pulls up underneath a bridge and orders her to get out. As soon as she does, she is grabbed by two men. Goodbye, Ms. Scott.
Jamal is surprised to see D-Major at his apartment. Jamal tells him to stop playing games with him. Does he like Jamal romantically or not? D-Major is in the closet and he feels that it is too difficult to come out. Jamal explains that this relationship between them could never work for that reason.
Cookie stops by to see Lucious, who is enjoying a cocktail that is not part of his juice cleanse. Cookie knows that Lucious fears a scandal, and she promises that no one will find out about his mother if he plays nice with his sons. She then takes the glass out of his hand and his liquor bottle with her.
Cleansing the Soul
Carol asks her sister Candace to please keep her kids a little bit longer. Carol still has to make amends with some people, like Cookie. Candace responds that Cookie will be angry when she finds out that Carol helped Lucious murder some people while Cookie was in jail. Carol prefers to think of it as keeping a promise to Cookie to help Lucious stay out of trouble. Yikes! A man at a nearby table is listening in on their conversation. Maybe he works in law enforcement?
Rhonda has given Anika all of the baby goods that she and Andre had. She wants a fresh beginning if they become pregnant again. While the delivery men are stacking boxes, one hits Rhonda on the back. As she falls forward, she flashes back to the night that she fell down the stairs. She suddenly remembers feeling hands on her back pushing her forward. Rhonda is wracked with panic and now wonders if she was pushed down the stairs. Anika tries to comfort her.
A Melody from the Past
Lucious comes home and finds his mother sitting at the piano playing and singing. She asks her son if he remembers the song. He does and sits next to her at the piano as they play and sing it together. When Leah calls him Dwight, he repeatedly responds, “My name is Lucious.”
Lucious joins Hakeem, Cookie and Jamal at the club for rehearsal. Lucious plays the song that he got from Leah on the piano, and everyone likes it. They add their own parts to it, and it sounds great.
Carol is sitting at a bar staring at her drink when the man who was eavesdropping on her conversation with Candace comes in. Carol recognizes the man, Tariq, and he used to be a cop. He tells her that he isn’t working for the police department anymore. He wants to buy her another drink, but she says that she will stay with cranberry juice. Tariq opens his wallet, and it has his FBI credentials inside.
We are Family
Andre introduces his family as they showcase their ASA award performance at Empire Entertainment. The performance is simply incredible and sounds amazing. Jamal runs out to catch up with D-Major and invites him over, telling him that he can deal with the fact that D-Major is in the closet.
Anika and Rhonda are hanging out, watching Rhonda drink wine. Anika complains that her feet are killing her, and Rhonda notices Anika’s shoes. They have a red bottom, and Rhonda remembers seeing the shoes walk past her as she was lying at the foot of the staircase the night that she fell.
Lucious is awakened by his mother at 3am. She has the dining table covered with homemade cakes. When Lucious asks where Juanita is, Leah replies that she sent her away. She orders her son to sit down and eat, and when he responds that he isn’t hungry, she points the knife at him. Leah shares that she never had any wickedness in her life until Lucious was born and that it is all his fault. She also regrets not killing him when she had the chance. Wow. Just … wow.
I really enjoyed this episode of Empire. I thought that all the performances were fabulous. The scenes with Lucious and his mother were also fantastic.
Empire airs Wednesdays at 9pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)