Last time on Empire, Cookie looked forward to spending her birthday with Lucious and all three of their sons; the first birthday in 17 years. There were some touching family moments until Cookie showed Lucious’ very personal music video that portrayed his childhood. When Andre discovered that his grandmother was probably bipolar, he became very angry and stormed out. Rhonda called her best friend, Anika, for a ride and wound up with an invitation to stay. Run, Rhonda, run!
This episode of Empire, titled “Time Shall Unfold,” has Lucious’ relentlessly working to once again be CEO of Empire Entertainment. In other events, Anika lets the family in on her secret.
The Cat is out of the Bag
Rhonda and Anika bond over dinner. Rhonda shares that Andre’s pastor agrees that Andre needs to readjust his medication, and best of all, Andre has stopped insisting that someone pushed Rhonda down the stairs. Anika must be beyond relieved about that. Andre stops over to visit his wife. He is staying at a hotel, not with Reverend Pryce, and he is still taking his medication.
Andre wants to rent a small apartment to be with his wife and have a fresh start. Rhonda doesn’t think that they have been on the same team for a while, and she isn’t sure that they can get back to that place. The time that they were the most happy is when they were running Empire Entertainment. Their discussion is interrupted by the sounds of Anika vomiting. She admits to being pregnant, and tell them that Hakeem is the father. Awkward!
Empire Recap: Cookie’s Birthday Blues >>>
A Scary Blast from the Past
Meanwhile, Lucious is having a party to celebrate the launch of his video. He is approached by one of the majority shareholders who tells Lucious that they all want him back in charge of Empire. Lucious pretends that he doesn’t want the position, but finally says that if the board calls on him to serve, he will consider it. Cookie lets it be known that if Lucious is going to make a move against Hakeem at the shareholders meeting, she expects to be given a heads up because she is trying to unite the family. She also tells her ex-husband that he crossed a line by signing Freda Gatz, who is Frank Gather’s daughter. Since Lucious killed Gathers in prison, Cookie feels that it is a bad move to have Freda hanging out with their sons.
Jamal is enthralled by Freda’s talent, and she is going to be on two tracks on his “Black and White” album. He goes to tell her the good news at her father’s barber shop. When a customer sits in Frank Gather’s chair and refuses to move, Freda beats him up.(Jamal, take notes.)
It’s only Sabotage
When Jamal plays his new song with Freda for his mother, she tries to act like it is not going to be a monster hit. Andre reassures Hakeem and Jamal that he is able to help them prepare for the shareholder’s meeting. Jamal and Andre counsel Hakeem that it is not just a show for the shareholders–every word about the business needs to be perfect because Lucious will try and strike out at Hakeem.
Thirsty drives some thugs up to Empire’s warehouse, and they steal most of the Antony and Cleopatra clothing line. Hakeem has a chat with Lucious about this most unfortunate turn of events, and snarls that he will never bow down to his father. Hakeem gets a call from Laura that the roadies were stopped on the way to the concert venue, and all of the equipment was confiscated because they found drugs.
Rapping it up
Cookie has a plan to divert Jamal’s musical attention away from Freda. She sets him up to record with rapper Stacee Run-Run, who has been getting millions of downloads in a single day. As Cookie and Stacee’s manager discuss some business, Jamal is shocked to learn that Stacee has an exclusivity clause in her contract. Jamal doesn’t want to drop Freda from the album, but Cookie puts the blame squarely on Stacee. (Wow. Cookie is slick!)
Lucious takes Andre to the cemetery to meet his grandmother. Lucious tells Andre that he is proud of him, and that he doesn’t expect any help from Andre now that he is on a strict religious path. Lucious plays the victim card because of his chaotic upbringing. He tells his oldest son that they all want what is best for the company, and that would be Lucious back on the throne.
Hakeem is meeting with his business advisors to figure out what reason to give for the fashion line being delayed. Cookie vetoes the “my Dad stole them to sabotage me” platform. Andre has also found a hiccup with the new Swiftstream app. Hakeem can’t tout the company’s profits under his management because there haven’t been any yet. Cookie tells her son that he needs to stop acting childish in the meetings. Poor Hakeem can’t catch a break.
Jamal goes to see Freda at the recording studio, where she is perfecting her rap on the new song with Jamal. He explains about Stacee Run-Run’s exclusivity deal, and tells Freda that he doesn’t want to stop their collaboration. Freda knows that Jamal needs to work with Stacee to get to the next level, and she tells Jamal that he shouldn’t make any promises to her about working together in the future.
Fun Family Time
Andre gets the whole family together to discuss how they can rise above the past and become better people. He then turns the floor over to Rhonda and Anika. Anika announces her pregnancy and the identity of the baby’s father. This revelation results in yet another Hakeem head slap from Cookie. Jamal asks if Anika is planning on keeping the baby, and Rhonda states that she asked Anika to do so. Jamal reminds everyone that the family may have another heir in Lola. Lucious tells Jamal that he had a paternity test done, and Lola is not a Lyons. Lucious asks Anika what she wants, and Anika wants to make amends. She also wants her baby to have a family. (I’m not sure if bringing a baby into this wild family is a good thing.)
Empire Recap: Who Finally Brings Down Camilla? >>>
Lucious Works the Crowd
At the show for the shareholders, Tiana performs. Cookie introduces Hakeem to make his speech and then take audience questions. Lucious pops up in the audience with a question of his own. He asks his son what are the five biggest challenges facing the music industry. Hakeem pauses, and it looks like he is going to drop the ball. He comes back with some thoughtful responses that surprise everyone. Lucious doesn’t give up, and wonders aloud about the recent concert tour that was cancelled under Hakeem’s leadership.
Ever the masterful showman, Lucious even goes to a school teacher who depends on her Empire dividends to buy school supplies for her students. He also asks about the fashion line, and why the warehouse didn’t have better security. Lucious also mentions that there is a problem with the Swiftstream app. The audience begins to chant for Lucious. Cookie takes the stage and tries to mediate he tension by saying that both Hakeem and Lucious will fight together to make Empire Entertainment better than ever. It is Hakeem’s last shining moment as CEO because the board votes him out.
Threats and Promises
Jamal goes to meet Cookie and Stacee Run-Run at the recording studio. Stacee is actually in Japan, but she sent over her recorded tracks. Cookie begs for him to give it a try, and Jamal does try, but to no avail. Jamal finds it disrespectful that Stacee isn’t there to collaborate, and he wants to work with Freda. Jamal goes to the barbershop and tells Freda that he wants to work with her. She isn’t overly excited by the prospect and responds that she will think about it.
Thirsty goes to Pennsylvania to check on how Leah Walker is doing. (What?) Lucious’ mother is alive and living in a convalescent home. Thirsty gives one of the workers an envelope of cash, I presume to keep Leah under wraps, since she is supposed to be dead.
Anika comes home and finds Lucious sitting in her living room with a ceramic lion “since she adores lions.” Lucious wants Anika to have a healthy pregnancy, hand the baby to Hakeem, and he will pay her 10 million dollars. Anika confesses that when Lucious slept with Cookie it nearly broke her heart. Lucious feels the same way about Anika sleeping with his youngest son. He tells her to take his offer. Anika lets it slip that she is having a baby boy, and also threatens to go to the FBI with information that she has on Lucious. So what does Lucious do? He informs her that many women don’t survive childbirth. Yikes!
I thought that this episode of Empire was just okay. I like it when there are more musical numbers and performances.
Empire airs Wednesdays at 9pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)