Last time on Empire, Lucious threatened Hakeem after Hakeem was named the CEO of Empire Entertainment. Of course, this coup happened with the help of Hakeem’s ex-lover and cougar extraordinaire Camilla. Cookie got control of her own company under the Empire Entertainment umbrella and was named A & R for Empire, thanks to Hakeem. Rhonda lost her baby when she was pushed down the stairs. (Does anyone else wonder about what Thanksgiving dinner would be like with the Lyons family?)
This episode of Empire, titled “A Rose by Any Other Name,” the Lyons family tries to win Hakeem back to the family fold. Andre and Rhonda also experience marital issues after losing their baby.
Meet the New King
We start off with Hakeem being introduced at a press conference as the new CEO of the company. Let’s ignore the fact that he has a big staff with a gold lion head on the top. He explains Cookie’s new title, and explains that Andre will continue as Chief Financial Officer and the president of Gutter Life Records. Hakeem also announces that Jamal will no longer be vice-chairman so that he can focus on his new album and his seven ASA nominations.
When a reporter asks about Lucious, Cookie jumps in and says that Lucious is focusing on his music right now. Her response is a bit more polite than Hakeem’s “Who is Lucious?” After the reporters leave, Cookie tells Hakeem that he had better get Camilla on tape admitting that she and Mimi set Lucious up if he would like stay alive, and smacks him on the back of the head.
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Lucious is getting ready to film a video for his hit, and ASA nominated single, “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom.” The video is about Richard II, a king trying to take back his throne from a usurper. Harper Scott, a writer with a magazine, asks Lucious how far he will go to take back his company from his son, Hakeem. Lucious responds that in three months’ time, Hakeem will come crawling back to him. Still, Harper presses the idea that Camilla went after him for personal reasons, and that Lucious was blindsided. A furious Lucious has her thrown out and he throws a tantrum.
Hakeem performs at Empire Entertainment and gives a fiery performance. He unveils a new logo for the company which has his face on a gold circle, not Lucious’ fierce countenance. Cookie and Andre are not happy.
Andre and Rhonda discuss how Hakeem can’t possibly run the company successfully. Andre tells his wife that Reverend Pryce said that God has a plan for him. Since Rhonda doesn’t believe in God because he didn’t save her baby, I can imagine this is going to be a thorny issue in their marriage. Andre has a vision that clues him in on the fact that someone might have pushed his wife down the stairs, and ultimately be responsible for the death of their child.
Andre swears that he is taking his medication, but Rhonda is afraid that his paranoia is due to a bipolar break. Rhonda wants to go back to work, and wonders about the high end fashion line that Camilla is starting at Empire. It is called Antony and Cleopatra, in honor of her and Hakeem. We all know how that relationship ended. Yikes! Rhonda asks her husband to ask Hakeem to get her in the fashion department. Andre is happy to, and all he asks in return is that Rhonda sees Reverend Pryce for grief counseling.
Some Good Music
Cookie goes to see Lucious, and encounters Thirsty Rawlings, who tells her that Lucious is interviewing video directors. Cookie asks to see the storyboard, and tells Thirsty, “You can go back to being useless … and stop wearing your Granddaddy’s suits.” (I love Cookie’s comments.)
She tells her ex-husband that Camilla is occupied with her fashion division, so she isn’t watching Cookie that closely as Cookie works on getting her out of Empire for good. After Cookie tells Lucious what to cut from his video, he plays her a song that he has composed. It is just piano with no lyrics, but Cookie thinks it is hot and can feel the pain that Lucious is expressing. She tells him that this is the best work he has done in a while.
Andre comes in and is very upset. He is apologetic as he explains how Camilla cut the budget for Lucious’ video. Anything costing more than $750,000 dollars has to be okayed by the board. Lucious bellows for Thirsty, but Cookie tells him to wait until Hakeem can get enough dirt on Mimi so Andre has ammunition. Cookie is worried about Andre, but he maintains that he is fine.
A Flip-Flop Attack
Jamal and Becky are leaving the company when Jamal is surrounded by a flash mob of people dancing with flip-flops that they toss at him. I guess that the gay community isn’t feeling forgiving about Jamal’s relationship with Skye.
Jamal goes to see Jamieson to find out why the gay community has turned on him. Jamal doesn’t think that whether or not he hooked up with Skye is anybody’s business. Jamieson counters that it isn’t just gossip as Lucious is the one spreading the story, and remarking how it is good for Jamal’s career. Jamal responds that Lucious is doing this because he wants to win an ASA award, and they are nominated against each other.
Hakeem and Laura admire the view from his spacious office. Hakeem confirms that Laura is his girlfriend. Camilla comes in and sees Hakeem with Laura. He coolly introduces her as one of the singers in Mirage a Trois. Once Laura leaves, an angry Camilla orders Hakeem to get rid of her. When he points out that she is married, Camilla explains how she will inherit all of her wife’s shares when Mimi passes away soon. Oh, and they say romance is dead! Camilla makes it clear that she and Hakeem can rule together, or dismantle Empire Entertainment and start a new company. Hakeem refuses to consider closing the company under any circumstances.
Going off the Rails
Jamal tells Cookie that it was Lucious who spread the information about Skye. Jamal has really had enough this time, and he tells his mother that Lucious is not going to be involved with his new record, “The Black and White Album.” Cookie wants Jamal to court his gay listeners as they can sway the votes for the ASA awards. Cookie is still organizing Tiana’s tour, and Andre is once again the bearer of bad news because Camilla won’t approve the budget as Hakeem has not provided her with what she requested. A furious Cookie calls Andre “crazy” in the heat of the moment, then tearfully hugs him and apologizes.
Cookie goes to see Tiana rehearsing. When Cookie tells her about the temporary delay in her tour, Tiana threatens to walk. Later, Cookie goes to see her daughter-in-law Rhonda hard at work at her new job.
Rhonda thinks that Andre needs to readjust his medication. Cookie asks Rhonda how she handles the situation with Andre. Rhonda has agreed to go for counseling with Andre with his Pastor, so she hopes that is a start. Cookie makes the sign of the cross before walking over to Camilla at her desk. Cookie explains that she can have Mirage a Trois open for Tiana, and Empire would get two tours for the price of one. Camilla agrees to push it through as long as Laura is out on tour for a long, long time.
Hakeem isn’t thrilled with his mother’s plan. Laura actually thinks it is a good idea, and a great opportunity. Cookie angrily tells Hakeem that he will lose his entire family, and Laura, if he doesn’t get the goods on Camilla and fix the entire mess.
Jamieson is disappointed in himself for getting played by that slick devil Lucious, and he is eager to help Jamal any way that he can. Jamal sings a song roasting his father. This obviously isn’t the type of performance that the crowd expected. At the end, he tosses out that Lucious Lyon isn’t his real name.
In damage control mode, Lucious invites the reporter Harper Scott back and apologizes. Harper asks what Lucious thinks of his son implying that he is fake. Lucious, surprisingly, replies that his son told a family secret that he had kept buried. Now that the truth is out there, Lucious wants to use it in his video. He offers Harper the Dwight Walker story, about how he became Lucious Lyon.
A Lack of Trust
At their counseling session, Andre asks Rhonda if she is cheating on him. Rhonda feels that her husband’s paranoia is due to a bipolar break. Andre asks where she was the night before, as he went to see her at work and she wasn’t there. Rhonda feels like she is being set up, and begs the Reverend to convince Andre to see a doctor to get his medication adjusted. The Reverend is concerned, but tells her that this time, Andre is also in God’s care.
Andre and Rhonda go to see Cooke and Jamal for a family meeting. Rhonda tells Andre that she was in Cookie’s office tattling on Camilla, and Cookie confirms it. Mimi is coming to visit her wife, and Cookie hopes that this will be the perfect chance to get the duo to incriminate themselves on tape. Andre doesn’t believe that Hakeem will do it. Hakeem is late for the meeting, and Cookie comments that Lucious has an “itchy trigger finger.”
Jamal goes to see Hakeem. If Camilla is removed, Hakeem wants to know who will run Empire. Jamal can only say that Hakeem has to prove his loyalty to the rest of the family after what he pulled when voting Lucious out.
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A Shocking Murder
Hakeem begins to try and trap Camilla by sharing some sexy time. Camilla is apparently unaware that Hakeem is taping their intimate time together. Hakeem has a meeting with Cookie and Jamal. He believes that Mimi is too smart to say anything incriminating. He sent a copy of the sex tape to Mimi’s hotel. Awkward!
Andre busts in and tells the family that Mimi is getting rid of all her Empire stock. Andre, who decides to use the trust in his son’s name to buy more stock, becomes agitated. Jamal and Hakeem want to distract Andre so they bring him to the studio to hear a song that they wrote from him. It is a moving moment, and my favorite moment of this episode.
Lucious goes to see Camilla and Mimi. He finds Camilla frantically wiping down the bathtub that Mimi is laying in. Lucious taunts Camilla by saying that no one will believe that Mimi killed herself. Lucious has a video of Camilla pouring something in Mimi’s drink. He boasts that Hakeem is the one who sent the sex tape to Mimi. He pulls a gun and tells Camilla that the police will think it is a double suicide, or murder-suicide. Lucious tells her to drink whatever she put in Mimi’s drink, or else she will have to endure a trial and prison. Camilla drinks the contents of the vial as Lucious leaves, telling her “to rot in hell.”
I liked this episode of Empire, particularly the song that Andre’s brothers wrote for him.
Empire airs Wednesdays at 9pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)