Last time on Empire, Lucious brought Andre to his grandmother’s grave so that the three of them could make peace. Ever the loving father, Lucious played the victim and convinced his son that they both want what is best for Empire Entertainment, which would be Lucious back in control. Of course, Lucious may have edited out the information that his mother is still alive and stashed away in a nursing home. Why? I have no clue, unless it was because Lucious was embarrassed by his mother, Leah Walker, and her struggle with mental illness.
In this episode of Empire, “More like Kin,” Lucious continues to pursue his CEO dreams with Andre’s help, while Hakeem adjusts to the news that Anika is pregnant with his baby.
Cookie Works Hard for the Money
We kick off in a crazy strip club, in what I thought was Hakeem’s new music video. Apparently, it’s not, as Laura is repeatedly trying to call her fiancÃ©, but he ignores her to drink and party with strippers.
Cookie is in business mode as she hustles for votes at the ASA Awards voter appreciation function. Jamal is a bit testy with the press when they remind him that his father is nipping at Jamal’s heels. Cookie reprimands Jamal for taking his eye off the prize. If Lucious isn’t reinstated as CEO by the board, then Cookie fears for who might end up running the company. Cookie also has issues with reporter Harper Scott monopolizing Lucious’ time, while he is supposed to be schmoozing for votes.
Cookie cuts off the bickering father and son competitors as they take questions from the crowd. I mean, what could possibly go wrong in this situation?
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A Charitable Gala
At the bar, slimy Thirsty Rawlings pops up to inform Lucious that several board members want to bring in an insider to run the company. Cookie voices her displeasure, while Lucious takes this opportunity to again suggest his plan of getting his three sons to unite behind him as a show of strength to the board. His attention wanders over to Harper Scott, and Cookie notices with displeasure.
The next morning at the office, Andre tells his mother that the board wants to give the CEO position to Brigham Lang. Andre asks his mother if she wants him to talk to his two brothers and get them to unite behind Lucious. Cookie wants Andre to handle Jamal in just the right way since Jamal believes that Cookie has fallen for Lucious, again.
Andre has an idea to showcase this newly united family with a charity fundraiser for the National Alliance for Bipolar Disorder. Andre would like to be the spokesperson, which would mean letting the world know about his diagnosis. Cookie feels that Lucious making the video dealing with his childhood will appear even more heroic in front of the board.
Laura has traced Hakeem’s phone to the strip club where he is hanging with his friends. Laura tells Hakeem that she loves him even if he is not a CEO. He says that he got Anika pregnant before he and Laura got together. Laura smacks him across the face and storms off.
Later, Hakeem tries to sober up with the help of his brothers. Hakeem laments Laura breaking up with him at the strip club, and he wonders why everything he does turns out wrong. This fires up Andre, who lets his baby brother have it. Ultimately, Andre manages to talk both of his siblings into doing the ASA event because it is important to Cookie.
Jamal and Becky walk into the company and see Michael, Jamal’s ex-boyfriend. Michael works for the catering company. (Awkward!) Jamal confesses that he is stressed out about his entire situation, and Michael offers a friendly ear. Jamal takes him up on it, and they go to the coffeehouse where they first met. The band performing onstage calls Jamal to sit in, and he does. Jamal reconnects with the joy in making music without all the politics.
A Frightening Threat
Hakeem calls Anika to swing by his apartment. He has made it baby-proofed, and even bought a gigantic stuffed white teddy bear for the nursery. Hakeem wants to straighten things out with Anika before he talks to Laura again. Anika coolly tells Hakeem that Lucious is threatening her life on the very day that the baby is born.
Harper and Lucious have lunch while Lucious convinces her to give him the front page for an exclusive. Cookie waltzes in and Harper leaves, telling Lucious that she will get her dessert later that night. Cookie makes herself comfortable so Hakeem can confront his father about wanting to kill Anika. Since Anika’s mother is encouraging her to move away, Hakeem tells his father that if Anika doesn’t feel happy, he will leave also, and Lucious will never see him or his grandchild again. After Hakeem leaves, Cookie reminds Lucious that regaining his CEO position will require all three of his sons to participate.
A Medical Emergency
Cookie goes to Anika’s apartment and finds Anika being wheeled out to an ambulance. Cookie insists on riding in the ambulance with Anika since it is her son’s child. Anika is in terrible pain and Cookie reassuringly calms her down. When Anika refers to the baby as Cookie’s “grandchild,” Cookie seems less enthused.
Lucious closes down a club for a sexy rendezvous with Harper. I really, really wish that Cookie would interrupt this time. Cookie does interrupt, but by telephone instead of in person. Lucious pledges a raincheck, but Harper calls Cookie “manipulative,” which Lucious does not appreciate. He gives Harper a shove, and orders the reporter not to ever say anything else bad about Cookie.
Hakeem talks to Laura about how he needs to be a father to his baby. He believes that he and Laura can still be happy but Laura realizes that nothing can ever be the same again. She takes off her engagement ring and leaves. Hakeem checks his phone that he ignored during his talk with Laura, and gets some devastating news.
Rhonda helps her husband rehearse his speech for the gala. If Lucious is reinstated, Andre will be second in command, while Hakeem and Jamal will be kicked to the curb. Rhonda and Andre’s thirst for power is what makes this marriage strong.
He is not Welcome
Hakeem gets to the hospital in time to meet Anika’s very angry mother. Mrs. Calhoun lets Hakeem see her daughter, but she refuses to let Lucious see Anika “after what he did.” Hakeem is waiting in the lobby for his father. Hakeem is disgusted about how Lucious forced Anika’s father to commit fraud so Lucious could take Empire Entertainment public. Lucious is able to talk his way out of it, and mentions how proud of Hakeem he is for standing up for his baby, and Anika.
Cookie heads out to talk to Lucious while Hakeem goes back in to see Anika. Cookie tells her ex-husband that she doesn’t care about his relationship with Harper. Lucious tells his ex that he likes a woman with some street in her, and some curves, which sounds remarkably like Cookie, doesn’t it? Cookie has an idea to get a story out in the trade magazines about Lucious, thus ruining Harper’s exclusive.
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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
At Cookie’s gala, Jamal overhears his father telling shareholders that Jamal’s talent is still developing. Jamal is furious and leaves. Harper arrives, and is furious that Lucious let someone spoil her scoop. Lucious can certainly make people furious wherever he goes.
Harper goes to see Andre and presents him with pictures of a group home outside of Philadelphia that cares for 10 mentally ill adults. Harper has thoughtfully included a photo of Leah Walker, and casually explains that she believes that Leah is Andre’s grandmother. When Rhonda approaches, a flustered Andre leaves.
A Surprising Offer
Cookie and Lucious take to the stage, and talk about how Empire Entertainment is a family brand. Harper asks where their sons are. Thirsty ushers her out, but Cookie saves the day (again) by announcing that Lucious and his two sons will perform together at the ASA Awards.
The head of the board no longer wants to bring in an outside candidate to run Empire Entertainment. Instead, they want Cookie and Lucious to be co-CEO’s, with control of the company evenly split down the middle. Lucious pauses before saying what a fabulous idea it is. Cookie is shocked as Luscious embraces her and congratulates her. His calculating expression makes me a little fearful about Cookie’s safety.
Laura goes to the hospital to see Hakeem after she receives a call from Lucious. Lucious has worked his magic on her, and she happily puts her engagement ring back on.
Jamal takes the stage in the coffeehouse, and even Freda Gatz comes out to see him perform. The press gets wind of the performance, and the crowds of people waiting outside, and name Jamal a contender for the ASA Award.
My favorite part of this episode of Empire is, hands down, Jamal’s dynamic performances at the coffeehouse. (I feel like the struggle over who will run Empire Entertainment is getting stale. What do you think? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.)
Empire airs Wednesdays at 9pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)