Last time on Empire, Lucious welcomed his son Andre back to Empire Entertainment after finding out that Rhonda accidentally killed Vernon, who was about to rat out Lucious for Bunkie’s murder. Isn’t she the best daughter-in-law ever? Lucious definitely thinks so, and she is carrying his grandchild, too.
This episode of Empire, titled “Be True,” shows Cookie forging on with her new company, with a little help from Laz (Adam Rodriguez.) Hakeem pursues a new romance, but does he mix business with pleasure once again? It will be interesting to see if Andre can hold it together now that his part in disposing of Vernon has quite literally been uncovered.
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Lucious is celebrating the wonderful news that all the charges against him have been dismissed. The prosecutor, Roxanne Ford, has also taken a leave of absence after finding Vernon’s body in the passenger seat of her car. Andre arrives and is welcomed back to the company by his father.
Andre is heading up the new label called Gutter Life Records, and Lucious has signed Freda Gatz. The press is outside, waiting to hear from Lucious himself, but he doesn’t feel like making a statement. Both Andre and Lucious’ slick lawyer, Thirsty Rawlings, encourage him to do it. Lucious asks for Andre’s phone.
It’s a Gutter Life
Andre is in for a shock when he meets the artists signed to Gutter Life. They are drinking and hanging out, and one young lady is even dangling from a stripper pole. Andre is introduced as the president of the label, and then Lucious forces him to endure a lap dance. Just another normal day at the office, right?
Meanwhile, Cookie is busy at Tiana’s photo shoot, instructing her how to pose and managing the entire shoot. Say what you will, but Cookie is a great producer and manager. Cookie’s phone is going crazy, and since Cookie fired her assistant, Porsha, for getting her arrested, she hands it over to Tiana to fix. Lucious pops up on video and proclaims his innocence. Apparently, Vernon’s untimely death is being called a suicide. (In what universe would that make any sense?)
Meet the New Girl
Hakeem has more important things to think about. He is there to introduce his mother and Tiana to the new lead singer for his group, Laura. Laura is the shy girl that Hakeem saw singing in the Brooklyn night club. She seems really sweet. Cookie wants Hakeem to get back in the studio to capitalize on the publicity from his video with Jamal.
Ne-Yo is Wise
Jamal is in the studio with Lucious and Ne-Yo. In fact, Ne-Yo is going out on the road for a few dates with Jamal. No one is more excited than Jamal’s boyfriend, Michael, who is a Ne-Yo super fan. Lucious tells Jamal that bringing a significant other on the road is a bad idea because he needs to be focused.
The artist who took Jamal’s photo and painted it hangs out with Michael and Jamal in a bar. When Jamal tells him that Lucious doesn’t want Jamal to take his relationship on the road, the artist agrees. He then goes on to trying to seduce Jamal, but Jamal tells him off.
In their next recording session, Jamal is distracted because he told Michael that he couldn’t go on the road with him, and they are arguing by text. Ne-Yo urges him to bring Michael if he truly is the one.
Forgiveness and Stuff
Andre goes to see Reverend Pryce after his nerve-wracking first day back at Empire Entertainment. Andre knows that his father is testing him, and Andre wants to be baptized. The good Reverend urges Andre to unburden his conscience and confess to his family all his sins he has committed against them. After that, he must invite them to his baptism.
Andre fills Rhonda in on his plans to be baptized, and how he has to ask his family for their forgiveness. She warns Andre that he doesn’t need his family’s forgiveness. She would like a little sexy time with Andre in his office, but he turns her down. He mentions how they are having a baby, and Rhonda looks guilty. I wonder if she really is pregnant.
A Vicious Attack
Tiana is waiting for a ride when she is approached by two fans for a selfie. They mug her and take her bag. Cookie later finds a disturbing video online of people in masks going through Tiana’s bag. One man in a mask taunts Lyon Dynasty. It seems that they want to extort money from the company, but not if Cookie has anything to say about it.
Cookie has a meeting with concert promoter Laz, who explains that people from the streets are watching Cookie because they think that she has money because of who her ex-husband is. Laz is the only promoter who wasn’t scared off by the attack on Tiana. Laz isn’t afraid of the streets, and he and Cookie are flirting like crazy. All of that is interrupted by Porsha bringing in her grandmother’s mutt, Whoopty Woo, to help with security. Whoopty is a small bundle of fluff who does manage to growl at Laz. Cookie once again gives Porsha her job back on a probationary basis.
Who Gets Vernon?
At the funeral home, Cookie and Lucious discuss who is going to take Vernon’s ashes as he has no next of kin. Cookie asks Lucious if he killed Vernon, or if he hired someone else to do it for him. Lucious sits on the sofa next to his ex-wife and tries to rub her leg, and Cookie swats his hand away. Cookie is concerned because the people that helped build Empire Entertainment are ending up dead, so how can they keep their family safe?
Lucious tells her if she doesn’t feel safe it’s because he isn’t looking out for her anymore. Cookie accuses him of orchestrating the attack on Tiana, and tells him to take Vernon’s ashes. Lucious denies his involvement, and strolls out without the ashes.
Andre goes to see Lucious, and finds Thirsty Rawlings. Apparently Thirsty is taking over Vernon’s job, and is looking into Anika. Lucious wants copies of all of Lyon Dynasty’s music, and thinks that Andre will steal them for him. Andre tells Thirsty that he would never do anything to hurt Cookie, and that Lucious can fill Andre in on family matters in person. Andre kicks Thirsty out of his father’s office. Way to go, Andre!
Hakeem is hanging out with his all-girl group and dancing. When he tries to cozy up to Laura, she tells him that she is “not one of those girls,” and leaves. Needless to say, her band mates are a bit insulted. Hakeem tracks down Laura, and apologizes for putting the moves on her. He has his driver take her wherever she is headed. Hakeem takes a cab. And they say romance is dead!
Jamal is celebrating his upcoming tour with Becky and some friends. Michael is out on the balcony, partially hidden from view with that shady artist. Some sexual hijinks ensue, and Jamal is furious. He orders the artist to leave his house. Not to worry, Becky gives him a punch as he leaves.
Laz and Cookie are at Lyon Dynasty’s office when watchdog extraordinaire Whoopty-Woo starts barking. They catch two robbers trying to steal the music masters. Cookie and Laz both pull guns, but ultimately decide to let the boys go when they admit that Thirsty sent them.
Andre and Hakeem go to see Jamal to discuss Vernon. Andre admits to pulling the strings when Jamal was robbed at the run-down recording studio. Andre faces Hakeem and Jamal’s anger as he begs for forgiveness and asks them to come to his baptism. Hakeem is in, but Jamal doesn’t want a lecture from the Reverend about being gay. Andre wants to help heal the rifts in the family.
Andre talks to Lucious, who states that the only commandments that matter at Empire are his – not God’s. Andre isn’t going to give up his faith. He confesses to his father that it was his idea to have Cookie blackmail him in order to produce Jamal. He also admits that he went into Lucious’ studio and put a gun to his head, wanting to die. Andre begs his father to attend his baptism, but Lucious proclaims that there is no God.
Baptism by Fire
Lucious checks up on Freda in the studio. She is missing her father, and Lucious tells her that her father loved her very much, even though he was a scumbag. It is a bit unsettling watching the man who caused her father’s death doling out fatherly advice.
At the church, Cookie helps Andre get ready. Before he can tell her the terrible things he has done, she tells him to keep his mouth shut. Cookie is pleased that both Hakeem and Jamal come to support Andre. Even Lucious shows up, prompting Cookie to slide over on the bench to save room “in case lightning strikes.” When Andre is lowered into the tub of water, Lucious flashes back to being punished as a child by his mother forcing him into the bathtub and holding him under water while she sang to him. Andre sits up and sees Lucious walking out of the church.
Later on, Hakeem is out jogging when he is attacked and dragged into a van.
I liked this episode of Empire, especially the parts with Cookie and Laz. I also like Andre’s journey to redemption.
Empire airs Wednesdays at 9pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Kim has been covering television entertainment since 2013. She is addicted to Real Housewives, Pump Rules, Dancing with the Stars, and many more shows.