Last time on Empire, Freda shot at Lucious on the ASA Awards red carpet after Cookie’s drunk sister spilled the beans that Lucious had her father, Frank Gathers, killed in prison. Jamal jumped in front of Lucious and sustained a gunshot wound to the stomach, while Lucious emerged unscathed. (Doesn’t he always?) Also, Rhonda told Anika that she remembered Anika’s fashionable shoes the night that she was pushed down the stairs.
In this episode of Empire, titled “Past is Prologue,” the Lyons family celebrates Laura and Hakeem’s nuptials, while Jamal goes on strike from his music to try and put an end to the violence. Good luck with that, Jamal.
Sing a Song
Three weeks after the shooting, Jamal is welcomed home by his family. The house is decorated, and a woman, Veronica, sings a song to Jamal while Lucious tickles the ivories. The whole scene is a bit odd and over the top. Lucious wants the song to be performed at Hakeem’s wedding, and Hakeem would like his brother to sing it with Veronica. Jamal likes the song, but said that he isn’t going to sing it. Cookie chalks this up to Jamal being tired. Lucious has converted his gym into a rehab room and hired one of the top physical therapists in the country. Hakeem and Laura ask Jamal once again to sing at their wedding. Andre even got ordained so that he can marry these crazy kids.
His family doesn’t get it. Jamal isn’t going to sing anymore at all. He becomes very emotional and explains that until his family breaks the terrible cycle of death and incarceration, he isn’t going to sing.
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A Painful Memory
Lucious is grateful that Jamal took a bullet for him, and he pledges to never forget that. Lucious laughs when Jamal tells him that Freda is also a victim. Of course, Leah weighs in and tells her son that he and his children are paying for the sins of Lucious’ father. Lucious recalls a memory of his father hiding him behind some boxes just before attacking another man with a piece of pipe.
The Lyons brothers are confused because they thought that Lucious’ father was a cop. It is conveniently time for Leah’s nap, so Lucious leads his mother out by the arm. He hisses that she is lucky that Thirsty got to her before she spoke to the reporters at the ASA awards. Lucious makes it plain that this is his house, and he is the only one who will talk to his children about his past. His mother refuses to back down and wants him to tell his family the truth. (At this point, I am not sure if Lucious would know the truth if he fell over it.)
The Feds are Coming!
Anita comes by and wants to talk with Lucious in private. Cookie tells her to sit down, so Anika reluctantly does. She tells them that she was picked up by some federal agents, and Cookie gloats that she was right about Tariq being a fed. Anika claims that she didn’t answer any of their questions and that she demanded to leave. Thirsty Rawlings knows that they will try and subpoena Anika, so Lucious proposes that they get a 24-hour security detail to keep everyone away from her.
Cookie demands to know what they were asking about, and Anika responds that it was something about Shyne Johnson. Rhonda enters the room and grabs Anika by the throat. Someone finally pulls Rhonda off of Anika, but not before Rhonda punches Anika in the face. Rhonda shouts that Anika pushed her down the stairs, and that she remembers because of Anika’s shoes. Lucious states that plenty of women have those shoes, and Cookie even admits to owning a pair.
Rhonda asks Andre to tell his father the truth, but Andre simply apologizes for bringing negative energy into Lucious’ office. Rhonda storms out of the room to confront Andre. He admits that he doesn’t believe his wife either. She wants Andre to do for her what she did for him with Vernon. Andre responds that Rhonda attacking Vernon was a case of self-defense. Andre inherited Lucious’ killer instinct, and Rhonda wants to see it in action. Until Andre is ready to get rid of Anika, Rhonda doesn’t want to talk to him.
Hiding the Past
Cookie is still concerned about Tariq. Lucious turns up the volume and blasts some opera music before he sits down with Cookie. After Cookie was sent to prison, Lucious had to handle some drug dealers called the three horsemen that wanted Lucious and Cookie dead. Lucious killed the first three drug dealers to keep his family safe. There was a fourth horseman, and that was a job that Lucious and Shyne did for Tommy Davoni and Rosie Perkins. Cookie asks who else knows about this. It is just Lucious, Tommy, Rosie and Cookie. Rosie and Tommy will be at Hakeem’s wedding, and Lucious is sure that Shyne won’t be a snitch. No matter what, Cookie says that the past has got to stay buried.
Cookie goes to pay Shyne a visit at his drug den/recording studio. Cookie tries to make sure that Shyne has Lucious’ back because if one of them falls, they all will fall. Shyne is upset because Lucious owes him money for his record. Cookie offers to pay Shyne whatever it takes to resolve the issue, but Shyne doesn’t want money – he wants a publishing deal for his talented nephew Joey. Shyne also wants Hakeem to record the song, and Cookie agrees that she can make that happen. Shyne’s last request is a bit surprising. He wants to come to Hakeem’s wedding, since everyone in the recording industry will be there. Cookie is becoming annoyed about Shyne’s demands.
Andre and Hakeem bring Jamal home to his apartment and he sends them on their way. In the elevator, Andre tells Hakeem that Rhonda left to go to Los Angeles for a while. The two brothers are worried about Jamal, and point out that the one person who is not trying to help him is Lucious. (That’s not a big shocker though, right?)
A Gift for Jamal
Lucious goes to see Freda in jail. He wants to know why Freda would try and shoot him. Lucious tells her that the last conversation that he had with her father was about her. Lucious wants to help Jamal, but he needs Freda’s help to do it. He brings in a song he wrote and a recorder that plays some hip hop beats. Freda lays down a killer track as Lucious watches.
Lucious stops by to see Jamal and shares the news that he went to see Freda. He claims that he offered her legal representation, and after initially refusing, she finally accepted his help.
Lucious gives Jamal the recording, saying that Freda wanted Jamal to have it. Lucious also tells his son that he broke the cycle of violence today because Freda isn’t mad anymore. After Lucious leaves, Jamal listens to Freda’s rap, and he begins to work on the rest of the song.
Danger and Despair
The day before the wedding, Lucious and Cookie host a dinner for Laura and her family. Laura’s father, Arturo, has heard that Shyne Johnson is attending the wedding. Laura’s father knows that Shyne is a notorious thug, and he doesn’t feel comfortable having him at his daughter’s wedding. Hakeem brokers a peace by saying that he and Laura are going to make their own family and break away from the violence and the past.
While meeting with members of the board, Hakeem runs in and tells his parents that there is an emergency. Anika is sitting outside on the rail of the balcony high above the street. She says that she would rather die than be a snitch. Lucious tries to tell her that the whole matter will be resolved in a couple of days. Cookie manages to calm Anika down so that she can be pulled off the ledge. No matter what, Cookie is out to protect her unborn grandson.
Jamal is hard at work with Derek (D-Major) on the song for Hakeem’s wedding. He has an orchestra and singers working out of his apartment. Jamal even gets out of his wheel chair for a few minutes, but has a lot of pain and has to sit down again.
That Loving Feeling
Cookie and Lucious share a drink while Cookie thanks her ex for what he has done for Jamal. When Lucious makes a joke about only caring about Jamal because he makes Lucious money, Cookie responds by slapping him on the back of the head. (Ouch!) Lucious tenderly tells Cookie that “I should’ve never let you go.”
Leah is with Hakeem and his brothers while they get suited up for the wedding. They ask Leah what she meant about them paying the price for their grandfather’s sins. She tells them that Lucious saw his father get shot in front of him. Lucious comes in, and Andre tells his father that Leah was just telling them how handsome they look in their tuxes.
Everyone is enjoying the elegant atmosphere as Hakeem greets all of his guests. That is until Shyne arrives with some hookers on his arm. Cookie talks Rosie and Tommy into going into the other room with Lucious. Cookie and Lucious explain the gravity of the situation with the feds, and how important it is to keep Shyne quiet.
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Wedding Day Destruction
As Anika tries to take her seat, a member of the wait staff serves her with a subpoena to go before the grand jury. A melee erupts with chairs and glassware flying just as Laura enters, looking stunning in her beautiful gown. She is heartbroken and sobs that she doesn’t want this kind of life. Arturo tells Hakeem that his family is a bunch of thugs.
Anika is desperate not to testify, and Lucious comes up with the idea of getting married. Thirsty warns that the wedding must take place before the night is over. Cooke is in tears at the thought of Lucious marrying Anika. Lucious explains that it is just a game and it doesn’t affect where their relationship is. Cookie tells her sons that she loves them before storming out of the room.
Andre marries Lucious and Anika while Hakeem and a small group watches. This is really crazy, as Lucious is marrying the woman who is carrying his grandson. Lucious orders Jamal to sing. As he and Anika walk back down the aisle, he tells his new bride that he knows that Anika did push Rhonda down the stairs. Jamal goes to the stage area, but doesn’t sing as he looks at his devastated brothers and father.
More Secrets Come to Light
As they are leaving the venue, Tariq Cousins stops by to congratulate Lucious on his nuptials. Tariq assures Lucious that the feds are coming after him, and they are just getting started. Leah steps forward and asks Lucious why his half-brother is there. Lucious flashes back to the memory of his father being shot. Just before the man killed Joe, Lucious’ father, he told him that his son was really Joe’s. Yikes! Tariq, who addresses Lucious as Dwight, is surprised that Lucious didn’t know that their father was a cop, but a flawed man. Lucious tells Tariq that his name isn’t Dwight, and he has no family.
Lucious sends Andre to go and find Anika. She is on the balcony again, but it isn’t Andre that finds her first. It is Rhonda. They go at it, struggling and trying to push each other off the balcony. There is a blood curdling scream as Andre reaches the balcony. Did someone fall over, and if so, who was it?
I thought that this Empire episode was okay. It was a bit slow in parts, and I would have liked to have seen the wedding of Hakeem and Laura.
Empire airs Wednesdays at 9pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)