On the season 4 mid-season finale of Empire, titled “Slave to Memory,” the Lyons exact revenge on Diana with some help from Warren, Lucious gives Cookie an ultimatum, Jamal’s future hangs in the balance after a tragic accident and Shyne worries Andre will reveal their secret.
After his psychotic break, Andre is strapped to a hospital bed, and the doctors are purging the psychotropics from his system. They have no idea if they’ll be permanent brain damage, but wouldn’t it be Karmic retribution if he did? Especially given what he did to dear, old dad.
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An Eye for an Eye
Lucious is at Andre’s bedside and promises that the old Lucious is back, and that the DuBois family will pay dearly: eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth and soul for a bloody soul. Pretty big talk for the man who has been a pussy cat all season.
Cookie has other plans. She doesn’t trust Lucious to get the job done, so she plans to exact vengeance without his help.
Diana has a big event coming up known as the Captain’s Ball. After all her duplicity, she’s taking every precaution to make sure the Lyons don’t screw up her event. This includes employing a sizable security detail.
Angelo doesn’t think it’s a wise idea to move ahead with the ball, given they are at war with the Lyons, but after last year’s debacle, Diana is determined for the DuBois family to differentiate and distinguish themselves. She wants everyone to know who they are. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out Diana’s hubris will be her downfall. At least Angelo has the brains to be worried.
Eddie’s tenure at Empire Entertainment comes to an end, so Cookie throws him a farewell party. He’s almost finished with Tatiana’s album, and with Lucious back, Eddie doesn’t want to overstay his welcome (woeful under-use of Forest Whitaker). Cookie isn’t convinced Lucious is back and voices her doubts to Eddie.
After the party, Cookie holds a strategy session with Lucious, Jamal, Hakeem and Thirsty. She offers Lucious back his throne, but he knows Cookie has earned that seat and lets the queen have it.
Everybody is curious what Cookie has planned. Thirsty has been doing his homework, and he knows the security Diana has hired for the ball is no joke. All the employees have been vetted, and Thirsty assures Cookie that the venue is locked as tight as a virgin. Lucious has an idea, and it involves what the Lyons do best. Music is going to get them in.
Warren Wants Absolution
Jamal receives a surprise visitor, Warren. He bribes Jamal’s doorman with the ten grand Diana gave him to leave town, just to get some one-on-one with his ex. Warren declares his love for Jamal, but Jamal’s not moved by Warren’s grand gesture.
Warren knows he deserved the beatdown Jamal gave him. He sure isn’t nearly as pretty as he used to be. Warren has come to share some information that he thinks Jamal and his family should know. Jamal isn’t interested, especially when he learns that Warren knew what Diana was doing to Andre. Jamal says Warren deserves to die and throws him out of his apartment. But before Warren leaves, Jamal has second thoughts and wants to hear whatever it is that Warren came to say.
Lucious is getting tired of Cookie being so dismissive of him which also includes the bedroom. Lucious insists that just because he’s missing a leg and his memory isn’t fully intact doesn’t mean he’s not capable of satisfying her or defending his family. He claims vengeance is his, but Cookie makes it clear she’s running the show when it comes to taking down the DuBois’. They’ve got one shot to put Diana down for good.
Cookie and Lucious’ first act is to get rid of Angelo’s chauffer and kidnap him. They want him to sign a confession, stating that Diana kidnapped Bella and then extorted Hakeem to get him to turn against his own family. Angelo claims he didn’t know anything about that. It happened before his mama brought him on board. Angelo also points out that if he signs the confession under duress, it won’t be admissible in court.
Lucious tells Angelo they have a lot in common. They both have controlling mothers who like to tear them down. Even though they’re in a deserted alley, and Angelo knows how low the Lyons will go, he doesn’t give in. The only thing he believes he has in common with Lucious is that they both banged Cookie.
Lucious snaps and begins to viciously beat Angelo, proving the old Lucious is still in there somewhere. Lucious’ memory is returning, and when it comes to Angelo, all those memories are bad; so bad that Lucious wants to shoot Angelo in the head with the gun he brought. Because Cookie hurt Angelo way more than he hurt her, Lucious gives Angelo a choice. He can sign the confession or Diana gets her head blown off. Angelo chooses the former.
Next, it’s time to head to the ball, and Cookie and Lucious are going to be Angelo’s guests of honor. Lucious promises it will be the bloodiest damn ball they’ve ever had.
The Lyons’ Version of a Red Wedding
The ball is in full swing, and Diana is in her element. She may be one shady bitch, but she’s a shady bitch with an impressive list of contacts, including the mayor. Cookie and Lucious arrive and are denied entry, until Angelo announces they’re with him and lets security know they can take it up with his mother.
Diana spots her son and his banged up face and wants to know what happened. Angelo has to explain the Lyons got to him, and they’re on the premises.
Diana laid out some serious coin to score a fancy orchestra and is caught off guard when the musicians begin to play a tango, not one of the selections on her playlist. Cookie and Lucious take to the dance floor, and it isn’t long before they’re the center of attention. Diana orders security to throw them out, but Angelo reveals that Cookie and Lucious snuck in a militia with the musicians.
Yes, Cookie and Lucious have an entourage, including Jamal, Hakeem and some other Empire Entertainment musicians. They handily hijack Diana’s party. Jamal and Hakeem take to the stage and announce they’re going to perform a song for Andre who couldn’t be at the ball because Diana put him in the hospital.
Lucious and Cookie rub it in Diana’s face that she didn’t bother to do background checks on the orchestra, assuming the “ghetto” didn’t know about classical music. Hakeem and Jamal tear it up, singing the song they collaborated on together. Some of the crowd seems to dig it while most look confused.
Diana decides to bail on her own party, but Hakeem and Jamal are just the opening act. Cookie has more in store. Cookie takes the stage and introduces Warren who’s appearing via satellite. Diana tries to shut it off, but the Lyons have everything on lockdown. Warren calls Diana out on all her shit.
Cookie tells the guests that they may know Diana as a philanthropist and a pillar of the community, but she ain’t nothing but a “kidnapping, conniving, ho.” Diana calls Cookie trash, insisting Cookie’s allegations are unfounded and outrageous. That’s when Cookie reveals Angelo signed a confession.
Cookie goes after Diana’s daughter, Lana, next. It turns out Lana is pals with Dr. Lambert, and Cookie divulges how Dr. Lambert prescribed Andre psychosis-inducing drugs (cue gasp). Finally, Cookie brings up Diana pimping out her own nephew to break Jamal’s heart. Cookie owns that her babies may be messy, but they’re good and talented. They certainly didn’t deserve the treatment they got from Diana.
The crowd starts to turn on Diana, but she remains nonplussed. She doesn’t believe Cookie, her gimp of a husband or her intellectually-challenged children are in a position to judge her. She also lets the onlookers know that she finds them pathetic, and if it weren’t for her, most of them wouldn’t even be there.
The police arrive and arrest Diana for Bella’s kidnapping. The rest of her clan tries to slink out unnoticed, along with Dr. Lambert (Angelo ditched the joint as soon as Warren started his tirade.)
Hakeem Gets Bella Back
Anika bails on the ball in an attempt to leave the city with Bella, but Hakeem tracks her down before she can make a clean getaway. Thanks to Warren, Hakeem has evidence that Anika and Diana knew where Bella was when she was supposed to be missing. That makes Anika an accessory to a kidnapping. Either Anika can give Hakeem custody of Bella or go back to jail.
Anika begins to cry, begging Hakeem not to take her daughter, and Hakeem swears that he would never deny Anika access to Bella. All he wants is for his baby mama to stop using their daughter as a pawn to get to him and his family. As long as Anika plays nice, nobody will know what she did.
Angelo tracks down Warren at a motel, and he’s packing heat. Jamal arrives, but Angelo isn’t going to let these two have a happy ending, and I don’t mean the dirty kind. Angelo shoots Warren, Jamal grabs Angelo in an attempt to disarm him and the two struggle. Angelo gets shot in the stomach. Jamal checks on Warren who took a hit to the shoulder and then calls 911, He says there’s been a shooting, and he thinks someone is dead.
The ball is over, and Lucious wants to know if things are good between him and Cookie. She claims they are, but her lack of enthusiasm is obvious. Lucious continues to insist he’s back, and he did put Dwight on the back burner for the night. Lucious wants things to go back to where they were. Either Cookie can move into the same bedroom, or she can move out. Cookie decides that if Lucious is really back, they need to take things slowly this time around, which means Lucious will be sleeping alone for the time being.
Lucious isn’t deterred by the rejection. He lets Cookie know how much he loves her, and she says she loves him back, but there doesn’t seem to be much passion behind the sentiment.
Eddie gets some bad news from his ex-wife. Eddie’s the victim of a Ponzi scheme, and he’s lost everything — he’s broke. And Eddie’s got two former wives and some kids to support. Eddie assures her everything will be okay. He’s been ensconced at Empire Entertainment for months, helping keep them afloat. He figures Cookie and Lucious would love for him to stick around. He lets his ex know he’s got some ideas, and if he doesn’t want to wind up six feet under, they better not involve ripping off the Lyons.
Shyne tracks down Andre. He’s concerned his partner in crime hasn’t been keeping quiet. Lucious shows up and wants to know what Shyne is doing at the hospital. He had no idea the two were friends. Shyne insists Andre is his boy, and they squashed their petty grievances a long time ago. Shyne takes off, but he’s worried — as he should be.
Lucious tells an unconscious Andre that he clapped back at the people responsible for putting him in the hospital. Andre starts to come around, and he admits that he tried to kill Lucious. The information barely sinks in before someone comes up behind Lucious and injects him with some drug that knocks him out.
Cookie spends one last night at the house and wakes up to discover Lucious never came home. And the mystery person who drugged Lucious is his former therapist, Claudia, who is Misery-ing Lucious Lyon.
Oh, and Becky’s pregnant!
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Will Shyne try to take out Andre? Have Cookie’s feelings for Lucious changed? Will Angelo survive, and what will happen to Jamal if he doesn’t? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.