Previously on Empire, ‘Without a Country’
Lucious may be out on bail, but he’s not allowed inside Empire’s HQ. No matter, he’s busy throwing himself a welcome home party at Leviticus, complete with an appearance by Pitbull. Acting on a tip from Anika, Cookie crashes the party with Hakeem, who steals the spotlight by performing his latest song.
It’s not all musical highlights for Hakeem this week, though. Coached by Cookie, his new group’s first public performance is a casualty in Lucious’ retaliation. He steals Valentina (Becky G.) from Lyon Dynasty, and buys the radio station willing to play their music. Damn.
Perhaps intimidated by Hakeem’s new grittier sound, Lucious desperately tries to sign Frank Gathers’ daughter to Empire. Let’s just hope he doesn’t slip her his bone, as promised.
Cookie’s best line:
“I’m not talking to you, Guadalupe! You need to find yo drawers.”
Number of times you wanted to slap Hakeem: 2
When he agreed to have Mirage-a-Tois on Sway’s show knowing good and damn well those girls weren’t ready.
Also, when he named that group Mirage-a-Tois.
Most triflin’ character:
Lucious. The way he treats Andre is filthy. I could see this character attempting suicide at the rate he’s going. Oh! And, um, did they really have him flex in a woman’s face like he was going to hit her? STAHP.
Runner up: Valentina. I know it’s her career and she’s ambitious, but daaaaamn.
Out of jail, and presumably taking his non-ALS meds, Lucious was fine. No pregnancy update (or confirmation) on Rhonda, though Andre tells both of his parents they’re going to be grandparents. Cookie is thrilled and suggests Andre use this news to emotionally blackmail Lucious into letting him back into Empire. Andre takes her up on this (kinda) and Lucious calls him out.
Who Says That?
Jamal: “They can’t stop a king from speaking to his subjects.”
Lucious: “Blasphemy. I’m a god.”
Serving Alexis Carrington Realness:
When Cookie tugged the tablecloth as she walked out the room, taking every damn place setting, platter, and goblet with her.
Who should jump the line for relationship counseling:
Lucious and Andre, again. Upon learning about the baby, Lucious immediately wonders if Andre isn’t worried that his mental illness will be passed down to the child. Since no one else in their family is bipolar, Andre isn’t concerned. Another flashback confirms what we already suspected last week: Lucious’ mother was bipolar.
How do contracts work in this universe? Did Mirage-a-Tois not have a contract with Lyon Dynasty? I would imagine they’d get SOMETHING in writing before they commit to a group name, appearances, choreography. How are artists so quickly swooped up by competitors? How are they always in danger of being taken? How, Sway?
Best Family Moments:
Both moments of joy (first with Cookie, then with Lucious) over a new grandchild felt genuine… until Lucious fucked it up.
Best minor character moments:
Portia dabbing the sweat from Cookie while training Mirage-a-Tois.
The BET award goes to:
Bout 2 Blow (feat. Yazz and Timbaland)
Leave your thoughts on the episode in the comments and we’ll read them on tonight’s Empire podcast!
This episode feels on par with the dramatic storytelling we fell in love with last season. Plenty of laugh out loud moments as well, plus solid performances by Taraji, Terrence, and Trai. The music still isn’t hitting as hard as season one, but ‘Bout 2 Blow’ is hot. Cookie’s wardrobe was deliciously extra.