It looks like Empire‘s come up with a new fan formula: don’t do anything crazy until the last five minutes of the show. And seemingly, it’s working because viewers are finding themselves glued to the television – even when they don’t want to be – to know what twist Lee Daniels and Danny Strong are throwing in the mix to keep them coming back.
Last week’s “final five” finally gave fans what they’ve wanted for weeks: a proper and final farewell to Camila Marks-Whiteman and her dying and devious wife, Mimi. This week, the “final five” hit audiences with something very unexpected: Hakeem breaking his family traditions by getting down on knee. But before he popped the question to the
latest love of his life, there were a few things that happened first.
To kick things off, the Lyons said goodbye to Camila with an elegant funeral celebrating the last project she ever worked on: her Antony and Cleopatra clothing line. While Hakeem delivered something that appeared to be a eulogy (or closing remarks to her scandalous life), it was Rhonda who stole the show when Keem announced her as Antony and Cleopatra’s new creative director. Even in death, Camila still lives on.
But as everyone says so long to Ms. Marks-Whiteman, they find themselves officially being introduced to Dwight Walker. If you recall, Jamal outed his father’s real identity last week after realizing Lucious was trying to tarnish his reputation – and ASA nomination – by sharing the news about his middle son’s one-night-stand with a woman. But now that Dwight Walker is back from the dead, Lucious is taking advantage of every moment he lost as a child. In the midst of recording the visuals for his ASA-nominated single, “Boom Boom Boom Boom,” Lucious decides to change the storyline and use it to tell the truth about his younger days with Mama Walker instead. But before he can do that, he takes Cookie to the place where it all began: a cement lion erected in and looking over the streets.
Cookie can’t help but ask, “How did you end up here? Where was your mother Lucious?” But in true Lucious fashion, he keeps his answer all about the business. “It doesn’t matter where she was. It’s my story and my story’s going to win this award.”
Meanwhile, Hakeem and Jamal hit the hood looking for Freda Gatz. When they find her, she thinks Hakeem wants another battle, but the brothers are really there on business. The two are after Freda for her lyrics in a new song, but Freda is #TeamLucious and wants nothing to do with anything Hakeem and Jamal are cooking. Jamal tries to warn Lucious’s latest minion, but she doesn’t want to hear it. Unfortunately, she learns the hard way.
While Lucious is reconstructing the new “Boom Boom Boom Boom” set to reflect his childhood, Freda arrives on set for filming only to be told her verse got cut. Lucious tells her he decided to go in a different direction, and they can talk about things next week. But he forgets Freda’s from the hood, and she’s not having it. Eventually Gatz turns up at the studio to meet Jamal. The moment she walks in, Jamal knows exactly what’s going on. “Even when you’re messing with the devil, it still hurts.” And after a few minutes of “parental” reminiscing, Jamal and Freda finally cut a song together.
Between Lucious’s new video and his children’s eternal hate for him, fans would think things couldn’t get any worse. Then, Tiana’s Get No Better Tour hits. Mirage-e-trios aka Laura are the opening act, and Laura kills the stage. Unfortunately, Tiana’s starting to feel the effects of being the ex-girlfriend to Empire’s newest CEO, and she has nothing but complaints. In fact, she threatens to walk from her own tour unless Hakeem steps in and sets some ground rules for his new “bae.” As Tiana and Laura are bickering back and forth about wardrobe issues and additional set time, Hakeem is playing the mediator and trying to play nice with everyone. At the end of Empire’s musical negotiations, Tiana finds herself walking by Laura’s dressing room and sees her ex man kissing his new chick. Clearly she feels some type of way. But no matter how angry or annoyed Tiana feels, she can’t stop things from heating up between the new couple.
Cookie is celebrating her first birthday outside of a 4×4 cement wall and metal bars in 17 years. And all she wants is peace. Thankfully, her sons love her more than they hate her father, and the family teams up for a surprise family party featuring none other than Stevie Wonder. During the party, Cookie previews Lucious’s new video to the family, and some scenes hit a little too close to home for Andre. He asks if his grandmother was bi-polar, and Lucious tries to play dumb but it doesn’t work. Ultimately, he has to come clean. “The truth is my mother was a nut job. I was embarrassed of her just like I’m embarrassed about you.” Andre walks out, Jamal’s disappointed and Hakeem can’t take any more. To cope, Hakeem goes to see Laura after her D.C. show and tells her he wants a family as beautiful as hers. So, he does what any man in his position would do. He drops to one knee in front of fans and proposes. Unfortunately, Tiana walks out of the venue and sees them, and her jealousy just grows and grows.
And if you thought the show was over then, guess again. Rhonda turns to Anika for help Andre and Lucious let loose new battle cries, and Cookie finally realizes Freda Gatz is actually Freda Gathers. Ready for next week anyone?