Typically, we’d offer you a quick recap of last week’s episode of Empire before jumping into the chaos, but the latest twists and turns in America’s favorite hip-hopera tackled so many layers that we think it’s best just to dive right in.
For the first time in what seems like the history of the show, Hakeem finally premieres new music with the opening credits instead of Jamal. He’s fresh off the CEO axing block, and is looking for ways to cope with the loss of his short-lived “moguldom.” Since he can’t think of any sober way to deal with his issues, he does what any young rapper with money would do: rent out a strip club and channel his inner Trey Songz while thinking “bottom’s up!” But in the process of his self-loathing, Keem forgot he had a responsibility to his fiancée, Laura. After a series Instagram trolls flooded Laura’s IG inbox with a barrage messages questioning her man’s antics, she tracks him down and checks him on his behavior. To thank her, Hakeem drops the bomb about Anika’s pregnancy. So she responds with a little hand-to-face action and walks off.
Once Hakeem comes to his senses, he invites Anika over to see her new “baby wonderland.” He wants her to know that he’s in! She responds to his extravagant gesture with a simple, “What makes you think I want you involved in raising our child?” Ultimately, Boo Boo Kitty tells the father of her child that Lucious threatened her life if the baby is born. Hakeem confronts daddy dearest about the threat and tells him to back off: if Anika doesn’t feel safe and feels forced to leave then he’s out too. But Lucious needs Hakeem by his side at the family’s upcoming fundraiser if he wants a chance at being voted back in as CEO of Empire.
Meanwhile, Laura’s next to pay Hakeem a visit, but like the last meeting he had with a woman in his apartment, the encounter isn’t pretty. Mirage-e-Trios’s lead singer wants to know where she standing with her man now that’s he having a baby by somebody else. (Did anyone else feel like the beginning of Usher’s “Confessions” should be playing in the background)? Needless to say, Laura called things off and gave him the ring back.
In true family fashion, Cookie goes to handle things with Anika, but when she does, Anika’s being carried out to the hospital. Cookie jumps in the ambulance to ride along with the “mother of her son’s child,” and helps ease her pain along the ride. And then, fans are magically re-introduced to Mrs. Calhoun – the other grandmother aka Anika’s mom. Hakeem and Lucious ultimately make their way to the hospital once they get word of what happened. Even Laura shows up to support her ex-man. But after a call from Lucious, Laura seems to have a change of heart about her relationships when she hears Lucious say Hakeem’s becoming a man he respects. But that’s not the only trick Lucious had up his sleeve last night.
Ol’ Daddy Lyon is giving a lot of attention to the sexy journalist, Harper, that’s been following him for a “Lucious exclusive.” He finally agrees to give her what she wants in exchange for a confirmed front-page story, but that offer is short-lived after Cookie presents her ex-husband with a better press deal and scoops Harper on her own story. But Harper’s not just the beautiful journalist looking to get on with the mogul that we thought she was. She has some fangs, and she’s not afraid to bite back. After she confronts Lucious for scooping her exclusive, she approaches Andre with pictures of “a group home outside Philadelphia that houses 10 mentally disable adults,” and well, if you watched last week’s episode then you would know one of those adults is Leah Mary Walker, Lucious’s mother. The question Andre should now be asking himself is, how did Lucious “come clean” about his past if it’s still a lie?
And remember Michael, Jamal’s former lover? Well, it looks like he’s back! He’s working for the event company hosting the Empire’s fundraiser to benefit the National Alliance for Bi-Polar Disorder – and promote the rivalry between Jamal and Lucious for their coveted ASA award. After running into each other at Empire HQ, the Jamal and Michael decide to grab a drink at their old date spot. Jamal is swayed to do an impromptu blues performance while Michael watches in awe. Please note, this might be the first time Jamal’s true vocals are showcased as he bellows a series of gritty and soulful rifts that send tingles down your spine.
By the end of the episode, everything that could have happened did. Lucious cuts Harper off from her 24/7 all-access family pass, and has her thrown out of the family fundraiser after she questions the Lyon’s importance of family with none of the sons there. Hakeem is in the hospital with Anika, Andre left the event before it really started because he was once again reminded that his dad is a liar and Jamal hits his blues spot for a special pre-ASA performance after overhearing his father belittle his talent to Empire’s board. The purpose of the fundraiser was to sway the board to reinstate Lucious as Empire’s CEO, but after listening to Cookie announce The Lyon Family Presents ASA event, which will feature the entire Lyon family on the same stage “at the same damn time,” they decide Lucious and Cookie should run the company as co CEOs. Lucious says he thrilled over the idea, but we all know the truth, and by the look on Cookie’s face, she does too.
Next week should be interesting!