“With the reputation of the family business on the line, the Lyons strategise about how to clean up Kingsley’s mess and introduce a new and improved Empire.”
Empire has returned for another episode and brought with it many twists and turns. Continuing on from last week, we see both Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious'(Terrence Howard) relationship explored in an angle it really hasn’t been yet. I’m all for this, as nothing too bumpy has happened to them for a while. We also see some tea developing between Tiana (Serayah) and Treasure(Katlynn Simone), and Andre (Trai Byers) continuing to act like a loose cannon, a situation which can only implode soon.
[There will be spoilers below.]
Early in the episode we see Cookie and Lucious in bed together. Cookie is still trying to convince Lucious to feel some remorse towards the people they have caused pain. He is still pushing the fact that this is how they got where they are, but Cookie is determined that Empire will change. This leaves things between them quite tense and unresolved heading into this episode.
Also early in the episode Andre has a touching moment where Teri (Meta Golding) gives him a very nice present of a briefcase embroidered with his initials. He gets the all clear from his doctor about his bloody nose from the previous episode. However, things don’t stay good for Andre as we see him negotiating Devon’s (Mario) contract using techniques that are less than legal. He threatens Devon’s label by cutting up everything in their office with a sword. This behaviour seems to have come out in Andre since he was in prison, and it can only end badly.
The other issue that comes up for Andre is that although he got the all clear about his nosebleed earlier in the episode, he gets another call from the doctor. The doctor wants him to come back into the office, hinting that there actually is something wrong. After this episode there is plenty that could catch up with Andre, and it could still be him in the coffin. Personally I hope it isn’t – I really like watching his character develop.
Meanwhile the entire Lyon family is trying to figure out how to move forward with Empire. They each have new positions, and a big meeting with the artists is meant to hype everyone up. It ends with Cookie and Lucious putting pressure on Treasure to produce a hit immediately. This prompts her to go to Jamal to convince him to put her on a track with him, telling him to replace Tiana with her.
Treasure clearly feels very threatened by Tiana as rather than focus on her music she has decided to actively attack Tiana. We see this when they are all on the red carpet at Fashion Week, and Treasure decides to pose in front of Tianna. A verbal fight breaks out, and is only broken up because Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) steps in between them.
They finally resolve the issue for now when Lucious and Giselle (Nicole Ari Parker) call both girls into the studio. Lucious and Giselle tell them that they will record the duet together instead of either with Jamal. Neither of them are happy about it but they have already cost Empire so much because of their fight, so they don’t have a choice.
As all of this is happening, Lucious decides that he wants to get the money laundered by Eddie back immediately. Despite Thirsty’s (Andre Royo) warnings, he goes to Damon Cross (Wood Harris). He is an old friend with connections, and at the end of a meeting between Empire and Damon they decide that Cookie will travel to Panama to meet with a friend who is a banker.
This is where it gets interesting as Cookie has actually met Damon before in a previous episode. Damon keeps dropping hints about how he is trying to impress Cookie, which seems potentially well timed considering where her relationship with Lucious is at the moment. They share a moment while dancing, which prompts Cookie to remind him that she is married and leave.
While Cookie has been making deals in Panama, Lucious has paid a visit to his mother. She is not too pleased to see him, and tells him that he should not have been born. Lucious seems quite deeply affected by this, as he ends up crying outside her room. This is the second time we’ve seen him crying in two episodes. This leads me to think that he is more affected by what he has done in the past than he has shown.
Finally, after Cookie has left Damon and returned to her hotel room, there’s a knock on the door. It turns out to be Lucious, who has come to make amends starting with Cookie. He declares that he thought she was attacking what they built, and regretting their relationship. This is not the case, he has realised. She only regretted how they built it, not what they had together.
Lucious also announces that he wants to open a rehabilitation facility in a poor neighbourhood to try to begin to making up for what they have done. It seems that he has finally become the man Cookie wanted him to, and the episode ends with their relationship stronger than ever.
This episode was certainly full of drama, and I really love the ups and downs of Cookie and Lucious’ relationship. However I feel there’s a lot under the surface that will come to light in upcoming episodes. The drama is only beginning!
Empire airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.