“Empire” has once again delivered its weekly nail biter.
There will be spoilers below.
The episode picks up immediately after last week’s ended. Lucious (Terrence Howard) has just killed Treasure’s (Katlynn Simone) manager out of rage that Andre (Trai Byers) is sick. This seems like a dangerous move since the FBI are on his tail. His emotions over Cookie (Taraji P.Henson) seeing Treasure coming on to him and storming out, combined with Andre’s stage IV lymphoma diagnosis is very much ruling his decisions which will come back to bite him.
Much of this episode centres around the Lyon family dealing with Andre’s diagnosis and the fallout from that – and in some cases using it to distract from their own problems. Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Hakeem (Bryshere Y.Gray) have taken it on their shoulders to continue the tour at Andre’s request. This is particularly important as Cookie and Lucious are both freaking out upon finding out, and are unwilling to focus their attention anywhere else.
Meanwhile Lucious and Cookie have their own problems. In the previous episode Cookie disappeared for the night – the audience knows that she went to Damon Cross (Wood Harris), but Lucious doesn’t. The flashbacks to the previous night heavily imply that Cookie did sleep with Damon after seeing Treasure in Lucious’ lap. However we later find out that she was only thinking of Lucious when she was with Damon and left his room.
Cookie is struggling with this internally for the whole episode. She needs to decide what and how to tell Lucious. Her sister Carol (Tasha Smith) convinces her not to tell him anything. This is not a good idea. It is only a matter of time before he finds out and the situation implodes.
The most surprising thing that happens this episode is Treasure going to Cookie and taking full responsibility for her actions. She explains that her manager had taught her to “repay” the men who gave her chances in music. This evokes sympathy from Cookie, who decides not to drop her.
Also throughout this episode we get to see Cookie go to war with Teri (Meta Golding). Cookie thinks that if she gets the best doctors for Andre it will solve the problem, even though Teri has already sorted out treatments for him. This reaches a climax when Cookie arrives with a doctor she has flown in. Here we see Teri assert herself as Andre’s girl. This leaves Cookie with no choice but to confront the issues she has with Lucious.
Dispersed throughout the episode we see flashbacks of another time when Lucious had to choose between his family and his career. Although it seemed like he didn’t care about his sick child and went out to his concert and to party after, he came home to help in the past, and he realises that this is what he needs to do now too. It’s all very heartwarming.
Meanwhile on the tour a number of issues from the last episode are popping back up. Kai has come to take Jamal back, even though Jamal doesn’t think he can handle the relationship. Kai (Toby Onwumere) reassures him that he doesn’t care, and he wants to be there for Jamal. The situation between Tiana (Serayah), Blake (Chet Harris) and Maya (Rhyon Nicole Brown) has also heated up. Blake is still acting bitter towards Tiana and Carlito (Scotty Tovar). Jamal puts his foot down when everyone starts fighting and finally gets them to put their differences aside for Andre.
One of the most surprisingly emotional moments of the episode happens between Cookie and Damon. She calls him to her to ask not to tell anything, which he agrees not to when he hears about Andre. However, he also reveals to Cookie that he had a daughter who was sick and died, and that although he blamed himself he’s not that important. Neither is Cookie, and what happened to Andre is not karma coming to her.
A key part of this episode is when Cookie and Lucious are in their bedroom, and Cookie has a chance to tell Lucious about what happened. She chickens out and tells him she loves him. This is certainly going to come back.
Towards the end of this episode we see Kingsley (A.Z.Kelsey) pop up with the FBI. The fact that he’s back is ringing alarm bells – could it be him in the coffin? It won’t be long before we find out!
Empire airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.