Empire returned to FOX post-World series with a new episode and more juicy plot twists.
Jamal enlists the closeted music producer with whom he had an affair to help record a new track. Ex wants to get romantic, Jamal wants to keep things professional. The new track is used to convince Hakeem to make the big Empire live stream event a double bill. Jamal needs the collaboration to get his career back on track after PTSD took over and kept him off the stage.
Meanwhile, Shine and his crew pack up their weapons and go after the Lyon family. This, after Lucious and Andre humiliated Shine with a beat down. Knowing that Shine is set on revenge, Lucious puts the entire family on lockdown, which includes having a posse of security guards pull Cookie away from her boyfriend Angelo in broad daylight. Hakeem is more worried about losing the best producer he’s ever had, rather than said producer threatening to off his loved ones.
When Shine busts into Andre’s apartment, ready to blow his head off, his sister Nessa emerges from Andre’s bedroom–much to Shine’s surprise–and talks him down. Shine’s not happy, but for his sister’s sake, he’ll wait until later to blow Andre’s head off.
Hakeem’s rival, Gram, just happened to make his way through Leviticus security to challenge him to a rap battle. Jamal reminds Hakeem not to allow Lucious to manipulate him. Jamal doesn’t want their performance to be dragged down by a dumb feud, but Hakeem can’t help but be played by his father. At one point, Cookie steps in to get Hakeem back on track. Do the song as rehearsed, she commands before giving Hakeem a slap in the face. BUT THEN! Drama. Just as Hakeem is about to do his bit in the live stream, Lucious points out Andre getting cozy with Nessa. Hakeem thought they had a thing and now feels betrayed by his brother. Lucious urges him to CLAP BACK against Andre. Which he does, spectacularly. He drags Jamal into the fray and the entire performance devolves into a screaming match, streamed to millions, much to Lucious’ delight. Somebody’s got to get these folks a reality show.
When Becky can’t convince Cookie to switch Tiana’s single to a song that the artist wants, she plays a dangerous game. The white dude producer takes Cookie’s side. But Becky, who is trying to nail down an A&R gig with Empire, tells Tiana that Cookie is cool with the song switch. After they record the song, white boy producer says he loves it and promises to have Becky’s back. But he snitches on her and Cookie blows her top. Played! Tiana wants Becky off of her team when she learns she lied. Remember: Becky’s boyfriend wants to jump to another label and take Becky with him. Will she get fed up and leave Empire with her boyfriend?
Andre convinces Nessa to get Shine to sit down with Lucious. The meeting is a bust until Anika saunters in and sweetly mentions how Lucious would love to give Shine his own imprint. Of course, they had no such discussion. Anika is improvising! But she saves the day. A truce is called. He wants Freda Gatz too, and Lucious agrees.
Cookie arrives at her parole appointment to learn she’s now on the board’s shit list. No more friendly meetings with the parole officer. She was 20 minutes late? She’ll get written up. Sounds like Lucious’ half brother/Fed Tariq is putting the squeeze on her.
Cut to Lucious reading scary “kill or be killed” bedtime stories to grandaughter Bella. It’s the job of the patriarch to teach the young ones the ways of the cruel world, he insists to Hakeem. Not like Jamal who believes everything is Kumbaya! Lucious is determined to lure his youngest son to the dark side for good.
In order to prove that he has her back, Angelo arrives at Empire with Cookie’s parole officer who offers an apology. It turns out the head of the department is Angelo’s old school chum. He promises to always fight for Cookie–even if it means going up against Lucious. Cookie is impressed.
Tariq attempts to put the squeeze on Shine to spill information on that body he and Lucious buried together in Camden. But half-brother gets more than he bargained for as Shine hints that Lucious may have had something to do with the death of Freda Gatz’ father. Oh. NOW we know why he wanted Freda on his label. He’s going to stab Lucious right in the back.
Next week: Empire is hacked!