Guest Recap by Glow
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. With preparations for Thanksgiving, cooking, and family time I didn’t watch this episode of Empire until today after sleeping half the day away. I continue to run hot and cold with this show but this episode has me excited about what’s to come.
We again have celebrity guests. Alicia Keyes and Rosie O’Donnell. Alicia, of course, plays a recording star named Skye Summer and Rosie’s character is Cookie’s former prison mate who now works as a baker. There is also the added bonus of Lee Daniels, the show’s Creator and Executive Producer, who plays himself.
We pick up with Cookie and her sister Candace (Vivica A. Fox) in Philly searching for missing sister, Carol, who has left her kids with Candace and is off on a bender. While walking the streets looking for Carol we get to see the relationship dynamic between Cookie and Candace. Cookie’s hair, long and sleek with an off center part, is fabulous. I wonder if it’s from Porsha’s Go Naked Hair line. Cookie’s big red fur coat is not my favorite but I digress. The interaction of the bougie sister and the ex-con, streetwise sister is entertaining and often funny. They eventually find Carol with help of Cookie’s ex prison mate. Carol, looks like crap and responds to demands to get in the car by throwing up on Candace’s shoes. After being confronted by her sisters Carol is left with decision to come home with either of them. Carol opts to leave her kids with Carol and go home with Cookie, whose real name is Lorethia and the name Candace calls her. Candace is clearly not a favorite of either sister. We do learn that Carol did something while Cookie was in prison that would not make Cookie happy.
This whole thing with Carol is connected to their cousin, Jamil, whose head was sent to Cookie in a box a while back and all of that leads back to Lucious. Candace questions Cookie about this and Cookies plays it off. There is a lot of conflict between the sisters that goes back to childhood. Eventually, Cookie talks to Carol about the Jamil thing and tells Carol she needs help. She needs to go to rehab.
Back in New York, Cookie has to deal with Lucious who asks her to sign over her rights to his early songs. He explains he has an opportunity to raise the capital to buy Swift Stream. His he for real? Why would she do that? Would he do it for her? Lucious tries hard to convince Cookie but she’s not having it. Laz walks in and gets introduced to Lucious and then walks over to Cookie and they kiss. Lucious: It’s nice to see you sleeping your way to the bottom.” I can see the wheels turning in Lucious’ head. Looks Like Laz is rubbing everyone the wrong way.
Cookie is with Hakeem and Laz in her office. Laz is trying to convince Cookie to change the venue for the Cookout event. He’s trying to sever ties with Big Heavy. Cookie will not consider it. Laz is asking Cookie to trust him when Lucious walks in informing everyone he couldn’t get Laz off his mind so he did some digging. He tells Laz he’s one of those Bully Boys. Laz is caught. Lucious shares that the 125th Street Bulls run a petty scam “extorting young rappers and making their mommas pay for it.” Hakeem says the snatchers had a bull on their backs and asks if Laz has one. Cookie’s light comes on. She walks to Laz, takes his gun out of the back of his pants, pulls his shirt to expose the bull and ask “Like this? It’s the end of this road for Laz and all he can do is say when he started this it was just a game. He didn’t know he was going to fall in love with Cookie. Cookie gives the gun to Lucious and leaves with Hakeem. The look in her eyes. Poor Laz. How will this play out?
With Cookie away in Philly, Hakeem is left to keep things going with Lyon Dynasty and the Cookout event. During a phone conversation with his mother he tells her the Cookout sold out and Rock Steady Park wants them to do another show. Cookie loves this and tells him to get Laz to book a second show and to make sure his girl group is ready. Hakeem is yet to realize he has another major issue to contend with. Anika apparently just drove Laura home last week because there is with Hakeem periscoping a performance while Anika is at home in a room filled with clippings and photos of Hakeem and Hakeem with Laura. Everything about this tells me there is about to be another bout of the crazies.
Laz is at Lyon Dynasty when Big Heavy and the crew show up. They want money and Laz tells Heavy it’s not time to get paid yet. Laz and Heavy are in convict. They don’t see things the same way. Heavy wants to hit Cookie and Jamal harder but Laz calls the deal off and pulls a gun on Heavy. Looks like Laz is headed for hard times. Hakeem talks with Laz about why Big Heavy was at his studio and Laz advises Hakeem he took care of it. Hakeem ask Laz why he’s stalling on announcing the second concert. Laz tells Hakeem he’s not stalling and to trust him. Hakeem says ok but don’t let him down. They seem to be in a better place.
Anika shows up at one of Hakeem’s always in session parties. She immediately starts to go in on Laura. Laura seems to recognize Anika and ask if she knows her from somewhere. After some petty bitchiness that includes implying Laura is not a real singer, telling Hakeem Laura lives with seven siblings and he could do so much better Anika leaves.
Anika meets with Rhonda again. This time at the mansion Lucious just purchased for her and Andre. Anika seems a little off so Rhonda ask her if she ok. She gives some story about being in love with someone Rhonda doesn’t know. A musician. They share some girl talk about being in love and having another woman lust for your man. Rhonda tells Anika sometimes you have fight for someone you care about and take down anyone who gets in your way. Does she realize she just gave this advice to an unstable woman who is already stalking another woman?
Later Hakeem invites Anika to his place and she comes in like a tornado. She tells Hakeem he is not being honest about their relationship, she knows he loves her, he comes to her every time he’s in need. Hakeem denies he’s in love with her and tells her she will never be a Lyon.
Jamal’s focus is preparing to shoot his Pepsi commercial and working on his upcoming Black & White album. At a press conference Lucious makes the announcement that Skye Summers will be performing on Jamal’s album. Skye is an artist with another label but wants to work with Jamal and Lucious. During the photo op Lucious takes time to tell Jamal he thinks the commercial should be about the young prince paying homage to his father. In other words, it should be about Lucious. Jamal is gushing. Is he crushing on Skye? Skye is not feeling the press conference and wants to leave to go to the studio.
Jamal hears Skye sing a song that she says her label won’t let her release. Skye is boxed into a certain image but wants to expand and be edgier. Jamal wants to help her break out of that box. Later at Jamal’s place Skye and Jamal sing the completed song they worked on together. It’s a beautiful song and a sweet moment that ends with Jamal wrapping his arms around Skye while she sits at the piano. Then it happens. Their eyes lock. They Kiss. This was the last scene and I must admit it left me near breathless.
Lucious is being Lucious. Conniving, dirty, desperate. He has bought a mansion for Andre and Rhonda. He is apparently all into Rhonda being pregnant and being assured the empire will continue. As a side note, Rhonda met with a pregnant Anika last episode and shared with her that Lucious was a sucker for babies. This pregnancy seems to mean a lot to Lucious and he beaming, rubbing Rhonda’s tummy, and telling Andre he is no longer being tested. Andre is so grateful. Immediately after hugging it out, Lucious tells Andre he wants them to move faster on the Swift Steam deal. Lucious wants Empire to be the dominant force in music streaming. Andre has a solution that involves Lucious’ old songs so there’s a catch…Cookie still owns half the publishing rights to some of Lucious’ old songs.
Lucious and Jamal are entertaining her Skye and her manager when Lucious asks Jamal to play a song for them. You can tell by Skye’s face she’s not exactly feeling it. She was hoping for something edgier. Lucious advises Skye everyone has a lane and her lane is Girl Power Pop. Everyone should stay in their lane lest they crash and burn. Jamal gets Lucious and the manager to leave to the room so he can talk to Skye. Skye apparently doesn’t agree with the box her label has her in. She and Jamal decided to write something together more suited to her taste.
Meeting with Hakeem, Lucious tries to convince Hakeem to sign with Empire telling him if he signs and post video saying his keeping the last name Lyon Lucious will make him a full partner with his brothers in Swift Stream. Hakeem questions how he can trust his father and Lucious tells him to talk to Andre, that he just bought Andre a mansion in Long Island. Lucious: What do you want?” Hakeem: “This son can’t be bought.”
At Jamal’s Pepsi commercial shoot Lucious ask Lee Daniels, who he’s hired to direct the shoot, if he’s talked to Jamal about Lucious’ father/son idea for the commercial. Lee advises Lucious he’s decided to do something different. “Lucious, you represent the past. This kid, he’s the future.” Someone else has pissed Lucious off by not seeing his greatness. This means another person he has to shoot back at. Lucious is wearing me out. They watch Jamal perform with Lucious seething the entire time. Lucious tells Andre to do whatever needs to be done to buy Swift Steam. He does his Lucious rant about what it takes to be great ending with “Lee Daniels thinks he’s seen the future, I’m a show him.”
This episode was full of cliffhangers and I am left excited to see how things turn out with Laz, Anika, and Jamal. One thing I am sure of. Lucious will stirring many pots and can’t wait to see what he cooks up.