So far this season this season on Empire, we’ve seen an amnesiac Lucious Lyon battle with vague memories of his violent past. Last night’s episode continued where last week’s episode left off, and Lucious is really struggling.
Nurse Claudia is away, and Lucious is following her strict orders in an effort to get back to normal. He’s running on the treadmill when Andre, Jamal, Hakeem and Cookie enter to see how he’s doing. Lucious catches himself speaking like he did before his accident (he says “y’all” instead of the proper “you all”) and asks to know more about his past as he continues to struggle with memory loss—and with Leah telling him he was a monster.
Cookie tells the family “We’re not doing this,” but Hakeem doesn’t listen and tells his father that he punched him “square in the face.” Lucious apologizes, and asks to hear more about the things he’s done. Cookie once again tries to halt the conversation, and ultimately succeeds when Jamal jumps in and tells Lucious rehashing his violent past isn’t going to fix anything.
But Lucious keeps wondering why Cookie was gone for 17 years. Via flashbacks, Cookie’s time behind bars is explored. She arrives in prison, where a guard warns her to keep her head down but when she’s alone in general population, a woman comes up to talk about being from Philly. Cookie barely communicates but when a woman comes up behind her, Cookie punches her in the face. “Crazy bitch! I was just trying to give you some shower shoes!” says the bewildered woman.
Since no one will fill Lucious in on his former crimes, Lucious starts questioning Jamal about music. He asks Jamal about the process of putting a record together, and ends up convincing his middle child to take him to his studio at Empire. Thirsty helps sneak them into the building. It’s clear Lucious doesn’t remember him, and he finds himself commenting on Thirsty’s suit, asking Jamal if he always dresses like that. (And the answer is yes, he always dresses like that.)
Lucious is fascinated with all of the equipment in the studio, and even more fascinated with the fact that his owns it, and so much more.
Security has strict orders not to let anyone in, but Warren, Jamal’s boyfriend, finds his way past security and is soon standing at the front door of the studio. Jamal rushes to the door to keep him from seeing Lucious sitting at the mixing board. Warren knows something is up, but shrugs it off at Jamal’s request. Moments later, Shine pushes his way passed security and into the studio. Jamal looks up and asks what kind of security he hired because clearly he doesn’t know how to do his job.
Shine sees Lucious at the mixing board, but before he can say anything, Lucious recognizes him as “Moonshine.” Lucious starts asking questions about sensitive subjects: why didn’t he and Moonshine ever release a song together? Shine takes advantage of the moment and plays a new beat for Lucious to hear, but seconds later, Lucious suddenly has flashbacks to moments of his violent past and jumps up screaming. Shine realizes something is off with his old friend, but doesn’t say anything in front of him. He waits until Lucious walks out the room to address Jamal: “He’s slow or something now, huh?” What is Shine thinking now that he’s seen Lucious is vulnerable?
Meanwhile, Andre is trying to be coy about his interest in Detective Rose (she is investigating him, after all). He shows up at the police precinct, and tries to sway her queries regarding his involvement with Guiliana’s disappearance, but his wandering eyes and perspiration during the conversation are red flags. Detective Rose later shows up at Andre’s office, and asks if he was scared talking to her at the police station. She then tells hims, “The difference between fear and excitement is all about how your brain interprets it.” And while he was scared of getting caught, the idea turned her on.
Andre thinks he has the situation with Detective Rose under control until he sees her watching him with a pair of binoculars from her office window. At first, he rolls his eyes and walks away, but then he remembers what she told him and he allows the moment to turn him on. He indulges in a striptease and begins taking off his clothing piece-by-piece – giving her quite a show. She simultaneously returns the favor. But is the police station right next to Andre’s apartment?
(Also, how is Andre able to see Detective Rose so clearly when she needs a pair of binoculars to see him?)
While Andre is running around trying to avoid an arrest, Cookie is prepping for her first Forbes magazine photoshoot. The mag is celebrating the top 100 women in business, and Cookie’s work at Empire has put her on top. Cookie’s excited for the shoot but changes her demeanor when she arrives on set and finds Angelo’s mother Diana huddled with other women being featured. She tries to hold her tongue, but if you know Cookie then you know that plan was only going to last for so long.
She stands up to address Diana in the middle of the photo shoot, delivering a heartfelt speech about the struggles she’s endured as a woman in power (including getting turned down for a new line of credit at the bank) while having flashbacks about the beginning of her incarceration. While Diana is sitting there hoping the room of women will condemn her for her revelations, they instead offer her support just before offering to open their checkbooks to cover the loan the bank denied.
Diana applauds Cookie for her ability to wow a room, and tells her they should move forward with putting their differences aside. Cookie thinks he offer is strange, but accepts it and shakes Diana’s hand. Of course, Diana is still devising a plan to take her revenge on the Lyon family.
In another flashback to prison, the woman Cookie punched again tries to befriend her, apologizing and saying she “should have known how a new jack would respond to a gift like that.” They share Philly stories and the woman says they have to stick together, while explaining that most of the women in there are there because of their men.
In addition to the usual family drama, Anika shows up at Hakeem’s house once again finding Tiana taking care of baby Bella like she’s her own. She plays with Bella while telling Hakeem it’s time for their baby to go home. As Tiana uncomfortably looks on, Hakeem protests: Bella isn’t going anywhere. She then watches Bella leave her hands and walk to Tiana to be held. But Anika reminds everyone that she’s Bella’s mother–and don’t you forget it.
Talk about a harsh reality.
Watch the Preview for Empire Season Four, Episode Four “Bleeding War”:
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