Can I just say how happy I am that the Lyon’s FINALLY smartened up and put Eddie down….or rather, his signature down, on paper.
Cookie is seen still on bedrest, as Lucious lovingly passes her breakfast in bed. Thirsty comes in behind him, wanting to update Cookie. He distracts Lucious briefly before letting her know that he discovered who Poundcake’s daughter is, a young woman by the name of Maya, aged 19, currently studying ballet at NYU. She’d been adopted by an affluent white family who lived upstate almost two decades ago. Cookie planned on moving with that information, despite Thirsty’s concerns that going ahead with information on Maya’s real mother might scare her off.
I loved the joke about the size of Lucious’ house, as Thirsty made his escape claiming he was looking through the house for the bathroom. There are 16 rooms in that house? The help certainly has their work cut out for them.
Lucious continues to work on taking down Eddie, and hiding this fact from Cookie, as he meets with Eddie for lunch. As he claims that Eddie’s wives bought out Empire stock as a means to gain leverage over the Lyons, Eddie simply says, “No one believes that I can control these women.” Right Mr. Barker, your ex-wives are fierce, but they certainly still want their money from you.
Hakeem swoops in on the pair, claiming that Eddie has brainwashed Tiana, and that was why she turned down his proposal.
Jamal’s retort was perfect. “Yeah, that’s why she turned you down.” The shade was great, but to be honest, Hakeem has come a long way since the show began. The group catches wind that something is about to happen at Leviticus when the scene ends.
Cookie is pictured watching Maya and her ballet class dancing in the studio. It appears that the ballet dancer has much talent, despite Cookie’s initial disbelief. I can relate completely to the way that Cookie rehearsed what she’d say to Maya when the class ends.
Ever the clever woman, Cookie convinces Maya to come to the Empire studio to rehearse for a dance audition to perform with Tiana. The young woman is eager to try out, as she’s a fan of the singer and Cookie Lyon. It’s a perfect plan.
Speaking of Tiana, Eddie has thrown a party at Leviticu to celebrate Tiana’s single reaching #1 on the pop and R&B charts. His pushing her to work so hard seems to reap great rewards, but I still get a creepy vibe from the guy. She’s half your age man, and your relationship history isn’t that great.
Tiana performed her new single “Sweat”, a sensual hit, and it’s celebrated by the audience. Even though she’s the center of attention, Eddie Barker is soaking up the praises as a ringleader. One of the board members whom Eddie mentioned to Lucious before, Edna, thanks Lucious for bringing Eddie into the fold. She says he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Omnious, is it not?
I’ve never seen Lucious look so desperate, as he implores his musician sons in the office to put out their music for the 20 for 20, fast. Hakeem is eager to release his single, and agrees to work with marketing to insure it reaches #1 and edge out Tiana. It always seems to come back to sexual tension between Takeem, in any context.
Meanwhile, Jamal decided to get into a spat with Lucious, continuing to insist he attain his own musical freedom. He wants the song he cut with Tory to release, but Lucious wants to cradle his fragile reputation and asks him to release music in his old style. Of course, Jamal would be bound to go from pure to rebel in a short time, but I’m proud of him for taking his position and not joining in on the 20 for 20 project. Cookie will surely slap him for that once she hears the news.
Andre is seen still soul searching, wondering if he’s developed his father’s dark habits, but his reverand tells him to focus more on himself, and to stop trying to change Lucious. I hope things work well for Andre. And I think his helping his parents take down Eddie can start to repair his relationship with his family.
Jamal and Tory discuss the idea of releasing their music under pseudonyms. It seems like a solid plan, and Jamal mentions a white rapper who can spit some serious rhymes, unafraid to call out relevant issues. They decide to contact the guy for a collaboration.
Hakeem is scoping out a basement area with Blake and Hakeem’s usual group, listening to Blake convince him of knocking people’s socks off with his single release, much like Lucious debuted his music back in the day and first romanced Cookie Lyon. Andre comes out behind them, promising to help with the basement release party, and says he could logistically make it so the event would stream from the Empire Extreme website.
Lucious pulls a great social snafu against Eddie, as he runs into all of his ex-wives at Leviticus, just as Eddie was charming the aforementioned Edna. It gets real awkward, and Eddie catches on.
Eddie searches for a new ally, as he’s warned by someone he’s working with that it’ll be more difficult to pull off a coup with Lucious understanding what the old producer is up to. He tries to take a liking to Shyne over dinner, but I could tell Shyne was only agreeing to save face.
Jamal and Tory meet with the white rapper, who still has no name. (It bugged me to watch the episode and not know the guy’s name!) It appears he’s a tattoo artist. And he told both that he’d only talk if they gave him business. I was hoping Jamal might agree to get a tattoo done, to play up his rebellious new image, but it ended up being Tory who got another tattoo as Jamal talked about their ambitions. The tattoo artists rejects their collaboration/collective idea because he thinks Jamal was spoon fed living as Lyon, and couldn’t relate to the struggles and real life attitude his tracks had. Bummer.
Cookie next talks with Tiana about her recent behavior. She really put the diva down a few pegs: “I’m the only big bitch around here sweetie. And let’s not forget who made you. Because I’d hate to have to unmake you. Now you come in here and disrupt something I’ve got going on here again, I’ll wipe your ass off the charts. I don’t care what number you are.”
It just goes to show Cookie can always make you feel put in your place and scared simaltaneously. This becomes necessary as Maya put on a fabulous performance during her “audition” as Tiana was super rude to the young woman. Maya leaves feeling defeated anyways as this is the time Cookie decides to reveal to her who her birth mother is. Maya seemed to be informed of her “crackhead killer” mother by her adoptive family and despite all of Cookie’s attempts to tell Maya Poundcake isn’t as bad of a person as she sounds, Maya tells her that she doesn’t want to see or hear from Cookie or Poundcake ever. Ouch.
Shyne is seen producing a new track for Hakeem as Eddie enters the studio. He tries to show enthusiasm for Shyne’s “new white boy” as Lucious enters, casually whistling. Shyne explains why he can’t work with Eddie, given how carelessly he threw his longtime friend Lucious under the bus: “Me and L ain’t white on rice, but like my Hilary vote, I’m just siding with the devil I know.”
The conversation proceeds with various well-timed political cracks until Eddie takes things too far, implying that Cookie’s recently health scare was Lucious’ fault. It seems both sides are quite lethal. This could come to a bloody end.
Cut back to the basement release party for Hakeem’s new single, as Jamal strolls in late, annoying his younger brother. Andre helps settle payment for the place because Blake forgot, and the paparattzi there asks for a Lyon brothers photo op. They agree, as Andre tries to speak with Jamal, who refuses. It seems he’s still upset by Andre’s trying to blow up their parents in a car.
“Rock the Party” is performed for the crowd, as Blake hops in with Hakeem towards the end as Keem pulls Tiana in to dance. Since Tiana has the night away from Eddie, she says that the night is theirs. They have sex in the other room to some not too subtle music as Jamal discovers Tory coming out of the bathroom. She’s high off of drugs Eddie offered her, and Jamal seems both worried and upset, due to their having a meeting for their music project in the morning.
As Jamal moves towards the bar, he runs into white tattoo artist, a bit thrown. The guy tells Jamal that he took a listen to the crooner’s music, and has changed his mind. He agrees that Jamal is just as woke as he, and additionally mentions that Tory threatened to blast his tattoo shop online if he didn’t show up at the party.
Hakeem tries to pull Tiana away from Eddie’s grasp, but she just takes things personally and gets dressed, leaving him alone in the random bed in the basement.
Thirsty, usually good about staying tight lipped about everything, let it slip that Cookie wasn’t the only one out for Eddie’s blood. Cookie is furious and goes to Lucious, upset that he hadn’t told her about his going after Eddie, and he pointed out that she hadn’t told him about her recent wherabouts visiting Poundcake and her daughter.
Lucious explained to Cookie that he takes full blame for recent events, after Cookie says it must be her fault for bringing Eddie back in to work at Empire. But she reminds him the confict needent end in violence.
Lucious and Cookie pull a classic Lyon power move and invite Eddie over to sit down at the table. They layed out all the points, with Tory relapsing, Tiana’s being pressured to succeed. And they discovered he pressured a young starlet named Ivy to succeed in music until she committed suicide.
Cookie gets Eddie to sign the papers to make him leave Empire, or they’d release the information about his actions and sever his relationship with the board.
Cookie and her mom talk in the flashback. Her mother hates her husband and worries for her grandkids, but Cookie is having none of it. Clearly, when your mother leaves after being threatened by Cookie’s father, the bad blood and animosity won’t quickly heal themselves.
“You’re killing Jamal, Hakeem, you’re killing Andre.” Cookie loses it. But her mom implores her to make a deal to leave jail and be with her family. It seems even as she’s dismissed this could have been what encouraged Cookie to make a deal about Fred Gatz and get out after 17 years of jail.
Cookie meets with Poundcake and she lies, saying she never found her daughter. She seems to want to save her friend from the hurt of knowing her birth daughter doesn’t want to associate herself with Poundcake. Cookie writes a note for Maya to read from Poundcake. I wonder if the note will get mailed to the young girl in the future….
Eddie pulls in Anika Calhoun for a cigar and a deal since there’s a clause in her custody agreement she wants to exploit. They plan to strategize and take down the Lyons, so long as Anika becomes CEO of Empire when they’re finished.
I’m ready for another Boo Boo Kitty and Cookie showdown.
Tell us: Do you ship Takeem or Coocious more? Empire airs Wednesday at 8pm on Fox.