Cookie visits with her mother, admiring photos, asking for a drink stronger than tea. It seems like a well enough meeting, with Cookie venting about the difficulties she’d experienced with Maya as Poundcake died, as the young daughter grieved a woman she barely knew.
As they speak, Cookie wonders how her mother got a hold of snapshots of herself and her sisters at school, and her mother says the only way she could be a part of their lives when they were younger was through a camera lens.
The remark Cookie made about Candace was great: “She’s as tight as a padlocked Bible.”
Jamal is jamming out with his collective like before, this time as the group are entralled with the track, and Jamal is seen uploading the song online through an anyonymous handle. The collective swears they’re not in it for the publicity or the money. Let’s hope the anonymity stays firm.
Thirsty informs Lucious about how they’ve scattered Shine’s remains across the state, so that nothing comes back to the Lyons should the police investigate. Since the start of the series, this appears to be one of the few times they’ve gotten away with murder and haven’t immediately been investigated by the police.
Andre rushes in to inform both men of Anika’s meeting with the board, and it seems she’s convinced Eddie that his return should be carried out. In order to stay Eddie’s departure, Lucious must control Shine’s seat on the board and have the numbers so the board’s vote keeps the Lyons in power. They just don’t know who Shine’s replacement is, and Thirsty suggests they speak with Shine’s woman Tiffany.
Shine’s memorial is held at Leviticus, where Nessa is seen singing a song during the gathering. Lucious meets with Tiffany, Shine’s ex, asking about how she and the other women in Shine’s life are holding up.
Becky knows the anonymous track the collective released was Jamal’s work, and she warns him that it’s bound to be discovered by Cookie and Lucious. Jamal again requests his friend keep things quiet as they watch Nessa’s performance.
Nessa and Andre shared a longing glance as she walked off the stage. Is there still chemistry there?
Jamal and Andre chat, and he feels bad they didn’t support him as much when Rhonda passed. It’s nice to see the brothers settling their differences and leaning on each other again.
Eddie is back, trying to cajole Tiffany during her chat with Lucious, trying to tell her Empire’s emergency fund could help her out. It seems Eddie just can’t go away…ever. Tiffany tells Lucious that Nessa would take over Shine’s seat in the event of his death.
Hakeem goes in for a short role in “Down by Bay” and it seems acting isn’t going too well with him; he has trouble with acting the way the director suggests, since it doesn’t feel authentic. Being a white dude, the director finds it okay to say, “In my set, Black Lives Matter” and Hakeem’s tolerance for whitesplaining seems to have reach it’s limits. He’s dismissed to his trailer and fired from the project.
Andre tries to implore Nessa to see their side, but she doesn’t accept it. He does apologize, though, saying he should have treated her better and given himself time to grieve with Rhonda. Maybe things might have been different between them. Nessa sympathizes with Lucious’ emotional plea, as he offers the final spot on House Empire in place of Jamal, and Lucious seems confident in selling the idea that he can get retribution for Shine.
Eddie and Anika meet over dinner, and Eddie asks her to squash the 20 for 20 project and House Empire by digging up dirt on the artists. This is never a good sign. I just wish the Lyons had stronger steel traps on the dirt their artists and themselves have ripe for their enemies to expose.
Carol, Candace, and Cookie meet their mother over dinner. They speak about a photography exibit that Candace and Carol attended, and Cookie feels left out. She didn’t know what her mother’s work was like, and unfortunately, it seems Renee only teachs now. An opportunity for Cookie and her mother to make a new relationship seems futile, when Cookie doesn’t want to deal with her mother who seems to be more concerned with worldly travel and photo expos than being involved in her life. Maybe it’s for the best.
House Empire’s event goes live, complete with holographic Lyons and plenty of press. Haven Wynn goes with Hakeem to the event, having been dazzled by the way Hakeem stuck to his guns against their racist director. They kiss during Tiana’s room set, and this seems to distract the diva during her performance.
Cookie’s mom is startled by the holographic lion. This was way too cute. Jamal’s song “Good Enough” plays in the background as Cookie and her mom speak. I love this throwback, and the remix is always a great listen. The irony isn’t lost on this viewer here. Cookie just wants to be someone her mother admires for the work she does.
Jamal, Andre, and Hakeem meet Renee for the first time, as she begins to understand the impact Cookie has on her family and her work with Empire. It’s a tender moment, and I hope we’ll see more G-ma moments with the boys in the future.
Nazi-ish photos have been posted about Blake during the event – the leak has begun! Anika delivers on such a simple photo of a young Blake, as the chaos unfolds. Blake insists his father made him take that photo, and Hakeem and Becky dismiss him.
Tiana refuses to participate until the mess with Blake is fixed, and the bad press will definitely wash out any trending and positive feedback received by the event thus far.
Eddie arrives to sweep the bad press away, insisting the board allowed him to oust out Blake from Empire, and Lucious loses his control, tossling with the producer in front of the cameras.
The episode ends with Eddie leaning in to Lucious saying, “This is it. This is all you’ll ever be.” Let’s hope Mr. Barker’s mind tricks won’t sway Lucious to more violent ends.