We’re back in the imaginary NYC world of Empire, and Lucious is dying for the other Lyons to remind him of his past. But his other life is so terrible and dark that they continue to hold back on the information. Hakeem is ready to spill the tea, but the others are hesitant. But why? They all claim to want the old Lucious back, but since he’s been gone, life hasn’t been better. Empire has been borderline sadistic since episode one. This season’s positive vibe is a welcome change. Plus, it’s not like the Lyons are without any drama at all…
Over at the DuBois estate, the family is busy plotting away, anxious to destroy the Lyons. Well, everyone except Angelo, who is drunk and tired of the entire plan. He even calls Warren a whore—a sharp, but true, dig. This particular storyline already feels a bit drawn out, maybe because it’s continuing from season three. But, unfortunately, it’s a necessary one that’s driving a lot of the Lyons’ plot lines.
Cookie has been given the honor of being one of Forbes’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Business, and, clearly, it's well deserved. As I said last week, in just the past two episodes, Empire has never ran more smoothly. People are actually getting records recorded, meetings are ran professionally, deals with usually hard to handle partners (ahem, Shine) are happily being made and the mood around the office is bright and cheery. Despite being the best boss Empire has ever seen, Cookie is still experiencing road bumps. She goes to the bank to claim a $100 million dollar loan to fund the Empire 20 for 20 albums (how will they EVER manage to pay that back?!) and although the Empire portfolio looks amazing, the banker turns her request down. Cookie is understandably pissed. The decision by the banker was definitely a shady one, but she holds her head up high while strutting out the bank. She knows that she will get the needed funds one way or another.
And she’s right.
Later, at the Forbes’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Business group photo shoot, Cookie runs into Diana DuBois, who was, surprisingly, also chosen to be a part of the elite group. Diana gossips with the other ladies on set about Cookie serving 17 years in prison and how she was denied the loan. Her messy tactics don’t avail. Cookie lays it all out on the table and tells the powerful women about the loan mess, and they all actually decide to offer her the money themselves. Diana is furious, but fakes it for the cameras. After the shoot, her true colors show as she hops in the car with the shady banker that turned down Cookie’s loan request. It was all a setup on Diana’s part. She’s so vengeful and it’s getting exhausting.
Meanwhile, Jamal and the new, very sweet Lucious are bonding—and it’s really cute! Jamal sneaks him out the house to visit the Empire office. It would be terrible if someone ran into Lucious and discovered that he doesn’t remember anything. But as luck would have it, sneaky Warren stops by, surprising Jamal for dinner, and Shine barges into a studio (Jamal’s bodyguard was so weak and needs to be fired). Warren is unsuccessful at dipping in, but Shine breaks all barriers and figures out that Lucious doesn’t remember a thing. Actually, he calls Lucious “slow.” Later that night, Warren uses the played out “you don’t trust me” line to guilt Jamal into telling him all the info about his father’s condition. Warren gives an evil look of pleasure while hugging Jamal. Uh-oh.
Photo: Jean Whitside/Fox
The other two Lyons are in their own sort of smaller messes.
Fresh out of jail, Anika is ready to spend time with baby Bella, and Hakeem is acting stupid, telling her that the baby needs to stay with him (and Tiana, who is by his side) because she needs to stay on a schedule. Within this particular scene, the shots that the camera catches are so messy. Hakeem, Tiana and Bella are continuously framed together, suggesting them as a family, and Anika is framed alone in slight anger.
I have to add that I was proud of the writers’ choice to not turn Tiana into some kind of psycho, fake mom to Bella. She was more than ready to send the baby packing back to mama Anika, disagreeing with every excuse Hakeem created to keep Bella with them.
And finally, Andre takes it upon himself to confront and threaten Detective Pamela Rose, telling her to stay away from further investigating the Giuliana case, and to find out who tried to murder his father (reverse psychology at work). Reading his body language, the detective knows he is hiding something big, but honestly doesn’t care. They give each other a strip show towards the end of the episode. She still wants the D from Andre. Or, could this be her way to catch a criminal? Either way, it looks like fun on her part, to be honest.
Nurse Claudia wasn’t in this episode and was missed, but I found it to be necessary. It gave Lucious some much-needed space to explore and discover more about his past. I l also loved the girl power theme throughout this episode (i.e. the Forbes photo shoot, Becky leading a meeting, the flashbacks of Cookie in prison). I think it was showcased beautifully. And how can you not like the new Lucious? He’s the most perfect human being ever. I know he can’t stay like this forever, but can a boy dream?