The intro to tonight’s episode of Empire sets the tone for the entire episode. Lucious is basically trying to get back in Cookie’s good graces because he finally realized what he lost in her allegiance. He sent her tons of opulent gifts, and she was not impressed.
Jamal has been on this whole #staywoke kick lately and got involved with a community project, called Woke. Woke is led by Councilman Angelo Dubois (played by Taye Diggs), and its mission is to end gun violence. Angelo and Jamal took some on a tour of Empire Records to show them what they could become one day if they get up out the hood. The kids ran into Lucious, and then it turned into Lucious offering for them to hold a summit were planning at Empire Records, and he even offered to foot the bill. This is obviously a self-serving move. Jamal was pissed, especially when Lucious told him to tell Cookie to facilitate the music (that is where the self-serving came into play).
Throughout the episode, Lucious has been unsuccessfully trying to get Cookie back in his corner, and then we cut to another flashback scene of when they met. The gist of it is, Cookie was a schoolgirl on track to going to college, but with a dream of working in music. She had a square boyfriend, who was on track to going to med school, while Lucious was always a gangsta. Lucious had been noticing her long before she finally noticed him, and he knew that one day Cookie would be his. Basically, he turned her out.
Meanwhile, Dre is having a mental breakdown. He keeps seeing and talking to Rhonda. Jamal walked in on him mid-episode and didn’t judge—because he has his own problems—like the good brother that he is. He told Dre that he would help him keep track of his medicine to help keep him together.
Cut to the woke event. It was going over well until Jamal was supposed to sing. He started hyperventilating again, and ran off stage. Basically, he’s still dealing with ptsd from getting shot. Lucious tried to force him to go on stage, but he admitted that he was scared and that he probably can’t do music anymore. However, we know that’s not true because he’s going to do a duet with Mariah Carey, who is guest starring next week.
The episode winded down with Anika, of all people, discovering Tariq the fed’s camera in the nursery. Lucious happened to be in there at the moment, so he destroyed it. Lastly, Dre just can’t catch a break. He moving out of his fancy apartment building, and some scary White lady called the police on him saying he looked “suspicious.” The police confronted him, asking if he knew about all the break-ins in the neighborhood. Dre was calm at first, but the situation escalated, of course, and ended in them pinning him to the ground and tasing him.
Hopefully, they’ll be sorry once they find out who Dre is.