Tonight’s episode of Empire is Cookie-heavy—not that we’re complaining—but Lucious’ still managed to make some appearances and play games, as per usual. The episode opens with Cookie handling business, like she always does, and then Angelo Dubois stops by her house with coffee. He knows they’re broken up, and that this is an awkward situation, but he wants his woman back by any means necessary. Cookie is so turned on by his gumption that she stops playing games and gives him another chance. It also looks like she gave him some nookie, too.
Andre and Nessa are still in loveland, and Shyne is still hating. The new thing is, Lucious promised that Shyne could sign Freda Gatz to his label, knowing full well that she would never record for Empire again—even if it was for an Empire imprint. Shyne, upon realizing he got played, felt like Dre knew what was up (which wasn’t the case) and demanded that he help get Freda on board. Shyne’s logic is that it’s the least Dre could do since he’s sleeping with his sister.
Jamal, despite his worsening painkiller addiction, has started making good music again. His newest song is dedicated to Cookie so he had her come over so he could play it and show her some video clips (that he got from Aunt Carol) that he put together in her honor. It was all-good at first. Cookie is enjoying the song, but the video clips feature Cookie and her sisters back in the day. After a few minutes, Cookie get’s flustered and runs out, realizing she was late to Angelo’s fundraiser. The only thing is, Cookie never showed up to the fundraiser and Angelo’s bourgie mother (played by Phylicia Rashad, yaaaaaassssss) is not having it.
Let’s fast forward to Cookie apologizing to Angelo for standing him up…
She was so upset by the videos that she flaked on him, too. She explained to Angelo that the video triggered anger over her decision to be with Lucious, and what her life became because of that, knowing she could have chosen someone more like him and had an easier life. Then we cut to another vignette from back in the day. This scene features Cookie trying to sneak inside her home after a forbidden date with Lucious. Her dad caught her, of course. Not only that, but he found drug money and guns that she had stashed, so he informed her that she has to get out of his house. Three days later, her dad died of a heart attack, her sister Candace blamed her for the stress, and Cookie never let go of the guilt. Back in present day, we find Angelo telling Cookie that she can make it up to him by bringing her boys to meet him and his mom for dinner.
Cookie decided to have the dinner at her house because Lucious got her name blacklisted from all the restaurants he knew she’d choose (he actually set a few plans in motion to try to sabotage this dinner). In the beginning, Jamal is the only son who arrives on time. He’s high, but it doesn’t really matter because Mama Dubois wasn’t really trying to be impressed anyway. Then…Hakeem showed up with Bella, and shoved her in his mom’s arms (Lucious set Hakeem up to have to watch Bella at around this time, knowing he wouldn’t be comfortable). Basically, the entire dinner is a clusterfuck. Most of the food involves seafood. Mama Dubois is allergic to seafood. Lucious and Annika show up looking for the baby. Then Lucious starts spilling all the Lyon tea.
Now we cut to Andre at a BBQ held by Shyne. He promised that he’d deliver Freda Gatz for a performance and that’s exactly what he did. He planned to still make his mom’s dinner, but Nessa pleaded with him not to go. You know he can’t resist her, especially when she starts singing! Back at the dinner, Cookie decides to take more control of the situation. She remembers that she has some roasted duck and peach cobbler, so Mama Dubois could eat that—at least it’s something—and then she runs down all the dysfunction of her family, and explains that it is what it is, and Mama Dubois could take it or leave it. Surprisingly, Mama Dubois seemed like she was softening up. Then, Jamal performs his ode to Cookie. Lucious starts to realize that his plan of sabotage failed, so he grabbed Annika and they went home. After the song, Mama Dubois pulls Cookie aside and reveals that her daddy was a smuggler, and his daddy was a bootlegger. Basically, she started from the bottom too. She said she realizes why Angelo loves her—it’s because ”She got fire!” Basically, Mama Angelo is cool with Cookie as long as she don’t hurt her baby.
Back to the cookout:
Freda Gatz gets up on the mic and we end the episode with her performance. She still got it, but what can Shyne do with that? We shall see.