Empire has been slow this season, but tonight’s episode proves that there won’t be some shocking moments that will take the season out with a bang! The episode opens with pens with Lucious fantasizing about the origins of his romantic link with Giuliana. He’s so deep in the fantasy that he’s thinking about a song he once wrote for her, Cookie perfectly interrupts that moment to inform him that Angelo has been hinting that he’s going to propose if he wins the primary. She wants to know if Lucious is going to be up to his usual trickery, but he actually claims he’ll leave them alone and he seems genuine. Later on, Cookie presents the idea to her sons and they’re all with it, for the most part. Dre is with it as long as she backs his Vegas deal. With his shady self.
Meanwhile, Giuliana, Shyne and Dre are discussing Vegas business. Dre wants to know what the deal is between Giuliana and Lucious. She lies and says that he doesn’t remember her so it doesn’t matter. However, the business at hand is that they want Nessa to be a Vegas headliner and later on they tap Tory Ash, who claims she hates performing, to write the song that’s supposed to take them over the top.
Remember when Anika agreed to seduce Tariq? Welp, that plan is still in action. Anika stops by his place wearing a wire, as Cookie and Lucious listen in on their conversation. He reveals that he has been suspended and that he’s working on getting reinstated, which is why he’s now trying to get some dirt on Cookie. This is all the info Lucious needs to have Thirsty shut him down and thrown out of the FBI.
We finally get a flashback of how Lucious and Giuliana met. They met at a seedy club in Vegas and fell in love. Lucious planned to open his own club, Empire, there. On the day of the business meeting, he shows up with $10 million in cash and it turns out that Giuliana was scamming him. Her actual husband’s (the one we saw her kill) goons showed up and robbed him.
In the present, Giuliana shows up to Lucious’ place, and he’s salty of course, but she claims that her husband was an evil man and that she only did what she did because she was scared of him, and that she killed him for Lucious. She claims that she can pay him back for what they stole if he just let’s her get this Vegas deal off with all the control she wants.
You see where this is going, right?
Back to Anika and Tariq. Her seduction plan worked, but it’s not what you think. She did not have sex with him, but she faked intimacy by luring him close enough to cuddle with her all night. She almost got caught though, because she fell asleep with the wire on and it slipped out of her pajamas. But it’s cool, she got all they needed.
Tariq was so deluded by his jealousy of Lucious and probably thought that sleeping with his wife would be a one up. Womp.
Later on, Tariq goes to find “Agent Sweetwater,” who was working with him on the case. But Sweetwater isn’t there. Lucious was present though, and literally waitin’ for him at the do.’ Lucious informs him that he’s obviously aware of his illegal shenanigans and that he put in the necessary phone calls, so Tariq’s best next course of action is to just take the money Lucious is offering and go! Tariq is a lot of things, but he ain’t no fool (hopefully) so he takes the money.
Cookie appears with Angelo on a TV news interview at his request. She wants to be supportive of Angelo’s mission since this Lucious stuff that has been haunting them. Everything goes well, but before the interview is over, the real purpose of all this is revealed. Angelo proposes to her on national TV because Jamal told him that Cookie likes a spectacle. She says yes, but you definitely get the feeling that it’s to save him the embarrassment of getting turned down—and that feeling is correct. They go off to another room and she goes off on Angelo for proposing that way, knowing dang well that she wouldn’t be mad at Lucious for doing something like that. Anyway, she then tells Angelo that she still has feelings for Lucious (duh) and that they kissed, and then we see a side of Angelo that takes us all aback. He goes off on her and starts talking about how he got Freda Gatz—actually he said “Freda Whatshername?—out of jail and that he broke the law putting in a call to get her off her gun violation charge, etc. He left his mic on, though.
His mom rushes in to shut him down, but it’s too late because of the mic recording most of the good stuff. Angelo and his mom tell Cookie to step, but Angelo’s mom makes it clear that the Lyons will go down for this.
Not without a fight, though.
Giuliana gets control of the Vegas situation, like she wanted. Now we’re at a showcase set up for a major investor, but instead of Nessa performing, it’s Tory Ash, singing the song that she initially agreed to write for Nessa. Dre, Shyne and Nessa can’t believe what they’re seeing and are basically looking like:
Then Cookie walks in only to catch Lucious kissing Giuliana in the cut.
Cookie gets played again.
Hopefully, one day Cookie will learn.