Tonight’s episode of Empire begins with shenanigans in Vegas. Lucious opened Leviticus, the Las Vegas edition, and it’s a club and casino. Lucious and Giuliana are enjoying their bounty with Charlotte, the director of the state gaming commission, who is making it clear that she does not want any “hip-hop hooligans” in her club. That’s when Cookie, a hip-hop hooligan, shows up with her sisters to check out the scene. Cookie starts making herself comfortable at the craps table, being rowdy and extra, and Giuliana isn’t happy to see her at all. Lucious springs into action like a guard dog and has Cookie escorted out, but not before Cookie makes a scene. Hold that thought, though, as we flashback a few weeks before that.
Back in NYC, it becomes clear just how sprung and dumb Lucious is over Giuliana. He cuts everyone off for her and even tells Cookie that Leviticus is Giuliana’s casino and that she’s blackballed. He also fires Thirsty because Giuliana doesn’t like him. AFTER ALL THIRSTY HAS DONE FOR LUCIOUS! He literally knows where all the bodies are.
Anyway, Cookie gets wind of this and sets up a meeting at her home.
The meeting involves everyone else that got pushed away by Lucious due to Giuliana. Cookie keeps it real about Giuliana being a cancer and how she has to go so this is about action. Shyne and Andre get into it because Shyne starts dropping tea about how ruthless Giuliana is and Andre tells him to shut up. You already know, no one tells Shyne to shut up. Cookie settles them back down, but Shyne is out because he doesn’t want to work with Andre. Hakeem leaves because he’s too preoccupied with concerns about Bella, then Jamal leaves, and then Dre. Thirsty is the last man standing, but he always has a plan.
The search for Bella is so serious that Lucious calls on, wait for it…TARIQ! He wants his half-bro to use all of his Fed expertise to help him find the baby, and he says he’ll give him whatever he wants. Tariq surprisingly decides to help his brother because “Bella is innocent, and she’s his blood.”
So a truce is that easy?
Anyway, later on, Tariq and Lucious beat the crap out of some man from CPS who may or may not have forged documents to get Bella released to an unauthorized person. What a way to bring these two gooned-out brothers together.
Now, let’s cut back to the opening scene with Cookie and crew in Vegas to enact Thirsty’s plan. Basically, they set up an Ocean’s 11-style diversion so that they can steal the code to the vault and get Carol to break into the safe. The mission is to steal Giuliana’s most likely incriminating ledgers.
Candace’s husband is even part of the operation since he’s a high roller. High rollers get special treatment, aka a tour of the vault when it’s time to cash in. He’s able to use a spy cam in the form of a pen to get the code and pass it on to Thirsty n’em who are watching in a van. Becky creates a diversion and Carol is in for the win.
The next day, Cookie presents Charlotte with Giuliana’s ledgers in an attempt to get her arrested, but Lucious swoops in with a bag of money, also known as a bribe so Charlotte shuts Cookie down, but then Dre appears after everyone leaves. It may seem like he’s in kahootz with Charlotte, but you know he’s all about himself.
Cookie accepts her previous defeat and tries to move on to another plan to shut Lucious down, which would involve Jamal’s music. But Jamal announces that he’s out because he’s going to help Lucious in Vegas. Sigh, another L for Cookie.
Then, Cookie and Dre meet up and Dre drops dime on Charlotte’s crooked ways. Basically, she will take bribes as long as she tithes at her Church. She’s also a stickler about not having those dang thugs in her club. Cookie decides it’s time to turn up the street element at Leviticus.
The episode concludes with Tariq telling Lucious that he found Bella. However, Mama Lyon comes out of nowhere and stabs him in the neck. He dies before he can say anything. It’s worth mentioning that earlier in the episode, she put glass shards in a sandwich and planned to feed it to Tariq, but Lucious caught her in time. so…
Why did Lucious allow his mentally ill mother to roam the home without an attendant?
Next week is the season finale and it’s time for some loose ends to get tied up, especially getting Bella back from Bizarro World Claire Huxtable!