It’s clear that this season of Empire is going to tease us about the mysterious person in the casket until the very end, and we just have to deal. We start tonight’s episode with Lucious at that funeral staring at the casket. Becky joins him, grabs his hand, and says, “You couldn’t have known.” Couldn’t have known about what? Didn’t Cookie have a heart attack last season? Lordt.
Anyway, we flashback 6 months before that again. Cookie and Lucious have been working well with Treasure and have what they know will be a hit single. However, they’re starting from scratch and discover that radio stations are regarding them as has-beens and are therefore playing hardball. Basically, the stations what Lucious to put his business on blast during interviews with their personalities–particularly addressing the rumors about Cookie and Lucious being broke. Lucious doesn’t want to go there at first but starts to realize that he may have to as things are different now.
Giselle thinks she’s going to be the new CEO of Empire but gets a rude awakening when Patel announces that it’s actually going to be Jeff Kingsly. That’s the man that we saw Giselle sleeping with last week. He’s thrilled but she’s tight. Sitting there looking like:
Obviously, Giselle is pissed and we all know she’ll be plotting because it’s what she does.
Dre is still in the bing, having a hard time keeping out of trouble just before he’s about to be released. People, including some of the guards, are looking out for him, but there’s a bully inmate that Dre is itching to put the paws on so we all know this will come back up eventually.
Lucious finds his way to another radio station and offers to give them an exclusive interview about the meaning behind his classic song, “A Child is Born,” something he has never talked about. So, of course, these thirsty reporters jump at the scoop! The deal gets done and once they get their interview, they play Treasure’s song and issa hit.
But don’t get too excited because Giselle ends up stealing Treasure away from them. Yup, Treasure is disloyal trash and decides to sign with Empire because they have the better deal. Plus, she’s not about that recording in the living room life. Lucious and Cookie threaten to sue Treasure, because they did sign a contract, but then Giselle points out that they don’t have the money to battle Empire in court and they’re still trying to keep their money woes on the low.
Next, Kingsly meets up with Lucious and Cookie and apologizes for the Treasure situation because Giselle acted on her own with that one. He says he respects them and thinks Eddie Barker messed up when he cut them out. He wants to take Empire back to its roots but needs them on board, so he offers them chairman and chairwoman positions. Basically, they’ll get money to show up to events here and there and add cosigns to music. It’s shallow, but at least there will be money involved.
Lucious and Cookie have no reason to trust him so they’re still skeptical but they’ll think about it. Hopefully, they at least figure out how to get stake back in their company!
But what ends up happening is, a drunken Hakeem has a public meltdown in Empire’s lobby and ends up at his parent’s house, downtrodden because he can’t rap due to his injured lung. Cookie and Lucious counseling him but they’re worried. This prompts Cookie to convince Lucious to take the Kingsly deal. Hakeem and Jamal don’t like the idea of this but they’ll support their parents anyway.
Now we fast forward to their Welcome Home party in the Empire Records lobby. This is where Kingsly finally takes his mask off. There’s a moment when he makes small talk with Lucious, who is visibly not thrilled that any of this is happening, and he still doesn’t trust Kingsly. He’s also not feeling Kingsly condescending way of seeming like he’s doing some sort of charity. Kingsly is aware of this and gets pissed that Lucious isn’t being grateful so he tells Lucious that he and Cookie better step and fetch it on the microphone when they make the announcement about the deal, with big smiles on their faces. If they don’t then take the offer on his terms then he’s going to tell the world that they’re broke.
Now let’s cut to Kingsly making a show of bringing Lucious on stage. Lucious gets on stage and invites Cookie and his sons up to the stage. Then he takes control of his narrative! He reveals that the rumors about them being broke are true and rips the new Empire to shreds. He goes all the way left when he says that Empire isn’t the place for the Lyons anymore because the new owner and CEO’s are really just techies who are about the dollar, not the artists, and know nothing about the music. He caps his speech by inviting all the real ones to join them with their brand new management and production company who will put artists first. Kingsly is pissed. No really, Kingsly tells Lucious that he’s making a huge mistake, but there’s an ominous tone in his words. He’s standing there looking like:
And we end the episode at the funeral again. Thirsty comes in and asks who Lucious wants to ride with in the limo. He says he’s riding alone and then the FBI comes in because they want to talk to Lucious.
So yeah, we’re just going to have to ride this mysterious death the entire way through.