Tonight’s episode of Empire is the episode that gives us a smidgen of hope right before the rug gets metaphorically snatched from under our feet. The episode begins with Cookie and Lucious at Terri’s church. They’re praying for Andre who has been undergoing cancer treatment for 6 weeks at this point, and the preacher says something interesting. He tells his flock to make peace with friends and foes and to get their lives in order so god will work in their favor. That seems to have struck a chord with Lucious. He thinks he has to make peace with Kingsley in order to save Andre. Meanwhile, Cookie entertains the possibility that Andre might die and Lucious doesn’t want to hear it. He doesn’t want her speaking negatively over their son. This makes Cookie feel like she can’t talk to him, so she goes right to Damon Cross’ house.
Damon gives her what she needs—an ear. He knows exactly what to say to her because his daughter had cancer too. We can assume by his tone that his daughter is dead but at the same time, we still don’t quite know what happened to her. In other news, Cookie feels guilty about their friendship, as she should, because this is technically emotional cheating.
The FBI agents convince Kingsley to wear a wire to set up Lucious. Hold that thought, but speaking of Kingsley, Lucious actually visits his mom, Tracy, to try to reconcile his past. He mentions that he wants a relationship with Kingsley. Tracy is hostile toward him at first but Lucious reminds her that she never told him about Kingsley in the first place. Then she goes on rambling about how she used to fantasize about them getting married and you realize just how gone she is. Lucious brings her back to the point tough and she says it’s going to have to be Kingsley’s decision no matter what, but she’ll talk to him.
Next, we find Lucious and Thirsty kicking it. Kingsley interrupts, wanting to talk to Lucious in private. Thirsty exits and the conversation begins. Kingsley congratulates him on pulling empire back from the impossible then tries to finesse Lucious, but in an obvious way. He asks him where he got the money from and brings up overseas accounts. It’s super obvious. Lucious ain’t dumb and doesn’t answer his question. He does, however, ask Kingsley if his mom told him to come see him. Kingsley says that he’s there on his own and that his mom had nothing to do with it. That’s when Lucious really peeps game and cuts their time short.
Later on, Kingsley visits his mom and she tells him about Lucious coming to visit. Then she starts talking about how Lucious did crack with her, but we all know Lucious never actually did drugs, just sold them. Lucious had actually just told Kingsley that he never did drugs during their visit. Then Tracy tells Kingsley that Lucious said he’d beat the baby out of her when she told him she was pregnant. Another lie. Even Kingsley doesn’t trust this. He doesn’t push back too much against his mother’s lies, but he does seem to be conflicted.
The doctor tells Andre and family that his body has been responding well to treatment and there’s a chance that he could be cancer-free by the next treatment. Cookie goes to tell Damon the good news about Andre’s treatment and they toast to Andre’s health amid all this sexual tension. Then Cookie has a moment where she says she shouldn’t be there, packs her stuff up and apologizes for sending mixed signals. Then Damon says they both know he can give her what Lucious can’t and she swiftly dips out of there after telling him their thing is over.
Kingsley heads back to Lucious and says he needs to know the real story about how he and Tracy met and if it’s true that Lucious got his mom hooked on crack. Lucious said when he first met Tracy she asked if she could try his stuff against every warning he gave her not to, but she did anyway and things obviously didn’t end well. He admits to selling her drugs but said he felt, in some weird way, that he was protecting her by giving her his drugs because maybe his stuff was clean compared to other people who might lace their products. Gee, thanks.
Anyway, then Kingsley asks if he really threatened to beat kill him when his mom was pregnant with him. Lucious denies this. We know that Lucious can be evil, but family is everything to him. He explains to Kingsley that he would never have let Tracy raise him had he known he even existed. Kingsley said his mom told him he didn’t want him but Lucious says that that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Then Kingsley starts tearing up and shows him the wire, which actually looks like a Fitbit. Lucious takes it off, puts it in Kingsley’s hand, tears up, and tells him that his mom robbed him of the opportunity to be his father but he still wants to be there for him. He still wants that father/son relationship. They hug and it’s all mushy and tear-jerky and what not. But let’s not get too excited because someone’s big death day is coming and the feds are still lurking so things are going to go downhill soon.
Kingsley tells the agent he’s done. She tries to intimidate him into continuing but Kingsley tells her that he’s not sure if he’s a Lyon, but he’s definitely not a rat. The agent threatens to come after all of them.
Later on, Lucious brings Kingsley to dinner with the family. They’re all looking at him like
But Lucious says he wants to properly introduce Kingsley to the family because Kingsley is his son and they need space to work on that bond. Kingsley apologizes and says he understands it may take a while to make things right but he will try. Lucious reminds them that he has had to make amends with everyone at the table as well, so this isn’t much different. Cookie is annoyed, but she’s willing to allow this because she’s just happy about Andre’s news.
Finally, the episode wraps with the feds raiding Empire’s tour equipment after a show. Becky confronts them and they tell her that Lucious has been using the tour to move narcotics across the country and that the tour is over. However, we’re all like, come again? It can’t be Lucious smuggling drugs, can he? No! He’s too busy building Empire back up. He left that life decades ago!
So who is it?