Empire Recap

It’s time for the American Sounds Awards nominations! It’s like the Grammys, except some meddling lawyer probably told producers not to use the Grammy trademark, so we’re all pretending the ASAs are the pinnacle of music achievement. Lucious is confident every Empire artist will win a nomination but warns the team that nominations don’t count. Lucious has 19 of them but has never won anything. He’s the Susan Lucci of bloated Hip Hop moguls. He’s totally not bitter about all his losses, you guys! And he’s totally not bitter when Jamal wins five nominations in the same year.

Speaking of folks practicing their bitterness management skills, Lyon Dynasty is faced with its own struggles. With super fine Laz out of the picture, Cookie’s Cookout lacks a venue and Lyon Dynasty’s unintentional association with The Bulls makes the Cookout a security risk to other venues. They were hoping that Daddy’s Little Girl AKA Hakeem would get an ASA nomination for Best Rapper to give them a boost. Didn’t happen. But, Freda Gatz got a nomination. We all knew she won that rap battle against Hakeem, so is this really a surprise? Lyon Dynasty puts on their brave faces and prepares for the Family Day concert at Wallace; the prison Cookie served time in. Cookie excitedly tells Hakeem that she wants to introduce him to Jezzy, a current inmate with mad rap skills. Discovering rap talent at a prison? Cookie, you know you don’t have to copy every one of Lucious’ business moves, right?

Skye Summers apparently spent that night at Jamal’s, and she is all lovey dovey in the morning as Jamal attempts to squirm away. He tells her they should perform their new duet “Powerful” at the ASA nomination party. Jamal is also about to broach the topic of “I know we had sex but I’m still 100% gay,” when Lucious interrupts. When Skye leaves, Lucious demands the deets of their night together. “She fixed you!” exclaims Lucious happily. The man tears up! In Lucious’ mind, his sons are almost perfect: the crazy one is popping out a grandkid, the gay one is “turning” straight, and all that’s left is to lure Hakeem back to Empire.

At Empire, Mimi warns Lucious that the board isn’t going to be happy with him selling off Empire divisions to fund the Swift Stream deal. Lucious, in his typical arrogant manner, declares that he doesn’t care what the board thinks, and after the deal closes, he’ll drive out board members who refuse to support Lucious’ every whim. Mimi agrees and tells Lucious that her wife will be coming into Empire while Mimi gets treatment for her breast cancer. Wait, when did Mimi have breast cancer? Writers, you know there are more convenient ways to write out Marisa Tomei out of the show than using “breast cancer,” right?

Meanwhile, Andre helps Rhonda deal with an alarm system that keeps acting up. Anika drops by to help Rhonda set up the nursery. Rhonda brags how Lucious refers to his unborn grandson as “the heir of Empire,” which gets the wheels in Anika’s head turning. Uh-oh…

Skye and Jamal perform their duet “Powerful” for the crowd, and the MC attacks Skye for performing a pro-black and insinuates she only wants a fan boost. He compares it to as if Jamal was pretending to be gay to attract fans. Lucious assures Skye and her manager that the heat will blow over, but Skye is still hurt that Jamal didn’t stand up for her.

Well, Jamal is keeping his mouth shut because there is a huge fuss being made about how he is the first openly gay American Sound Award nominee. Jameson, Jamal’s gay mentor, excitedly tells Lucious how Time magazine wants to put Jamal on the cover. When he notices Lucious’s lack of enthusiasm, he asks, “Isn’t it every parent’s dream for their children to surpass them?” Lucious pretends to agree but then “accidentally” reveals that Jamal is dating Skye. “I’ll bet they won’t want to profile him now,” he says smugly.

Cookie is nervous entering the prison as she is reminded of all her painful isolation and estrangement from her family. She cheers up when she sees her old friends and asks about Jezzy. The inmates tell her that Jezzy is now serving a life sentence. Guess that Copycat Freda Gatz move won’t work out after all.

Lucious finally takes the stage to announce the SwiftStream acquisition and Mimi announces that her wife has arrived: it’s Camilla, Hakeem’s former Mommie Dearest girlfriend. And the surprises don’t stop there: Mimi informs the board about how Lucius plans to kick them all out and shows them video footage of that conversation. Turns out, Mimi was secretly recording Lucious to get dirt on him. She proposes a vote to oust him as CEO so now Lucious has to convince half the board to keep him…after he bragged about how he was going to fire them. Yikes.

Skye tells Jamal that she saw him flirting with another guy and understands that their fling was a one-time thing to get people to tune into the Empire finale. She departs gracefully, but the same can’t be said of Camilla. She shows up at Hakeem’s doorstep and tells him that she wants to get back together. Hakeem is still angry that she dumped him for his parents’ bribe, but Camilla promises Hakeem that she just wants to help his career.

Andre tells Cookie and Hakeem about Camilla’s arrival and her marriage to Mimi and urges them to show up at the board meeting to keep Lucious as CEO. Cookie can’t be there because she has to have a heart to heart with Jezzy and allows Hakeem to be her proxy vote. She reminds him that even though they have left Empire, it’s still their family legacy. “Anyone who tries to take that from us is our enemy,” she reminds him.

However, when it comes time to vote, Hakeem turns against Lucious as punishment for all of Lucious’s transgressions against him. Mimi announces that Camilla will be in charge from now on. The family goes to Lucious’ mansion to suffer in defeat together. Lucious sobs to Cookie that all their hard work and sacrifice has been for nothing but she reminds him that the Lyon family still holds majority shares of Empire and they will find a way to own the company again.

Anika breaks into Andre’s mansion and pushes Rhonda down the stairs to induce a miscarriage. I can’t muster enough energy to care because I still think Rhonda was lying about being pregnant, and Anika is becoming a caricature of a soap opera villain.

Anyway, the Lyon family get together to hear the nominations for Best Song of the Year. Jamal snagged one, naturally, but so did Lucious for his “Boom Boom Boom Boom” song. Looks like the two will go head to head for the coveted award! While Lucious claims to wish Jamal luck, there’s a glint in his eye that shows that he is determined to win no matter what.

And he wonders why Hakeem voted against him.

And now it’s time for the Empire episode awards!
Best Side Eye
1 (1)
Jamal. Keep practicing that look since you’ll be giving it to your father a lot.
Worst Accessorizing
 3 (1)
Skye’s unnamed manager. That’s not a necklace; that’s a piece of fabric on a rope.
Cookie’s Worst Outfit
4
Is the super tight leather outfit a metaphor for how trapped you feel? Because that’s the only reason I can come up with for why you wore this unflattering outfit.
Screenshot That Best Sums Up the Episode
5
Lucious looking sad while Naomi Campbell smirks.

Empire returns to Fox March 2016