Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray), is now CEO of Empire. The episode opens with Little Big Man bragging to a press conference about how he will usher in a new age of success for the music, blah, blah, blah.  Hakeem is all ego and posturing, but few direct answers.

It’s as if he took public speaking lessons from Donald Trump.

Anyway, here’s the new lay of the land: Hakeem is CEO, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) is head of A&R, Andre (Trai Breyers) is CFO, Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is working on his new album, and Lyon Dynasty is a new sub-label. A reporter, Harper Scott (Annie Illonzeh) asks what will happen to Lucious (Terrence Howard), Cookie quickly cuts in to say that Lucious is working on a music video.

Speaking of Papa Lyon’s video, it’s inspired by Richard II. Harper Scott asks if Lucious intends to translate art into real life to get his company back–will there be any MURDERRRRRR. Lucious says there will be no need for violence; Empire will be begging for him to come back. When the reporter doubts his ability to get rid of Camila Whiteman (Naomi Campbell), Lucious proves his peace-loving nature by kicking the reporter out and throwing a temper tantrum on set.

One can only imagine the fit he’d pitch if he saw Hakeem unveil the new logo for Empire at a party, which is now in Hakeem’s likeness instead of Lucious.’ He’s got a big ego.

In other storylines, Andre and Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) shift from a discussion about Hakeem’s not-too-impressive leadership abilities to Andre’s discussions with God in the aftermath of Rhonda’s miscarriage. He tells her God “wants us to find out what or who caused you to lose our child.” Holy crap. Andre can talk to God. Is this a spin-off idea? God runs a detective agency and sends Andre and Rhonda out to investigate? Does not sound any more preposterous than some of Empire’s recent plot twists.

Unfortunately, Rhonda doubts the Lord is whispering to Andre; she thinks he needs his medications adjusted. She also suggests it’s time she returned to work in the new fashion line Camilla has set up at Empire. He agrees although Empire isn’t a very fun place for the Lyon family now. Camila cut the budget for Lucious’ music video and Tiana’s (Serayah) tour and is angry that Hakeem hasn’t dumped Laura (Jamila Velazquez) yet. “It’s only a matter of time before my dear wife passes. And did I mention that she was going to leave her Empire shares to me?” Camilla warns. “Didn’t I tell you’d be king one day? Aren’t you going to make me happy?”

Hakeem proceeds to get his “Ray J” on and to do the dirty deed with Camilla  in full view of a hidden camera he’s set up to capture all the action.

 

He reveals his plan to the family, who are impressed, especially when Mimi starts dissolving her Empire shares. Andre quickly buys them up through a trust he set up in his son’s name. To cheer him up, Hakeem and Jamal sing him a song.

You’d think the episode would end right there but nope! Lucious shows up at Camilla’s apartment, where she has just poisoned Mimi. He tells her that she can go to jail for the murder of her wife or commit suicide. Either way, she is leaving the Lyon family alone. Camilla dramatically takes the poison and Lucious leaves.

I wish I could tell you I made up that ending, but I didn’t. Seriously, Empire writers? You already had this story line resolved on its own. What’s with the melodramatic ending?

Jamal’s B Storyline

Jamal is on the outs with the gay community, thanks to Lucious bragging about Jamal’s hookup earlier this season with Skye (Alicia Keys). Jamal finds out the extent of “the gay community’s dismay” when a  flash mob accosts him and Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) accusing him of being a sexual “flip-flopper” by singing and dancing a mocking version of “Drip Drop.”

“That’s not even his song!” cries Becky.

Well, I’ll still concede that the gay community knows how to put on a good show for a protest.

Jamal doesn’t want his dad’s shenanigans to cost him ASA votes, so he invites a group of gay ASA voters to show up at a party where Jamal performs a song about how much his father sucks. The reporters in the crowd are all a-buzz about the feud heating up between the father and son. Lucious isn’t bothered and offers Harper Scott an exclusive interview about how he rose from the bottom. All publicity is good publicity, I suppose.

And now it’s time for the Empire Episode Awards:

Best Side-Eye

1

Hakeem’s Worst Outfit

5 6

“I Can’t Believe They Did That” Award

8

I can’t believe the show really changed their logo for this episode!

Best Flash Mob Protest

9

You gotta admit that flip-flop pun was clever.

Saddest Puppy Dog Eyes

10

Cookie’s Worst Outfit

12

Stripes + gold snakeskin = whut?