Empire Recap S2 E4: “Poor Yorick”

Empire Recap

As Jamal (Jussie Smollett) sings a melodramatic song about betrayal, FBI agents storm the Empire offices and raid them, looking for any evidence to use against Lucious (Terrence Howard). Speaking of taking down Lucious, Anika (Grace Gealey) once again offers to call a truce with Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) to team up. However, Cookie would rather focus on convincing Jamal (Bryshere Gray) to get back into the studio to make a hit single but Jamal is still stubbornly trying to make his girl group. aka The Not-So Supremes, happen. He promises Cookie that if he doesn’t find a new lead singer within the week, he will drop his dream of being the next Berry Gordy.

The Dynasty staff hears about the FBI’s raid at Empire and start to make their moves to poach more Empire artists but then the FBI storms their office. Looks like Dynasty can’t shake off their connection to Lucious.

Thirsty Rawlings (Andre Royo) attempts to intercept Booby McBoobs, Esq Roxanne Ford (Tyra Ferrell) when she leads the FBI raid to the Lyons mansion. She is greeted by a shirtless Lucious who invites her to “look wherever you like.” (Are you sure about that, Terrence?)  Roxanne pretends to be disgusted but she doesn’t exactly have the moral high ground when she’s shoving her bosom in everyone’s faces.

Lucious assures his investors that they can spin the press from the FBI raid to give Empire more street cred. He calls a truce with Dynasty and the two companies discuss how to stand together against the feds. Thirsty warns that their truce will have to last until Vernon Turner is found and convinced not to testify so the FBI’s case will fall apart. “So we just have to find Vernon,” says Lucious.

Cookie tells Lucious that if he agrees to let Dynasty back on the radio, Hakeem and Jamal can team up for a duet to show the FBI that the Lyons are sticking together and get publicity for both companies. Lucious only agrees to the duet and tells Cookie that if Hakeem wants to get on the radio so badly, he’ll find another way.

As a pretentious artist (Danny Strong) shoots test shots for Jamal’s upcoming Rolling Stone cover while Michael rolls his eyes in the background, Andre meets with Lucious to discuss the FBI investigation. After another flashback with his mentally ill mother (Kelly Rowland), Lucious continues to hold Andre at arm’s length. Andre offers to find Vernon if Lucious will let him come back to Empire. “If you make this mess go away, you can have anything you want,” promises Lucious. Andre tells Rhonda about the deal and convinces her to help him dig up the body. Rhonda is not enthusiastic about the idea, especially since Andre insists that “God is speaking to me” and God’s will is for him to take Empire.

Really? The big man upstairs isn’t concerned about ending world hunger or poverty? He just wants Andre in charge? Okaayyyy….#OnlyLyonsLivesMatter

Speaking of self centered hash tags, the music video for the duet commences. The concept is that Jamal and Hakeem play Black Panthers-esque rebels fighting against police brutality but the fighting is mostly within camps: Hakeem is still annoyed that Lucious killed his Not-So Supremes, Lucious keeps trying to poach Hakeem, Cookie is furious that a smug Mimi Whiteman (Marisa Tomei) is on set, and Jamal and Hakeem are fighting over the spotlight. Eventually, the brothers start fighting each other and Hakeem storms off the set.

When Cookie steps outside to take a phone call, she is arrested and taken to prison for a bogus outstanding warrant. She has flashbacks to her prison sentence but covers her fear by putting on a bravado in front of Roxanne, who of course brought in Cookie on a trumped up charge in an attempt to get her to snitch on Lucious. When Cookie doesn’t respond, Roxanne threatens to leak Andre’s medical records to the press. “Ooh child, I hope he doesn’t kill himself,” she says smugly. Cookie is furious but Roxanne warns, “If you don’t give me what I want, I’ll come after your boys.”

However, Cookie realizes that she can just pretend to snitch. She lies to Roxanne that Lucious most likely killed Bunkie after an argument about buying radio stations. Roxanne decided to investigate Lucious’ big radio buyout and vows to kill the deal. Cookie tries not to look so pleased since it means Dynasty has a chance on the radio again. In a show of truce, the two women compliment each others’ wig/weaves.

Rhonda has agreed to join Andre in digging up Vernon’s body and the two realize they can’t remember where they buried it. Headlights from a car come upon them and they attempt to hide but there’s no reason to: it’s Lucious and Thirsty! Lucious explains that he put a tracker on Andre after his weird offer to find Vernon and thanks the two for taking care of Vernon for him. Thirsty, with his handy-dandy “corpse detector” (Is that a real thing? Why does he just have that lying around?) detects the corpse so the four dig it up together–as a family, and plus one shifty lawyer. As they pack up the body, Lucious welcomes Andre back to Empire. Next time Andre fights with his dad, he should just kill somebody and we can avoid all these angst.

After the disastrous video shoot, Hakeem drowns his sorrows at a mellow jazz bar, much to my surprise. I would have figured Hakeem would have gone to a loud club like Leviticus but it’s a good thing he went out of character because at the jazz bar, he hears a Spanish singer that would be a perfect fit for the Not-So Supremes. She is just as tiny as Valentina but hopefully she won’t have as big an ego.

Finally released from jail, Cookie rushes back to the music video shoot and is disappointed to see everyone is gone. Annika is still there and excitedly tells Cookie that some Empire artists are interested in joining Dynasty. However, Cookie tells Annika that she still doesn’t trust Annika enough to work with her. Yeah, yeah. Just wait until the next time Annika has good dirt on Lucious and we’ll see how much Cookie doesn’t trust her.

The episode with Roxanne getting into her car, barking orders into her cell about blocking Lucious’ radio purchases. Then she notices the dug up corpse of Vernon in her passenger seat and she screams so loudly that I was afraid her boobs were going to fall out of her push up bra or explode or something!

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

Cookie’s Worst Outfit

9

An all red leather ensemble is already too much that and the clashing purple lipstick and unflattering Bettie Page wig does not help the look.

Most Unethical Cop

10

Roxanne Ford. Leading unfounded FBI investigations, harassing the Lyons, threatening to leak medical records, and having totally inappropriate workplace attire–what won’t this woman do to take Lucious down?

Best Side Eye

8

Michael. He was not impressed by the pretentiousness of Jamal’s magazine cover.

Most Smug

11

Mimi Whiteman. She doesn’t care that Cookie hates her and happily brags about double crossing Cookie and the Lyon cubs in favor of Lucious. Her best line was when she corrected Cookie’s insult of her last name to say,”Actually, it’s Whiteman. In Russian, it translates to ‘She who owns 20% of Empire'”.