Tonight’s episode of Empire opens with respective scenes that remind us that Hakeem and Jamal are hot messes. Hakeem is still party and BS as usual, but Jamal’s life is quite the soap opera. His ex boo, D-Major, is tired of living life on the down low, so he showed up to Jamal’s place unannounced and on Snapchat talking about how he was going to see Jamal, his “babe.” What!
He wanted to make a spectacle of coming out, but the problem is, he walked in on Jamal and his therapist, Phillip, who just got finished doing the do. That obviously doesn’t go too well. Later on they have a conversation about this, and D-Major reveals that he was inspired to come out because Jamal said they couldn’t be together unless he got real about his sexuality. Jamal is pretty apathetic, though but D-Major is hurting. He mentioned that he’s struggling because being gay is taboo in hip-hop, as we know, and people are clowning him and turning their backs on him. Basically, this is shaping up to look like a love triangle in the making.
Lucious’ mother informs them that Tariq is trying to flip Anika. They don’t think she has anything on Cookie, but Lucious says she may have overheard things while living with him so the status is unclear. They need to find her and figure things out though.
Giuliana meets with Andre to chat about what Empire can do for her if she books Nessa for her club’s grand opening in Vegas. We’re not privy to the full scope of this conversation yet, but you know Andre is plotting. Later on Lucious expresses interest in this potential deal even though he hates Las Vegas.
Cookie taps Angelo to find out where Anika is hiding. He says he’ll help where he can, but he wants to know what Cookie is hiding. That’s when he finds her pistol, which is illegal in NYC and for a felon, too, duh! He’s also running for mayor so none of this is a good look. He needs her to get rid of the pistol asaptually. He asks her if she ever shot anyone and that’s when we flashback to a young Cookie vingette where she shot someone (with good reason, because it seemed like he meant harm), but she lies to Angelo, and you know this will come back to bite her in the butt.
Anika returns to Lyon Manor only to discover that her baby is gone, but Cookie and Lucious are present and they want answers about her dalliances with Tariq. Anika seems sincere in that she wants Tariq off her back, and even devises a plan to seduce him, and prove the relationship hoping to get the case against Cookie to be dropped. But isn’t it already illegal? Anika is technically related to Tariq since she’s “married” to Lucious?
Anyway, We’re not sure where Anika’s loyalty lies because in the next scene she pops up with Tariq telling him that she’s afraid of the Lyons’ and that she doesn’t know what to do. And get She then says she needs protection and Tariq tells her to “forget Witness Protection” because he’ll protect her. But again, the legality of this is shady. Also, who is Anika really playing here?
And now we have arrived at Hakeem’s 21st birthday party. It gets off to a good start with a performance from Rihanna Tiana and Jamal even joins her on stage. It was all good for a minute until a fight breaks out, started by some random goons that Hakeem hired to be his “security.”
Obviously, this is bad for business. Dre gets pissed and goes off on Hakeem about not making smart decisions and being a liability. He even shuts down Hakeem’s channel and takes him off Empire stream.
We find out that Giuliana reports to a bigger boss. She and her husband were working with him but she’s solo now that her hubby is dead. Said boss threatens to get rid of her if she’s playing games, because he never trusted her or her husband, but then she presents her potential business deal with Lucious Lyon. This is an enticing offer that boss man is on board with so he tells her to do her thing.
The episode concludes on an interesting note. Hakeem storms into Lucious’ house because he wants to spend the rest of his now messed up birthday with Bella. And then in some weird glitch of the Twilight Zone, Lucious has a soft and pink moment where he bonds with him by sharing the throwback story from when Cookie was giving birth to him, and how he helped her deliver him at home. Then Lucious closes the story by handing over Bella and telling Hakeem to protect her at all costs.
That was probably his first and last genuine moment we’ll ever see from Lucious.
Let’s do this again next week.