New alliances were made and old ones were broken on the Jan. 28 episode of ‘Empire.’ In fact, we’re no longer even sure of who’s sabotaging whom anymore.
It has all seriously hit the fan. On the Jan. 28 episode of Empire, Lucious (Terrence Howard) attempts to maintain his music industry power by stealing a hot artist from a rival record label and it gets, well, messy. Meanwhile, things are just as complicated for the rest of the Lyon family. Jamal (Jussie Smollett) questions everything and takes the backseat while he tries to overcome writer’s block and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) decides it’s time to repair her relationship with Hakeem (Bryshere Gray)– but that doesn’t mean he is willing to do so. Check out the full recap!
‘Empire’: Cookie Strikes Back At Lucious
“What do you want?” Lucious screams at Hakeem, kicking off the fourth episode of Empire.
“What I want is for everyone to be talking about Empire until this IPO is launched,” Lucious responds without waiting for Hakeem’s response. Of course, because it was a heated moment and Cookie is required by law to show up during heated moments, she walks in–but Lucious immediately kicks her out. And we’re off!
Cookie demands and receives a new office from Lucious (what Cookie wants, Cookie seems to get).
Meanwhile, Hakeem isn’t buckling down the way Lucious would like. Lucious wants him to spend the evening writing songs, but Hakeem has tickets to see Titan (someone who we can only assume is a cross between Kanye, Jay and, like, another made up artist so dope that he’d sway a 20-year-old wanna-be rapper from his desire to get famous). However, it becomes a non issue because Lucious gives the tickets to his assistant (Gabourey Sidibe). Good thing Hakeem didn’t show, though, because there was a shooting the minute she walked in. Oh and it was caused by Titan.
Cut to: Titan having a little stay in the big house.
Back at the home front, Lucious can’t hide his disease from Anika (Grace Gealey) any longer, and he confesses to her his dwindling lifespan. In one of the show’s sweetest moments, Anika shaves Lucious’ face for him.
After news like that, Anika is in no mood. But as we know, Cookie doesn’t much care about other peoples’ feelings. When Anika arrives at work, Cookie is in the boardroom, with the announcement that she will now be repping Tiana (Serayah), along with Jamal.
Lucious interrupts the meeting to declare that Empire was officially courting Titan to join Empire Records. “He’s the most authentic artist since Tupac,” he explains to Anika.
The only problem is, Titan already belongs to a label and the bad publicity from going after an already signed artist doesn’t bode well for Empire’s impending IPO prospects. Lucious trusts Anika’s ability to sway Titan and agrees to arrange a meeting for her to meet with Titan’s manager, “and Cookie, you’re going to stay out of this,” he says.
So we know one thing: Cookie will certainly not be staying out of this.
Jamal Hits The Wall
Cookie and her always obvious agenda show up at Jamal’s new apartment. After refusing to take anymore of Lucious’ money, Empire really wants us to know that his new digs are shabby (but of course it’s nicer than 99% of NYC apartments). Nice apartment or not, Jamal is having some serious writer’s block, and Cookie informs him that the shelf life of that excuse is about five more seconds. In other words, write a song.
Always three steps ahead of Lucious, Cookie pays Titan’s mother– a Muslim– a visit. She even covers her head for the visit (Cookie knows how to play to her audience). She ensures the mother that Lucious has an army of lawyers and he’s ready to enlist their service on Titan’s behalf.
Back to another somewhat forgotten, salacious plot from last week: That pesky federal agent–the one who’s pretty sure Lucious kiled Bunkie because he did– shows up again and demands an alibi. Well, the smart viewers we are, know that he doesn’t have one, but wow you’d think Lucious would be a slightly better liar.
Proving his worth the most he has yet this season, Andre (Trai Byers) vouches for Lucious. And just like that, Andre is back in the running to inherit the empire.
Anika and Lucious meet with Titan’s agent and, things weren’t looking too great as far as acquiring the rapper, but it goes from bad to worse real quick when a full blown drive by shooting ravages the restaurant they’re in, nearly taking everyone out. Luckily, Lucious dove to cover Anika in the knick of time. If we can agree on one aspect of Empire, it doesn’t waste any time.
‘You Lose Your Soul’
Cookie pays Lucious a visit to tell him about her meeting with Titan’s mother. Somehow, the conversation turns to the fact that he never visited her in jail. “You lose your soul when you feel like the world’s forgotten about you,” she tells him. It’s a touching moment. On another note, how many episodes ’til Lucious and Cookie give it another go? Two? Three?
The conversation must have gotten to Lucious more than he’d thought because, back in the studio with Hakeem, the youngest son continues to slack off and show his disrespect to Cookie. Lucious tells him, in no uncertain terms, that he doesn’t have to love his mother but you better believe he’ll respect her.
Turning our attention to another pissed off son, Lucious and Jamal have their first conversation since Jamal moved out of the apartment Lucious paid for. The scene is uneventful: blah blah blah, we still have unresolved differences that many fathers and sons also likely have blah blah.
Hakeem is scheduled for a meeting with Cookie and Tiana to discuss their joint performance at the Teen Choice Awards, but, as Cookie says, “Hakeem is always late.” Cut to: Hakeem in the bathtub with another woman. In case you’d forgotten what show we’re watching, Tiana walks into his apartment mid sud-sesh and angrily storms out. The other woman splashes him in the face then also departs, leaving him alone in the tub, high and dry (okay well, wet, but it’s a metaphor).
But the show must go on.
‘Keep It Movin”
It’s time for Hakeem and Tiana’s soundcheck and, in what might be the most mature moment of the series thus far, she tells him that, frankly, she doesn’t care who he sleeps with. But she won’t tolerate his disrespect to Cookie and she won’t let him and his attitude blow this chance.
Well, maybe Hakeem has decided to finally grow up an ounce because the performance of their song “Keep It Movin'” is some serious fire.
Reverting back to those pesky criminal plot lines, Lucious heads to Titan’s jail in the middle of the night (because he can) and gets to speak to Titan. “You lost your soul a long time ago,” Titan tell Lucious. “I see the devil in you.”
Lucious assures him, if he stays with his current label long enough, “You’ll sell your soul too.” Well if that doesn’t sway Titan to join Empire, maybe the $1.7 million signing bonus might.
Guess what? It does.
Meanwhile, despite the success of his partnership with Tiana, which Cookie arranged, Hakeem is still not a fan of mother dearest. “I can’t force a relationship between us, but you do know I love you, don’t you?” she asks him. “Let me think,” he responds. “I don’t.”
So does time not heal all wounds then?
Also, because of Tiana and Hakeem’s big triumph, Hakeem is the toast of the town, and Lucious is featured on the front page of a generic, network-TV-would-be-the-New-York-Post newspaper with the caption, “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Cookie is surprisingly unphased by her ex hubby getting the credit for her brains. She smiles and simply says to Lucious, “That should read, ‘The Cookie strikes back.'”
And that wraps another episode of Empire! I would ask whose team you’re on: Cookie, Lucious, Hakeem, Jamal, but at this point, those lines are so blurred they almost make a circle, right?
What’d you think of Hakeem and Tiana’s song? Are you feeling sorry for Lucious yet? Is Jamal’s apartment nicer than yours (because it’s definitely nicer than mine)?
The series keeps moving, and so do we! Tell us what you think of tonight’s episode!
— Casey Mink