On the Feb. 11 episode of ‘Empire’ entitled ‘Out, Damned Spot,’ it seems that many of our favorite characters are put in tough situations and forced to make decisions they’d really rather not have to make.
On the Feb. 11 episode of Empire, the familial rivalries continued to deepen as Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) finds out about Lucious’ (Terrence Howard) and Anika’s (Grace Gealey) engagement. At the same time, their respective proteges, Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) and Jamal (Jussie Smollett) continue to battle it out through song, while treating each other with about as much kindness as you’d treat a housefly. Oh, and a visitor shows up to pretty much rock the entire family. New week, same Empire. Check out a full recap!
‘Empire’: Cookie Finds Out About Lucious’ Engagement
We open on Cookie, looking all kinds of amazing trying on a myriad of fly outfits.
But what’s the occasion? More importantly, who dares make Cookie question her fashion sense?
Turns out, she’s meeting Lucious at a restaurant. As she kisses him hello, she tells him he’s a “bad boy” (questionable word choice), assuming that he wants to start things up again with her. He assures her, though, that she has the wrong impression, which is made clear as they walk into a private dining room and see Anika sitting there, as well as the three prodigal sons. This is the moment that the Lucious and Anika have selected to tell everyone about their engagement and Cookie is, in a word, pissed.
Cookie proceeds to loudly slurp her champagne and pick the petals off a flower. Of course, that’s just the beginning.
“You come to my house and give me a rose after you propose to that bitch?” she yells at Lucious.
“The rose was a friendly reminder of where we were,” Lucious responds.
“Friendly?” Cookie screams, hurling a flower at him. “You think I came dressed like this for a friendly get together?” she asks as she opens her coat revealing nothing but lingerie underneath. What Cookie lacks in subtlety she makes up for in balls to the wall confidence, I guess.
Later, Cookie visits Jamal’s apartment where he and Perfect Latin Boyfriend Michael (Rafael de la Fuente)– who, from here on out we will refer to as PLB– are listening to one of his new cuts. When Cookie leaves, PLB follows her outside and asks if she’s noticed any changes in Jamal. Cookie immediately knows what he means.
“Fame changes people,” she tells him. “He’s going to have less and less time for you.” Cut to: sad face PLB.
Speaking of less time, Lucious has a bad fit with his ALS, just at the moment that he sees the pesky detective who’s investigating Bunkie’s death on one of his monitors, going through his trash cans. Oh yeah, remember how Lucious is a cold blooded murderer?
Vernon (Malik Yoba) presses Lucious about the murder, and Lucious comes clean to him, admitting he had lied. So naturally, this prompts Vernon to attack Andre (Trai Byers) for covering up Lucious with an alibi and not telling him that Lucious murdered Bunkie.
“I cover for him even when I don’t know what I’m covering,” Andre says as Vernon, having just spilled the beans that papa bear’s a killer, departs.
We flash back to the Empire boardroom where Cookie is playing Jamal’s new song for everyone, including Anika.
“When can I hear a finished version, Cookie?” Anika asks, in a throwing of shade so obvious she should’ve been wearing a baseball mitt.
Andre interrupts the meeting with an update on the IPO and the announcement that Elle Dallas needs to be dropped from the label because she’s costing ’em too much and not making nearly enough. Cookie objects to the idea, but per usual, it doesn’t really change anything.
Cookie and Lucious arrange for a meeting with Elle (hello guest star Courtney Love!) to convince the star to let Cookie manage her, but she isn’t keen on her career being “handed over to an ex-con.” Um, glass houses, Elle.
So Cookie pays Elle a housevisit, except it’s not a house, it’s a dumpy hotel in which Elle has spent the night doing drugs. “It was your music that got me through when I was locked up,” Cookie says, trying to convince her to get clean. She flushes the drugs down the toilet as Elle sobs into her arms.
Sometimes we forget, but Cookie’s got a heart under all those furs.
We transition to a club, at which Jamal, PLB and Cookie have gathered. Cookie’s gotten the DJ to play Jamal’s new song and the reception is incredible (in a way that no brand new song by an unknown artist ever would be, but ya know: Empire).
Also conveniently enjoying the night at the club, a well known athlete and owner of 5 million Twitter followers, all 5 million of whom now know what’s up with Jamal’s new song, thanks to Cookie. Hakeem shows up, rearing his jealous green head, and he’s drunk which of course helps matters. He invites Jamal over to listen to his new song, but Jamal declines due to the disrespect with which he treats Cookie.
Cookie beams as Jamal walks away.
‘Nice For Some Girl Scouts’
Lucious, meanwhile, has decided to beef up security, so he interviews then hires an ex-military aid named Malcom (Derek Luke). No one’s gonna be going through his garbage cans and getting away with it anytime soon.
Speaking of getting away with it, Vernon has enlisted someone to lie for Lucious and say he was the one who shot Bunkie, in exchange for (what we can assume is a massive amount of) money.
Back in the studio with Hakeem, it seems the youngest Lyon has lost his mojo.
“It’s really nice, for some girl scouts,” Lucious says of Hakeem’s efforts. Well, that’s one way to reignite the fire in Hakeem’s belly. He heads back to the mic and crushes it. Ah, nothing like a young guy’s fear of femininity.
In a different studio, Cookie drops in on one of Elle’s recording sessions. Turns out, she sounds even worse than she looks (which, as we saw, is like a piping hot mess).
Back at the Lyon’s den, while examining Lucious, Anika’s doctor father tells him that, while it’s not a sure bet, there are black market medications out there for ALS which have a very high success rate, all of which Lucious is game to try. Oh, and he doesn’t care “if someone has to die” so that he can keep living. As if we couldn’t have guessed.
Back in the studio with Elle and Cookie, the latter is doing her best to get the former to “take it off,” meaning the makeup, the clothes but, most importantly, the facade. She even rips out her hair extensions and eyelashes. It’s, well, gross. For whatever reason, this improves the quality of her vocals? Well, props to Cookie for getting it out of her.
Onto a much smoother sound, Jamal is giving a radio station concert and he is sounding smooth. Mama bear is pleased, but less happy is PLB, who’s watching online at home. Jamal is asked how his “lady” feels about his budding success and all he says is that he’s single, continuing to fill his deep spot in that closet.
It’s a much better day for Lucious: he finds out that Vernon has found someone to cover for him, and he also begins treatment for his disease.
Back to work, Cookie arrives at Empire only to find the newly enacted security system, which has Malcolm checking for her ID. She very overtly flirts with him. Of course.
Elsewhere at the office: “Just so we’re clear, I didn’t know what my dad did,” Jamal says to Vernon in a bathroom (?). “I gave him an alibi because that’s what I’ve always done.”
“Guess we’re both guilty of putting ourselves on the line for that man,” Vernon responds. James assures Vernon though that while Lucious may lie to him, he never has and never would.
Hakeem’s new track, it turns out, came out even better than it sounded in the studio. Jamal walks into the board room as the song is ending and he assures little brother, writing a song about hating women only shows how much of a “little bitch” he is.
Well, that’s not necessarily how I would’ve said it (tinged with just as much misogyny as the song itself), but Jamal definitely makes a good point.
After the meeting, the entire family walks into the lobby only to be greeted by a woman named Olivia (Raven Symone). She’s being held back by security, however, upon recognition Malcom lets her though– her and her young daughter.
“Long time no see,” she says to the family before turning her attention to Malcom and telling him that her daughter “wanted to meet her daddy.”
Well, kinda smelled that one from a mile away, no?
What did you guys think of tonight’s Empire? Are you Team Jamal or Team Hakeem?
— Casey Mink