The ‘Empire’ season 3 premiere started out with one jaw-dropping death. We last saw Anika and Rhonda fighting on a roof and one of them went over the balcony. Someone didn’t make it out of the fight alive. WARNING: Major spoilers ahead!
FINAL WARNING: If you do not want to be spoiled about the season 3 premiere, stop reading until you’ve watched. You’re about to be SPOILED!
The premiere picks up pretty much where we left off. Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) jumps in the car and drives away after being left at the altar by Laura (Jamila Velazquez). Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Jamal (Jussie Smollett) try to stop him, but they have far bigger problems on their hands. Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) comes from above, crashing hard onto the car right in front of them. Yes, RHONDA IS DEAD! Her lifeless eyes just stare at Lucious and Jamal. Rest in peace, Rhonda. You were a badass b*tch. Empire won’t be the same without you.
Needless to say, Anika (Grace Gealey) freaks out after she realizes what has happened. Andre (Trai Byers) also blows a gasket, having just watched his wife fall to her death. Andre grabs Anika and starts to choke her, and it looks like he might kill her. That’s when her water breaks, and he carries her out.
What a way to start off the season! But seriously, poor Andre! This guy can just never catch a break. He just lost his unborn child, and now he’s lost Rhonda.
Hakeem goes to Tiana’s place drunk after his very public breakup with Laura. He can barely form words, and Tiana’s not having it. He starts to reminisce about the past. “You know I always loved you,” he says to Tiana, before passing out.
Cookie goes straight to Andre after Rhonda’s death. He is absolutely devastated. Cookie starts telling him that God has a plan with him, but Andre swears he’s “done” with God. In the midst of the tragedy, Anika is in labor. Lucious goes into the delivery with Anika to pose as the daddy. He acts like he’s comforting her by whispering sweet words of encouragement, but he’s actually threatening Anika’s life.
Once the baby is born, the doctor asks Lucious if he wants to cut the umbilical cord. “No,” he says to Anika. “You lied to me.” That is ice cold, Lucious!
You Weren’t Around
Even though the family is suffering a tragic loss, it’s back to work Lucious goes. Guest stars French Montana and Birdman have a meeting with Lucious. They think Lucious’ empire has crumbled and don’t really want to be associated with Empire right now.
The launch of Empire’s streaming service is Lucious’ next big move, and he knows he needs to make a statement. Lucious wants Jamal to perform. Hakeem is still in a really bad place, so he’s out. Cookie’s involved and this just gives Lucious more time to try and get Cookie back. But she’s not budging. He married Anika right in front of her. “You ruined it,” she tells him. “Forever.” Burn.
Later, Cookie asks Lucious if he was ever happy with Anika. He dodges the question. He was happy with Anika at one point. He needed someone, and Anika was there. “You weren’t around,” Lucious regretfully says.
Hakeem heads to the studio to let off some steam. Shyne comes in unexpectedly and starts wreaking havor. He wants Lucious to give Nessa a record deal and threatens to go to Tariq if Lucious doesn’t comply. Speaking of Tariq, he’s already making the rounds. Candice and Carol try and warn Cookie about the storm that about to hit. Cookie goes to the door and Tariq’s there. All he wants is to take down Lucious. His first mission? To prove Lucious’ marriage to Anika is a sham.
Cookie immediately goes to Lucious about this. They bring Anika and the baby to Lucious’ mansion. Lucious is pulling out all the stops to make sure the marriage looks real. When Anika arrives, she runs into Lucious’ mom. Momma Lyon does NOT like Anika and basically threatens her with a knife.
Tariq’s waiting outside. He’s got patience, that’s for sure. He knows what Lucious is up to. Because Lucious loves to play games, he asks Tariq to dinner.
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?
Shyne shows back up at Empire and makes a deal with Lucious to let Nessa perform with Jamal at the streaming service event. Since Lucious is shady AF, he admits he won’t even have Nessa’s mic plugged in.
Meanwhile, Hakeem is trying to put the moves on Nessa, who tells him that she is not one of his “thirst bucket thots.” (Add it to the dictionary, guys.) The rejection gives Hakeem a little spark, and he kills it on a new song in the studio.
Later, Hakeem pays a visit to see his daughter, Bella. As soon as Hakeem tries to bond with Bella, Lucious walks in and takes over. Tariq arrives for dinner with a plate full of shade. He taunts the family at the dinner table. He tries to call out Lucious’ fake marriage, but Anika steps up to the plate and kisses Lucious in front of everyone. Jamal has his dad’s back and slams Tariq. But Tariq isn’t finished. He goes after Cookie, telling her that she’s “sitting at a table that should be yours but never will be.” Tariq also calls Anika a “mulatto b*tch.” Nope. Not joking. At this point, Cookie’s finally had enough and tells Tariq off. Bye, boy, BYE!
The Teddy Bears Have Eyes
When Jamal hits the stage for the streaming service event, he has a panic attack. He keeps reliving the moment Freda shot him. After he’s rushed off the stage, Nessa steps up and gives an incredible performance of the Black Lives Matter song Jamal had wanted to sing. Boy, her voice is good.
Tiana looks on at Nessa and is not happy with what she sees. Meanwhile, Lucious is pissed about the song, especially since Jamal went behind his back. He warns Jamal not to mess with him.
Cookie is thisclose to walking away from all the drama. “Let me go, Lucious,” she pleads. She wants to build a wall between them. She needs her space because she’s too close to the edge. Being near him and not being with him is just too much for her to take. He agrees to her demands because it’s what she wants. In this moment, we get a flashback to when Cookie and Lucious first crossed paths. She was hooked the moment she laid eyes on him.
Andre is really struggling with Rhonda’s death. He can’t seem to move on. He clings to her clothes, hoping this is all just a terrible nightmare. That’s when he starts hallucinating Rhonda. He’s screaming at nothing and Jamal watches as his big brother is crumbling right in front of him.
The episode ends with Lucious have a little one-on-one time with Bella. He opens up about how he’s scamming Tariq and truly believes he has the upper hand. Unfortunately for him, Tariq has a camera installed in one of Bella’s teddy bears. And he can hear everything
HollywoodLifers, what did you think of the Empire season 3 premiere? Are you shocked Rhonda died? Let us know!