We begin with Tiana (Serayah) filming her music video about looking for bad boy. There are just so many Rihanna references and similarities. Anika (Grace Gealey) is watching over while Hakeem (Bryshere Grey) watches with his posse. Lucious (Terrance Howard) walks in and becomes aware that Hakeem and Tiana are more than just friends. He asks Anika if they are sleeping together, she thinks it sure looks like it. Hakeem finally goes up to Lucious to ask when he’s going to record a video or perform more, he really wants to get out there and make something happen while he has a huge buzz. Lucious tells him he needs to get back in the studio to record more, end of discussion. Suddenly, Tiana accidently pushes Veronica, the featured artist, and she begins calling out for her manager Mel. They are resting everything when Mel comes up behind Lucious. He is not happy with the way Lucious has been handling Veronica. He then threatens Lucious, but Lucious keeps his cooling saying they can talk right now if he’d like. Lucious then takes Mel into his trailer outside and all we hear is Lucious beating the shit out of Mel. After he’s done, he informs his security that Veronica’s former manager may need some help. Unexpectedly, he sees Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) walking towards the set, Lucious stops her and asks her not to go in since it’s Anika’s set. But Cookie was actually trying to find him. She wants to know what Lucious is doing about Bunkie’s (Antoine McKay) funeral. He tells her to trust him, that he’s planning something big for Bunkie. Cookie agrees, then tries to get in the set again but is blocked by Lucious again, he should be happy that she isn’t in the mood to act out.
Back at the office, Lucious is preparing Bunkie’s funeral arrangement, trying to get Gladys Knight to sing at the funeral when Andre comes in to let Lucious knows that Kidd Fo-Fo (Kristopher Lofton) is on the cover of some magazine and has signed to a rivaling label, Lucious is furious. He then disturbs Anika’s meeting to tell her about it. The story makes Empire look bad and now he wants Kidd back ASAP! He is then interrupted by Becky, she tells him a detective came to talk to him. Turns out, the Detective Walker (Damon Gupton) may have found an eye witness to Bunkie’s murder. Lucious fakes his enthusiasm and hopes the eye witness helps them catch their man. After the detective leaves, Lucious asks Andre if he still as a connection to the city deputy, he still does, and wants him to find out who this eye witness is. Shit, another future Lucious victim.
We then see Cookie auditioning a song writer for Jamal, but she just can’t find a good one. Frustrated, Andre introduces Cookie to some big song writers, the Jorgensons, Hans and Bjorn (Chris Ash and Gabriel Franken). Cookie tries to introduce herself to them but is having trouble communicating with them when Anika comes out of nowhere and starts speaking in Norwegian. The Jorgensons are so happy to see Anika and Anika tells them who Cookie is, a visiting ex-con. As they walk away, Cookie calls Anika a bitch under her breath. Jamal then comes out of nowhere pissed that Cookie is auditioning song writers behind his back, Porsha (Ta’Rhonda Jones) told him. He only wants to sing songs he writes but Cookie reminds him that he bitched out on her when he was supposed to sing his own material to the public and just wants him to blow up bigger than Hakeem. Jamal doesn’t want be pinned against his own brother, he it hates but Cookie will do whatever she wants, period.
We then see Vernon and Lucious going over something when Anika walks to introduce her private detective Gus (Howie Johnson). Vernon tries to stick up for Lucious saying that he never cheated on her but she didn’t hire him for Lucious she hired him to follow Cookie. She doesn’t trust Cookie and thinks she is up to no good, then the detective shows him pictures of Cookie talking to the feds. Lucious is in shock.
We return to see a distort Cookie crying over Bunkie at the funeral home when Lucious comes in to confront Cookie about the pictures. He begins calmly asking her who she has been meeting and accuses her of snitching on him to get out of jail earlier. But if she was, he really wouldn’t be here. He then begins to rant and threatens her that he would do anything to destroy his enemies. She wouldn’t do that to him, she cares too much for the company and her family. So what was the deal she made if it wasn’t about Lucious or Empire?
The next day, we see Cookie and her sister, Carol (Tasha Smith); walking to the Bunkie’s funeral when she confronts her if she told anyone her deal with the feds. Carol is the only one Cookie told about her deal. But she swears she didn’t tell anyone one. Then they see an old familiar face, Ronny Brown, an artist that was big before Cookie went to jail. But everything went to hell when Puma left. Puma was the one that wrote all of Browns hit records. Which gives Cookie the idea to get him for Jamal, but Puma has been missing for some time. Hopefully Carlo can try to find him for Cookie. At the point, we see Lucious and Anika walking towards the funeral home when his fans outside start cheering for him. Lucious spots a kid crying and asks why he is crying. His father use to sing him Lucious’ songs when he was little. Lucious feels for this kid and asks if he wants to be a rapper one day. The kid nods and Lucious then gives him some startup money, a hundred, and tells him, once he grows up to give him a call.
Inside, we see Gladys knight singing at Bunkie’s funeral with Lucious’ eulogy voiced over her singing. Then we see some flashbacks to when Bunkie helped Lucious and Cookies escape the grips of a rivaling drug deal back in the day and scenes from the first episodes. Like when Bunkie’s threatens Lucious, Lucious getting furious that he would threaten him and Bunkie getting shot by Lucious. Oh lord. All while the funeral gets in a holy frenzy thanks to Gladys.
We come back to see Andre visiting his connection, Deputy Mayor Alvarez (Sari Sanchez). After complimenting her, they chit chat for a little when suddenly, Andre starts seducing Ms. Alvarez while he asks her about the eye witness the detectives have. She will do anything to help him. Damn this was a stimulating short scene.
We then see Lucsiou reading a book when suddenly his ALS hits him hard, forcing him to sit down. Anika comes in asking if he’s okay. Lucious lies and changes the subject to his rival who just singed Kidd Fo-Fo, and believes he just wants to sink his IPO (initial public offering) deal. Anika wishes he would just relax and be happy that they have some Empire albums at the top of charts and of all the buzz over Hakeem and Tiana. Lucious decides that he wants to keep them together and wants to throw a family dinner to make her feel welcome. That sounds like trap into the Lyon’s den.
We return with Detective Walker going to see their eye witness, a homeless man by the name Ol’ Salty (Brad Armacost) that only speaks in biblical versus. The detective tries to get him to talk but he can’t really understand him. His word won’t stand up in court.
Back with a half-naked Andre, he receives a call from Deputy Mayor Alvarez about the detective’s witness. When Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) walks in, asking who he just finished talking too. Andre says it has to do with Bunkie’s murder and nothing else. But Rhonda isn’t fooled and knows it must have taken a lot of persuading for Ms. Alvarez to get that kind of information for him. Suddenly, Andre grabs Rhonda and shows her what he did to get that kind of information. Damn, Andre is getting all the action in this episode.
At some club, we see Hakeem and Tiana enjoying their night out when he receives a text from some woman named Camilla (Naomi Campbell) asking if he wants to meet up later. He tries to lie to her, saying he’s sick and thinking about her. She replies back, if he really does because she is right behind him. And then we are giving the gift that is Naomi Campbell stamping her way through the club and sitting in a separate room watching Hakeem. Uh oh! Naomi looks fucking fierce!
The next day, we see Cookie discreetly hopping into Agent Carter’s (Nealla Gordon) car. Cookie confesses that she has no clue how Lucious found out them but the feds knows it was a hired private detective by Anika. They took care of him but are afraid Lucious will find out they are feds. They spent too many years building a case on Frank Gathers and don’t want Lucious to destroy everything they worked for. They need to come up with a cover fast. Cookie agrees but needs them to find Puma for her. Agent Carter agrees and Cookie exists fast. Who the hell is Frank Gathers?
We then see Lucious entering the Empire conference room where Agent Carter is pretending to be Cookie’s parole officer. Lucious buys the act and promises to personally keep an eye on Cookie for her. Agent Carter then excuses herself to the restroom and Lucious begins to apologize to Cookie for the attack at the funeral home, he was just upset. Cookie is still mad and him, but Lucious tries to make it up to her but inviting her to the family dinner to welcome Tiana into the family. Cookie agrees to show up as Agent Carter comes back and Lucious leaves the room. Then Agent Carter presents Cookie with Puma’s information.
Cookie then arrives to a dude ranch, where Puma (Cuba Gooding Jr.) now works. Puma is ecstatic to see her and shows her to his office. Puma begins to charmer Cookie, Cookie is flattered but feels weird asking him for help and is about to leave when Puma asks why she came all this for him. She finally asks him if he could write her a song, he is the best song writer she knows. But Puma doesn’t do that anymore, especially not for Lucious. Cookie then interjects that it’s not for Lucious but for their son Jamal, like Lucious but with heart. However, Puma doesn’t know if he can do it because now he’s just trying to help inner city kids try to get out of what they went through back in the day. Also, he is still so pissed at Lucious letting Cookie go to jail for him, if she was his lady, he would have never let her do that. As Cookie begins to leave, Puma runs after her and says he has a song for Jamal, and that she might just remember it.
We then see Cookie back at Jamal’s jamming out to the song Puma sent her. Jamal thinks it’s a little dated but Cookie wants him to really hear it, it has something. We then flashback to when Puma gave the same song to Lucious back in the day, and then we intertwine back to the present as Cookie makes Jamal try to arrange the tune to the song, something Lucious couldn’t do back in the day, Cookie thinks it’s because Puma wrote it about her. But Jamal really fixes it up, and Cookie wants Jamal to play for Lucious tomorrow at the family dinner where she planning to bring Michael (Rafael de la Fuente) too.
We return with detective Walker bringing Ol’ Salty some beer to see if it helps him talk. But no luck, the homeless man is too afraid. But the detective promises to protect him. Ol’ Salty begins to talk some gibberish, making the detective feel hopeless and he begins to walk away. Suddenly, Ol’ Salty starts talking reciting Daniel’s biblical story in the lion’s den, hitting towards Lucious Lyon. After the detective gets the hint, he shows Ol’ Salty a picture of Lucious and asks if he is the shooter. Ol’ Salty recognizes him and nods. That’s all the confirmation the detective needs.
We enter into the Lyon’s family dinner at the Lucious’ house as they all sit down at the table. Andre tells Lucious about the eye witness not being viable as he is a paranoid schizophrenic, Lucious acts concerned and decides to put out a reward to find Bunkie’s killer as an incentive. Michael then tries to thanks Lucious for inviting him but Lucious obviously does not like that he’s there and tells him to thanks Cookie, she invited him. The drama then continues as Cookie sits at the head of the table where Anika usually sits. Anika tries to get it back but Cookie is not moving, Lucious then interjects to have Anika sit next to him just for tonight. Anika agrees and begins to greet everyone to the dinner and thanks them for coming. Everyone is about to take their first bit when Cookie stops the table saying, in this family they say grace first before they start eating. Forcing everyone to stop and awkwardly hold hands around the table. Cookie then gives a great prayer about family being her greatest blessing when Anika coughs during the prayer and Cookie ends by asking Jesus to please bless hoes who hire skanks to spy on her. After an amen and a hallelujah, Cookie blows a kiss directly to an angry and shocked Anika.
After dinner, Cookie calls everyone into the living room for Jamal’s performance. Lucious tries to be funny, telling Jamal to not be intimidated by the size of the room compared to the small coffee shops he usually plays at. But Jamal quips back that Lucious should stop at the coffee shops sometime, the hipsters love blasts from the past. As soon as Jamal begins playing the song, Lucious instantly knows Cookie went to go see Puma. The song helps Lucious remember back in the day when Cookie was adamant he take the song from Puma but he couldn’t arrange it just right. After Jamal’s done, everyone loves the performance when Lucious calls out Cookie for going to see Puma, asking if he is still in love with her. Lucious continues by saying he never really liked that song before hearing Jamal’s version and begins to plan to give it to John Legend when Cookie furiously calls Lucious attention. Turns out Lucious owns the song, buying it from Puma back in the day, so he can technically do whatever he wants with it. He thinks Jamal could be a great arranger, and Cookie about to kill Lucious when Jamal calms him down. Adding salt to a wounded, Lucious asks Jamal if he actually wanted to sing the song, but Jamal just says he can keep the song, he never wanted the song in the first. Jamal then begins to rant, reminding Lucsious that back in the day he couldn’t make the song work and how does it feel that his son could do something he couldn’t. Jamal calls Lucious washed up and declares that the songs he is writing will prove that he is Lucious but on steroids. Then Jamal storms out with Michael. Lucious laughs it off but Cookie condemns him straight to hell. Anybody else turned on by a how furious Jamal was? He looks good motivated by vengeances.
After the final commercial, we see Hakeem getting a drink when Andre reminds him how amazing Jamal’s song was and that not worry if Jamal is more talented than him, Lucious will always pick Hakeem not matter what. Hakeem gets furious, telling him he is his own man. And Andre continuous his mind game, saying Hakeem would be good as back to Jamal’s song, you know, use the whole brothers’ connection and Hakeem storms off. Damn Andre is malicious.
Then, after a little confrontation where we learn Anika is not someone who’s going to sit back and take Cookies shit, Cookie walks into the living room and sees Lucious struggling to open his pills. Cookie knows that something is wrong with Lucious, like he is almost afraid of something. It could be Jamal’s great talent that he can no longer deny or just something that he’s running away from, afraid that it will catch him. And Cookie reminds Lucious that he can’t hide anything form her, he can never hide form Cookie. Finally we begin to see a cunning Cookie come out.
We then find Hakeem making out on top of a pool table with Camilla. Hakeem stops to ask her if she thinks Jamal is more talented than him. But Camilla just reminds him what Andre said, it doesn’t matter, he’s going to inherit the kingdom not matter what. Hakeem hates that everyone keeps telling him that. It makes him feel like the only reason people think he’s great is because of his father’s wealth and reminds Camilla that he killed it at Leviticus last week, an event that Camilla wasn’t invited too. Hakeem needs to keep his relationship with her on the down low, but reminds her she is everything to him. However, Camilla doesn’t really believe him since they’ve been secretly going out for over a year. Suddenly, she grabs his necklaces and makes him call her his mama before they get it on, super random. But why does he have to keep their relationship on the down low? My wild guess is maybe she’s a transgender woman or something that would add to the drama of the show.
Finally, back at Jamal’s place, Jamal is still fuming from what happened after his performance and Michael is desperately trying to calm him down. Suddenly, Jamal gets a call from Lucious that he’s down stairs and wants to come up. After Lucious comes in, Jamal wants to know why he came, Lucious doesn’t even know, he just wanted to see him. Jamal then reminds him they just saw each other and what Lucious did to him back at his hourse. Lucious tries to repeat what he always said and done throughout Jamal’s life, show him that he needs to get tough or this life will eat him alive. But Jamal see it more as him beating him throughout his childhood because he hates him for being who he is. But Lucious confesses he doesn’t even know him. He never had daughters and then to see his son become someone’s bitch, he just doesn’t understand him. Jamal replies he doesn’t have to understand, or have anything to do with him. He is a man regardless of him in his life, he now long needs Lucious. But of course, Lucious reminds Jamal that he pays for everything, including his apartment. Tired and frustrated as all hell, Jamal calls Michael to pack their bags, they are leaving for good. Lucious doesn’t really believe him but Jamal is dead serious. Anybody else feel like Lucious just wants Jamal to be his bitch instead of his own man?
We end with Jamal outside on the street with Michael asking if he’s sure he wants to give up everything? But Jamal is determined and promises that he’s now going after Lucious’ Empire.
Damn that was an epic ending. I’m really excited to see Jamal finally come into his own and become so strong that he’s no longer taking his father’s crap. I bet it really resonates for a lot of LGBTQ people who don’t have a great relationship with their parents. Jamal is finally playing the game to win the Empire, watch out Andre. I love how episode really shows how all three brothers represent a defining side of Lucious; Hakeem: the hunger to be great, Jamal: the musical talent and Andre: the vicious manipulator. I can’t wait to see how each secret will unfold and finally see Jamal reach his true potential.