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After a three-month hiatus, our Lyons are finally back on our little screens — and Empire continues lớn encapsulate the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” We open with Lucious’s surprise announcement of his album via a Remy Ma-led performance at Leviticus. Apparently he’s been reading some Dan Brown novels lately (or perhaps, Dante?), because he’s calling his next album Inferno — & according lớn the buzz, it’s about khổng lồ make him a bigger star than ever. Cookie thinks he waited for Jamal lớn be safely sequestered away in rehab to lớn announce the album, since Lucious is still threatened by his most musical son — but she’s also pissed that Lucious didn’t tell her about Inferno at all. She tells him he needs to step down khổng lồ focus on his project và make her sole CEO of Empire, & in true Lucious fashion, he tells her, “You want war? Fire a shot.” Famous last words, Lucious.

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Cookie’s shot is a good one: She pushes Lucious’s mom, Leah Walker (a.k.a. the woman who his fans think killed herself in front of a young Dwight), out onlớn the stage và introduces her, leaving Lucious dumbstruông xã until his truyền bá director tells the audience of reporters that the show is over for the night.

Their feud continues — and brings a couple Lyon cubs into lớn it — at the board meeting the next morning, where they’re trying lớn decide which artist gets lớn perkhung at Empire’s showcase. Hakeem votes for Tiamãng cầu, since she has an album coming out sooner, and Cookie has already approved her. Andre, obviously, wants it to lớn be Nessa, và when Lucious finds out that’s exactly what Cookie doesn’t want, he makes an executive decision. It’s Nessa.

Meanwhile, the whole family (shockingly) shows up lớn visit Jamal in rehab, where we meet Tory Ash (Rumer Willis), an Amy Winehouse-esque singer-songwriter and former heroin addict with a massive sầu attitude. I know she’s not a bad actress (và actually seems to lớn be able to sing — anyone watch her on 90210?) but I bởi vì sort of wonder how much the massive lion tattoo on her arm influenced the casting decision…

Anyway, Jamal seems lớn be holding a mini grudge against Cookie for feeding hyên ổn those nasty drain pills, và Lucious leans into lớn this, hard. Remember how you needed Jamal to perform at the event? Remember how you had to lớn choose between Angelo and Jamal? The bigger nhoiquanzen.coms is that apparently there’s “no music” allowed at this rehab center (give me a break), which is really killing Jamal because MUSIC IS HIS REAL DRUG! NOT PILLS! I have sầu khổng lồ admit — I’m getting a little tired of Jamal’s whole “thing.” I know he’s supposed to be the prodigy và I love his music but I need a break from this never-ending passion, “nothing gets between me & the music!” thing.

Andre’s passion is a little old, too, but still intrigues me a bit. He gets Shine an Empire parking spot and a placard with his name on it, lớn which Shine says, “They finally spelled my name right.” (This feels lượt thích very personal, since I’ve sầu been spelling it “Shyne” all season. Sorry, Shine!) He tells Andre this might not be the best time to try to steal Empire from Lucious, since Inferno is going khổng lồ be so huge. “I didn’t say I was going lớn steal it from hlặng,” Andre replies. “I said I was going to lớn kill him.” Ah, so that plan is still happening! He talks about mounting an “army,” và Shine says, “You mean my guys?”

“I lượt thích to think of them as our guys, Shine,” Andre says. It’s so clear that Shine completely sees through Andre’s B.S. — he’s using hyên for what he can get, as he should, but how does Andre not realize he comes off so slichồng và smarmy to lớn Shine? This plan is clearly going lớn blow up in Andre’s face… we’ll just have lớn see how và when.

Baông chồng at Empire, Lucious holds a little press conference & deftly pivots the attention away from Leah (“it’s a private matter”) and toward the York mayoral election. He’s endorsing John Meeks (a.k.a. not endorsing Angelo DuBois) — & beyond that, he’s offering a $300,000 rhoiquanzen.comard for anyone with information that could lead khổng lồ Angelo’s conviction for that pesky Chappaquiddick-like incident in his past, which resulted in a young woman’s death.

It seems like everything is going lớn be okay though, because later, Angelo’s legal team finds documentation that proves he was nowhere near the scene when it happened — and an acquaintance from elementary school has apparently been serving time for the crime. Cookie và Angelo are relieved, but I can’t imagine this issue is really going away so quickly…

Now for the second-best scene of the week: Nessa is performing a solo at the Empire showcase as Andre and Lucious planned — but Cookie has a triông xã up her sleeve. After one verse, who bursts through a crowd at the opposite side of the room lượt thích the little king và queen they are? Hakeem and Tiamãng cầu, taking over Nessa’s song (& her mic gets turned off, too). The palpable anger between Nessa & the power couple makes for a fantastic, high-energy performance — but the energy doesn’t dissipate after the show. “I’m a lady, so I’m not gonna beat your ass this time,” Nessa hisses lớn Tiana as they take their bows.

“I should have beat your ass for stealing that fashion show from me,” Tiamãng cầu shoots bachồng. She turns away, & Nessa literally tosses her offstage into the crowd. Andre moves to break it up, but Shine says to let them fight. They go at it on the ground, Tiana ripping out one of Nessa’s extensions in the process. Lucious is laughing at the whole scene — until he gets a phone Call from the rehab center saying that Jamal has gone missing.

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While it’s great when Lucious & Cookie are at odds, the hunt for Jamal was fun because they’re like a little mob duo going from studio to lớn studio in an enraged tìm kiếm for their son. They go to D-Major’s studio, but Jamal isn’t there, then, after someone posts a Snapchat video of Jamal & Tory entering a sketchy building, Cookie realizes they’re at that old bullet-riddled studio across town. Cookie is on a rampage, and Lucious follows suit: “Whatever she doesn’t destroy, I will!” Good little Jamal is obviously not on drugs, of course. (“This is my rehab,” he says about his music. Eye roll.) He just wants khổng lồ make music with his friend! Lucious and Cookie let hlặng finish.

Meanwhile, Becky has been running errands with Thirsty all day. They’re babysitting Leah Walker, then they piông chồng up an old woman, the mother of a guy who was going to testify against Lucious, so Lucious can use her as blackmail really quickly until that problem is solved, và then they drop something off at a radio station. All the while, Becky is growing more & more furious that Thirsty isn’t helping her with her real problem, which is that HORRIBLE Xavier character who took Becky’s job & continues to lớn her over. Let me say though, if there were ever khổng lồ be an Empire spin-off, please, please make it a buddy comedy about Becky và Thirsty. I love these two together, & they bring a surprising lightness to the show (even amidst all of Thirsty’s blackmail và shady dealings). Turns out Thirsty was helping Becky without her realizing it, because the next morning at Empire, Lucious makes a big scene of firing Xavier for getting kickbacks… from the very same radio station where Thirsty dropped something off yesterday. Ahh, the sweet satisfaction of a jerk getting what he deserves… even if it wasn’t exactly the fairest way to lớn bởi it.

Later, Cookie & Jamal sit together for some mother-son bonding. “Dad went so low,” Jamal says khổng lồ her. Cookie asked if he’s surprised, & his answer is great: “Always and never.” It’s kind of how I feel about the show overall — when it’s all drama all the time, is anything really that dramatic? Anyway, Cookie flat-out asks Jamal, “Are you a dope fiend?” Obviously he isn’t. He assures her that he’s clean and focused on his music, & she confides in hyên that she feels like everything is finally going to lớn be all right… except that she knows Lucious is probably planning his next move.

Turns out she was right: At next Empire meeting, right after Xavier’s firing, Lucious makes a grvà speech about who is going khổng lồ be the next head of A&R. First, it sounds like he’s talking about Becky… then it sounds lượt thích he must be talking about Cookie… but when it comes time khổng lồ announce the woman who “has lit an inferno inside of me” and is the “DNA of this company,” who comes out? “My wife, Mrs. Anika Lyon.” TALK ABOUT SHOTS FIRED! Cookie calmly but quickly walks out of the conference room (wearing an amazing Stella McCartney mèo print blouse, I might add), & the next time we see her…

She’s dressed lớn the nines (or for an ’80s prom) & wielding a Beyoncé-like baseball bat in Lucious’s office. “You want some trouble, Cookie?” he asks.

“No, I just have some questions,” she says. THIS is the best scene of the episode, hands down, và possibly the best Cookie scene… of all time? I watched it twice and I truly cannot wait lớn watch it again. One by one, Cookie passes Lucious’s platinum và gold records on the wall. “This was your first album lớn go gold,” she says. “I remember working on that six months before I went to lớn prison. So whose DNA is in that, Lucious, huh?” She smashes it to pieces, và moves along down the halls. “Who was your muse for that?” SMASH. “Do you rethành viên this one? I sent tapes from the inside baông xã & forth with you while you worked on them from in here.” SMASH.

At one point, Lucious approaches her và she says, “Don’t you come any closer.” He tests her, & she SMACKS HIM TO THE GROUND WITH THE BAT. YES, COOKIE! “None of this would exist without me,” she tells hlặng. “Who’s the mother with the important job? I gave you three sons, bitch!” I want khổng lồ transcribe her every word inkhổng lồ this recap, but I’m holding baông xã. Her mayhem continues while she busts up Lucious’ grvà piano, until she finally drops the bat. “Trying to erase me, Lucious? After all I’ve sầu done for you… you built this company on my back, và you’re just gonna give it to that bitch?” She slaps hyên ổn, & then, of course, they have a very passionate make-out. Eventually, though, Cookie comes to lớn her senses và pushes him away, composing herself. “No. I said I was done with you,” she says. “I meant that.” And she walks out — taking care to slowly crush a framed photo of Lucious và Anika once more under her stiletlớn. WELL, THEN! Just when I start khổng lồ get a little bored with Empire, Cookie pulls me baông chồng in. If Cookie thinks the label was built on her bachồng, I hope Taraji P.. Henson knows she carries this whole show on hers.

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Lee Daniels and Danny Strong created this Fox drama about a kingpin of hip-hop (played by Terrence Howard) và his family, who fight hyên for control of the empire.

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