“Empire” Recap: “Death Will Have His Day”
On Wednesday’s Spring premiere of “Empire,” Lucious and Cookie tried to take back Empire Entertainment from Camilla and Hakeem, and Rhonda’s fate was revealed. Here are the most important things to know about “Death Will Have His Day,” the 11th episode and midseason premiere of season 2.
The show began with where the winter finale left off, with a pregnant Ronda bloodied but alive at the bottom of the stairs as a figure in black crept out. She cried, “Please, God, save the baby. I don’t care what happens to me. I can die a thousands times. Just please save the baby.”
At Empire Entertainment, Andre was urging Lucious to go to the cops over Camilla’s seemingly illegal take-over, while Thirsty wanted to use a gun to handle things his way. Cookie, meanwhile, was waiting at Hakeem’s, broom in hand. “Why? Why would you do this to our family?” she asked. Hakeem insisted he did it to “him,” but Cookie said he “threw away” the whole family’s “legacy.” She demanded he take his vote back and beat him as he refused.
At the same time, Jamal performed at a midnight ASA nominee party to celebrate his nominations. With a reference to going up against his dad in one of the categories, the rising star said he wanted to make it clear, “I support my father 1,000 percent. Always and forever.”
The police then showed up with Camilla to remove Lucious from his office, since it was no longer HIS office. They were interrupted by the news that Rhonda was hospitalized and “might not make it.” At the hospital, he, Jamal and Cookie were all in tears when Hakeem showed up, and she demanded he leave. When Andre arrived, he was told Rhonda was “fine,” “but the baby didn’t make it.” Understandably, he immediately had a meltdown.
When he pulled it back together, he told Rhonda not to blame herself for what they thought was an “accident” after she slipped and fell. She then insisted “God doesn’t exist” because he didn’t answer her prayers to save the baby. Andre, however, thought God saved HER. “There really is no God, Andre,” she sobbed.
Later, Cookie and Lucious ended up falling asleep in bed together after she went to comfort him. The next morning, she found him playing with bullets. “I’m gonna take our company back,” he declared. Lucious made a veiled threat to take Hakeem’s life if he becomes CEO. She said instead she was going to “take Camilla out” from inside the company.
Camilla showed Hakeem plans for her new Empire clothing line, and demanded he “get rid of [his] little Mexican girlfriend,” Laura. She said in exchange she would ensure he becomes CEO over Jago. Cookie showed up, pointing out that Hakeem is still under contract with Lyon Dynasty and they could pay $20 million to buy her label. It led to this exchange… Cookie: “You really gonna pick this bitch over your family?” Hakeem: “At least she don’t beat me with a purse.” Camilla: “Not unless you want me to.”
Thirsty and Lucious enlisted a group of former criminals to intimate the board members, but said he would handle Hakeem himself. Various members then experienced awful things, like their car blowing up and their pet being killed. And Jago was actually beaten. Hakeem, meanwhile, asked Jamal if he’d be mad if he ran for CEO, saying their dad “deserved the worst.” Jamal said he personally “hated” running the company, and questioned how much his brother actually wanted it, if he was considering giving it all up for Laura. He then drunkenly showed up at a Menage a Trois rehearsal and cruelly berated Laura, leading her to walk out on him.
Jamal met with Jamison, who questioned him about hooking up with Skye. The openly-gay media adviser said that if it got out, the apparent flip-flopping would hurt the LGBT community. Jamal insisted, though, that was he gay. But when Cookie told him to “pick a damn team,” he refused, saying sexuality is “fluid.” He added, though, that he was just “a gay brother looking for a man.” Cookie urged him to get back in Jamison’s good graces so he could win the ASAs… and beat Lucious.
Anika visited Rhonda in the hospital and suggested “everything happens for a reason.” Rhonda cried about there not being an “heir” to Empire now, but Anika said there would be… without revealing she was pregnant. Cookie revealed to Andre and Jamal that she had a miscarriage with Lucious before they were born, losing a “little girl.” Back at home with a busted leg, Rhonda tried to climb the stairs but essentially collapsed. That seemingly triggered a memory of her being pushed.
After Jago withdrew his CEO candidacy and no one else wanted to step up, Hakeem made a grand speech to the board saying he would usher in a new “era.” Jamal warned Hakeem to be careful on his new “throne,” and then threatened with Andre and Cookie to release his own joint Lyon/Empire album solely through Lyon Dynasty. They pitched making Lyon a sub-company in which Cookie would have total “autonomy,” but she also wanted to run A&R for all of Empire. Camilla warned Hakeem that it would be the “biggest mistake” if he agreed, but he said he wanted to “be a real family again” and accepted the deal.
Towards the end of the episode, Cookie gave Lucious access to the Lyon Dynasty office so he could “focus on music” while she handled the “dirty work” of taking down Camilla. Andre broke down as he packed up the baby’s nursery, begging “God, help me.” Hakeem apologized to Laura for “being an ass,” saying he only broke up with her to get Empire. After he promised they’d “really be together,” she wanted to lose her virginity to him. At the last second he said he didn’t think they should do it, but they exchanged “I love you” and went all the way.
In the final minutes, Hakeem met Lucious in the exact spot where Bunky was killed. “That’s how much the Empire means to me,” Lucious said of committing murder, and said he would “stop at nothing” to take the company back. He handed Hakeem a gun, and told him to “decide how far you’re willing to go to have the Empire. If you want to be king, kill his father and sit on his throne. It’s life and death. So if you don’t shoot me right now, I promise next time I see you, I will do my best to take your life. So shoot me so I don’t have to do it.”
At his dad’s urging, Hakeem pointed the gun at Lucious’ head, but with tears in his eyes, refused to pull the trigger and walked away.