“Empire” Recap: “Et Tu, Brute?”
On Wednesday’s Fall Finale of “Empire,” Cookie returned to prison while Lucious risked losing Empire Entertainment. Here are the most important things to know about “Et Tu, Brute,” the 10th episode of season 2.
The show began on the morning of the American Sound Awards nominations, with Jamal scoring his first-ever nod. Skye was extremely excited and affectionate, but just as Jamal said he wanted to talk about what happened between them, Lucious walked in. Asked if he’s “hitting that,” Jamal told his father, “I’m still gay, alright? So don’t get weird.” Lucious, however, said Skye “fixed” him.
Lucious then met with Mimi about his plans to leverage parts of Empire in order to buy the streaming service outright. She was reluctant to give approval, wanting to first consult with the Board of Directors, but ultimately signed the agreement, and revealed her wife would be in town to celebrate.
Meanwhile, Cookie’s Cookout plans were in jeopardy thanks to the fallout with Laz, and she humbly asked Lucious to let her use Leviticus as the new venue. He refused, in retaliation for not helping him with the streaming deal. Lucious then gloated when Freda Gatz received a Rapper of the Year nomination and Hakeem didn’t.
At the nominations celebration at Leviticus, Jamal and Skye performed their racially-charged duet “Powerful” live for the first time. Afterward, host Charlamagne Tha God asked Skye, “What, you’re black now?” Skye responded by defending her biracial identity, and when Jamal jumped in to try to help, Charlamagne compared it to an open-Jamal suddenly deciding to hook up with a woman. Skye was ripped on social media after, and became angry with Jamal, leading Lucious to try to smooth things over.
Later in the day, Jamal was up to five nominations, and gave public thanks to his parents before the debut of his Pepsi commercial. Media consultant Jamison, who Lucious clashed with years ago, kept needling the mogul about Jamal being more musically successful than his father. Lucious then told Jamison Jamal now has a “girlfriend.” Jamal and Skye, however, went on to pledge to just be friends.
Lucious later introduced Mimi to the crowd as his “business partner in crime,” a description she laughed off. She then asked her wife to come on stage as a “thank you” for helping her through breast cancer… and it was none other than Camilla. “Remember me, Lucious?” Hakeem’s cougar ex slyly said to Lucious as she walked on stage.
At a board meeting afterward, Mimi turned on Lucious, calling him too powerful and revealing she recorded him badmouthing the board members earlier. She then moved for Lucious to be removed as Empire’s CEO and chairman, and called for a vote to be held that night. “Camilla — I didn’t see it coming,” Lucious admitted. With Andre and Thirsty’s help, he vowed to sway the board members to his side.
It was then Hakeem’s turn to be stunned when Camilla showed up at his apartment. She told him she never took Lucious’ bribe, and hinted Cookie hid that fact from him. When Hakeem saw her wedding ring, she insisted it wasn’t what it “looks” like and that “everything” she did, she did for him. She then vowed to take him to the next level… if he was “ready to go there.”
Meanwhile, Cookie arranged a family day performance at her former prison, and started to have a flashback-fueled meltdown as she entered the facility for the first time since her release. She was all smiles after reconnecting with an inmate named Spider, but was upset to find out another prison pal, Jezzy (played by Da Brat), was now serving a life term. Jezzy accused Cookie for turning her back on her after not being in touch since her release.
Cookie later became emotional as she spoke to the inmates and the families about her broken heart and the “struggles of a life in here.” Hakeem and Laura performed at the mini-concert, which was live streamed, and he told everyone that building his relationship with his mom over the last year has been one of the best times of his life.
Andre then unexpectedly showed up, revealing to Cookie and Hakeem that Lucious was at risk of losing Empire thanks to Mimi and Camilla. Despite Lyon Dynasty, Cookie expressed an allegiance to Empire, saying it was the family’s “legacy” and that anyone trying to “steal” that was their “enemy.” Hakeem said he understood, and Cookie made him her proxy to vote in the board meeting so she could stay longer at the prison.
Andre and Thirsty both struck out with winning over board members, so Lucious was relying on Hakeem’s vote to have it go in his favor. When it came to Hakeem to cast his vote, he flashed back to all his tempestuous experiences with both Lucious and Camilla. He ultimately voted “ay” in favor of removing Lucious, shocking his family.
With that vote, Lucious was officially removed from power, and Mimi then announced she’d be making Camilla her proxy and the person in charge of day-to-day operations as she continued cancer treatment. Back at the Lyon estate afterward, Lucious took out his anger by firing a rifle in his office as he broke down in tears over losing all they worked for over the last 17-plus years.
Cookie tried to calm him down by pointing out that they still owned the majority of the shares and Jamal was still on the label. She begged him to be “strong” and hand over the gun, and told him to “pull it together” like a Lyon would. With that, they shared a tender embrace as Lucious sobbed, saying he wanted to kill Hakeem.
Earlier in the episode, at Andre and Rhonda’s home, Anika was clearly jealous over the nursery and Rhonda’s gushing about Lucious being so supportive of pregnancy. In the show’s final moments, Anika broke into the mansion… and pushed an unsuspecting Rhonda down the stairs. As she lay in a pool of blood, the episode ended with both Jamal and Lucious scoring Song of the Year nominations.
It marked the first time a father and son would be competing against each other, making it a “battle of the Lyons.” Lucious’ reaction? “Ain’t that a bitch.” And with that, “Empire” is now on hiatus until March. Tell us what you think of the Fall Finale in the comments below!