“Empire” Recap: “One Before Another”
On Wednesday’s “Empire,” a new family feud erupted. Here are the most important things to know about “One Before Another,” the fifth episode of season 3.
The show began with Jamal and D-Major working on music, Shine announcing “let’s go kill some Lyons,” Cookie and Angelo flirting over coffee, Lucious taking Anika and her daughter to a doctor’s appointment with heavy security, and Hakeem discussing wanting to bed Nessa. The opening culminated in Shine pulling a gun on Andre, only to be stopped by a tearful Nessa. “I don’t get my hands dirty in front of her, but I’ll be back,” Shine warned. “In fact, I think I’ll save you for last.”
Lucious called a meeting with Cookie and the sons to discuss his and Andre’s attack on Shine and the family’s increased security. They decided to move forward with Hakeem’s live stream concert, and Jamal asked to join the show and make it an “intimate” “Lyon Brothers Live and Alive” event that would take place in his own living room. Hakeem reluctantly agreed, but was then challenged by Gram to have a streaming competition.
He was encouraged by Lucius to take on the challenge and “destroy” Gram, and also urged by his dad to become a “destroyer of men” like him. Lucious also taunted Jamal over becoming one, too, calling it “genetic.” That led the brothers to argue over whether to be “tough” during the streaming event, with Hakeem wanting to follow in Lucious’ model. Cookie took Jamal’s side, but ripped both boys a new one.
Nessa was angry with Andre for the drama with Shine, but he promised her uncle wouldn’t get “screwed over” and asked her to help facilitate a meeting. That led to a “sit-down” at Lucious’ mansion, where he and Shine exchanged threats. Shine vaguely mentioned possibly snitching on something that went down years ago, but was interrupted by Anika, who actually played peacemaker and suggested he get his own imprint at Empire. Lucious went along with it, and even agreed to bringing Freda back to the company.
Cookie upset Becky by agreeing with Xavier over her on what should be Tiana’s next single. She had bigger issues, though, after showing up late for her probation meeting and being told she was getting written up. She was ordered to start coming in three times a week, and even threatened with a return to prison. Cookie accused Angelo of having something to do with putting her supervised release in jeopardy, suggesting he wanted to keep her “in check” while he ran for mayor. He denied the claims, and the argument naturally also touched on her entanglement with Lucious.
At the streaming session, Lucious was upset by what he saw as a lackluster (read: too nice) performance from Jamal. And when it seemed Hakeem wasn’t going to go the “tough” route after all, Lucious told him about Andre and Nessa. That led Hakeem to spit an angry rap on the fly calling out his brother, as well as Jamal for not cluing him in. After the mic drop, a massive family fight erupted, which was caught by the streaming cameras and broadcast into Times Square.
Towards the end of the episode, Xavier threw Becky under the bus, revealing she lied to Tiana about which song she could record. The singer demanded Becky be cut from her team as Xavier gloated, “It’s just business.” Angelo brought Cookie’s probation officer to Empire, where the woman apologized for being “overzealous,” and a supervisor told her they received wrong information about an ongoing investigation. Angelo had put in a good word for her, wanting to prove he could be a “fighter,” too… in a good way.
In the final minutes, it was revealed Shine and Tariq were working together. Shine filled him in about Freda, and suggested Lucious was involved in her father’s prison death. Meanwhile, Lucious praised Anika for her help earlier, and she asked to become the head of A&R at Shine’s new imprint. Lucious then showed Hakeem how to care for his daughter and encouraged him to “go to war” with his brothers. The show ended with the patriarch saying he wanted to produce Hakeem again and turn him into a “destroyer of souls.”