Empire Recap: “The Lyon’s Roar”
On Wednesday’s “Empire,” the Lyons came together to do a legacy project as Lucious and Cookie tried to figure out where they stood in the wake of sleeping together. Meanwhile, one son finally shared major news, and another almost killed himself. Here’s the most important things to know about “The Lyon’s Roar,” the eighth episode of season 1.
1. Cookie told Lucious to “get rid of fake-ass Halle Berry” Anika if he wanted more “nookie from Cookie,” and vowed to make him “immortal” with a legacy album, concert, and documentary, along with a make of his love song called “You’re So Beautiful,” featuring him and sons Hakeem and Jamal. He promised he’d “ditch the b*tch,” but when Anika discovered he made her father commit medical fraud and revealed she also knew he cheated, she demanded Lucious marry her the following week and announce the plans in front of Cookie at the upcoming White Party, or she would take him and Empire down. That didn’t stop him from later seducing Cookie in the recording studio, but come party time, he told her he was no longer calling off the engagement. So, where did their relationship go from there? Read on to find out!
2. As the legacy project seemingly brought Lucious closer to Hakeem and Jamal, Andre felt increasingly left out, and conspired with Vernon to set himself up as temporary (and eventually permanent) CEO in the event Lucious became incapacitated. That necessitated getting board approval, and he tried to force his sexually-adventurous wife Rhonda into sleeping with an elderly, wheelchair-bound board member in order to secure his vote. Grossed out, she became too drunk to through with it, and told Andre he should “be a man” and secure his future without making her into a “geriatric whore.” At the vote, Andre was stunned and angered when Lucious voted “nay,” and he later drank at the White Party, despite being on bipolar medication. Lucious later lectured Vernon on his loyalty for going behind his back, and cruelly told Andre he couldn’t be trusted ever since he “brought that white woman” home and married her. When Andre, however, said the real reason he’s hated is because he’s academically, but not musically talented, Lucious told his son that he’ll “never” be accepted, and he’ll leave Empire “to someone who cares about my family, not someone who’s trying to tear it apart.” The harsh words drove a distraught Andre to nearly commit suicide as he sat crying in a recording studio. When he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, though, no bullet came out as he was apparently playing Russian Roulette.
3. Hakeem’s issues with Cookie came to a head when they clashed in the recording studio, and he accused her of loving Jamal more than him. Cookie explained she just knew his older brother better, since Hakeem was just a baby when she went to prison. They vowed to work on their relationship, but Hakeem’s cougar girlfriend Camilla, who kept referring to himself as her mother, became jealous, and disagreed with his family’s career choices, particuarly on the “You’re So Beautiful” remake. He decided to take her to the White Party to introduce his “queen,” and took her song advice to Cookie, though Cookie didn’t know at first who it was really coming from. When Hakeem introduced Camilla as his “girl” at the party, Cookie figured it out, and bashed the May-December relationship, saying he was just using her to sort out his “mommy issues.” Camilla threw in some digs of her own, and declared that Hakeem was off the family song.
4. Jamal bonded with the openly-gay Ryan, the videographer in charge of Lucious’ family documentary and pictures at the White Party. Jamal warned him to keep his sexuality hidden from his homophobic father, but Ryan said he saw no reason to be “ashamed” by how God made him. He encouraged Jamal to come out, particularly for his daughter’s sake, although her official paternity still remained unclear. He later shared a sweet moment with little Lola, telling her she’s a “Lyon,” and singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” to her. After Lucious encouraged him to use music to share his truth, Jamal surprised everyone by essentially coming out at the party when he performed “You’re So Beautiful” but changed the lyrics to “when a man loves a man.” The crowd loved it and Jamal very clearly felt liberated, but Lucious was very obviously not happy, especially when the news made worldwide headlines.
5. Jamal quickly deduced that his parents were sleeping together again, and told Cookie it was mistake, because Lucious is “incapable of loving anyone but himself,” which proved true after Lucious revealed the wedding plans. To strike back, Cookie told Anika at the party that she and Lucious had sex again even after he promised he wouldn’t. The next day, Anika went to see Lucious’ rival, Billy Baretti, while Lucious confronted Cookie about talking to Anika, which he figured out after she didn’t show up to meet their wedding planner. He told his ex their rendezvous was a “momentary weakness,” and that he would never leave Anika to be with her. Cookie told him that was fine, as nothing good could come from loving him, and she vowed to focus on Jamal’s career after the positive reaction to his coming out. Lucious, however, was not on board. “This is not a family. This is a disgrace. The legacy album’s dead,” he told Cookie with tears in his eyes. “I’m done.”
The episode ended with a flashback to Cookie in her prison cell, where photos of her family and singing “You’re So “Beautiful” to herself kept her going. Previews indicate all the family relationships will further worsen next week, with just three episodes remaining in the first season.