“Empire” Recap: “Toil And Trouble, Part 1”

Truth rating: 10
empire Recap May 17 2017

By Shari Weiss

RECAP

empire Recap May 17 2017

(Fox)

On Wednesday’s “Empire,” Cookie’s battle with Lucious and Giuliana over Vegas heated up. Here are the most important things to know about “Toil And Trouble, Part 1,” the 17th episode of season 3 and the first part of the season finale.

The show began in Las Vegas, where Leviticus was ready to open. Lucious and Giuliana toasted to gaming commissioner Charlotte, and Cookie was escorted out as she vowed to “shut this place down.” The episode then flashed back to two weeks earlier, when Lucious and Giuliana tried wooing the uptight, Mormon Charlotte with their “Inferno” show while she was concerned their venue would attract “hooligans.” Gia and Thirsty also clashed over each other’s role in Lucious’ circle, prompting him to fire his longtime lawyer.

Jamal prepared for his “When Cookie Met Lucious” album release party, but he and Cookie were caught off-guard by a new PR person named Byron, who encouraged them to hold off so Lucious’ “Inferno” album could shine. Cookie was furious, especially upon learning Gia pushed Lucious to hire Byron. She was angrier when Lucious told her she was banned from their Vegas club.

She then aligned with Thirsty, introducing him to the “Team Cookie Resistance,” with her sons and Shine. They wanted to get Gia out of the equation, but Shine’s beef with Andre made him drop out. Hakeem wanted to focus on finding Bella, and Jamal was preoccupied with his album. Andre then bailed, too, leaving Cookie and Thirsty without much of an army. So he enlisted Becky while she brought sisters Carol and Candace on board. Thirsty concluded the key to taking Giuliana down was obtaining her ledgers, which she kept close by at all times. A sting operation was planned.

Meanwhile, though he had sent his half-brother away, Lucious called on Tariq to find Bella. “I will give you whatever you want,” he promised. Tariq brought in a guy named Sam, who was assaulted by them in exchange for information. The episode then went back to what was seen in the opening, with Cookie and her sisters arriving at Leviticus in Vegas. Now, though, it was clear they working their scheme, and when Cookie was kicked out, Candace’s husband was posing as a high-roller who wanted a tour of the security vault. With a camera pen he recorded the security code and Becky wooed a security guard, which allowed Carol to sneak into Giuliana’s office to crack her safe. Amazingly, they pulled it off, obtaining the ledgers.

Amidst this, Charlotte was disturbed by the scene Cookie caused, but Andre showed up and offered his aid. The next day, Cookie brought Charlotte the ledgers to show Gia was shady, but was interrupted by Lucious. He brought Charlotte $500,000, a bribe they had apparently worked out unbeknownst to Cookie. But after she and Lucious left, Andre appeared to work on his own deal with Charlotte, leading to a makeout.

Towards the end of the episode, Cookie wanted to release Jamal’s album immediately to surprise Lucious. Again, the patriarch interrupted, and Jamal revealed he was putting his record on hold to join his dad’s show in Vegas. An argument ensured, of course, with Cookie yelling that Lucious couldn’t be trusted. Feeling betrayed, she walked out.

In the final minutes, Cookie vented to Andre, who told her about his alliance with Charlotte. He revealed she’s fine with payouts, but not fine with thugs. “Well, we’ll just have to give her Biggie and Pac times 10,” Cookie concluded. Tariq tracked down Bella to the DuBois residence. But as he was about to fill in Lucious, Leah stabbed him in the neck, killing him. Next week: Part two of the season finale.

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