It took a while, but Lucious Lyon is officially getting his old thing back. And by “thing” we mean his job as CEO of Empire AND the love of his ex-wife Cookie Lyon.
When we last left off with the lyin’ Lyon family, Lucious had successfully sabotaged his son Hakeem as CEO of Empire and got the board to fire him. Now, the board is conducting a search for a new CEO. Lucious, of course, is not-so-quietly campaigning for the job and Cookie, eager to keep company leadership within the family, is helping him rack up wins along the way.
The American Sound Awards (or the ASAs, as they call it) is inching closer and closer and Cookie is determined to use the awards show as a triumphant platform for Empire. She organizes a press conference with Lucious and Jamal to get the masses hyped, but Jamal and Lucious are too busy sniping at each other in public to make the whole thing go down smoothly.
Since Hakeem and Jamal both Lucious so much right now, Cookie turns to her eldest son, Andre, to see if she can rally his support for the cause. Andre willingly seizes the opportunity to bolster Lucious’ bid for CEO and offers up the idea of having Lucious go public about Andre’s bipolar mental disorder and supporting a charity as an opportunity to improve Lucious’ public image and help rally his brothers behind him.
Andre begins his pitch by positioning the bipolar ASA charity event as a move to support Cookie and not Lucious. But Jamal rightly points out that the two are thick as thieves these days so supporting Cookie is the same thing as backing Lucious.
That’s when Andre foreshadows the obvious: Cookie and Lucious are going to eventually get back together.
Hakeem is wary of the idea and compares it to getting King Kong and Godzilla together, but Andre defends the reunion.
“Hakeem, if you think that you deserves a shot at getting Laura back, shouldn’t Lucious get a shot at getting Cookie back?” he asks.
Let’s face it: Cookie is the Whitney to Lucious’ Bobby Brown. Bad and badder just goes together sometimes.
The entire Cookie-Lucious power couple plotline comes to a nice conclusion by the end of the episode when Lucious and Cookie successfully wrap up the bipolar charity event by announcing that Jamal, Hakeem and Lucious will all take the stage and perform together at the ASAs.
The white people who sit on the board of Empire love the idea and they love the way Cookie and Lucious have been managing Empire.
They announce to Lucious and Cookie that the board has decided to stop searching for Empire’s next CEO externally and instead offer the job of co-CEO-ship to Lucious and Cookie. Assuming that Lucious won’t like the idea of sharing power with her, Cookie hesitates and suggests they’ll need to discuss the offer. But Lucious jumps on board and tells them that he thinks it’s a great idea, so the deal is sealed: Lucious and Cookie will be co-CEOs of Empire.
Cookie is stunned and surprised by Lucious’ optimism but we all know that a partnership like that will not go down without drama and again, the writers foreshadow the obvious as Lucious congratulates Cookie with a hug and devilishly smirks while saying, “I’ve got your back.”
I actually think Lee Daniels and the Empire team need to take a step back and actually sit in the co-CEOship for the whole third season. Within the span of season 2, Empire’s CEO has shifted from Jamal to Hakeem. No company could survive and thrive under such volatility and the rotating leadership in and of itself isn’t the most exciting story to tell.
Let’s see Cookie and Lucious actually struggle and hopefully succeed in building the company they always dreamed of, rather than just having Lucious do dirty shit like he always does. They’ve already tried to humanize him with the story of his hellish childhood, let’s see some more evolution of Lucious’ humanity.
Hakeem’s So-Called Life
After losing his title as CEO of Empire, Hakeem drowns his sorrows by shooting a trap music video at the strip club. It’s all just a pointless effort to offer him an opportunity to add another track to Empire’s soundtrack library, it’s just a shame it’s not one of his catchier offerings.
While Hakeem is at the strip club throwing Benjis, Laura blows up his phone. When he blows off her calls, she shows up at the strip club and confronts him about what he’s doing and why he’s been running away from her. Drunk off that bubbly and pissed off at the world, Hakeem blurts out that he got Anika pregnant.
Her response: A cold slap.
Which of course later results in Laura taking that ring off later in the episode.
But before the episode ends, they make up again and the engagement is back on any damn way, so could this entire saga be any less consequential?
In the midst of the engagement drama with Laura, Hakeem has to grapple with Anika’s health scare. Cookie stops by Anika’s place to pay a visit and is greeted by emergency workers trotting Anika out on a stretcher. They jump in the ambulance and head to the hospital.
While at the hospital, Anika’s mama shows up and when she hears that Lucious is coming by to check up on Anika and the baby, she makes it clear that he is not welcome. When Hakeem inquiries why, he learns the truth about what happened between Lucious and Anika’s father, in which he had him commit fraud assuring Lucious’ health so the company could go public.
When Lucious arrives at the hospital, he is confronted by a pissed-off Hakeem. Although normally you’d expect things to end on a sour note with these two, they actually achieve a resolution and understanding over everything. Over Hakeem stealing Empire, over Lucious doing his usual shiesty moves in the name of the good of the Lyon family, etc.
The writers just wanted to wrap up the latest fight between those two and this neatly does it. Whatever. You know they’ll butt heads again later.
But for now, Hakeem and Lucious are good, which clears the way for that unified ASAs performance Cookie has successfully pitched to the world. Mission accomplished.
Andre Is Confronted with the Truth About Grandma
Harper, a star reporter who’s been working on a big-deal feature story about Empire and Lucious, is a woman scorned. She starts out on the right foot by getting the ear of Lucious and prying into his world successfully. He even promises her exclusivity on the big reveal about Andre and his mother’s bipolar disorder.
But Cookie doesn’t trust Harper one bit, so she sabotages and undermines her attempts at every turn. Even when Harper resorts to the oldest trick in the book: Fucking your source to secure that exclusive.
While Harper is busy unbuttoning Lucious’ pants, he is interrupted by a call from Cookie which foils the entire thing. Frustrated, Harper realizes she can never compete with Cookie. And in a final nail in the coffin, Cookie convinces Lucious to let HER break the news about bipolar’s grip on the Lyon family, not Harper.
This sends Harper into a jealous rage, and in a defiant act of revenge, she marches up to Andre at the charity event and reveals to him that his grandmother Leah Walker is not in fact dead, but is being treated at a home.
Andre’s world is considerably rocked.
How will Andre meet and bond with Leah? What secrets of her own will Leah reveal about Lucious? If there’s anything the Lyon family has taught us, it’s that their skeletons will always come tumbling out of the closet. Let’s see what bones grandma will throw out on the table.