Before I begin the recap, I want to give a shoutout to whoever names these episodes. Well done, you.

The episode opens with Jason Derulo (!) announcing the nominees for the American Sound Awards. Jamal receives a nomination, and when Sky shows up in his apartment to congratulate him, he immediately freezes up. (Quite the turn from last week’s makeout session...eh?) Lucious walks in on this moment and sees the two of them in close contact. He approaches Jamal, says “she fixed you," and walks away. This pisses Jamal off to no end because he’s still gay as hell, and his dad just won’t accept it.

Hakeem, however, is denied a nomination for Rapper of the Year. After a RiRi-esque performance by Tiana at an ASA Awards Day party (there’s a point in her song where she says “cake cake cake” just like our Barbadian queen), she announces that Freda received the nomination over Hakeem. Surprised and upset, Hakeem storms off into the other room.

Jamal and Sky then perform their song "Powerful" at the same party. Afterwords, Charlamagne Tha God comes out on stage and calls out Sky for singing a song about black empowerment without ever “truly identifying as black." The fallout of this unprompted attack is bad, with Sky wondering why Jamal never stood up to defend her. It’s a super valid point. Where’s Jamal’s backbone?

FOX

OH MY GOD AND THEN WE SEE THE ACTUAL PEPSI AD. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH MONEY PEPSI INVESTED INTO THIS SHOW BUT I’M GOING TO BUY A PEPSI TODAY JUST TO SHOW SUPPORT.

At Cookie’s old prison, which I absolutely loved writing, Cookie fulfills her promise to Rosie O’Donnell by setting up a concert for Family Day. She discovers that her friend, Jessi, who she promised to make a star upon her release, is serving a life term for killing her cellmate.

We’ll get back to this in a few.

Okay, so we’ve finally made it to the SwiftStream announcement moment in the episode. This project is Lucious’ baby, and it’s clear how excited he is to have revitalized the promise of his legacy. He invites Mimi on stage to make the formal announcement, which ends up being a huge mistake. Mimi has had a hidden agenda, because this is Empire and of course she does, and proposes a vote to remove Lucious from power in the company. Oh, did I forget to mention Mimi’s wife is Camilla? Remember Camilla? Yeah. Camilla.

Camilla pays Hakeem a visit. She promises she can take him to the “next level” while not-so-surreptitiously grabbing his junk.

NEXT SCENE: We’re back at Cookie’s old prison, where she laments to her fellow prison sisters how she suffered the loss of her Cookout concert and broken heart. Her prison sisters are super supportive, and I really hope some of them get cast on next season of Orange Is the New Black. As Hakeem and Laura begin at the prison concert, a montage begins of Lucious’ henchman (Andre and Thirsty) attempting to bribe members of the board to keep Lucious in power. Eventually, Andre tells Hakeem and Cookie what Mimi is planning to do, and Cookie won’t stand for it.

“Lyon Dynasty is our company, Empire is our legacy” she says as she hands her proxy paperwork over to Hakeem, allowing him to vote on the board in her place.

Evidently, Camilla got to Hakeem, as he votes to remove his father from power during the vote.

HOLY S$%T HOLY S^%T HOLY S@#T!

This is the ultimate backstab from Hakeem. We all know he and Lucious don’t have a happy relationship, but to have him remove his father from power? That’s an attack on his family. Lucious has a full-tilt meltdown and shoots some of his possessions with a massive gun. Cookie comforts him, but it doesn’t seem like much can be done.

To round out the episode, a very pregnant Rhonda is pushed down the staircase of her luxurious mansion by an intruder, and Jamal and Lucious are both nominated for song of the year.

I am truly exhausted after this episode. As far as midseason finales go, this one struck GOLD.

Watch Empire Season 2 Episode 10 on FOX.

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