The latest episode of Empire begins with Thirsty pulling a strand of hair out of a child’s head. This child, although possibly Jamal’s and therefore incredibly relevant to the continuation of the plot, was given no opportunity to defend herself. Thirsty is such a dick, you guys.

Speaking of being a dick, Anika has been playing hostess to Rhonda ever since Andre and Lucius had their blow-up fight last week after Andre learned his grandmother suffered from the same disorder he has. After fussing with some marital problems, Rhonda and Andre discover Anika vomming in the bathroom. She reveals she is pregnant with Hakeem’s baby.

After the release of Lucius’ music video for "Bang Bang Bang Bang," he hosts a shareholder meeting where everyone tells him how important it is he takes over Empire again. He claims Hakeem is in the position to make the decisions about the company, but the shareholders are all on team Lucius.

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Hakeem does what he can to put together a great show for the shareholders, but Andre steps in with some sobering advice. He tells him Lucius will be at the event, and with his new slew of fans from his recent video release, he’s going to come for him.

Of course, without another two minutes of the show passing, we see Thirsty break into the warehouse where Empire’s Anthony & Cleopatra collection is being held. They steal everything, and when Hakeem confronts Lucius about it, he gets a call about how Laura & Tiana’s tour bus with all of their music equipment was stopped and searched for drug possession. Lucius is playing the game hard.

Meanwhile, Jamal and Freda rehearse a new song at Frank Gatz’s barber shop, where she finds out she’s going to be on two tracks of Jamal’s new album. She’s really excited about this until a man walks in and sits in her father’s old barber chair. He refuses to leave, and she beats the shit out of him. Why is this important? Cookie fears retribution from Freda if she finds out what the Lyons did to her father. Why else is this important? We get to see how much Freda still cares about her dad.

Cookie tells Jamal she found him a superstar to collaborate with him on his Black & White album. The rapper, Stacee Run Run, is sort of a Nicki Minaj-Katy Perry bubblegum hybrid, and she has an exclusivity clause in her contract and a lollipop in her hand! Jamal is faced with having to choose between working with Freda or with Stacey, and Cookie knowingly put him in this position because of how afraid she is of Freda’s retribution. (I just love writing “Freda’s retribution." It sounds like a Lifetime movie directed by someone with a degree in creative writing.)

Andre calls the family together for a meeting, because this is something this family does. Rhonda and Anika are revealed, and although nearly all of the Lyons spit fire at her when she shows up, when she tells them she’s pregnant with Hakeem’s baby she seems repentant...as if she wants to be a part of the family. Nobody is pleased with this, except for Jamal, who finds out his “daughter” Lola is not his daughter, but rather just a poor girl who had her hair ripped out by a strange man.

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Lucius surprises Anika at her home and confronts her with a deal to acquire the baby and get rid of Anika. He says he’ll give her $10 million dollars for the baby and his silence, and yet she counters with a threat. Now, if there’s anything we know about Lucius Lyon, it’s that you don’t threaten him. Right? We’ve all learned that at this point. Anika is so screwed.

At the Empire shareholder meeting, Lucius grills Hakeem about what it means to be CEO. He calls him out for canceling the tour because of the drug possession on the bus, for the Anthony & Cleopatra warehouse break-in, and about the SwiftStream app fail. The shareholders burst into a chant of “Lucius!” and Cookie steps in to save the day. What we’re left with is a feeling of confusion. The shareholders want Lucius for his success, they want Hakeem because he’s a mogul, and they want Cookie for her ability to fix everything.

As a result, Hakeem is voted out of his position by the board. Lucius is obviously thrilled by this.

After Stacee Run Run bails on Jamal’s recording session, Jamal heads back to the barber shop to find Freda and ask her to come back onto the album. She isn’t too excited by the idea since he shafted her, but says she will “consider it."

To end the episode, we find out that Lucius’ mother is still ALIVE. SHE’S IN A ROCKING CHAIR IN A NURSING HOME IN PENNSYLVANIA. THIRSTY HAS BEEN PAYING TO KEEP IT QUIET. ANDRE AND LUCIUS LITERALLY VISITED HER GRAVE EARLIER IN THE EPISODE. #EMPIRE

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