Empire Season 2 Episode 17 Recap: ‘Rise By Sin’
This episode of Empire begins with Lucious proving to us all that he is, in fact, a musical virtuoso!
I mean, we all knew because of his insane success, but now we see him fussing over chords and drums. Wow! Eventually, the dear, sweet Cookie shows up to call Lucious out on avoiding his mother. Sure, she threatened to kill him in the last episode, and sure, she’s threatened to kill him in the past. It’s no big deal. Grandma Lyon sees the music video for "Boom Boom Boom Boom" and declares Lucious has “always been a liar." Guess it runs in the family?
D-Major drops in on one of Freda and Jamal’s jamming sessions and is enthusiastic about what they’re making together. He suggests Jamal drops Cookie as his producer so he can produce his next album, which is insane, but D-Major is so hot. Who could say no?
Rhonda, or as I’ve started to call her, “the backbone of judgement," has her very first quasi-confrontation with Anika. She coyly asks her if she was “wearing those cute shoes with the red soles” on the night she came over to see the nursery (the night she pushed her down the stairs). Hopefully this means Anika is about to get her due. Even if it isn’t anything serious, I’d love a good blackmail plot.
Crackhead Carol is distracted by sexy-as-hell-undercover-FBI-agent Tariq. Cookie decides to step in, as she knows he’s got some agenda outside of wanting to take Carol on a date. When he and Cookie meet up, he tells her how Lucious had Bunkie killed. Clearly Carol is being played, and as an alcoholic who keeps falling off the wagon, she projects all of her problems onto Cookie who is *so* over it. Cookie kicks her out once and for all. Bye, Carol!
Jamal and D-Major have another steamy moment in the studio, but the moment Lucious walks in, D-Major pretends the whole thing was Jamal’s idea, and Lucious freaks out at Jamal over it. He knows D-Major is gay, but still cannot come to terms with Jamal’s perverted lifestyle. He tells Jamal that the day he dies from AIDS, he’ll celebrate.
Now, as a gay man, I find Lucious’s bigotry silly. However, this line may have caused Lucious to truly lose his relationship with his father, as I can’t think of a more hateful thing to say to a gay man. After this, Cookie tells Jamal about how she snitched on Frank Gathers once he tries to tell Cookie about his working with Freda. Jamal is on the edge of a nervous breakdown after he realizes both his mother and father are flops, and I can’t wait to see what he does later in the episode at the ASA Awards.
Thirsty shows up at the Lyon estate to make sure Andre and grandma do not make it to the ASA Awards. Thankfully, they have a luxurious panic room to spend the night in. Sorry, grandma!
At the red carpet, during an underlying song declaring how “fabulous” three random musicians are, the Lyons go all out to make the world see how perfect they are. Cookie and Lucious declare themselves the “first family of music," Hakeem hits the red carpet with Laura, where Laura is is quickly shunned by the press, and Jamal declares he’ll never work with the Lyons again. Also, drunk Carol shows up, and she tells Freda the only reason she’s there is because Lucious feels sorry for what he did to her dad.
Freda realizes exactly what Lucious did to her dad, and goes crazy on the red carpet. She grabs a gun from a security guard in an attempt to shoot Lucious and ends up shooting Jamal instead! There’s no telling what’s going to happen to Freda, but the Lyons are shaken in the aftermath of what went down. Cookie blames Lucious for what happened, which makes sense, and the entire family gathers in the hospital to wait for Jamal to get out of surgery.
Also the awards show is still going on in the interim of all this crazy. Neither Jamal nor Lucious win the award.
Ending the episode, while everything in the hospital is chaos, Grandma Lyon saunters outside to greet the press. She takes this as an opportunity to tell the world who she is, OR SO WE THINK BECAUSE THE EPISODE ENDS BEFORE WE FIND OUT.
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