‘Empire’ Season 2 Episode 6 Recap: ‘A High Hope for Low Heaven’
UGH, what a relief this show is back. I don’t know about you, but I care as much about baseball as I do the foreclosed gas station across the street from my apartment.
Just a quick reminder before we start the recap: At the end of the last episode, Hakeem was straight up kidnapped in the middle of the day.
The episode begins with some sweet, sweet love for Becky from Empire recording artist J. Poppa, but she just *has* to get to work. Cookie can’t reach Hakeem and is wearing an amazing top, and Jamal is recording a new song since his cheating ho of an ex-boyfriend broke his heart.
While Jamal and Lucious are recording a sick new song called "Delta Alpha John," Cookie bursts in and accuses Lucious of having Hakeem kidnapped. He denies his involvement, and they head to a drop-off point to hand over $40,000 to the kidnappers to get Hakeem back. A black van pulls up at the meeting spot, but Hakeem is nowhere to be found. The driver claims he was paid a little bit of money to drive Hakeem to the drop-off point, but Hakeem wanted to get out of the car, so he did. A very limp-wristed kidnapping.
Hakeem is seen wandering the streets of NYC and happens upon a weeping Anika, who is in the process of complaining to her mom about how she doesn’t have anything. They start kissing, and Anika is still the worst. The Lyons recover Hakeem, but he ends up blaming them for everything that happened.
Back in the recording studio, Jamal finds out the Staples Center won’t book him for a show because he has “too narrow of an audience." Immediately, he lashes out at Lucious for how the marketing team is positioning him as a “gay artist," and just when all hope seemed lost, a swanky homo named Jameson Henthrop interrupts their recording session (twice so far in this episode, girlfriend can’t catch a break) and offers to help Jamal get the attention he deserves. Lucious doesn’t trust Jameson, as they have a ~murky~ past, but ultimately agrees that his son needs this help.
At Lyon Dynasty Records, Hakeem has a quasi-mental breakdown during a rehearsal with the girl group he curated, affectionately dubbed “Destiny’s Problem Child” by Cookie. While all that his happening, Andre is interviewing all the artists at Empire Records to do some “pruning” of artists who aren’t up to snuff (read: not Christian). He finds most of the artists to be duds (there’s a guy who hands Andre a joint — I would have kept him on the label) but THEN J Poppa shows up, and he and Andre bond over the Lord and His Holy word! Anyone who says the bible doesn’t unite has never watched Empire. Andre introduces J. Poppa to the idea of including the Word into his music, and it’s immediately down to business for the two of them.
Cookie meets with Laz to talk about getting stronger security for Hakeem who, in the previous scene, has another mental break and punches a mirror, and then does that thing where he looks at himself in the fragments of the broken mirror, thus perpetuating the idea that he’s going crazy. Laz is *clearly* making moves on Cookie, who can’t afford to let her guard down…especially if it’s with the wrong person. She sets up a meeting with Hakeem’s kidnappers in the hopes of possibly hiring them to work as a security detail, but Hakeem pulls a gun on them before the meeting begins. Cookie talks Hakeem down, which I’m crediting to her unreal midnight purple lipstick, and takes the gun out of his hands only to pull it on the kidnappers herself. Straight up, unfiltered Cookie badassery. G-d damn, I love this show.
At Leviticus, Lucious throws an artist showcase. The two artists who perform, J. Poppa and Freda, each have their own dish of crazy to serve during their bit. J. Poppa drops some lyrics taken from scripture, causing Andre to almost burst with glee and Lucious and Becky to go “Huh? What?” Freda kicks a heckler in the face because girlfriend has anger issues, but the heckler totally deserved it. #TeamFreda.
Rounding out the episode, Hakeem gets some serious brotherly love from Jamal and Andre after he and Lucious have yet another blowout, Anika borderline stalks Hakeem at his apartment, Freda gets offered the song Lucious wrote for Hakeem, and Cookie hooks up with Laz who we find out has the SAME BULL TATTOO AS HAKEEM’S KIDNAPPERS.
Peace, love, and Empire, y’all.
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