The episode begins with what may be remembered as “the greatest exchange of Empire herstory.”

Clad in fur and heels, Cookie and Candice (played by the ferocious Vivica A. Fox) bicker about how they’ve spent the past two days in Philadelphia searching for their sister, Carol. The scene is brief, but fierce.

Back in New York City, Hakeem tells a group of interns? minions? to distribute posters for his upcoming concert Cookout, which has recently sold out a second show. Since Hakeem forsook his family name and thwarted Freda in last week’s epic rap battle, he’s been getting a crazy amount of attention. Speaking of crazy, Anika, who is pregnant with his child, is seen staring at a live stream of his rehearsal with Laura while eating ice cream surrounded by photos of Laura with the word “lies” written across them.

Evidently, Anika is full-tilt Glenn Close Fatal Attraction crazy. I’m thrilled. Finally, she’s useful.

Cookie and Candice try and find Carol at the place she first began using. Candice, who “does not do prison and certainly doesn’t do crack houses” ends up going into a crackhouse. To no avail, they get back in Cookie’s car and get into a fight. Candice inadvertently blames Cookie for Carol’s addiction, and the two go about finding Carol in their own way.

Lucious and Andre have an uncharacteristically tender moment in the foyer of the swanky ass house Lucious bought for his soon to be grandson and heir. He tells Andre his faith has made him a stronger man, and that he couldn’t be more proud of him. It’s great.

At a press conference in Empire Records, Jamal, on the cusp of winning his huge Pepsi deal, announces that he will be working with mega-star Sky Summers (Alicia Keys). Jamal fangirls over her for a little bit, and then the two decide to develop an entirely new sound after Sky expresses her interest to start singing music different than what she’s known for. Jamal is all for this, however Lucious wishes for her to stick to what she knows.

Chuck Hodes, FOX

Rosie O’Donnell guest stars as Pepper, a baker and old prison friend of Cookie’s. She has information on where Carol is, and the three of them (Candice included) find her propped up on a couch in a seedy neighborhood. She vomits on Candice’s shoes, and eventually decides to stay with Cookie in New York while she gets her act together. Before the leave, however, Candice slams Carol with a veiled threat, insinuating Carol did something to backstab Cookie while she was in prison. S--t's going to hit the fan at some point. I’m sure of it.

Anika visits Rhonda in her new Long Island palace. She confides in Rhonda, telling her that she’s “in love with some musician”. Rhonda tells her a story about how she cut off a girl’s pony tail in college to keep Andre. So, essentially, a crazy woman told another crazy woman she should do crazy things to get the man she wants.

Once again, I’m so glad Anika has a purpose. Finally. Finally.

At the Pepsi video shoot, which is epic, Sky tells Lucious she intends to embrace a new sound. He doesn’t seem too bothered by it, because he’s too focused on trying to get Lee Daniels’ attention!! He’s the director of the video shoot!! Lee Daniels tells Lucious he’s a thing of the past, which causes him to tell Andre to sell “whatever he needs to” from Empire’s empire in order to obtain SwiftStream, thus securing his legacy.

Back at Lyon Dynasty, Lucious walks in on Hakeem, Cookie, and Laz discussing moving the Cookout concert to a different venue. Lucious, after having previously seen Laz and Cookie make out, decided to look into Laz. He uncovers the connection between Laz and the gang that kidnapped Hakeem, and Cookie freaks the hell out. She has a crying and glass throwing fit, which turns into a passionate heart to heart with her cracked out sister. It was kind of a weird scene, but it was tender.

At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Jamal and Sky have this crazy amazing song together called "Powerful." Jamal overhears Sky singing the song by herself, but she tells him she’d never be able to sing it because her fans would turn on her. He reworks it as a duet, and lest we forget Jamal is a musical prodigy, the song is f--king awesome. After they finishing singing the song, THEY KISS.

IT IS SPECIAL BUT ALSO LEFT ME VERY CONFUSED. END OF EPISODE. DOWNLOAD THE SONG.

Watch Empire Season 2 Episode 9 on FOX.

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