Time for another installment of Empire.

The episode begins with Hakeem drinking and dancing in a wonderland of strippers. I know, I know: I thought it was a music video shoot, too. Nope. Turns out this is just part of Hakeem’s life after losing control of Empire. While he’s doing this, Jamal and Lucius are fussing around with ASA voters at Leviticus. I use the word “fussing” because that’s exactly what they’re doing. I’m so over Lucius’ power trip (but so into it??)

He’s also obsessed with a reporter named Harper. She has “the hottest blog in the music business," and she’s cute, so naturally, she and Lucius have a relationship that puts Cookie on edge.

Andre, who is finally showing some serious backbone, suggests he goes public with his Bipolar Disorder. Cookie wants to host a fundraiser to establish Lucius’ credibility again to the board, and by pairing it with a public recognition of a serious disorder within his family, Lucius’ credibility will go through the roof.

Back at the strip club, Laura shows up and slaps *the hell* out of Hakeem after he lets it slip that Anika is pregnant with his baby. His brothers help to pick up the pieces of Hakeem, which they have done on more than one occasion, and together they agree to help with Cookie. Hakeem then goes into Hakeem mode, and tries to make everything better immediately, and baby-proofs his entire apartment. Anika shows up to see his work, isn’t impressed, and tells Hakeem about her conversation with Lucius. Hakeem tells Lucius if Anika feels too unsafe to be in New York, he will leave with her and they’ll never see the baby. Ugh.

While the fundraiser is being set up at Empire Records, Jamal is confronted by Michael, his sleazy ex who cheated on him. Now, no part of me understands why Jamal wants to talk to Michael or have him back in his life, but he agrees to have a drink with him. Part of me believes he wants to get back with Michael, and the other part of me thinks he wants to use Michael at the fundraiser to push Lucius’ buttons to get him off his game. Yep. That’s it. That’s what’s going on.

Cookie shows up at Anika’s townhouse to talk to her about the fallout between Hakeem and Lucius regarding the baby. Surprisingly. Anika is being taken into an ambulance due to a panic attack (or so it seems?). She and Cookie share as tender a moment as two women who hate each other can, and I actually hope Anika sticks around.


While all of this is happening, Lucius and Harper are back at Leviticus slapping each other around as a means of foreplay. Cookie calls, and in an act of jealousy, Harper calls her a “manipulative bitch." Lucius, who claims he doesn’t have feelings for Cookie, puts her in her place, literally and figuratively, which is kind of hard to watch knowing Terrence Howard’s actual relationship with women. (Eek!)

Laura breaks off her engagement with Hakeem, and as soon as she did it, I poured myself a glass of champagne and toasted to the most intelligent character on the show. At least, for now.

The Lyons all show up at the hospital where Anika is staying. When Lucius shows up, which he is “not allowed to do” because he forced Anika’s dad to commit fraud when Empire Records went public, he sits with Hakeem and has another tender moment. He tells Hakeem how proud he is of how he stood up to him over the company and over his baby. Although it’s incredibly weird, and I believe all of these characters are fundamentally deranged, it’s a sweet moment.

All of this crazy aside, the fundraiser is still planned to go on. At the event, Lucius claims the whole point of “Boom Boom Boom Boom” was to put a face to mental illness. Harper shows up just in time to call out Lucius for scooping her story and to give Andre photos of his not dead grandmother in her group home.

Jamal leaves the fundraiser because he’s had enough of his dad’s crap. Honestly, that’s the reason. He goes back to the club where he had his first show and performs the hell out of his set.

To end the episode, Cookie and Lucius are celebrating their successful fundraiser. Andre is nowhere to be found, Hakeem is getting back with Laura (in the same room as Anika’s unconscious body), and Jamal is doing his own thing. The shareholders approach the Lyon patriarch and matriarch and tell them and tell them they’ve decided to give them co-CEO positions at Empire Records. Cookie looks reluctant, Lucius looks bastardly. They accept, and the final shot is of Lucius hugging Cookie but doing that thing where you know he’s gonna be a bastard in the end.

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