It's time once again for another episode of Empire.

The episode begins with Lucious calling the HELL OUT of Hakeem by having Freda perform a new song, “Shots Fired," at Leviticus. With lyrics like “I know you’re soft as butter” and a hook which ruthlessly repeats the words “daddy’s little girl”, it’s no surprise that Hakeem, who is just about to take Laura’s virginity, gets incredibly pissed off when he hears it on the Internet.

At Empire Records, Jamal finds out he is one of ten artists being considered to be the new face of Pepsi. The caveat is that he has to write a new song in order to be considered, and behind Lucious’ back, he enlists Cookie’s help.

Hakeem, who has truly, truly had it rough this season, challenges Freda to a rap battle via a Periscope-esque app in order to find out “who the real Lyon is.” Meanwhile, Anika, who is seen ominously holding a knife in one hand and a pregnancy test in the other (poetic) leaves Hakeem an oh-so casual voicemail about how she needs to speak with him because he is the FATHER OF HER CHILD.

Let us take a moment to pour one out for Hakeem.

Cookie freaks out when she finds out Hakeem challenged Freda. With Lyon Dynasty still trying to get on its feet, Hakeem can’t afford to lose this battle. Laz, who is now all buddy-buddy with Cookie, tries to get in on the conversation only to eventually push Hakeem and get a deeply satisfying bitch slap from Cookie. Nobody touches her babies.

Jamal isn't sure which way he should go with his song for Pepsi.

Back at Jamal’s apartment, Lucious unexpectedly shows up in a frenzy with a song he believes to be perfect for the Pepsi spot. He whisks him away to the recording studio, but not before noticing Cookie’s jacket on the couch. (She’s hiding in the closet with food - who reading this hasn’t been there before, am I right?)

The next day, a weepy Anika runs into Rhonda at the gym, where she discovers that ever since Lucious found out Rhonda is pregnant she’s been treated like family. This gives the spineless Anika a newfound joie-de-vivre, and both ladies sip on aptly-named “Soul Cleanser” shakes.

Hakeem finds out Cookie has been helping Jamal write his Pepsi song, and like a true Lyon, he threatens to tell Lucious. Obviously Cookie has the last word, telling him not to be a “snitch b!#ch.” Damn I love Cookie.

Anika meets up with Hakeem to tell him she’s pregnant. Upon being told by Hakeem that he’s in love, she decides against telling him, only furthering what could be her destructive master plan.

Speaking of master plans, Jamal ends up pulling a fast one on both Cookie and Lucious at the recording session for his Pepsi song. He has both of them show up in the *gasp* same room, where he shows them how parts of each of their respective songs combine to make the perfect song for Pepsi. The happy family bliss lasts for a grand total of 4 seconds before Lucious and Cookie blow up in each other’s faces. Jamal storms out of the room, and Cookie proposes a bet with Lucious. If Hakeem wins the rap battle with Freda, Lyon Dynasty gets to release Jamal’s new record. If Freda wins, Empire Records gets to.

*Quick note to readers who are soon-to-be parents: do not follow the Lyons’ example.

Jamal premieres his song for Pepsi and kills it. His song is a combination of both Cookie and Lucious’ songs, and he tells them his upcoming album is going to be produced in exactly that manner. 50% Cookie. 50% Lucious. Jamal eventually is told he gets to be the new face of Pepsi, and I’ve decided I love the new large and in charge Jamal.

Freda tries to use cheap shots against the Lyons family.

The rap battle between Freda and Hakeem begins, and to be completely honest, it’s pretty f@#king incredible. These two are damn good. Freda takes a bunch of swipes at Hakeem’s family, calling out Cookie for being a hustler and Jamal for being gay. It seems like she has the crowd on her side, until Hakeem busts out his set where he literally does circles around Freda and ends by smashing a neon sign with the name “LYON” on it. He tells the crowd he’s dropping his last name for good. This triggers a flashback to Lucious’ childhood where he’s seen sleeping under a stone lion on the street. This poor guy.

Cookie isn't too concerned until she finds out that Carol has even left her children at Candace's house.

At the rap battle afterparty, Cookie’s sister Candice (Vivica A. Fox, yaaaaaaasssss) shows up yelling about how their other sister Carol is in trouble. Candice drops the bomb that Carol dumped her kids with her, and somehow Cookie is responsible. Cookie looks concerned and tells Candice they have to go to Philadelphia. Hakeem, who has made it very clear he doesn’t want to have sex with her until they’re both ready, says goodbye to Laura and puts her in a car home. The driver ends up being Anika in some weird-ass wig.


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