Me right now:
My LPB has stepped his game up!!! Yes, Empire! I felt tingles! You didn’t get me all the way “there,” but this is progress. I thought I was gonna have to let you go, but you put in more effort, and I appreciate that.
Let’s run it back.
Fires of Heaven, S2, Ep3
The writers gave us the Cookie we know and love straight out the gate. She showed up at Hakeem’s place and found his Latina lover there. She advised that it wasn’t a good look to be bonin’ the lead singer of his group. That was “an Unsung episode waiting to happen.” But Hakeem’s hard heads will forever get him in trouble. I cried when she called that girl “Guadalupe” and told him he would’ve known his dad was out of jail if he wasn’t up there “livin’ la vida loca.” Now hur’ up. He had a radio interview to do with Sway.
During his interview, Hakeem performed one of his songs. Eh, it was cool. Then Sway had a surprise for him. Lucious was on the phone. He didn’t say a whole lot. Just insinuated that Hakeem would learn from his mistake of leaking his album. Hakeem wasn’t thinkin’ about Papa Loosh. He talked to Sway about his new girl group, Mirage Trois (pronounced muh-rah-jay twah), and said he’d bring them back (against Cookie’s advice).
Meanwhile, Lucious is out, and this joker really thinks he’s a god. Like, he says it repeatedly. STFU and have every seat available in your make-believe world, Sir. You’re the god of what?Trembling Voices? I suppose a fresh haircut, a solo shower with your own soap, and a whiff of fresh freedom air will do that for you. For real, though, I would like to meet LUCIOUS. Who is he? How does he sound when he speaks, when he raps? Week after week, Terrence Howard is only giving me Terrence Howard, and I’m over that shit. It bothers my soul, y’all.
Freda, Frank’s rapping daughter, who Lucious promised to sign while he was locked up, sounds harder than him. What in the entire hell??? (Sidebar: If Nonchalant (the rapper) and Pam from Total had a baby, that’s what it would look like. Freda. Rapper Bre-Z plays her, BTW.) If you need a reminder, Chris Rock played Frank in the season premiere.
At Lucious’ house, the family minus Loosh sat at a table with all the fixin’s before them. When he finally arrives, he makes a poor attempt at delivering a Godfather-like speech. He had a proposition. If Cookie dissolved Lyon Dynasty, he would forget all the wrong she and the boys had ever done. Oh, Lucious. Nervous? Cookie hit him with a hell no. He remained on his high horse and reminded everyone of all he’d done for them.
Classic Cookie Moment:
She’d had enough of hearing Lucious talk smack. It was time to go. As she turned to leave, she grabbed a handful of table runner and walked away.”I’m always’ gonna eat; just not with you.” Every kibble and bit hit the flo’.
Lucious actually made good on his promise to Frank. He told Jamal to meet with Freda and sign her. She brought her funky attitude and crew of homies with no legal knowledge to the meeting. She wasn’t feelin’ it. Her dad told her not to trust Lucious. (So why show up?) Homie #1 told her not to sign the contract. Apparently since he didn’t know most of the words in the document, that meant Empire was trying to get over on her. Alrighty then.
Later, Lucious was in the ‘hood watching Freda battle a male rapper. When he one-upped her and asked if she was gonna cry, she pulled out a pistol. There to save the day (because: god), Lucious swooped in and stopped her. He didn’t even have a cape on. How ’bout that? *eye roll* He urges her to just sign with Empire and get away from that life because her father wanted more for her. Eh. Nah. She fled with her crew instead before the cops came.
Lucious met with Anika and tried to seduce her into telling him what was going on with Lyon Dynasty. He needed her help to bring them down. Little did he know she wasn’t with them anymore. I kinda threw up in my mouth when he sucked on the cherry and told her how dirty he knows she can be.
Because these hoes ain’t loyal, Anika met with Cookie and told her about the meeting. Oh, and that he was having a star-studded party to celebrate his release. There was still the usual tension between the ladies, but it was executed much better in this episode. Cookie had to toot her horn and whatnot, talkin’ about how bad of a bitch she is. Anika hit her with that backhanded compliment: “You are badder than all the animals whose prints populate your wardrobe.” I. hollered. You may have heard me. Like, Damn, bish. You the baddest in the land. Do you feel better now? Can we continue our regularly scheduled conversation? She wasn’t trying to be besties with Cookie. She was out for revenge. Her words: “It is very important to me to hurt Lucious.”
Pit Bull (and the gerbil in his pants) performed “No Doubt About It” at Lucious’ party with Jamal. This was the first song I’ve liked from Jamal this season. I actually found myself accidentally going:
But holllld up! Wait a minute! The music stopped abruptly. The lights went out. Somebody done set off a smoke bomb thingy. A female deejay took over at the computer. A “Down 4 My Niggas”-ish beat played. I was gettin’ hyped. What was going on? Who was responsible for this? Out of the darkness and into the light came Cookie. YAAAAASSSSSS!!! Surprise, Lucious! On the mic, she welcomed her ex back and said there was no way he could have a party without her. Oh, and guess who else was with her? Former Empire rap star who’s now rockin’ with Lyon Dynasty – Hakeem. MY GAWD, he came hard with his song. And guess who performed with him. Timbaland. Yep. Timbo actually bopped onto the stage and showed his face. Checkmate! Jamal couldn’t help but bob his head, and I think Lucious did, too. Me?
The method Hakeem used to flow at the beginning of the song gave me a Jay-Z vibe, and I loved the shots he took at his daddy and Empire. That was the first song of Hakeem’s that moved me. EVER. Lucious let them have their moment, then he gave his security the go-ahead to toss ’em out.
Back at home, Andre told Cookie she’s gonna be a grandmother. She asked if he’d told Lucious. Nope. She told him if he wanted to get back into Empire so badly, he needed to tell Loosh. After all, family was number one to him. Just like Dre wanted his son-in-the-oven to be a part of a grand legacy, Lucious ultimately wanted the same. But when Dre told Lucious, his first reaction didn’t involve happiness. He was concerned. Wasn’t Andre worried that his child would have a mental illness? No, he wasn’t because it’s not hereditary. *insert Kelly Rowland flashback that actually showed that something was a little off* I hoped they would bring her back in multiple episodes, and they are on track. They can’t stop here, though. We need more.
Anyway, Lucious hugged Dre. Things seemed to be going perfectly until he told him he should be ashamed of himself for using the baby news to try to weasel his way back into Empire. Lucious told him to get out…oh, and give Rhonda his love.
Selena Grande/Ariana Gomez (Her real name is Valentina on the show, BTW.) and Mirage Trois got whipped into shape by Cookie, boot camp style. Miss Valentina needed an ego check, and Cookie was happy to provide it. It looked like Mirage Trois was onto something and ready to be presented to Sway and his listeners. While they were waiting to go on Sway’s show, Lucious strolled in and revealed that he’d bought up all the radio stations. Lyon Dynasty wouldn’t be able to succeed without airplay. Umph, umph, umph. But that wasn’t why he was there. His new artist was about to go on. In walked Valentina. Yep. She signed with Empire.
Say whaaaaaa? Again, these hoes ain’t loyal. “Sorry, Hakeem.” She walked over to Lucious, leaving Cookie, Hakeem, and the other girls with their jaws on the floor. The way Lucious pulled her into him… He hit that. At least once. He was waiting for the moment to get Hakeem back for snatching Boo Boo’s kitty. Congratulations, you old-ass playboy. You’ve robbed the cradle, wit’ ya petty ass.
- I’m not convinced that Jamal is a boss. At all. And after being so close to his mom, how the hell did he let Lucious stop him from reaching out to her? Boooooooo.
- I still want so much more for Becky’s wardrobe. And can she have a storyline?
- Am I wrong for wanting Andre to “forget” to take his meds so he can go HAM on Lucious?
- Do any of these artists have real contracts? They stay jumpin’ from one label to the next.
- This was Empire‘s best night of music.
- This was the best episode of the season so far. If they build from here and continue to focus on developing the core storylines, I could be a believer by the season finale.