Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Empire recap: Rise by Sin

Lucious’ dark deeds catch up to him — but it’s Jamal who pays for them

Posted on

Chuck Hodes/FOX


TV Show
run date:
Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett
Current Status:
In Season

With just one more episode to go in season 2, the Lyons begin to fall apart — until an act of violence brings them back together.

As “Rise by Sin” opens, it’s the night before the ASAs, and Lucious has gathered his band for a midnight practice — he needs to make sure every musician’s performance is spotless for the biggest event in the industry. He’s just perfecting his Whiplash impression when Cookie drops by and orders him to stop avoiding his mother. He hasn’t been home to see Leah in three nights, ever since she brandished that knife at him. (It seems death-by-cake wasn’t Lucious’s fate after all, Matilda fans will sadly note.) Maybe he’s right to steer clear: Back at his house, Grandma Walker is flipping through channels, when she stumbles across the “Boom Boom Boom Boom” video. Let’s just say she takes to it less favorably than ASA voters.

The next morning, Carol comes to Cookie’s office, happy as a clam because she saw Tariq (Morocco Omari) last night, and they’re going out again today. Cookie tells her to be careful of “Tariq the Freak,” but Carol is off the wagon and in love, so there’s no reasoning with her. Later, Cookie has Thirsty investigate Carol’s new boo, and just as she suspected, Tariq is now a federal agent.

Andre visits with Leah, who turns her little old lady act up to 11 for him. She tells him she’s hurt that the family (who never met or knew about her until last week) didn’t turn around and invite her to the most important night of their careers. Sweet, dopey Andre comes clean, telling her that if the press found out she’s still alive, it would ruin Lucious’s credibility. After filing that tidbit away, she waves his concern aside, promising to keep her identity a secret — now we know where Lucious learned all his conniving from.

Back at Empire HQ, Anika tracks down Rhonda and asks her why she’s been so distant recently. (Can we all agree: Anika is truly awful at attempted murder. She badgers her victim for attention, and she didn’t throw out her murder outfit! That’s like Manslaughter 101!) Rhonda bites back: Maybe she’s been avoiding her “friend” because she suspects Anika pushed her down a flight of stairs.

Those two aren’t the only ones quarreling. Hakeem and Laura have also hit a rough patch after Hakeem tactlessly tells his fiancée her career is dead in the water. Laura pouts for about a second and a half, then tells Hakeem her new dream is being married to him. So…yay feminism? She says she’s cool with playing the sidekick, but that act has to wear thin eventually.

NEXT: Lucious crosses a line