Chuck Hodes/FOX
Isabella Biedenharn
November 29, 2017 AT 10:47 PM EST

Empire

type
TV Show
genre
Drama
run date
01/07/15
performer
Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett
broadcaster
Fox
seasons
2
Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B

After he frantically searches hospitals all over the city (and pops pill after pill after pill), Pamela shows up at Andre’s door looking…pretty put-together. He presses her for an explanation, but she says she doesn’t want to talk about it. He puts his “cards on the table”: He knows she doesn’t trust him, but this whole thing has made him realize he doesn’t want to lose her.

So Pamela opens up: A guy threw shots at her and she shot back, then when he went for his gun, she fired the fatal shot. Andre tells her it’s clear she didn’t have a choice, but she goes on…that’s the story she told after the fact. But actually, she planted the gun to make her shot look justified. “It was wrong, and I’m going to get away with it,” she says. But then she tells Andre, “Now you know something about me that could put me in a cell for the rest of my life. Do you still believe I don’t trust you?” Touché, Pamela.

Calvin, the engineer leading the proposed rebellion at Empire, butts heads with Eddie and Cookie. He tries to tell Cookie they think enough is enough, and that he will kick off the strike, but he’s trying to talk to her first. Eddie gets fired up, though, and grabs Calvin’s phone, sending the strike email for him.

Cookie is shocked and looks to Porsha, but Calvin — whom she’s apparently dating? — calls her over. Porsha reminds Cookie she wakes up for her at 4:30 a.m. every day and has given up her life for this job without even a thank you from her name-calling boss. And with that, she heads out not just to join the strike — but to lead it.

Who else gets involved? Shine and his group of thugs. “I’m rolling with the 99 percent,” he tells Cookie, to which she reminds him, “You do realize you own 25 percent of the company.” Doesn’t matter — he goes out to join the masses. Then good ol’ Tory Ash joins up, too, telling the crowd she’ll sing for them, not for the man! It’s a nice sentiment, but like…can we please, please kill her off already? She does absolutely nothing for me, or for this show. Thank you.

Back inside, Eddie tells Cookie they have a bus coming with other engineers — scabs — who can do the work while the others strike. And Thirsty, ever scheming, says he’s already started digging up dirt on every single striker. But Cookie tells them both to stand down — she’s going to take care of this like a woman, because men screw everything up. (Amen!)

So she calls a meeting with the lead strikers, and Lucious remembers all his old employees by name, which is a good start. Cookie reminds them of everything great Empire has done for them — paid leave when family members were sick, paying their kids’ tuition, paying for vocal rehab — because they’re a family. Then she tells a story about helping her prison nemesis through a difficult (and secret) pregnancy, because she realized they were all in it together in there. (This becomes a story within a story: shown as a flashback while she “tells” it to the meeting room, but then in the flashback, she tells her enemy another story. Inception!)

In the end, she doesn’t say she’ll let up on the engineers and musicians at all, but just asks them to be there for Empire like Empire’s been there for them. It’s a good strategy…though it feels a little flimsy? But whatever: Porsha tells Calvin they should trust Cookie, and Cookie apologizes for not thanking Porsha and for calling her stupid. And they all lived happily ever after!

Just kidding. Now it’s time for the Lyons to head to their Bella visit, with Andre promising that he’ll bring Pamela to meet his family next time — just not this time. On the way in, Jamal tells everyone he’s going to have Warren move in with him. But then…they get to the restaurant, and who’s there in Bella’s place? Diana DuBois, of course, and with her, Warren sits with his tail between his legs.

It becomes clear to Cookie before it does to Jamal. “So I guess this is a setup?” she asks.

“My nephew Warren can provide full details,” Diana sneers. Unfortunately for Warren, before the Lyons arrived, he was trying to get out of this scheme. But she said she already expected it — which is why Anika was pulled in to help with her grand plan.

So, just like the She’s All That story line this whole scenario was pulled from, Warren tries to say to Jamal, “I was going to tell you!” Then Diana tells them that Warren’s orders were to take videos of Jamal and himself having a threesome, then post them on the internet for everyone to see.

But instead of Jamal yelling, “Am I a bet? Am I a stupid bet?” like Laney Boggs, he knocks Warren to the ground and starts violently punching and kicking him. It’s harsh treatment, but honestly, WARREN HAS BEEN A SNAKE. A snake working for an even more venomous snake!

Of course, Diana gets her viral video after all, because everyone in the restaurant pulls out their phones to film Jamal Lyons’ violent meltdown. They leave, and when Cookie and Lucious are alone at the car, Lucious tells her he wanted to slam Warren onto the table and stomp his head with his prosthetic leg. “Yeah, I know,” Cookie says. This triggers flashbacks of Lucious’ most violent moments, which happened when he was trying to save her. “The old Lucious would have.”

Hmm…is she saying that in the hopes that violent Lucious will return? Or praising his self-control? I have a hunch it’s the former.

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