We did it! We’ve made it to the finale!
Things pick up right where they left off: Eddie is in the Lyons’ dining room threatening to expose the fact that Lucious killed Shyne. Lucious has an appropriate reaction: He slaps him and grabs a dinner knife. But Eddie has a gun, and he’s using his leverage to further the blackmail scheme. Now he wants the Lyons to sign over to him their profits from the eventual sale of Empire to Kelly Patel in exchange for him keeping quiet about aaaaaaall their illegal dealings over the years. Cookie puts a stop to the standoff and kicks Eddie out of her house.
Lucious and Cookie rally the troops. Andre wants to pay him off, but Cookie says he “wants blood.” Tasty says they should kidnap someone Eddie cares about, ex-wife Giselle, but Lucious says Eddie doesn’t really care about her. Finally, Cookie says she has an idea, but it “disgusts” her. A lot of “but”s here.
Jamal visits Tory in the recording studio. They’re supposed to have rehearsal with the rest of Anonymous, but now that they’ve revealed who they are, the rest of the band has other offers. Tory is mad that Jamal forced them into the spotlight, but Jamal has faith that they will continue to make great music.
Cookie takes Anika to lunch and offers her a unique imprint of her own — no oversight — if she can get the Lucious’ bloody scarf from Eddie. Anika basically tells her where to stick it and that she will be sitting on the Empire throne alone when this is all over.
Jamal shows up to meet Tory in the evening, but he finds her unconscious on the floor next to a bunch of pills. Next thing, he’s sitting next to her as she wakes up in a hospital bed. She tells him that life in the spotlight is too hard and she can’t handle it. “Haven’t you ever just wanted to be nobody,” she tells him.
Cookie’s mom shows up at the office to see Cookie, but Lucious meets her instead. He says it’s time they had some face time. They trade barbs about Lucious letting her go to jail for him and her for not being around for Cookie’s childhood. But Lucious is left with parting words about how he needs to prove he loves Cookie.
Back at home, he tells Cookie that he needs to turn himself in and leave Cookie to run Empire. Lucious tells Andre that they need to draft a bid to buy back Empire, but Andre feels he’s the one who should go to jail because he brought Shyne into his plans for the bombing. Lucious finally tells Andre that he thinks Andre’s darkness stems from Lucious’ darkness — and now he wants him to embrace that darkness to help run the company and be there for Cookie when Lucious is in jail.
The next morning, the entire family is having breakfast. Andre says he’s drafted the bid to buy Empire back for $750 million. Lucious informs Jamal and Hakeem about the blackmail scheme and confesses to killing Shyne. Jamal and Hakeem don’t want to hear it, even after Andre reveals Shyne’s role in the bombing.
Jamal suggests the family walk away from Empire — choose themselves over the company. But Lucious doesn’t want to hear it. “We make music that will be heard eternally, that’s worth any sacrifice that any of us have to make,” he says.
In the office, the board has convened to receive the bids. First they open the bid from Patel: $700 million. Next, they open the bid from the Lyon family: $0. Lucious thinks the situation has been rigged, but Cookie informs the room that she decided that was the appropriate amount to bid. Empire is the Lyons, she says. They are the company’s biggest asset.
But money talks, and the board goes with the Patel bid.
Lucious is pissed, but Cookie reveals that she got the scarf in exchange for giving the company to Patel. She did it to save Lucious from jail.
Eddie wastes no time having the Empire logo (Lucious’ face) taken down from the office. Cookie and Lucious leave the office for the last time and are looking for their car, then they realize the car was Empire’s and they have to call a cab. They laugh about it, though, and vow to rebuild their brand.
Jamal heads to the hospital to see Tory, but the doctor informs him that she had a seizure and died. He immediately goes home and starts packing. He says he needs to go somewhere he can be “nobody.” Cookie tells him that it’s more important now than ever that they be there for each other but he insists that he needs to “disappear.” (More death and destruction on page 2)
At the changing of the guard announcement, Anika can barely contain her excitement now that she’s wrestled Empire away from the Lyons. Andre shows up and tells her congratulations and that he’s forgiven her for Rhonda’s death. They call a truce and wish each other luck.
Back at home, Cookie’s mom is not happy that Cookie gave away the company. She tells Cookie that Lucious is going to make a fool of her, just as Lucious walks in. When they’re alone, Lucious and Cookie agree they need to start over — she thinks he’s talking business, but Lucious is getting down on one knee. “Get off the floor and that gimp leg,” she says before trailing off. He’s got a big ‘ol rock to offer her. “I thought that might shut you up,” he says, reacting to her mouth agape.
Cookie tells him that if she says yes, that he needs to promise her that she comes first before the business — but ultimately, she puts the ring on. Cookie wants her sons to be present for the ceremony, but Lucious insists that they go to the courthouse immediately.
Tiana shows up at Hakeem’s place to inform him that she’s pregnant with his child. Hakeem hadn’t wanted to see her when she showed up, but after the happy news he’s thrilled.
Making her speech, Anika begins to feel a little woozy. Did Andre slip something into her champagne?! She’s taking questions from the reporters but starts to imagine Rhonda in the audience. Kaitlin Doubleday is back, yall! Anika attempts to compose herself but eventually goes running from the podium. She envisions Rhonda popping up behind her and Anika throws herself from the balcony and falls onto the champagne table below. It appears like she breathes her last breath, but this is Empire, so I’m not counting her out.
At the courthouse, Lucious and Cookie tie the knot. Scored by their vows (and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”) we see Jamal traveling, Andre in church, and Hakeem leaving his house with his daughter, Tiana, and Blake. As they are getting into their car, Tiana’s face gets a look of terror on it: Blake’s father has shown up with a shotgun! Blake screams “No!” as the screen cuts to black. Three gunshots can be heard in the darkness.
So that means up to five people died in this finale! You can’t say Empire doesn’t know how to end a season with a bang.