Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) has a heart attack while Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) contemplates getting an abortion
Credit: Chuck Hodes/Fox
S4 E12
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Empire is known for its soap opera antics and outlandish crises (ie. explosions, kidnappings, murders, catfights), but this week the Fox drama tackles a trauma that is all too real and scary: a heart attack.

“Sweet Sorrow” picks up minutes after Cookie collapsed at the end of last week’s episode. She’s having a heart attack and is rushed into the hospital. As they wheel her through the halls, Cookie recalls (via flashback) that her father had a heart attack. The doctor asks her if she was under stress when the symptoms began. She replies, “I was probably arguing with Lucious, but that ain’t nothing new.”

Back in the front of the hospital, Lucious is giving the doctors hell and insists on an update. The doctor informs him to call his family: “It’s going to be a long night.”

Andre is the last of the brothers to arrive in the waiting room and he walks into an ambush. His father and younger brothers blame him for the heart attack and are still processing Andre’s confession that he was responsible for the car explosion that almost killed Lucious and Cookie. Andre leaves and Lucious takes solace in the hospital chapel. It looks like he’s going to pray for Cookie’s health, but, in true Lucious fashion, he’s not going to beg for anything. Instead, he grabs the crucifix off the wall and threatens Sweet Baby Jesus. “If you take her from me…I’m going to rain down hell on your world like you’ve never seen. Amen.” <Cut to title card.>

Cookie is informed that the heart attack was mild and that she should be home within a week, but the family arranges for the best doctors from around the country to care for Cookie in the comfort of the mansion. They tell Cookie to rest, but all she wants to do is work. “It keeps me sane,” she tells her son. From bed, she’s still organizing the 20 for 20 event and insists Hakeem still perform with Tiana, despite the fact that she just rejected his wedding proposal. Andre shows up and apologizes for causing her heart attack. “You wish you were that important,” Cookie tells him, but she admits that his confession shook her “to the core.”

Elsewhere, Eddie and Celeste (a.k.a. “Wife No. 2”) are trying to sell one of their apartments to make ends meet. Celeste is worried about her future, but Eddie promises that things will be fine once he’s done orchestrating tech mogul Kelly Patel’s takeover of Empire.

Back in the office, Jamaal is facing the repercussions for his involvement in the DuBois shooting. Becky informs him that they’ve set up an interview with Robin Roberts so he can apologize for his actions. But Jamaal isn’t having it. Cookie chimes in via speakerphone and threatens to use her heart attack to guilt him into doing the interview. After the meeting, Becky informs Jamaal she has decided to terminate her pregnancy without telling J Poppa…that plan doesn’t last long, though. When she has a business meeting with him, the rapper is standoffish. He doesn’t know how to work with her after she dumped him. She explains that things are awkward for her too, and then she blurts out that she’s pregnant. He jumps into planning mode but she bursts his bubble once again by telling him of her plans to terminate.

Lucious hires a chef who presents Cookie with an antioxidant kale salad. Lucious insists a change in diet is what the doctors ordered, but Cookie just asks for the kale to be fried. Lucious calls in reinforcements in the form of Cookie’s sisters. (I LOVE any time you get Taraji P. Henson, Vivica A. Fox, and Tasha Smith in the same room.) They inform her that their mom has learned of the heart attack and wants to come visit, but Cookie tells them she doesn’t want her there. “That b–ch left us,” she explains.

Andre tells Shyne that he came clean to his family about the bombing but left Shyne’s name out it. They agree to wipe their slate clean and Andre gets his “numbers” for Eddie. When he delivers the statistics to Eddie, Andre inquires why Eddie needs the information but Eddie sidesteps the question, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Andre.

In his live interview with Robin Roberts, Jamaal defends the DuBois shooting as self-defense. He tries to tow the party line, but ultimately decides to expose the feud between the DuBois and the Lyons and storms off set saying he’s done doing things he doesn’t want to do. Cookie watches the meltdown from bed and wants to get back to the office to do damage control, but her sisters won’t let her out of bed. So instead, she decides to bring the office to her. She turns the living room into a makeshift recording studio where she can perfect Hakeem and Tiana’s duet. Tiana isn’t thrilled about having to record with Hakeem (she doesn’t want him to think she wants to take him back) but Cookie insists they put their differences aside. Ultimately, Tiana tells Hakeem they should make the best track possible for Cookie’s sake.

Jamaal takes Becky to Planned Parenthood but as she’s called into the doctor’s office, J Poppa shows up and tells her that he’s prayed on the situation and, despite it being against his wishes, he wants to support Becky through the abortion.

Eddie informs Wife No. 2 that he’s canceled the sale of the apartment. She’s mad until he reveals that he’s gotten “the final piece of the puzzle” to let the deal go through. But maybe he shouldn’t celebrate so soon. Andre shows up to the mansion to inform Cookie and Lucious of Eddie’s plan. They call Eddie over and confront him with the accusation. On a dime, Eddie spins it forward as though the sale will be a good thing and that Cookie and Lucious would still be calling the shots. Lucious says no deal and Eddie says he’s going to fly to San Francisco to tell Kelly the news in person…methinks that’s not how things are going to go down.

Cookie is still in work mode, much to Lucious’ chagrin. She tells him she’s fine but as he leaves the room, she breaks down. “I’m not ready to die,” she says through tears. Lucious tells her of his “harsh words” with God and promises that He won’t try to take her from him any time soon.

(So now Lucious has divine powers in addition to being psychic? What if this show goes supernatural in season 10?)

Episode Recaps

Lee Daniels and Danny Strong created this Fox drama about a kingpin of hip-hop (played by Terrence Howard) and his family, who fight him for control of the empire.
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