Empire recap: 'Of Hardness Is Mother'
Cookie and Lucious head out on separate missions, but will they end up together?
Cookie starts off this episode being treated like the queen she knows she is — but she doesn’t want that!
“Boy, I had a heart attack, okay? I still got both my legs,” she tells Hakeem as he tries to help her into a chair at the dining room table. She also doesn’t want the vegan Cajun soul food cooked up by the family’s chef. (“One of them words don’t belong in a sentence with the other words, but whatever,” she responds.) Nor the gold bracelet Lucious gifts her. (“It’s a fancy ankle monitor,” she says of the fitness bracelet, which will alert her and Lucious’ phones if she gets too worked up.)
But the bedazzled FitBit isn’t the only gift that arrives during dinner. Eddie has sent flowers to apologize for his outburst, which played out at the end of last week’s episode. The Lyons should be concerned that Eddie is trying to steal Empire from them, but the more pressing matter is that Lucious didn’t invite Andre to this family meal. Cookie is pissed that Lucious can’t accept the fact that Andre was responsible for the car explosion that almost killed him. “Everybody at this table, at one point, wanted you dead,” Cookie tells Lucious.
Hakeem interrupts Tiana’s rehearsal, which clearly throws Tiana off her game. Becky kicks Hakeem and his crew out, but something is obviously bothering Tiana, who fires her choreographer in a fit of frustration. Could it be that she really does want to accept Hakeem’s marriage proposal and is pissed Eddie has told her to put her career first? I think so.
Porsha stops by the mansion to drop off Cookie’s mail. Bey and Jay have sent get well wishes, of course. And a woman named Chyna, whom Cookie was in prison with, has been reaching out nonstop. Cookie sends a car to get Chyna and bring her to the mansion. Over tea, Chyna tells Cookie that Poundcake, the inmate who snitched on Cookie’s plan to get back at the corrupt guard, is in hospice as she battles cancer.
At Empire, Andre continues to try and get Lucious to see that Eddie is trying to orchestrate a takeover. The two of them begin going over recent Empire stock buyers and find that a lot of the companies that recently invested have ties to Eddie. They decide to ask Eddie’s ex-wife Celeste about what’s going on.
Jamal wants to release a new track with an edgier, angier sound, but Becky says they’ve done testing and fans are not into Angry Jamal. Hakeem is also angry, but his anger is directed solely toward Shyne. He asks Shyne to produce him some beats but takes back the request when Shyne asks Hakeem to mentor a white guy he’s been working with. Shyne swears the guy is not a “culture vulture” but Hakeem says there’s no white man who needs his help.
Cookie and Porsha go to visit Poundcake. While they sit in the waiting room, Cookie flashes back to prison where Poundcake apologizes to her for snitching. Poundcake explains that she did what she had to do to get out to try and find her baby girl, but that she thinks the guard made her daughter disappear. Back in the present, Cookie sits at Poundcakes bedside. Together, they hypothesize about what Poundcake’s daughter is probably up to now. Cookie makes a promise to find Poundcake’s daughter and bring her to hospice.
Blake, the white boy rapper, pops into Hakeem’s recording studio to gush about how big a fan he is but the conversation devolves into a rap battle. Big surprise, Blake impresses Hakeem and the two decide to collaborate.
Cookie is on the phone with Thirsty, trying to track down the guard to get to Poundcake’s daughter, when she gets a call from Lucious. Her bracelet sent him a warning that her blood pressure is elevated. Cookie blames it on Trump’s tweets and promises to take things easy…but we all know she won’t. (Next: Tory is back! And so is a romance?)
Tory pops into a meeting Tiana is having with a costume designer. Tory shades Tiana, saying that Eddie is making her into his “Barbie doll.” Tory tells her she’s just trying to help but Tiana tells her off and she leaves in a huff. Next, Tory pops by Jamal’s recording studio to impart some advice: He needs to show off his Angry Jamal music to a live audience to get them behind his new sound. (No surprise here, it’s a hit when they play it at a club.)
Lucious interrupts Celeste’s tennis lesson to interrogate her about Eddie, but she isn’t happy to see Lucious and sends him away, so Andre steps in to play nice cop. They play Celeste by telling her that Eddie’s third wife is getting a better deal than her in the sale. In anger, she reveals Eddie lost all their money in a Ponzi scheme and, indeed, was trying to take over Empire.
Cookie arrives at the guard’s home and is invited in by his wife, who is appropriately named Joyce. (Cookie leaves her bracelet in the car on Porsha’s wrist.) Cookie blackmails the guard into telling her what he did with his and Poundcake’s baby: He sold her to some baby brokers. Before she leaves, Cookie tells Joyce just what her husband did to the women he was in charge of at the prison.
Back at Empire, Andre and Lucious are discussing what to do about Eddie but the conversation moves to their own relationship. Andre says he knows Lucious has looked at him as “damaged” ever since his bipolar disorder diagnosis, which Lucious confirms. But Andre says Lucious is also damaged and a sociopath. The conversation is oddly calm for a Lyon family tête-à-tête, perhaps a sign that Lucious actually hears what Andre is trying to tell him.
After a successful recording session with Blake, Hakeem and Shyne are headed out to a strip club when they walk past Tiana rehearsing on her own. Hakeem sends the boys on without him and he and Tiana have a heart-to-heart. She’s stressed about making everything perfect for her 20 for 20 performance. He asks her if her “no distractions” policy is the reason she turned down his proposal and she says that not everything is always about him.
At the mansion, Cookie is emotional after seeing Poundcake and gets vulnerable with Lucious. She wants his respect and to be his partner in business and in life. Through tears, they kiss.
So, can we make #Lukie a thing?