Queen Cookie continues her reign at the mansion, beginning this week’s episode with being delivered breakfast in bed by Lucious. But Cookie is never one to solely be pampered; she’s got Poundcake’s baby on the mind and wants an update from Thirsty on tracking down the missing girl. Thirsty informs her that the girl was adopted by a white family and is studying ballet at NYU. Cookie informs him to keep Lucious in the dark about the mission.
But Lucious has a secret he wants kept as well: He’s had Thirsty draft up legal papers to fire Eddie after he tried to steal Empire from the Lyons. Eddie refuses to accept the offer, despite Lucious’ threat to take Eddie’s insider trading infractions to the FCC, and says he’s off to a meal with Edna, a board member who is sweet on him. Lucious, Thirsty, Jamal, and Hakeem, pulling a full-on Godfather meeting, conspire to deal with Eddie a different way.
Cookie goes to visit Poundcake’s daughter in rehearsal. She watches from outside the room as the girl, Maya, performs, and struggles with how she’s going to tell her that her dying, prisoner mother wants to meet her. Flash to Cookie back in jail being treated to an unwanted visit from her mom. (Gotta love Alfre Woodard!) Cookie approaches Maya, who informs her that she’s not the lead of the ballet because it would require them to change the lighting that was designed for white girls. Cookie can’t bring herself to reveal Poundcake’s story, so, instead, she invites Maya to audition for a Tiana video the second day.
Tasty and the Lyon men go to confront Eddie and stumble into a celebration Eddie is throwing with some of the board members. Eddie announces that Tory Ash’s album is at the top of the charts and Tiana’s single has gone straight to No. 1 on both the pop and R&B charts, a first for Empire. The entire event is impressive to Edna, who tells Lucious that she doesn’t want Eddie going anywhere.
Back in his office, Lucious pushes Jamal and Hakeem to release new music that will beat Eddie’s artists. Lucious wants Jamal to put all his drama behind him and let go of the Angry Jamal sound so he can return to the artists his fans fell in love with. Elsewhere, Andre opens up to his priest about how things have been rough since he admitted to being behind the explosion that almost killed Lucious. Andre is hung up on the fact that Lucious passed his mental issues on to him, but he’s encouraged to focus on being his best self rather than focusing on trying to change his father.
Jamal expresses his frustrations about creative direction to Tory and the two decide to start producing their own music together under different names. Meanwhile, Blake takes Hakeem to an underground club where Lucious performed before breaking big. Andre shows up with a plan to use a technology loophole to get Hakeem to No. 1 and they decide to throw an epic basement party to launch his new single.
Eddie and Edna (which sounds like a 1950s sitcom title) show up for dinner and are surpised by Eddie’s ex-wife, Giselle. Eddie silently conveys to Giselle who Enda is and Giselle is happy to back off, but then Eddie’s other ex-wife, Celeste, shows up and she’s mad. “I want my money now,” she tells him. Things escalate to name calling between Celeste and Giselle as Eddie’s other other ex-wife, Monique, arrives. Edna is confused — and not pleased. She storms off and informs him that he should maybe take a step back from Empire to get his personal affairs in order.
Eddie decides he needs a new ally and approaches Shyne about working together. Shyne is pissed that Eddie got Lucious to drop him from the label in the past, but Eddie says he wants to right that wrong by bringing him in on taking over Empire. Shyne and Eddie shake on the deal and Shyne invites Eddie to meet Blake in hopes that they’ll sign him.
Jamal and Tory go to visit an underground artist about joinging their collective, but he’s not having it. Instead, he just gives Tory a tattoo for $200.
Maya shows up to audition and is in awe when she meets Tiana. Tiana is not as impressed and insults Maya because she’s “just” an NYU student. Maya runs off and Cookie schools Tiana on just where she falls on the totem pole at Empire, despite her hit single. “I’m the only big b–ch around here,” Cookie tells her. Cookie runs after Maya and tells her that her mother would be very proud of her. Maya replies that her mother is the one who encouraged her to dance in the first place and Cookie explains that she meant her birth mother. Cookie tries to explain that Maya was stolen from Poundcake at birth, but Maya doesn’t want to hear it. She storms off and says she doesn’t want to hear from Cookie again. Flashback to Cookie and her mom in the visiting room at the prison. Mama is not letting Cookie leave without saying what she has to say.
Eddie shows up to meet Blake but is in for another surprise when Shyne reveals that he’s invited Lucious to the studio and has told him everything. Eddie and Lucious awkwardly try to debate which one of them is Hilary and which is Trump. There’s really no resolution to the tension as both men vow to keep the more-than-cold war going.
Jamal shows up to Hakeem’s release party and smiles while posing for photos with his brothers, but denies Andre’s offer to connect after the event. Tiana shows up with lust in her eyes and Hakeem brings her up on stage to dance with him during his performance as Blake takes center stage. After the song, Tiana informs Hakeem that Eddie isn’t around tonight, so she’s out from under his controlling thumb and all Hakeem’s. They have sex as “Don’t Let Go” plays. Making love to the lyrics “there’ll be some love makin’, heart breakin’, soul shakin’ love” might be a little on the nose, but I’m down for En Vogue always.
The tattoo artists also makes a surprise appearance at the party. He tells Jamal that he finally listened to his music and was impressed, but then reveals that Tory also threatened to blow up his tattoo parlor on social media if he didn’t join their band. Jamal goes to find Tory to share the news and find she’s been using in the bathroom. She waves off his concern.
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After making love, things turn to hate again between Hakeem and Tiana. He tells her he’s not going to let Eddie treat her like a puppet, to which she takes offense and storms off.
Thirsty runs into Cookie at the office and she tells him not to tell Lucious that he saw her; that’s when Thirsty lets it slip that Lucious is planning to kill Eddie. Cookie confronts Lucious as he’s loading his gun. She pleads that there has to be a better way to take care of their enemy and vows that they’ll find that way together. They invite Eddie over to tell him that Hakeem has taken over the No. 1 spot on the charts and they confront him about doping up Tory and how he “bamboozled” Tiana. They also reveal that they’ve discovered a former artist of his, Ivy Montgomery, who committed suicide after he “pumped” her full of drugs. They threaten to blast that news to the world if he doesn’t sign his release of contract form. “I can’t say no to Cookie,” Eddie says as he signs the form.
Flashback to the prison again, where Cookie fights with her mom. Cookie is still pissed her mom left her and her sisters for a man. Her mom is pissed that she chose to protect Lucious and take the fall for him over being a present mother for her sons.
Cookie visits Poundcake in hospice. She lies and tells her friend that she wasn’t able to find Maya. Cookie offers to write down a letter from Poundcake so she can give it to Maya some day.
We cut back to Eddie and get a first-person POV shot from the perspective of a person he’s invited over to help him conspire against the Lyons. After a few moments it’s revealed that the person he’s talking to is…ANIKA! She has control of Bella’s stake in Empire. She tells Eddie she’s happy to join him under the condition that she becomes CEO after the takeover.
BAM! Anika is back with a vengeance, y’all.