Empire recap: 'Cupid Painted Blind'
We begin this week with an intervention of sorts. The Lyons have gathered at Jamal’s (though Jamal himself isn’t too happy about this) to try to figure out what to do about the DuBois situation. First issue: Jamal’s going to be arrested on charges of assault, battery, disturbing the peace, destructing property, and fleeing the scene of the crime…unless they can get Warren to testify to throwing the first punch. Which we know he didn’t (well, not physically, anyway). The bigger problem, though? Nobody knows where Warren is.
Turns out, though, this gathering isn’t really about Jamal: The family is actually trying to figure out what Diana DuBois’ game with Andre could be, now that her plans for Hakeem and Jamal have both reached fruition. They ask about anyone Andre is close to, and he says he has no one — which is funny because he was just talking to them about her last week. He and Hakeem, fed up, head to Empire; Cookie and Lucious leave shortly after.
As they walk out, Cookie has a prison flashback: Poundcake finally has her baby, and being a mother seems to change everything for her. When Cookie and the other women come visit, they talk about how easy it is to realize you’d kill for your child. Is this foreshadowing?
She, Lucious, and Thirsty take the Andre situation into their own hands. Their first move? Thirsty gets photos and details about all of Diana DuBois’s bodyguards, so they can tell there’s one guy missing who must be guarding Warren. (When Thirsty tells Lucious this, he does a hilarious impression of Cookie. Sometimes I forget that Thirsty accidentally became my favorite character?)
Over at Empire, Tiana is recording a new track with Shine, and Hakeem comes in just to ruin everything. (Okay, apparently Shine invited him to make one of the five albums he’s responsible for.) But Hakeem isn’t mature enough to be in the same room with the woman he dumped for no real reason. “You should put some AutoTune on that mess,” he says to Tiana — who immediately slaps him.
“I am so sick and tired of your spoiled, entitled ass,” she says, and tells him to go get back with Anika. She storms out, as she should, and Hakeem starts whining to Shine. “This life ruins everything.”
So Shine takes it upon himself to provide the fatherly guidance that Lucious, or Dwight, or whoever he is these days can’t seem to. They drive out to the suburbs (Connecticut? Long Island?) where we meet a handful of kids who all belong to Shine. And two of his three baby mamas are there, chatting with each other in some sort of picturesque polygamous paradise.
Apparently they’re not really polygamous, but somehow, by dating women who aren’t in the industry and by putting his kids above everyone (and this is key: even above his other family), he’s achieved this strange suburban harmony.
Meanwhile, Andre goes to an outdoor cafe with Pamela and immediately starts accusing her of working with Diana. “Someone’s coming after me and my brothers, one by one, pretending to care about us,” he explains, still furious.
Pamela throws her little murder from last week back in his face: Would she tell him the biggest secret of her life just to trap him for some woman she doesn’t even know? This is getting confusing — and it’s too much for both of them. She breaks up with him and then leaves, and he smashes a glass while yelling to get her back.
Turns out Thirsty was watching, and he immediately calls Lucious to get there before Andre leaves. They ask who he was yelling at, and Andre explains that he’s seeing a kind, understanding, and beautiful woman named Pamela Rose. He didn’t tell them because she’s a cop, but they needn’t worry anymore, because they broke up. And she was the first person he’s felt something like this for since Rhonda. (So what was Nessa, chopped liver? You guys had a ghost threesome!!! Rhonda passed the baton!)
Elsewhere, Cookie is armed with the photo of Warren’s bodyguard — and a gun. When the guard slips out for coffee or whatever, she enters, points the gun at a bedridden, healing Warren, and tells him he’s going to tell the cops he threw the first punch. Warren agrees right away, which makes Cookie suspicious. So he explains: “Look, Jamal was the love of my life, and I lost him. So clearing his name is the least I can do.” She buys it, but then asks for more: He needs to tell her what his crazy aunt has planned for Andre.
He spills, and Cookie goes to Andre. Andre can’t believe such a highly regarded doctor could be in Diana’s pocket, but apparently she has dirt on him. Cookie and Lucious try to find out what Andre might have said during his sessions — especially after he was super medicated — but all he remembers is talking about not being able to perform sexually.
Cookie has another flashback to prison: This time, she asked the guard who fathered Poundcake’s baby what happened to her, and he assaulted Cookie then sent her to the hole for a week. Turns out Poundcake had been there for a whole month, and when they both got out, Poundcake told Cookie he made her sign away her parental rights. The beautiful baby she loved so much is now lost to the system — and a distraught Cookie swears they’re going to take him down.
Back in the present, Jamal has been drinking and listening over and over to the song he recorded with Warren. Luckily, before he can spiral too far down, Hakeem arrives, and they decide to sit in their misery together. Hakeem says he isn’t going to let somebody else (a.k.a. Anika’s new boyfriend Angelo) raise his child, and it seems like he might be planning something fatal in the back of his mind. (Recap continues on page 2)
But then they start talking about the song, and Jamal can’t believe he was going to put Warren on his album. Hakeem goes over to the computer and deletes Warren’s vocal tracks from the main file one by one. “Bye ho!” he says. “Bye again!” Jamal is delighted, and the two of them record a new version of the song, with a slick verse by Hakeem in place of any of Warren’s singing. It’s like early Empire — bonding, goofing around, and creating great music out of real pain. I love this scene!!
The happiness doesn’t extend to everyone though: Andre sits alone in his apartment, calling Pamela and begging her to come over so he can explain what happened. Turns out she was already on her way. She comes in and puts the gun she used to kill Marlowe Jones on the table, reminding him once again about the “huge secret” she told him. Still, she won’t accept Andre’s apology. “You accuse me of treachery even when I trusted you with the biggest secret of my life!” she exclaims. “I killed someone! I murdered him! Do you have any idea what that feels like?”
That’s just the cue Andre needed to launch into a confession. “I do know how it feels…”
As he sets up his story, Thirsty is over at Lucious and Cookie’s with some news. Turns out he did some extra digging, and there’s no one in the NYPD called Pamela Rose. “Andre’s getting played,” he says.
Back at Andre’s, Pamela is prodding him to tell her. Cookie calls Andre’s cell, but he silences it. They race to his apartment.
But while they’re on the way, Andre finally says it. “The car bomb. It was me. I tried to kill my father.”
Instead of understanding, Pamela smiles. “I got you. I have a confession, too, Andre. I’m not NYPD. I’m Vegas Metro, undercover.” And that’s not all. She says she’s been after him for quite some time. She knew about the car bomb — and the poor guy who built it — and then tells him he’s got to be the dumbest criminal in the history of crime. (That seems a little harsh, Pam. It did take you a few months to get this out of him.)
I hoped Andre would grab the gun, but she gets it first, and points it to him while reading his Miranda rights. But Andre launches at her to wrestle the gun out of her hand, and they tussle onto the ground. Then, as Andre squeezes her…the life runs out of her body. Pamela’s dead.
Just then, Cookie and Lucious arrive at the door. Andre is crying and panicking and apologizing. “I didn’t mean to do it, Ma! She lied this whole time!” Cookie tells him it’s okay, and seems concerned about Andre, but not as concerned as she should be about, I don’t know, a dead cop?
But then she drops a bomb. “There’s nobody in here but you and us. See for yourself.” He looks to where Pamela’s body was lying, and Cookie’s right: There’s nothing there.
We see flashbacks of Andre and Pamela’s whole relationship, and in each scene she flickers out of it like an image being deleted from a computer screen. Apparently, in the scene at the cafe, people were staring because he was yelling at the air. (Doesn’t this make you want to rewatch every Pamela seen just to make sure no one else interacted with her?!)
So in the end, Diana DuBois’ plan worked even better than I expected. And also, Lucious was wrong: Earlier he’d told them that Diana goes for the Lyon boys’ hearts instead of their brains. With Andre, she went for the brain and ended up getting the heart, too, as a bonus.
Will Andre ever get the help he really needs?! Can we please put Diana, Angelo, and Anika away once and for all? And what on earth is going on in Shine’s house in the ‘burbs?