It’s only been seven days IRL since we last saw the Lyon family, but six whole weeks have passed in the timeline of the show. How has the Empire fared in that time? Andre’s been drained by chemo, Cookie has been seduced by Damon Cross, Lucious seems content distracting himself from getting too deeply involved in his family’s needs, and the Trust tour is coming apart at the seams. Let’s get into it.
Lucious and Cookie attend church service with Teri, who asks the congregation to keep Andre in their prayers. Have you ever been in church and felt like the sermon was meant for you? Well, Pastor Brown’s words about “getting your house in order” really resonate with Lucious. Back at home, he explains to Cookie that he believes mending his relationship with Kingsley will change his karma — and Andre’s health — for the better.
Cookie is brought to tears while trying to talk to Lucious about how afraid she is that the cancer is going to take Andre from them, but Lucious doesn’t want to hear her “negativity.” He believes that they should maintain strong, positive outlooks throughout Andre’s illness. His dismissal of her emotions sends her running to her new best friend for validation: Damon Cross. It seems for the past six weeks Cookie has been secretly retreating to his apartment where he makes them dinner and juxtaposes everything Lucious tells her with the advice that she wants to hear. I’d think he was supportive if he wasn’t so inherently slimy. Meanwhile, Lucious thinks his wife is off with her sister planning phase two of the Trust tour.
Lucious visits Kingsley’s mother Tracy to enlist her help in establishing a relationship with their son. Tracy blames Lucious for her crack addiction and has always maintained that he abandoned her and her son. Lucious claims that he never knew Kingsley existed. He’s able to talk her down, and she agrees to speak with Kingsley for Lucious.
Elsewhere, the FBI gives Kingsley a smart bracelet that doubles as a recording device. They want him to coax Lucious into talking about how he’s funding the Trust tour (they know about Cookie’s trip to Panama, so whatever “scrub” he and Damon conducted obviously left some residue).
Lucious is in a meeting with Thurston in his office at Empire when Kingsley walks in and requests a private conversation with his father. Thurston is suspicious, but Lucious is overjoyed. After the lawyer leaves, Kingsley starts aggressively kissing Lucious’ ass. He apologizes repeatedly for nearly killing Empire. He’s “so in awe” of his father’s business sense. He “could learn so much” from him. Could he tell Kingsley more about how he’s funding the Trust tour? Around the third apology, Lucious catches on that something isn’t right. He makes up an excuse to get Kingsley to leave and calls Thurston back into the room to figure out what he’s supposed to do now that he knows that his own son is working with the feds to take him down.
Carol confronts her sister about the emotional affair she’s been having after Lucious calls her looking for Cookie and she’s forced to lie to him. Cookie stresses that she’s not sleeping with Damon, but Carol warns her that leaning on another man and lying to her husband is a threat to her marriage. It isn’t until the next time that Cookie is with Damon and he calls her “baby” that Cookie realizes she’s on a slippery slope that could lead to his bedroom (again) if she’s not careful. Once again, in a sudden revelation of her wrongdoings, Cookie gathers her things and leaves. I wonder how many times Damon is going to let Cookie send him mixed signals. Patience doesn’t seem to be his strong suit.
At the Lyon family home, Andre is looking worse and worse as the chemo treatments continue. His lips are discolored and he can barely keep his eyes open. Teri tries to comfort him by telling him about the support he’s receiving from the church, but Andre isn’t interested in talking about God. He’s still holding on to anger at the loss of his wife and their child. He believes God met his love with punishment and has turned his back on faith. Teri refuses to accept his rejection of God but agrees to drop the issue until he’s stronger.
Later, Dr. Swain delivers an optimistic diagnosis that Andre could be cancer free after his round of chemo. While his parents and Teri are making thankful exclamations to God, Andre makes a point of thanking western medicine.
The Trust tour has moved on from Philly to New Jersey. Devon’s debut album is finished (remember Devon? The artist that Andre maniacally tore up a man’s office to attain?), and Becky wants Hakeem to introduce him to the fans as a co-sign of support. Hakeem blows her off and says that he needs to focus on himself. Becky calls him out on his selfishness.
Tiana introduces Devon to the audience instead, and the two share a look that leads me to believe there will be more than business relations between them in the future. Devon continues to look back at Tiana as he sings and gyrates across the stage. *queues up “Let Me Love You” as the 14-year-old in me swoons*
Maya catches Hakeem looking a little jealous as Tiana happily watches Devon perform. She questions him about it and when he insists that he doesn’t feel that way about Tiana anymore, Maya alludes that she’s interested in him. Wasn’t she just pining for Blake a few weeks ago?
Kingsley visits his mom in an effort to sort out the truth about her past relationship with Lucious. She insists that he’s an evil man who got her hooked on crack and threatened to beat her if she didn’t get an abortion. Kingsley seems suspicious that his mother’s story doesn’t add up, but drops the subject when she gets upset.
Instead, Kingsley returns to Lucious to clear the air once and for all. Lucious maintains that he never knew about Kingsley and, if he had, he would have raised the boy himself. He would have never trusted Tracy to raise him. She robbed Lucious of that opportunity, and he all but begs Kingsley to let him be a father to him now. Kingsley is broken by the fatherly embrace he’s waited so long for. He reveals the recording device to Lucious and the two hug each other, their faces wet with tears.
Kingsley returns the smartwatch recorder to the FBI. It’s unclear whether he’s a Lyon, but he refuses to be a rat.
Without warning his family, Lucious waltzes into the Lyon’s dining room with Kingsley at his side. Everyone looks disgusted that Lucious would let the man that nearly demolished their legacy into their home. Lucious points out that he’s had to make amends with almost every one of his sons at some point in time, and he believes Kingsley deserves that opportunity. He makes a place for him at the table and Cookie (who’s knocking back glasses of red wine) confronts her husband about not consulting her on his decisions (once again). However, the news of Andre potentially being cancer free has softened her heart enough to allow Kingsley’s presence.
The episode ends with a good news/bad news juxtaposition:
Good news: Jamal and Kai announce that they’re going to skip the minutiae of planning a big wedding and just get married as soon as possible. Mazel!
Bad News: The FBI has ransacked all of the Trust tour buses and gear in search of alleged drugs Lucious is courting around the country. They’re pulling the plug on the whole thing.
Do you think Lucious is really using the Trust tour as a mule for drug trafficking? Will we ever loop back to the man Luscious BEAT TO DEATH in an alley?? Tell us your thoughts below.
- Empire recap: What happens when your lawyer needs a lawyer?
- Andre struggles with his cancer diagnosis in Empire exclusive clip
- Exclusive: Empire boss on the show’s return, ‘difficult decision’ to sideline Jussie Smollett