TV Recaps

Empire Recap: The Birth of a Dynasty

EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Guest star Ludacris (Chris Bridges) as Officer McKnight and Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon in the ÒWithout A CountryÓ episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.
EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Guest star Ludacris (Chris Bridges) as Officer McKnight and Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon in the ÒWithout A CountryÓ episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

This week’s episode of the hip-hop juggernaut Empire picked it up a little after what may be called a slightly slow start. The threat of a new company and a shady lawyer was all it took for the King to be freed to rule again!

Empire Recap Season 2, Episode 2: Without a Country

You’re Not Born With Your Name

With boxes in hand, the would be corporate hijackers left the Empire and decided to start their own record company to rival the one they were being kicked out of. Unfortunately, their venture started at the same graffiti and bullet hole ridden studio from last season. Andre, who never seemed to be quite on board went along with his mother while Hakeem jumped in head first eager to expand his brand with his album being held captive by Jamal. With a solid start, Cookie also snatched up Vee and Tiana to add to the roster of their yet titled startup.

While Cookie was making moves on the outside, Lucious was dealing with his own shady maneuverings in lockup. Having been diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis last season, he found himself being denied life sustaining medication due to a “filling error.” To pass the time Lucious decided to get back to music, working on releasing a joint from the joint, the catchy tune “Snitch Bitch.” After a wheezing, half breathed run with Officer McKnight (played by guest star Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), he realized there was no filling error at all. The DA, otherwise known as “the black bitch in cheap shoes”, was purposely withholding his meds until he came around to her way of seeing things.

EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon, Taraji P. Henson and Serayah McNeill as Tiana in the 'Without A Country' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.
EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon, Taraji P. Henson and Serayah McNeill as Tiana in the ‘Without A Country’ episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Back at Cookie & Co, Hakeem held auditions for his brain child a 3-person girl group. Great idea. Horrible candidates. One in particular, Valentina (guest star Becky G), stood out but did not want to be in a group. Neither did Tiana, when Hakeem approached her with the same opportunity to be his Beyonce. The idea of having to share her shine almost caused her to walk before Cookie intervened. With nothing going right, Hakeem did what he always does. He lashed out and decided to stick to Jamal and Empire by leaking his album online. I wonder how many rappers in real life have done with very thing for the exact same reason. I can think of quite a few.

I’m All About The Consequences

EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon and Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon in the 'Without A Country' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.
EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon and Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon in the ‘Without A Country’ episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Jamal took the issue with Hakeem to the person who seemed to really be running Empire even from behind a jail cell. Lucious told Jamal that Hakeem belonged at Empire and he needed to do everything he could to get him back. Jamal quickly noticed that his father didn’t look so good and called him on it. Lucious played it off but at the next table, conveniently eavesdropping, sat a so called lawyer dressed as one of the Five Heartbeats. He introduced himself as Thirsty… yes, Thirsty. From the University of Guam, no less. He told them he knew all the tactics the DA used and that he had a few of his own. Jamal laughed him off but Lucious told him to set up a meeting anyway. And just like that, he had his med and recording equipment to record his jail house hit. Unfortunately, the same CO who was having none of the “Lucious Lyons Sound” broke up the recording session and confiscated the song. Enter Thirsty and his goons to beat the song from his possession.

While Jamal was working on getting Hakeem back to Empire, Rhonda was working to get Andre back as well. She went to Jamal without her husband’s knowledge, essentially begging on his behalf. When it was clear Jamal wasn’t going to budge, she dropped the “you’re going to be an uncle” card on him. Excited about the news, Jamal agreed to have Andre back if he was willing to come back. And after Hakeem immaturely leaked his album, convincing Andre to leave Cookie’s side was a lot easier. He walked out on his mother, begging her to let him go. He explained he didn’t work his entire life to end up away from Empire. Though she didn’t want to, Cookie was resigned to the fact that Andre bled Empire gold.

EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Guest star Kelly Rowland as Leah and Shannon Brown as Young Dwight Walker in the 'Without a Country' Season Two episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.
EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Guest star Kelly Rowland as Leah and Shannon Brown as Young Dwight Walker in the ‘Without a Country’ Season Two episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Later, Andre turned to his father seeking forgiveness for his betrayal and asked permission to return to the company he helped build into a success. Lucious, however, had no forgiveness to give. This was my favorite scene in the entire episode. Andre who, on paper, was the perfect son, questioned his father about why he hated him and looked at him differently than Hakeem and Jamal.  Lucious took a moment and flashed back to a memory of his mother Leah (played by singer Kelly Rowland). While it hasn’t been said outwardly, it appeared that maybe his mother had bipolar disorder was well or some variant of mental illness that Lucious is still haunted by when he looks at his oldest son. “I don’t hate you,” Lucious said before walking away.

With Andre gone, Cookie gained at least one son back when Hakeem told her he wasn’t going back to Empire. With a new rental space to clean up, the name of their label finally came to them; Lyon Dynasty. And just in time. Because the very next day Lucious was granted bail. Not because he was an upstanding citizen or because he posed no flight risk. He was released because once again his newly hired lawyer worked his magic and blackmailed the judge with some compromising photos. With freedom on the horizon and his entire family at odds, who will be the first to feel the Lucious wrath?

About the author

Ashley Dionne

Ashley Dionne joined the TVSource Magazine team in December 2014.