Hell hath no fury like a Lyon freed. And fury was exactly what brewed in the wake of Lucious being released on bail. Triggering a sea of confrontations, revelations and halfcocked plans, only for those who wanted to see him fail learn that at the end of the day, the King always wins.
Beginning Of A New Era
The first thing Lucious needed to do upon release was go to Empire and get things in order, right? Yes, accept for one little problem, he was barred from entering the building due to an ongoing investigation and employee police interviews. So he opted to announce his continued reign from the steps while still using Jamal as the go between. This wasn’t exactly what I wanted for Jamal when got the keys to the kingdom. So far his own music has suffered and all of his executive decisions are coming from and on the orders of Lucious. So what really is the point for Jamal other than to get to stand next to his father? Meanwhile Cookie was tending to her other son, Hakeem by getting him ready for a radio appearance where he promised to debut his new girl group, Mirage A Trois in 3 days. Never mind the fact that they didn’t have a real sound or vibe yet. But hey, the name is better than Rainbow Sensation. Wanting to spend some time with his dysfunctional family, Lucious held quite the grandiose dinner party where no one was at all comfortable. The best part being Lucious on one end and Cookie on the other. Neither willing to move an inch. And when Cookie did finally move she took the entire table with her.
Prone to playing both sides, Anika took a meeting with Lucious who wasn’t aware that Cookie kicked her out of “Ghetto Ass Studios,” I mean Lyon Dynasty. He didn’t really offer her anything to get her to switch sides. That may be the reason she ran to Cookie and snitched on his plans to kill Dynasty before it even started by jacking their tracks and releasing them before they could. She also let it slip that Lucious was throwing a party at his night club to celebrate his release from jail. Perfect setting to crash the party. Before the party could get underway, Andre met with his father with what he thought was a sure fire way to get back into his good graces at back at Empire. He approached him with an opportunity to purchase Apex Radio. Giving Empire control of the majority of all urban radio and content. Huge right? Lucious didn’t seem to think so. He shrugged Andre off and told him he needed to come better than that if he wanted to come home. Something more unique. Meanwhile, and again on his father’s orders, Jamal worked to sign Freda Gatz like Lucious had promised her father… right before he had him killed. Freda and her goons weren’t impressed with the offer being made without Lucious being present and walked out. Lucious was none too happy about this being that he wanted to use Freda to resurrect a defunct label, Gutter Life Records. Gutter Life Lawyer, Thirsty was there to save the day when he told Lucious exactly where he could find his progeny.
We Run It
Before Lucious made a house call to the projects, he first had to party it up the only way he knew how to. Surrounded by music. One son’s performance was commandeered by the other as Cookie introduced the new Lyon Dynasty by way of Hakeem. Lyrically, musically, the Lyon cub delivered the best showing so far this season. Personally, my favorite from him ever. He stood in front of his father with not an ounce of intimidation and basically told him they were running things now. The look on Lucious’ face was one-part anger, one-part adoration and all parts respect. That only last for a few minutes before he had security put an end to their little showcase. With a barrage of calls from the press the next day, Cookie took a minute to get some even better news from Andre. He was making her a grandmother. Overjoyed yet still disappointed that he wanted to be back at Empire, Cookie told Andre to tell Lucious he was getting a grandchild in hopes it would melt the ice around his heart. Andre rebuffed the idea initially but decided he had nothing left to lose. Upon hearing the announcement, Lucious’ first concern was the risk of Andre’s bipolar being passed down. Andre said it wasn’t likely as the illness didn’t run in their family. Or so he thought. Lucious again flashed back to moments with his mother. This time they were bit more manic as the full story began to unfold. With all the concerns I’ve had this season about unnecessary celebrity cameos, this one by Kelly Rowland is easily my favorite. Not only because I love her but because it’s provided a much needed window into why Lucious sees his most qualified son as unworthy. The excitement of the new grandchild quickly turned dark for Lucious as he accused Andre as using it to get what he wanted from him and again sent him away.
Lucious had other power moves to make. Like finally signing Freda Gatz who he found in the middle of a cypher. Impressed, He stood back and took in the young girls’ flow and venom. That venom almost turned deadly when Freda’s opponent went too far and talked about her father being killed. Freda pulled a gun on him but was stopped by Lucious before she could ruin her whole life. He begged her to come to Empire and let him make her a star. She seemed to believe him but ran off before the cops showed up. Lucious left too and ran into someone worse than the cops, the DA in cheap shoes. I’m not sure why she’s following him but they make for great sparring partners. The DA told Lucious she had Vernon hidden away and ready to sing like a canary. Lucious didn’t seem bothered nor should he be since we know that Vernon is in a shallow grave somewhere. I suspect that will be the unique gift Andre gives his father.
Back at Empire, Jamal continued to struggle with finding a producer who understood his sound. Becky advised him that he needed Cookie just as much as she needed him. Just as much as I need them to fix their relationship too, by the way. Cookie was working on trying to get Mirage A Trois past the point of hot mess to presentable for their radio interview the next day. Jamal never got to interrupt the session as Lucious the all-knowing pulled up and told him that he would produce his music. Confident that the group was ready for their close up, Cookie, Hakeem and two of the three girls waited for Valentina to show up. Lucious showed up instead to not only inform them that he had purchased the very radio station they would try to get airplay on, but also that he was signing Valentina as a solo artist to Empire. Defeated, but not devastated, Cookie promised Lucious that she wouldn’t be held down for long. And I for one intend on holding her to that.
This was by far the best episode so far this season for me. It embodied everything I loved about last season and then some. What where your thoughts on the episode?