Empire Recap: The Lyon’s Roar

The Lyons’ clan sure did roar and it was a family affair in this week’s episode of Empire. Let’s see what they were all up to, shall we?

It’s the morning after and Cookie lets it be know that Lucious will be getting no more of her nookie until he leaves Anika. She has big plans that they can act on once they are back together and running things. She wants to preserve his legacy. Create a legacy album, record a new single with the family, make a documentary and go on tour – this way he will live on forever even after he dies as a result of this disease. She wants him, Hakeem and Jamal to record a special song, “You’re So Beautiful” – one of Lucious’ biggest hits.

This is a very important song for the Lyons’ family as we got a flashback scene to where Cookie had to say goodbye to her family. She was found guilty and had to surrender immediately. As Cookie tearfully says goodbye to her boys, Lucious can be heard singing “You’re So Beautiful” to her which ties into the present and significance of the song for the legacy album. He agrees to get rid of Anika and it seemed that the whole Lyon family will finally be on one accord.

After Jamal and Hakeem patch things up and agree to work together for the sake of this song and their father, they get to work. It is also important to note that Jamal decided that he would wait to come out until his father is gone.  The Lyon family gathers in the studio to record the track, and Cookie even joins Hakeem, Jamal, and Lucious for the chorus.  They all seem really happy until we cut to Andre and see that he is in the corner and seemingly upset as he is not in on the action. This starts a really important arc for Andre.

Chuck Hodes/FOX
Chuck Hodes/FOX

Notice that Andre is not included in this recording. As we have seen before, he doesn’t really have a musical talent and this episode showed how much he resents that. With Vernon helping him, he plans to ask the Board of Directors to vote him in as the interim CEO. In the event of something happening to his father, he would be able to step in and lead the company. To Vernon and Andre’s way of thinking,  once he is made interim CEO, it will be very easy for him to become permanent. There are a few hurdles with this plan though. They need four total votes. They know they have Vernon, Lucious and Cookie’s vote but they have to round up one more. Andre sets his eyes on a member who is known to love the ladies just as much as she loves her husband. This is where Andre’s wife comes into the picture. The plan is for Rhonda to help seduce her, however, things take a little turn once they get to the house for dinner. The husband found out about Rhonda and presumably will want her for himself. Andre will handle the wife while Rhonda handles the husband. Simple plan and by the looks of it, something they have done before. However, once Rhonda sees the husband is rather old and in a wheelchair she is not a fan. By the end of dinner, she makes herself sick and cannot deal with the presumption that she will have to sleep with this man in order to get Andre what she wants. In the car on the ride home as she feels marginally better, she basically tells Andre to start acting like a man and fix his own problems.

Let me just pause  to say that we can all agree that Rhonda and Andre have a very weird relationship. While the regular scheme of things worked in the past, I think a lot of changes are on the horizon for them. While we all got the sense that they have done this sort of thing before, this particular night set Rhonda on edge and in turn caused a lot of things to spiral out of control for Andre by the end of tonight’s episode.

In any case, Andre was able to get the support of Carl, another board member, and was all set for the board meeting the following day. When he brought this up to everyone at the round table, as expected he received Vernon, Carl and Cookie’s vote. However, when it was time for Lucious to cast the deciding vote he said no. This left Andre shocked and very upset.

Once alone, Lucious called him out on what he felt was a double cross. Lucious started to question where Vernon’s loyalty lied and he confirmed that he cannot trust Andre. Lucious said that he knew from the moment he brought that “white woman” into his house that he could no longer trust Andre. Andre tries too much to fit in and to be accepted and he needs to accept the fact that it will never happen, Lucious says. Andre feels as if he was never really a part of the family because he didn’t have any musical talent. He felt that Lucious was punishing him because he went to college and got good grades and tried to do something with himself other than music. Lucious countered that he really did all of that to fit in and the fact that he married Rhonda was the icing on the cake. No matter how many white women you marry, Lucious told him, you will never be accepted by “them” and as a result by him either.

This led to Andre in one of the Empire’s studios sitting in the recording booth. The music played in the background and we saw Andre sitting on a stool with a gun to his head. He was playing Russian Roulette. He pulled the trigger but there wasn’t a bullet in that chamber. He screamed out loud when he realized that didn’t work and he was still alive.


Say what you want about Empire but one thing that’s for sure is they are bringing up some pretty controversial topics within the black community. Homophobia and now mental illness. Regardless of what you may think about the actual telling of these stories, there are important conversations to be had about this and Empire is making sure that we have them.

While there have been times it felt as if Andre was put on the back burner, this episode did its best to rectify that. The only small gripe I have with this is that I wish we didn’t have to see Andre at such extremes all the time.

Let’s switch gears a bit and focus on this love triangle. Didn’t I tell you all that Cookie will want to leave Lucious to leave Anika? Of course we all saw it coming. Just like we saw the fact that Anika wouldn’t allow that to happen. She confronts Lucious about sleeping with Cookie and the fact that he got her father to lie on his health report. As a result, Anika says that Lucious will marry her immediately. If her father goes down, Lucious goes down as well because she will make sure of it. Obviously still upset and jealous about Cookie and Lucious sleeping together, she wants Lucious to marry her the next day. With the white party coming up, Lucious says that it’s not realistic. What about next weekend? She agrees but only if they announce it AT the white party and in front of Cookie.

Cue to white party

With the wardrobe choices going on, this white party looked like a scene from Coming to America and Lucious was the King of Zamunda.

Jamal figured out that Cookie has been sleeping with Lucious again and was not happy. His father is not someone you want to love, he tells her, because he doesn’t know how to love anyone. Jamal is in a rough space at the party when he and Lucious talk. He has a lot on his plate. He’s upset that Cookie wanted to change the family recording to have Hakeem go last. He is also dealing with his new found daughter, his father’s illness and the decision of whether to come out or not. Lucious begins one of his familiar speeches about greatness, well music, but for Lucious it’s the same thing. He wants Jamal to sing because he loves it and because he can tell his truth in the music. While Jamal seemingly pretended to listen to that whole spiel, that last part about truth gave him a spark. He told his father that he wanted to perform his own version of “You’re So Beautiful” which Lucious encourages.

Jamal gets on stage and is rocking the house. Admittedly, he has a pretty great version of the song – even Lucious is doing his church clap and getting down to it. However, he takes it a step further  when he changes the lyrics, from singing about loving a woman to loving a man.

The crowd loves it. Ryan, the director who has his eye on Jamal, loves it. Lucious does not.

Lucious frantic claps died so quickly. He went from jovial to on the verge of cardiac arrest in 2.5 seconds. Cookie, Vernon, Hakeem and Andre were all happy for him and were still encouraging at the party while he was singing. Lucious, however? I think if that song didn’t end when it did they would have had to call the ambulance.

Jamal hit the crowd with that announcement and basically looked Lucious in his eye and dropped the mic. Well he didn’t really do that but in my mind, he did.

Jamal’s coming out announcement is basically one of the biggest acts of rebellion in the Lyon family. In the process of doing this though, he helps his brother get a little more breathing room to make some decisions of his own. Hakeem, who’s been struggling with the two powerful women in his life, his mother Cookie and his girlfriend/”mama” Camilla, begins to assert himself a bit. Before the party, he tries to reconnect or rather connect with Cookie. They seem to be making progress after a nudge or two from Lucious. There wasn’t much shouting and he seemed receptive to his mother for once. However, he’s still stuck with Camilla, who stirs up trouble by insisting he go last on the family track which was got Jamal upset with Cookie at the white party. They put those differences aside though after Jamal’s announcement. Hakeem goes to Jamal’s place to make amends and congratulate his brother. They hugged it out as only brothers do and Hakeem even suggested they could perhaps sing the song together.

Chuck Hodes/FOX
Chuck Hodes/FOX

The episode ended with Lucious declaring that the entire legacy project is over. Cookie urges Lucious to reach out to his son but Lucious isn’t having it. Regardless of the fact that no one has shunned Empire away as a result of this announcement, he insists that Jamal is essentially no longer apart of the family. He believes Jamal has turned away from them.  After he leaves her office, Cookie turns to look at the family photo on her desk, and we flash back to Cookie in prison, singing “You’re So Beautiful” as she sacrificed everything for her family.


Something else very important to note from “The Lyon’s Roar”:

Upset after she found about Cookie and Lucious’ rendezvous in the studio,   Anika heads off to a mysterious building which seems to be a hotel. She announces that she wants to meet Billy Beretti, the owner of Empire’s rival label.  Now look at this stupid girl. Does she really think this well end well for her? Tuh!

I hope she didn’t sleep with him and I really hope she didn’t tell him about Lucious’ ALS. I am sure she did both judging by the previews.

It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention the Line of the night

“What can you do Yoko, can you play the tambourine?!” – Cookie to Camilla

Only three more episodes until the end of Empire’s first season!

Sidenote: Empire writers, please have Taraji sing in the second season! Thanks!!

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