Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett
We gave it a B-
This week’s episode begins with the Empire board chastising the “negligent and aggressive” behavior of the “current Lyon leadership” and reinstating Eddie as executive consultant. Needless to say, Lucious isn’t happy about it.
Andre shows up to play the role of exposition, reminding his father (and us) that Eddie just wants to convince the board to sell Empire to Kelly Patel. Cookie tries to convince Lucious that they need to buy the company back from the board and go private. Lucious says it was his “dream” to have the company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, but (thanks to flashbacks of all the touching moments where Cookie has supported his vision) ultimately he agrees that it’s the right move.
We get treated to a fun rock-tinged track from Jamal and his merry band of misfits. (Like that name? I think they should use it.) The band is thrilled about the positive response their track is getting, but half of them want to reveal they’re the ones behind the hit while the other half — including Jamal and Tory — want to remain anonymous.
Hakeem is in bed with his new boo Haven when his phone rings. His ringtone is Tiana’s new song (that’s just sad), but it’s Blake who is the one trying to get him back. (You probably recall Hakeem was the one who threw Blake out of the House of Empire party after a photo was leaked of Blake and his dad posing with the Confederate flag.) Hakeem’s response to the barrage of texts: New phone, who dis?
Lucious and Cookie prepare to head out to meet with mogul Sam Gold in hopes that he’ll help fund their campaign to buy back Empire, but before they can get out of the office, Eddie and Anika reveal that they’ve just come from Sam’s office and that he won’t be coming to their rescue.
Not to be deterred, the Lyons start calling all their famous friends (Oprah, the Obamas) and feel they’ve got the money needed to buy all of Empire’s shares…that is, until Thirsty turns on the TV and they see the price of their company’s shares skyrocketing right out of their price range. They suspect that Kelly Patel is behind the rise in prices. They need to figure out what Kelly’s price is — and Andre is sure he can convince Eddie that he wants to betray his family and get into his inner circle.
Anika doesn’t believe Andre’s claim of betrayal, but Eddie is open to hearing him out. Andre offers to hold a press conference and openly declare his allegiance to Eddie, which comes to fruition. Standing next to Kelly and Eddie, Andre announces the plans to sell Empire to Kelly.
The press conference works, and even Anika seems to believe they can trust Andre. They make plans to go out and celebrate, but not before Andre sneaks some photos of the plans and send them to his father. Now that they know what Kelly is willing to pay for Empire, Cookie suggests they throw a party and crowdsource the funds they need.
Giselle tries to convince Eddie that he shouldn’t trust Andre — or Anika for that matter — “she’s got duplicitous b—- written all over her fake boobs.” She tells Eddie they need an “ace up their sleeve.” He tells her he has a plan. Then the kiss. Boom.
Blake decides to confront his father mid-talk show interview. He claims that he didn’t want to take the photo that was leaked but his dad told him it would make him believe he was actually his son. Blake says he was taken to a racist rally the next day and was so disgusted that he went back to him mom’s and hadn’t seen his dad in the 15 years since then. It all devolves into a Jerry Spinger-esque brawl, which Lucious thinks will go viral. That makes him the perfect artist to invite back into the fold and to their fundraiser.
Lucious also wants Jamal’s secret band to perform. That’s right, he’s known all along it was them who released that track. Jamal refuses the offer. He wants to make music without worrying about sales.
Blake and Hakeem perform at the party and Tiana shows up to see what kind of “low rent” event they are throwing that will embarrass the company, but her smirk turns to a smile when she thinks Hakeem is going to bring her out on stage as his “baby.” But nope. He’s actually introducing Haven. “You don’t want to pick up your face?” Becky calls out to Tiana as the singer runs out of the event. To throw salt on the would, Haven sings Tiana’s part in “Big Shoes” with Hakeem on stage!
Back at the office, Eddie tells Andre that he knows Andre has been trying to play them. He knows Andre shared the numbers he saw with his parents. But instead of kicking him out, Eddie and Kelly embrace Andre and offer him the chance to become Kelly’s company’s CFO…if he’ll help shut down the “rent party.”
It’s a dream opportunity for Andre, and it throws him into a crisis of conscience. He ends up getting a techie to take a long break and he shuts the server down. Lucious is piiiiiissed, but Andre reveals that he took down the server so it would seem like he was going along with Eddie’s plan. What he actually did was take the server down for 15 minutes and he lifted the paywall so the event could be shared with the entire world…not really following how this is supposed to help them, but okay. Cookie goes out on stage and tells the audience that when the show continues, they are going to give them something that will “shock the world.” Backstage, they aren’t sure what that surprise is actually going to be — but Jamal shows up and agrees to debut his band at the event. His bandmates aren’t thrilled, but they agree to show up to support him.
As Lucious and Cookie introduce Anonymous, they give a rousing speech about the power of family and how they hope Empire inspires those around the world to pursue their dreams. (The speech is heard by a mom in her kitchen, a doctor at work in a hospital, and even an inmate who has a TV in her cell!)
Kelly is pissed that they paywall is back up and tells Eddie that he’s through with him if he can’t solve the problem. And, after Anonymous’ performance, the Lyons have raised over $75 million — more than enough to buy the company back.
Backstage, Haven reveals she’s headed back to Los Angeles to rekindle her relationship with her ex. Hakeem is sad but she tells him to hit her up if he ever actually gets over Tiana. That kinda came out of nowhere.
At the mansion, Lucious and Cookie are giving each other praise — and a little toungue, as the camera pans up and the sexytime music plays. The next morning, Giselle and Eddie show up during breakfast to reveal that they got Lucious’ goons to talk and reveal that Lucious killed Shyne. They have Lucious’ bloody scarf and threaten to take it to the police if the Lyons don’t rescind their bid for the company.
Cut to black! Ugh. Damn you Eddie!