'Empire' Episode 4 Recap: The Good, The Bad, and The Cookie
By Meredith B. Kile
Hip-hop drama Empire's latest episode brings the drama that’s been brewing to a head. Entertainment mogul Lucious Lyon finally reveals his serious medical condition while pursuing incarcerated rap star Titan, Cookie takes over more power in the Empire realm, and the Lyon sons struggle to prove that they deserve the keys to the kingdom.
Here’s a look at the good, the bad and "the Cookie" from "False Imposition."
The Ex Factor
Lucious and Cookie are slowly returning to their old dynamic, and this episode gave us some genuinely sweet moments between the exes. Cookie even stops by Lucious’ office to check in after meeting with Titan’s mother and the two reminisce about their past and her time behind bars.
"You lose your soul when you feel like the world’s forgotten you," Cookie confesses.
"You know I never forgot about you," Lucious tells her, showing the spark that brought the two together, despite the long road that still lies ahead to repairing their relationship.
Cookie and Tiana
The up-and-coming star of Empire Entertainment approaches Cookie (in her tiny new makeshift office) for help with her latest single, claiming she didn’t want to ask Anika because "she’s a suit." Cookie is obviously thrilled to pull one over on Lucious’ new lady, but the developing relationship between the two seems to be refreshingly genuine. They collaborate and even share a dinner together when Hakeem is a no-show, and Cookie tells Tiana about meeting Lucious when he was still rhyming on the street.
"He tried to out-dance me, girl, next thing I know we have three sons," she laughs.
It was great to more of see eldest son Andre in the show's flashbacks and bittersweet to realize that he has been fiercely loyal to Lucious for so long. Young Andre may have covered for his father by stashing a gun in his box of Legos, but present-day Andre is covering in a bigger way: giving his dad an alibi for the night of Bunky’s murder without a second thought to his innocence or guilt.
Not Enough Jamal
We know life in the crappy part of Bushwick is hard and loved the fact that Hakeem still comes to him to talk about his problems (in this case, Tiana walking in on him in the bathtub with Camilla), but there was not enough of the middle Lyon son in this ep!
"I’m no one’s sideman, I’m not going to get paid for something I didn’t create myself," Jamal tells his father, returning the check for last week’s Leviticus performance before venturing out to try and create some new music on his own.
He’s inspired by the sounds of his neighborhood surrounding and the recurring line, "you can keep your money," but we want to hear the full song!
Hot and Cold Anika
It was nice to see a softer side to Lucious’ girlfriend and A&R head when he finally admits to her that he is suffering from ALS and needs her help to land Titan, but just a few moments (and one "Boo Boo Kitty" from Cookie) later, Anika's right back to her frosty ways, threatening Tiana for going behind her back with Lucious’ ex-wife.
Lucious and the Nation
It's pretty clear we haven’t seen the last of Lucious' conflict with the Nation of Islam, especially after Cookie drops the bomb that they are responsible for his father’s death. Even when the mogul puts up the money to rebuild Titan’s destroyed community center, he is clearly that his goal is to land Titan, not help the Nation, but that conflict will likely resurface sooner rather than later.
Speaking of conflict, now that Lucious has followed through on his plan to poach Titan away from former boss Beretti, will the rival mogul follow through on his threat to "bury your empire and everyone in it"?
Cookie vs. Anika
Cookie needs to call Anika "Boo Boo Kitty" at least once an episode. These two are going to go at it in a big way and SOON.
The Youngest Son
Despite Hakeem's continued rejection, Cookie keeps pushing for a connection with her youngest son, providing some of the show's most heartfelt moments.
"I can’t get back the 17 years we lost, but I’m here now," she tells Hakeem at the end of the episode.
Hakeem still maintains that his mother’s efforts are too little too late, but hopefully her growing involvement in his musical success (it WAS her suggestion that got him rapping on Tiana’s newest song, after all) will lead to a breakthrough between the two.