Empire play-by-play recap: Is Jamal just using Cookie?
Luscious is pumping Freda for beats while battling some heck of a demon in his soul. But which demon?
And Cookie is getting her salsa lessons on the horizontal, but, hey, can she live? No, literally. Since her lover Laz (Adam Rodriguez) has that Longhorn on his back, is he going to kill her or let her live? And Jamal: Is he just using Cookie for a sweet tooth versus the bitter toxins of Luscious' injections into his tracks? Like, who is Jamal really riding for?
Hakeem: Is Laura finally helping you get free from Luscious?
Andre: Boo, will you ever stop letting everyone get a turn on your emotions like a doorknob?
"Sometimes warriors have to do things on the battlefield that would be repugnant."
Pumping Freda for beats like the brakes on a burned out Pinto, Luscious is riding her right to his next glory stop. Meanwhile back at Empire, Mimi (Marisa Tomei) is not feeling the numbers that are as low as a twerk queen on a pole at Magic City in Hotlanta at 3 a.m. on a Friday. In a bid to get a streaming play, he spars with Mimi’s fish, Jago (guest star Patrick Mulvey), owner of the music streaming company — and, well, promptly knocks him out. Cold. In the ring. And then Jago has to go the hospital.
Then, Luscious and Mimi morphine-drip Jago in his post-boxing beat-down hospital bed 'til Jago’s woozy ass calls his lawyer to seal a partnership deal with Luscious/Mimi/Empire. Luscious is all business, all day. Even when backing out of an almost ménage à trois with Mimi and another woman, he keeps his head clear enough to dig deep after seeing an inspirational gun tattoo. On task, he summons Freda to his studio for an impromptu session to record a duo: a murder track. Or is it a suicide track? Hmmm....
She’s getting that arroz con pollo from the hot one, Laz. Him with the Longhorn tattoo that she knows not is the same tattoo of the gang that beat her son like a rug on Sunday. Cuidado, mami! Later, after getting the chorizo for days, she starts negotiating a deal for a concert with the Lyon Dynasty and Laz. And who has the park for the concert on lock? Big Heavy (Victor Almanzar) of the Longhorns! But remember, neither she nor Hakeem knows Laz is a Longhorn, so this is just nasty. I’m watching like, "Girl, if only you knew!" Actually, I screamed, "Cookie, you crumbling, boo?" at the TV, but I digress. But really, though, Cookie, you crumbling boo? Will Nookie destroy Cookie?
"Mirage a Trois." OK. The name of the group is "basura." But, Hakeem's drive is a three-alarm fire, and his desire to get ahead may blaze a new trail for the timid, yet talented Laura (Jamila Velazquez). His utter belief in Laura is all she needs to break out of her good girl singing and out into grown-man sang. Will his new perceptiveness keep him ahead of the trap that the rat in no clothing, Laz, is trying to set for both him and Cookie?
In the middle of trying to make a hit, he chokes down Luscious’ direction and swallows a cool sip of Cookie’s sweet tea to create a smoldering track. His allegiance to art overrides his loyalty to Luscious, and he seeks Cookie out to do that thing she does that makes a song a hit. After hitting her with the new cut over dinner, she persuades Jamal to put down a track at Lyon Dynasty. Later, he performs for Luscious in a day salon filled with hit makers. It’s crystal clear that this song got that tasty mix. And it’s Lasik clear to Luscious that Cookie’s recipe is all up in that song. And Luscious Is. Not. Happy. Cause. He. Don’t. Mess. With. Cookie. And. Jamal. Doing. So. Is. Betrayal. Yikes.
Andre’s conservative estimates for saving Empire are doing nothing for Mimi. Nothing. But reverend steps in and helps Andre see the light. It’s OK to do bad things in the name of the Lord, sayeth the Reverend. Going grimy, Andre tells his D.A. jump-off, Deputy Mayor Alvarez, that unless she lifts a gang injunction hindering Empire’s next moves, he’d give the interwebs some secret videos of their illicit bumpin’ and grindin’ — making her the legal-eagle steez Kim K. to his Ray J. Guess what? Injunction lifted. I mean, really. Riding the balance between being a man of the Word and being a man of Empire's word is hard, even for a horny, Ivy League, born-again Christian like Andre. Let the choir sang....