You’ve got to give it to Empire‘s writers — they have elevated drama to an art form. After last week’s intense episode delved into the dark corners of Lucious’ past, we learned his mother had committed suicide right in front of him following a manic episode.
Or did she?
On tonight’s episode, there was a lot going on, per the norm. Anika finally revealed that she is pregnant with Hakeem’s child. Andre told Rhonda he was having some serious spiritual doubts. Cookie tried to ice Freda Gatz out of any involvement with Jamal’s new record.
And then there was Lucious. Such a mean-spirited man, that one. While he was busy trying to hijack Empire from Hakeem, his shadester lawyer Thirsty was busy creeping around doing all sorts of creeper things.
Like yanking a hair from the head of the little girl once believed to be Jamal’s daughter, but more recently assumed to be the fruit of Lucious’ loin. The biggest shocker, of course, is when he walks into some sort of institution and finds a woman who seems to be… Lucious’ long-dead mother.
An actual representation of my face in that moment:
So, for real, what gives? Naturally, theories abound on the interwebz! Empire fans had some interesting ideas on what really went down with Lucious’ mom back then.
1. Lucious lied about his mom being dead to get votes for the upcoming ASAs
So Lucius lied about his mom being dead? He really trying it. #Empire
— John Babin✊🏾 (@PureJohn) April 21, 2016
I mean, we can’t exactly put something like this past Lucious now, can we? We’ve yet to see a level to which the man won’t stoop — it is not far-fetched to imagine he would lie about his mom’s suicide to get the sympathy vote, as appalling as that thought is.
2. Lucious is hiding his mom out of embarrassment
So Luscious sent his mom off to a home and pretending she's dead or what? #Empire
— Ada (@fashionpoeista) April 21, 2016
This is intriguing because, if it is true, there was a bit of foreshadowing last week. Remember that horrible scene when Andre found out the truth about his grandmother, confronted Lucious and Lucious told him he was embarrassed of his mom just like he was embarrassed of Andre? Perhaps Lucious hid his mother away in a nursing home the first chance he got because he was so embarrassed to have a mother with a mental illness.
3. Thirsty knew but Lucious didn’t, because Thirsty is Lucious’ secret brother
what if Thirsty & Luscious are actually brothers and Luscious don't know his moms alive? 🤔🤔🤔 #Empire
— Eddie Kane™😈 (@AllStar_CASH) April 21, 2016
This makes my head spin a little, but you know what? It actually makes a good deal of sense. If we think back to the way Thirsty came to be in Lucious’ confidence, it is all very mysterious. He just kind of showed up out of nowhere and he knew all the right buttons to push to get Lucious to trust him. In this episode, he is creeping around pulling out hairs of possible heirs. The person who pushed Rhonda down the stairs was definitely wearing shoes that resemble Thirsty’s signature style. So is he systematically trying to rule out heirs… because he knows he could potentially take over the Empire throne? Or, far less nefarious, maybe he suspected as much and is just trying to confirm.
4. Kelly Rowland’s character was never Lucious’ mom
— Anita 👑🦄 (@MiaSupreme) April 21, 2016
It’s hard to recall if the little Lucious (aka Dwight) ever did refer to Kelly Rowland’s character as mom. We see their interactions via flashback, but I suppose there is only the implication it is mother and son and not, let’s say, babysitter and little boy being watched by said babysitter.
5. Lucious shot his mom — or tried to, at least
Wonder if luscious tried to kill his mom? Thats why he ran away, but don't know she survived. Hmmm #Empire
— Lads (@laddi_las) April 21, 2016
Again, it’s Lucious. This is certainly in the realm of possibility. Maybe he tried to pull something on his mom, he got kicked out and he just kind of rewrote his own history to suit his purpose.
6. The woman in the nursing home isn’t Lucious’ mom
tbh i think Lucious mom still alive. and that other lady is somebody else. #Empire
— sarah 🌻 (@lighttbright_) April 21, 2016
Since Twitter is seriously up in arms over the disparity between Kelly Rowland’s complexion and the complexion of surprise nursing home mom, 72-year-old Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Leslie Uggams, fans would likely be pretty happy to learn this lady is not in fact Lucious’ mom. She obviously has firsthand knowledge of his childhood, so maybe she was his babysitter or even a relative.
7. Lucious’ mom did try to shoot herself, but the gun jammed
#Empire Tbh…. I'm sure I remember Kelly's gun (luscious mom) jamming when she was gonna shoot herself so she was alive regardless
— Depressed Thot 🙍🏽♀️ (@xChuChie) April 21, 2016
This fan is certain that a previous flashback showed us the gun jamming. Another fan tweeted that there was a scene in which little Lucious beat his mom to the bullets. And another still explained that Lucious never explicitly said his mom died. He said she shot herself and everyone just assumed.
8. The little boy in the flashbacks isn’t even Lucious
I bet the little boy in all those sequences with the mom is not even Lucious. #Empire
— Melaninways (@Naise83) April 21, 2016
Now we’re getting into some deep stuff, you guys. If the little boy in the flashbacks isn’t young Lucious, who is he? A brother? Oh, shit! Could it be Thirsty? Perhaps Lucious ran away, abandoning his little brother in the process. So he remembers the horrible things that happened, but they didn’t happen to him. Whoa, that’s heavy.
More: A definitive ranking of all the reasons Hakeem won’t last long as CEO
9. Lucious’ mom faked her own death
Didn't Lucious say he watched his mom kill herself?
So she either missed, played dead or they were able to save her #Empire
— 🎨 🖌🖍ArtsyBamaGirl (@BamaIntrovert) April 21, 2016
This theory is sad, above all else. However, if Lucious’ mom did suffer from bipolar disorder, she may not have been able to handle the stress of a small child. Or perhaps the guilt over nearly drowning him in the bathtub was too much. Either way, it’s possible she wanted to free herself of him.
10. Lucious has his mom holed up at the nursing home out of spite
— AlwaysMEmyself (@alwaysmeECA) April 21, 2016
If the little boy in the flashbacks is Lucious and everything up until this point is essentially true, then Lucious probably does have an ax to grind with mommy dearest. Him holing her up in a nursing home where no one even knows she is could be his version of mental warfare against her — payback for all the damage she caused that Lucious referenced to Andre tonight.