Lucious (Terrence Howard), you better eat them cakes or Mama (Leslie Uggams) might stab you.
Fox screenshot

Forget the American Sound Awards—Empire has a new entrant in the “worst parent” competition. Lucious is horrible, but in “The Lyon Who Cried Wolf,” his mama makes him look like an amateur. Let’s go!

Lucious and Cookie torpedoed Harper Scott’s profile on him, so the writer got even by giving Andre evidence that his supposedly dead grandmother, Leah Walker, is in a nursing home. That was stupid; she should have just written an exposé. Andre’s visit to the facility reveals two key facts: Leah hates Meatloaf Monday and has a violent reaction to losing at bingo.

At Leviticus, Cookie, Jamal and Hakeem are squabbling yet again over the ASAs when Andre arrives with a surprise: Grandma! Hakeem can’t believe that his father deceived them. He’s talking about the man who just threatened to kill Boo Boo Kitty, who is carrying Hakeem’s child. We hear the “I can’t believe that” line once a week. The lyin’ Lyon should run for office. The GOP needs someone with his integrity.

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We don’t get a scene of Hakeem and Jamal interacting with Leah, but Lucious has to explain to Cookie. Leah, who has bipolar disorder, did try to drown him and she did put a gun to her head, but it didn’t go “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom” because it wasn’t loaded. After Lucious and Cookie were married, he spotted his mom on the street and put her in a facility.

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Cookie has more pressing concerns—that ASA award. As co-CEO, Cookie uses her power and brings in D-Major, the awards’ music director, to bargain for more stage time. Cookie is still pushing that “Lyon family anthem” idea and blah, blah, blah. D-Major is rude to Jamal … in public, but when he gets Jamal alone, it’s a different story. D-Major is pushing him up against a wall and they are tearing each other’s clothes off right there in the studio. One problem: D-Major is in the closet, so this might be short-lived.

Lucious’ shady lawyer/henchman, Thirsty, takes Harper on a ride. He says he’s too much of a gentleman to kill her and kicks her out the car below a deserted underpass. Thirty’s goons have no problem attacking Harper, but it’s not clear if she’s dead. That’s extreme. If he wanted to keep her quiet, Lucious could have just paid her off. Harper is a blogger; trust me when I say that a $25 gift certificate to Red Lobster would keep her quiet.

Cookie’s bougie sister, Candace, pops up. She’s tired of taking care of Carol’s kids, but Carol just got out of rehab. Carol meets Candace at a restaurant and they allude to the big secret Carol is keeping from Cookie. Carol helped Lucious while her sister was up the river. She denies killing anyone but was “his lineup girl.” Hmm. Conveniently, a man at the next table hears the whole conversation and later just happens to run into his old friend Carol at the bar. His name is Tariq, and little does she know he’s with the FBI. Carol was eyeing that Wild Turkey; will he drive her to drink?

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At long last, the show addresses the night Rhonda fell down the stairs and miscarried. She suddenly remembers that she didn’t fall and tells Boo Boo Kitty that she was pushed. Boo Boo Kitty has some to-die-for Louboutin flats. Too bad Rhonda recognizes those distinctive red soles. Despite all signs pointing to Boo Boo Kitty, it doesn’t seem as if she had anything to gain from it.

Lucious ends up taking his mom home, hiring a nurse and ordering his maid, Juanita, to make sure Leah takes her meds and watch her like a hawk. It doesn’t work. Lucious wakes up in his do-rag and finds that Leah has baked five cakes. Gotta say, they look beautiful. Yes, Leah has bipolar disorder, but she also seems like a mean person, and I don’t think that’s part of her condition. Leah forces Lucious to give up his green-juice cleanse and load up on carbs and sugar as she berates him and says she wished she’d killed him.

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Here’s a crazy thought: What if Leah shoved Rhonda? It would be a stretch of the imagination for her to slip out of the home, find Andre’s home and lurk about waiting to shove his wife down the stairs. Do you think that’s plausible, or is it just a half-baked notion?

Elaine G. Flores is a New York writer, editor and bon vivant. She’s a hard-core shipper and excommunicated soap opera reviewer. Her fictional dinner-party guests include Omar Little, Buffy Summers, Abigail Mills and Ichabod Crane. You can visit her site, TV Recappers Delight.