In Empire, ain’t no shame in Cookie’s game.
Fox

Last week a single rose prompted Cookie to order a hit. Even Suge Knight told her to rethink her life choices. That rose is still causing trouble. Lucious invites Cookie to dinner at a fancy restaurant, takes her by the hand and leads her to … a family gathering to announce his engagement. What? This is not what Cookie is expecting.

Boo Boo Kitty flaunts that rock until Kanye rushes into the scene and attempts to give it to Cookie. While Boo Boo prattles, Cookie reaches into a bowl of roses and aggressively tosses petals. Boo Boo Kitty needs to dial it back; she’s boasting about how this was Elizabeth Taylor’s ring. Hakeem looks duly impressed. Hakeem is a Liz Taylor stan.

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Cookie mentions that Lucious gave her a rose. Well, what do you know? There is something that will wipe the smug look off Boo Boo’s face. Cookie thought she was on a date and is not letting her outfit go to waste. She opens her sable coat. The sight of their mother in a corset and garters will haunt her sons’ dreams. Fellas, it’s gonna get worse after she catches a Fifty Shades of Grey matinee. There’s a lot of fur on this show. Is it real? I bet Cookie would wear real fur. She should break the fourth wall and go, “You mad, PETA?”

Cookie hasn’t stirred the pot enough, so she tells Michael that Jamal won’t have time for him soon. Cookie thinks Michael isn’t on her son’s level. Speaking of those two, I read a story about test audiences’ poor reaction to Jamal kissing Michael. Is this still a thing that we worry about? Still? Hmph.

Courtney Love plays Elle Dallas. it’s been a minute since she’s had a hit. Surprisingly, Cookie is a fangirl. Lucious wants her to produce Elle’s next album. This broke-down diva insults Cookie, who looks crestfallen. Elle is (ahem) holed up at a fleabag motel. (Word to the wise: Hampton Inn is reasonably priced and offers a make-your-own-waffle machine.) Cookie persuades Elle to let her produce. Elle’s cover of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” is so awful that the song files a restraining order. Cookie’s solution is to make Elle strip down her look. The fur, the fake hair and lashes must go. Oh, irony. But this harebrained plan works.

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Lucious has more than music on his mind: Cops are snooping around his place while investigating who shot Bunkie. He alerts Vernon, who demands to know if his partner killed Bunkie. Lucious casually admits to shooting their childhood friend in the eye because Bunkie wanted money. Vernon takes the next logical step—he charges into Andre’s office and puts him in a choke hold. How dare Andre help cover up for his dad when they have some sort of side deal? Vernon fixes things by getting a career criminal to confess, and beefing up security. Why? To keep Kanye out? Bloodthirsty Cookie and Lucious are the ones murdering everybody.

Vernon finds Andre in the loo and says, “I apologize for choking you out. Team Andre.” Team Andre won’t shake until Vernon washes his hands. Andre and his wife, Rhonda, hate germs. Let’s not forget her infamous bib. They probably have sex in hazmat suits.

Lucious has more woes. After getting a case of the shakes, he sees a “concierge doctor” who will be solely devoted to his care. Is that an Obamacare benefit? I want in. For a price, they can skirt the Food and Drug Administration and try a Russian drug that’s reduced ALS symptoms. Boo Boo Kitty isn’t sure about this. I’m with her; those folks screwed up the Sochi Olympics, and don’t get me started on Putin.

Miss Kitty isn’t too busy to scheme. She slinks up to Cookie’s assistant, Porsha, shades Cookie and suggests that Porsha is abused and underpaid. I do believe Porsha was just flipped. Boo Boo Kitty is treacherous.

Cookie is also maneuvering and gets Jamal a televised interview with Sway. Everything is fine until Sway asks if Jamal has a lady. Jamal hems and haws and says he’s not seeing anyone. Obviously, Michael is watching. Michael should talk to Hakeem, who is sulking over pictures of Tiana and India. … Are those tears? Hakeem turns to his bong and may or may not be watching Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He channels his emotions into a song. It’s a song about hating women. Hakeem is a simpleton.

Contrivance walks in. Everybody in the family just happens to be in the lobby at once, and now we know why there’s tightened security. It’s so some woman named Olivia can jump up and down, flail her arms and cause a spectacle so that she can introduce Jamal to Lola—his daughter! Everyone makes dramatic cliff-hanger faces. Michael makes an OKCupid profile.

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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.