Empire Recap: A Kiss From a Rose Gets a Rise Out of Cookie

Trai Byers as Andre Lyon and Taraji P. Henson as Cookie in Empire

In a nutshell: Boo Boo Kitty may find that all that glitters is not gold. On the other hand, she gets a massive diamond from Lucious, so she probably doesn’t care about that rose that turns Cookie into a bootleg gladiator. Tiana has a girlfriend. Hakeem has a stupid attitude. Andre and Rhonda continue to be loathsome. Jamal continues to be nearly perfect.

Let’s get started.

On the red carpet with Tiana, Hakeem mumbles. Not gonna lie, I’m never 100 percent sure what he’s talking about, but it’s clear that he’s quite pleased with himself and his latest musical effort. Good for you, Hakeem.


Tiana has a better option: She has a girlfriend named India. Did you see that coming? Neither did Hakeem. She needs someone who can hold a conversation after an evening with Mumbles. Good for you, Tiana.

Good things are also apparently happening for Boo Boo Kitty. She looks flawless and smug as usual. Boo Boo Kitty has a big night ahead. (The character has a real name, you know. It’s irrelevant. I wonder how Grace Gealey feels about that. The name Boo Boo Kitty is going to follow her for the rest of her life. She can play Lady Macbeth, but she’ll still be Boo Boo Kitty.) In any case, Lucious drops to one knee and proposes with an 18-carat diamond. She can’t flash it because he wants to tell their families first. Lucious is shady.

That’s Boo Boo Kitty’s problem; Cookie is focused on taking care of business. She and Jamal meet with a producer at a sketchy Bronx, N.Y., studio. She warns the producer: “Take care of my baby boy, OK? If not, I’m holding.” [Thumps purse.] “The name is Cookie; ask about me.” Isn’t Cookie on probation? Is she allowed to carry a firearm? My knowledge is based solely on other TV shows. Maybe the feds took care of that.

Those stealthy feds pull up with a loudspeaker to announce that Cookie’s a snitch. She attends a grand jury proceeding to give testimony on Frank Gathers. She used to run drugs for him and was involved when he shot an undercover federal agent. Cookie is in a no-win situation; if she goes against Frank, he can have her killed. If she doesn’t work with the feds, she’ll end up back in the pen. All you really need to know is that we get a Cookie flashback to the shooting and she’s sporting a blond bob. So Cookie actually toned down her look? Smh.


Later, a rose is left on Cookie’s doorstep. Roses are the calling cards of one of Frank’s men. Thinking she’s marked for death, she gets her gun and dons a white hat. Cookie thinks she’s a gladiator now. She hops a taxi to Philly. Her rude South Asian driver uses the phrase “you people.” Cookie’s response is, “What you mean about ‘you people’? You black like me.” Word to Bobby Jindal. Her mission in Philly is to arrange a hit on the suspected murderous rose givers. We need Olivia Pope to fix Cookie after Liv’s out of the hole. On second thought, Cookie is always armed and wouldn’t end up in a hole. Cookie needs to fix Olivia!

During Hakeem’s superexpensive video shoot, Andre and Rhonda spot Tiana making out with India. As part of their plot to mess things up for Hakeem (who can do that on his own), Rhonda takes a video and sends it to Perez Hilton. Hakeem sees everyone glued to their cellphones and wants to know, “What the hell is you doing?” How is it even feasible that he’s in the running to take over the empire? The simpleton at first refuses to sing with Tiana, but Lucious manages to penetrate that thick skull. Miracle of miracles.


Andre can’t stop being awful, so he sets up Hakeem by manipulating the rapper’s friends to rob Jamal at the Bronx recording studio. The plot fails, but a duped Jamal blames his little brother and gut-punches him. Don’t make me feel bad for Hakeem, Empire.

So back to that proposal. Boo Boo Kitty’s pop is a doctor. In order to move forward with his IPO, Lucious—who actually comes clean and tells him that he has ALS—needs a clean bill of health and has a scam in mind. This doesn’t go over well with his would-be father-in-law. The doctor gets less huffy when Lucious points out that Boo Boo Kitty will become a billionaire if and when he dies, which, has been noted, could be three years (or less).


Lucious later drops by Cookie’s tastefully appointed apartment for a sentimental chat about their anniversary. Cookie looks so unexpectedly vulnerable. Taraji P. Henson is a terrific actress (which she proved in that No Good Deed shower scene where she had to act appalled by a nude Idris Elba). Of course, Lucious is the one who left the rose to commemorate their anniversary. Of course, Cookie can’t call off the hit. Does she have the skills to fix this? Of course, we can’t wait to find out.

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.

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