Empire Recap: Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe

“I’m the daddy!” Thanks for clearing that up, Lucious.
“I’m the daddy!” Thanks for clearing that up, Lucious.

Everyone, except Lucious, shows up to support Andre, who’s at a posh clinic, recuperating from his breakdown. The psychiatrist makes a few comments, but it’s Michelle White, the music therapist, who talks the most. That’s because Michelle is portrayed by Jennifer Hudson.


At first Cookie gives side eye to this bipolar diagnosis. She thinks it’s foolishness concocted by white people—like Nutella. Rhonda reveals that Andre had his first episode in college. There’s a flashback of a manic Andre handing out lavish gifts to his family. We also see Lucious’ duet of “Shake Down” with Angie (Mary J. Blige) and watch him fume when a doctor discusses Andre’s mood disorder. Later on, Michelle makes sure they’re alone and straddles Andre but claims she just wants to pray. Uh-huh.

Malcolm reconsiders Ms. Lyon’s offer to “take these cookies.” It goes like this:

Malcolm: I like you (but I don’t want to get shot in the eye like Bunkie).

Cookie: Do you like me? Or do you “like me” like me?

It’s so grade-school, they should communicate with origami fortune tellers. The “bow chicka wow wow” music plays as kissing ensues.

Now that Jamal has had one scene with his alleged daughter, he records a song about how much he loves “L-O-L-A.” All I can think about is this. Jamal tells Ryan he’s ready to be a dad, and Ryan leaves like one of those cartoon characters taking off in a cloud of dust. That’s OK—Jamal has foreshadowing to keep him company.

Olivia’s back to reclaim L-O-L-A. She’s wearing green eye shadow to match her hideous coat. That, right there, is a sign that she’s unfit. Some thug named Reg grabs her, demanding to see their child. So now Jamal isn’t the dad? They meet with a coked-up Vernon to talk.

Cookie phones Malcolm, who answers with “Como esta, señorita?” El Stupido. Cookie mentions that she’s going commando. Adios! Lucious enters, so Cookie pretends that she’s talking to Carol about chicken. How do you say “unnecessary” in Spanish?

Before the family meeting to sign papers for the IPO, Hakeem arrives with Camilla. There’s a whole “Mommy & Me” situation going on; Camilla has dressed Hakeem, so they match. She’s also guiding his musical choices. Hakeem starts rapping over “Tom’s Diner” by DNA (featuring Suzanne Vega). His lyrics are about how “age ain’t nothin’ but a number” and “the older the berry, the sweeter the juice.” Join hands with Hudson to pray that this isn’t released. Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams don’t even want it.


Lucious pays Camilla to scram. She says that she hopes Lucious’ death is painful. There’s a deafening roar as the world hollers, “Bye, Felicia!” Malcolm is summoned to drive Camilla to JFK airport. Isn’t Malcolm head of security? Aren’t there extras to do that?

In the meantime, Jamal and Hakeem treat Lola to a lullaby. Jamal sings the “L-O-L-A” song, and Hakeem helps with beatbox. The tot forces a polite smile and closes her eyes. I think she’s pretending to be asleep to put an end to the whole thing. The brothers do an exaggerated tiptoe out of the room. It’s cute.


Rhonda shows up for the family meeting as Andre’s proxy and realizes that the sons aren’t getting the shares they deserve. Cookie’s miffed by Lucious’ excuse that he used that money for her shares. Heaven forbid he give up some of his shares.

Vernon stumbles in with Olivia and Reg, who points a gun at Jamal’s head and rambles. Reg thinks that rich Jamal took what’s his. Hakeem tosses his pricey watch at the man with the pistol. That’s Hakeem’s ill-timed way of shading Lucious for bribing Camilla. When Cookie lunges, Reg grabs her.


Lucious announces that Jamal is not Lola’s father, he is! Lucious impregnated Olivia during her marriage to Jamal. Lucious urges Reg to shoot him, saying, “If you shoot me, you’d be everybody’s personal hero.” Someone fatally shoots Reg. It’s Malcolm! Wait, what? Malcolm had time to drive to the airport—with the traffic in New York City—and get back in time to pop a cap in the back of that man’s head? Nope!

Olivia, wearing a decent coat this time, explains that she had to leave L-O-L-A to protect her from abusive Reg. Why didn’t she just call Lucious to handle it? The cutie says goodbye to everyone, including Andre, who is back now. I’m sad; Lola was my favorite character.


Lucious has the nerve to propose to Cookie. He notes that they “conceived” Empire together. Wrong time to use the word “conceived.” He should have said it in Spanish.

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.