A wedding planner dreams of retiring on the chunk of change she’ll make from Lucious and Boo Boo Kitty’s ostentatious nuptials. While they select sports teams to hand out as wedding favors, Cookie sweeps in with Porsha lumbering behind. As she passes Lola, Cookie gets a “Hi, Grandma!” That seems presumptuous of Little Miss Lola. Have we glossed over the paternity test?
Cookie makes the wedding planner kick rocks, then informs Lucious of his fiancee’s betrayal. Kitty is in alliance with Empire competitor Billy Baretti, who is poaching talent. Who told Cookie? I know Porsha boasts that she’s a double agent, but Porsha is way too loud and clumsy to be that stealthy. I think Vernon’s been running his mouth. After Cookie delivers an epic “Bye, Felicia,” she and Porsha toss out Kitty’s clothes. Kitty has the nerve to leave in a huff. Lucious inexplicably asks her to stay, to no avail.
At headquarters, Jamal watches his music video, which edges as far into D’Angelo territory as it can on network TV. Jamal gets turned on watching himself and makes out with Ryan, the documentarian who prodded him to come out of the closet. Porsha galumphs in to announce a big meeting. Andre also heads to the meeting, but first he flushes away the meds he’s supposed to take to manage his bipolar disorder. Foreshadowing shows up and makes a sad face.
Oddly, the office is decked out with screens that monitor which artists are staying and which ones are jumping ship to Baretti’s Creedmore label. Is this the music industry stock market? We eventually learn that Elle Dallas stays with team Lyon and Veronica goes to team Baretti. Lucious delivers a rousing speech about family unity—then blames Jamal’s homosexuality for hurting business. If anything is driving talent away, it’s Lucious’ absurd ascot. He’ll be sporting a top hat and monocle next week.
Boo Boo Kitty is at Creedmoor with Baretti, who is still bitter about the way Lucious left his label ages ago. He wants dirt on his rival. Kitty keeps mum about Lucious’ ALS diagnosis. Lucious had warned her that if she said anything to threaten the IPO, he’d expose her father, who fraudulently gave Lucious a clean bill of health.
Back at Empire, the Lyons get to work.
Cookie visits Royale-T, who bases business decisions on who consumes the most purple drank. Cookie wins, at a cost. She teeters out and nearly gets mugged. When Empire’s head of security, Malcolm DeVeaux, rescues her, Cookie practices the fine art of seduction by repeatedly slurring that Malcolm should “Take these Cookies!” Malcolm is watching his sugar intake and politely declines her do-si-dos.
Jamal and Delphine, played by Estelle, adorably perform a duet of “Conquerer.” With Cookie’s help, Jamal wears down an obstinate Lucious, who signs Delphine to the label.
Hakeem encounters Boo Boo Kitty on the street and urges her to return to the fold. Psych! Hakeem was just distracting her so Cookie could get to Tiana first. That kid is winning me over.
Andre is assigned the classy job of getting the slush fund with which to bribe artists. During a meeting with Travie Wild, Andre is in a manic state. When Andre disappears, Travie joins Creedmoor.
All the brothers wind up in an elevator. Andre wasted the slush fund on a Lamborghini. As they fight, the elevator stops and is bathed in a blue light because … reasons. Andre is rapid cycling. To soothe him, Jamal sings “Lean on Me.” Hakeem helps out with beatbox. Oh, Empire. Andre joins the sing-along. Where is Rhonda? Jamal should call her and sing something about helping Andre.
Lucious and Baretti finally have their face-off, surrounded by gun-toting entourages. Baretti implies that he’s sleeping with Boo Boo Kitty. Lucious couldn’t care less and says he dumped her just like he dumped Baretti. Baretti gets mad and pulls a gun on Lucious but doesn’t use it. Mo’Nique shows up from out of nowhere and pleads to get on one of the labels; both moguls tell her to have a seat.
The Lyons have bested Baretti, and the gang heads to Leviticus to sing “You’re So Beautiful.” I think Jamal sticks to the original lyrics this time. Everyone is in a good mood except for poor Andre, who runs amok at the office. Rhonda has arrived and watches sadly as Andre is carted off to the hospital for a 48-hour hold. Doesn’t this just break your heart?
It helps to know that from this moment on, folks will be screeching, “Take these Cookies!”
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.