Mergers, secret meetings, extortion, and artistic integrity are some of the MANY themes on this week's episode of Empire: "True Love Never."
Jamal has been the nucleus of Empire this season. His quest to grow more perfect musically is the driving force behind his songs, and he's willing to work with anyone to get there. Cookie and Jamal secretly collaborate to create one of Jamal's most powerful songs yet. They went to great lengths to keep their collaboration a secret, using iPhones and having Jamal in the Lyons Dynasty studios. Hakeem almost caught them too. Luckily Cookie was able to play it off:
You can see a genuine love between a mother and her son. No matter the BS they face, Cookie will ride for her baby boy through thick and thin.
Beware of the Backslide
Lucious wants to merge with Jago's company Swift Stream at the behest of Mimi, but has to take care of the injunction against Empire (thanks to Cookie). So he gives Andre the task of coercing the Deputy Mayor (who usually does favors for sex) into dropping the gag order. Andre, being saved now, wants nothing to do with going down that dark path once more. His desire to do right by "pop" and officially return to Lucious's good graces fuels him to get the job done one way or another (not to mention shady advice from his pastor, who gives me the vibe that he uses the collection plate donation on fancy suits and luxury cars).
Andre meets with the Deputy Mayor, and rather than succumbing to his natural instincts of passion, blackmail's her with a sex tape that he'll link if the injunction isn't dropped. Needless to say, that got the job done! I guess one sin really isn't bigger than the other, so you have to pick your poison.
Lucious ends up convincing Jago to do the merger, after a boxing match which put Jago in the hospital doped up on morphine.
Lucious was also hanted by more visions of his mother and his troubled childhood. Throughout the episdoe, he's been looking for the missing piece to his music. A failed threesome with Mimi and a "fan" along with a gun from his past, motivated him to get in the studio and record the final piece of his track with Freda to give it the missing element:
Cookie continues to get her groove back with Laz, the man unbeknownst to her that was involved in Hakeem's kidnapping! The way those two were going at it, I don't even know if that would phase her!!
We finally figure out Laz's ultimate goal: to extort Cookie and Lyons dynasty through paid protection and promotion. Cookie would pay Laz for promotion/marketing while he set up a meeting with the kidnappers to broker a protection deal. The plan goes off without a hitch but Hakeem isn't convinced that it's all good:
Wait until that tattoo reveal...then all hell will break loose!
I Just Wanna Sing...
Hakeem works with Laura to get her in "lead singer" shape, even asking Teyana for help. Everyone tells Hakeem that Laura isn't ready, but he remains determined to make it work. What better way to gain confidence as a performer than to sing in the middle of NYC and make people stop and listen? Did the viewers buy her stand-still performance? Check below:
Laura repaid Hakeem's faith with a kiss! Looks like the embargo on sleeping with the talent might be lifted?
Maybe that kiss worked wonders after all!
More trouble, music, and excellent commentary await us on the next episode of Empire. Check us next week to read our breakdown of all the Lyon family shenanigans!
To hear an in depth review of this week's Episode, listen to The Lyons Den Empire podcast from NBCBLK Contributor Jeff Johnson and friends on That ADHD Show: