This episode of Empire starts with one of my favorite scenes EVER.
As Anika and Lucious are planning their wedding, Cookie storms in with Porsha. She tells Lucious that Boo Boo Kitty has been plotting with Beretti behind his back, and she paid Porsha to spy on Cookie. Anika can't defend herself.
(Can Taraji win an Oscar for this performance?!)
That put a bit of a damper on the wedding plans, hmm?
Porsha and Cookie start tossing Anika's clothes onto the driveway. As Anika leaves, Lucious meets her outside to confront her. She's tired of being "strung along" and insists that he's making her act this way. He begs her to tell him her plan, actually tearing up.
He reminds her that if Beretti finds out about Lucious' sickness and the IPO fails, her father will get convicted of fraud.
Beretti picks Anika up outside the house. This woman has SOME NERVE.
Jamal and Ryan are already hooking up, it seems, but Porsha interrupts them to tell Jamal, "We at war." Oh boy.
Empire's in panic mode. There's no way to know how much Anika told Beretti. Malcolm already has his security team checking phones to make sure no one else switched sides.
Andre dumps his meds down the toilet, further proof that he's a ticking time bomb.
Lucious has a meeting with his team, Cookie, Hakeem, and Jamal. He encourages them to stay united.
"You draw blood!" he concludes.
As much of a snake as he can be, that speech is the reason he's been on the throne for so long.
Some artists are switching from Empire to Beretti's label, but he wants Tiana.
Of course, Lucious tries to blame a part of the disaster on Jamal for coming out. Jamal turns it on him; if his father had "kept it in his pants," this wouldn't be happening. PREACH.
Beretti wants dirt on Anika, who tries to front as if she's "only here for the music." She insists on keeping their relationship "professional." Having regrets, is she? You walked into a trap, sweetheart...just wait.
Cookie goes to the same rundown studio where Jamal recorded "Keep Your Money" to talk to Royalty, an Empire artist. He's hanging out there with musicians from Creedmore, basically the enemy.
Andre, Hakeem, and Lucious are trying to talk an artist, Travie, into staying with Empire. Andre is getting a little too enthusiastic, clearly the effects of no medication.
Jamal goes into the studio with Delphine, and Ryan films them recording a song called "Conqueror." Their vocals combined are nothing short of angelic.
Delphine is a Creedmore artist, and Jamal convinces her to meet with Lucious.
Cookie manages to win Royalty over by winning a drinking game against the Creedmore guys. Only her. She can barely walk out the door, though.
Someone tries to rob Cookie. Thankfully, Malcolm and one of his men were trailing her. Drunk, she starts hitting on him. Malcolm is twice the man Lucious is, though, and won't betray his boss.
Jamal and Hakeem get into a fight with Andre in an elevator. He's having a breakdown and the elevator stops working.
Beretti and Lucious confront each other, with their men behind them obviously. Travie went over to Creedmore. Beretti makes a crack about Anika and guns get pulled. Lucious doesn't even flinch when Beretti points a gun at him. He just gets into his car.
Andre is ranting about Lucious loving his youngest more than his oldest son, and building Empire while they were doing nothing. Jamal is trying to talk him down; he starts singing "Lean On Me" because Andre used to calm them down with it as kids.
The three of them sing and it's ridiculously cute.
Tiana's on her way to meet Anika. Lucious won't listen to Jamal about Delphine; Jamal wants to sign her. He warns Lucious that if he doesn't put aside his homophobia, Empire is screwed.
Hakeem finds Anika, giving her some heartfelt speech about her being family to him and she belongs at Empire. Anika realizes too late when she sees Cookie inside the restaurant talking to Tiana.
Cookie and Hakeem try to convince Tiana. She won't stay with Empire unless Hakeem gets back with her (WHY?!). He tells her he's still in love with Camilla (AGAIN...WHY?!).
Jamal and Lucious meet with Delphine at Leviticus. Lucious promises that he'll manage her personally. She's a huge fan of his, and her favorite song is "You're So Beautiful." The three of them start performing it together.
Tiana, Hakeem, and Cookie show up to finish the song with them.
All I can say is...wow.
Malcolm and his men are under orders to keep Andre in the conference room at Empire. Rhonda is there, but nothing she says works once he starts losing it. Lucious shows up--once again, talking is not working. It takes four paramedics to sedate him.
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