Cookie, Andre, and Hakeem are plotting which Empire artists they’re going after to stay on their side in the war.
Andre and Hakeem want Annika on the team, but Cookie doesn’t trust her. Hakeem also wants to start a girl group, because he’s interested in managing his own artists (ha!)
The three of them start scoping out a location for their new label. It’s in a shady neighborhood, but they have to start somewhere, right? Cookie is as determined as always, so this is going to be good.
Jamal is recording some music (with that angelic voice of his that I cannot hate, even though he is getting on my nerves. Sigh.). He’s interview for a show called Spilling the Tea, where inevitably he has to talk about Lucious. Cookie walks in to interrupt, and Jamal takes her aside. She begs him to give Hakeem his album back. During their talk, I see some of the real Jamal peeking through...let’s hope he isn’t as far gone as he acts.
Cookie tells Jamal that she, Andre, and Hakeem are starting a label.
Buckle your seatbelts, kids!
Lucious is running things in prison as usual (ugh). Ludacris makes his cameo as a security guard watching over the prison yard, where Lucious is rapping with some of his friends. Suddenly, he starts coughing uncontrollably, and his vision gets blurry.
Ludacris (I don’t know his character’s name so...womp) approaches and nearly starts a fight. He’s on a power trip; someone tell him he doesn’t want Lucious as an enemy…
Hakeem is interviewing potential female artists. Insert Becky G’s cameo; she auditions for him. However, she doesn’t want to be in a group--homegirl wants to go solo. Hakeem is intrigued by her attitude (because of course he is).
These celeb cameos are coming a bit fast and furious (see what I did there?); I think the writers need to slow it down some…
Luda threatens Lucious; he doesn’t care if the king of Empire dies, and he warns him that he should cooperate with the rules in prison because the prosecutor is gunning for him too.
Jamal, like a true little minion, visits his father in prison to tell him that Empire is about to get some competition. Some guy named Thirsty (yes, seriously) approaches them. He claims to be a lawyer who can help Lucious; he claims that the heads in charge are withholding Lucious’ meds to get him to cop a guilty plea. A guard pulls him away before he can finish.
Hakeem walks in on Tianna’s rehearsal. He wants her to be in his girl group (ha x 2!). She’s not interested in being anything but solo.
Jamal corners Hakeem, and tells him that he and Lucious want Hakeem back at Empire. “Because we’re family.” RIGHT. Jamal promises to release his album with full promotion; Hakeem is considering it.
Clearly the brotherly bond isn’t entirely gone yet. I want them to be close again, but I don’t trust either of them.
Hakeem and Becky end up in his hot tub (facepalm). She says she won’t be in the girl group unless it’s under Empire. He always attracts these trifling women...I cannot.
Rhonda is meeting with Jamal (?!). She’s scared for Andre, because he’s miserable without Empire. Tearfully, she asks Jamal to forgive his brother and take him back. Jamal admits that he misses Andre, and that he would even hand the company over to him if he could. Rhonda tells Jamal that she’s pregnant. He agrees to talk to Lucious for her, excited to be an uncle.
MESS. How does he not see that she’s playing him?!
A guard helps Lucious and his friends hook up to some audio equipment so he can record a song. It’s vulgar and aggressive...personally, I’m not impressed.
Luda bursts in to bust them. Man, he has a serious grudge against Lucious.
On the way to his car, Luda gets jumped by two guys. One of them demands, “Where is he?” and Luda says he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Well, neither do I. I’m confused.
Hakeem goes to talk to Cookie. She claims it breaks her heart, but she can’t stop him from going back to Empire. He refuses, though. He wants to be a legend in his own right. So...he leaks his album online. Andre is furious; Empire can sue them for the album, but Hakeem doesn’t care.
With that, Andre decides he’s done. Cookie tries to stop him, telling him Jamal would never sue Hakeem. Andre admits that his heart isn’t in this whole plan. He wants to go back to Empire. Cookie is fighting back tears as she does, but she lets him leave.
Andre goes to meet with Lucious. He claims watching Andre take sides against him “hurt.” What. Ever.
Andre asks for his forgiveness. Lucious refuses. Andre can’t believe that Lucious wants Hakeem back, even after he slept with Annika, but he won’t forgive his oldest son. Lucious has a flashback to what appears to be him and his mother, when he was young. She may have had bipolar disorder too, or some similar illness that makes him unable to understand Andre.
When Andre asks why he hates him, Lucious simply says, “I don’t hate you,” before walking out of the room.
Jamal and Hakeem meet up again. Hakeem tells him that he won’t come back to Empire, and that he leaked the album. Jamal claims he’ll sue him (there’s that attitude again).
The new label is called Lyon Dynasty. Interesting…
Cookie’s cleaning up their office when Hakeem gets back. It’s just the two of them ruling their little kingdom now--with sirens in the background.
What a difference compared to when Cookie first beat him with a broomstick last season.
On the radio, they hear Lucious’ new song. Cookie and Hakeem both realize that if Lucious gets out of jail, they have one formidable opponent, so they need to move fast.
Lucious is in court, and Thirsty is his lawyer (facepalm x 2). They blackmailed the judge of course, who rules that Lucious be released.
This is very not good, people.
Thoughts on “Without A Country?” Sound off in the comments, please!