Becky and J Papa, one of Empire's artists, got a thing goin’ on! Yas, girl!
Cookie can't get through to Hakeem on his cell, of course. When she finally gets a text message from his number, it's a video of him tied up with his mouth taped. Cookie immediately suspects Lucious is playing tricks on her.
Jamal can't get his head into recording, and Lucious actually gives him some decent advice--he tells his son to put his emotions over Michael into the music.
Cookie comes into the studio, and Lucious tells her he didn't send the video. He and Cookie get serious pretty quickly, remembering their past on the streets.
I have to say...I still can't stand Lucious, but these two are not to be messed with when they team up.
Hakeem’s kidnappers asked for $40,000; at the dropoff point, they call Lucious and tell him they'll drop Hakeem off nearby. When the car shows up, Cookie and Lucious basically jump the driver, but Hakeem isn't in the van. The driver claims he got paid $1,000 to drive and Hakeem asked to be let out on the way to the dropoff.
Meanwhile, Annika is having a breakdown because she has nothing and no one left. Until Hakeem, beat up and bleeding, shows up to her house and kisses her. Huh?!
Hakeem goes back home. A doctor looks him over, but he doesn't have any serious injuries. Hakeem confronts his father, insisting he never would have been taken if it weren't for their broken family.
Jamal is angry at Lucious because Empire is marketing him as a gay artist and venues aren't reacting positively to that.
Hakeem is practicing with Laura and the girls, but something definitely happened to him when he was kidnapped, because he's not acting normally and ends up screaming at them over the song.
Andre, on his power trip at Empire, is interviewing Empire’s artists, debating who to drop from the roster. He and J Papa connect because, it turns out, J was raised in church.
Lucious thinks Hakeem needs to get it together, of course, and Cookie puts her ex in his place real quick. Her son got hurt and she's sympathetic.
Cookie is arranging to get a security team. Delgado suggests that she hire the guys who robbed Tiana and kidnapped Hakeem. He used to be a cop; in his experience, the thugs stopped causing trouble once the labels put them on payroll. The conversation turns into a kiss (saw it coming), and suddenly Cookie is considering his idea. Funny how that works.
Cookie takes Hakeem to meet up with the guys who took him, thinking he needs to feel like a man again.
Until he pulls a gun on them. Cookie tries to talk him down. Props to her, even with tears on her eyes, she keeps it together and convinces him to give her the gun.
Once he does, she turns it on the leader of the group and makes it clear that if he comes near her family again, he'll regret it. This woman. I love her.
J Papa performs at an Empire party at Leviticus, throwing some Bible verses into his music, which is something Andre put into his head. Lucious isn't pleased. He is the devil, after all.
Frida performs; a heckler in the crowd riles her up and she ends up jumping him. Um?
Andre insists that Frida is too much of a liability for Empire to keep. Lucious, as usual, is immovable; he refuses to drop her.
Lucious gives Hakeem a track he produced, but his son insults him and refuses it. His father doesn't take it well; bursting into the venue right before Hakeem is set to perform with the girls. Lucious harps on about Hakeem needing to man up.
Jamal and Andre come in and kick everyone out so they can talk to their brother. Hakeem finally talks about what happened--he got assaulted and is mad at himself for not defending himself. Jamal and Andre remind him of when they were kids and he stood up for the two of them all the time.
On stage, Hakeem freezes when he notices Lucious in the audience, clearly sure he's going to fail. Laura gets his attention, singing directly to him until he snaps out of it and, I'll admit, SLAYS that performance. His father walks out in the middle of it. Coward.
At the afterparty, Annika shows up, claiming she was worried because he wouldn't pick up the phone. Hakeem thanks her for being there for him, but doesn't invite her inside. Womp.
Lucious shows Frida the same track that Hakeem rejected. For some reason, he's the only one who can get through to her. I just don't get it.
Cookie shows up at Delgado's door and they hook up.
But...he has the same tattoo on his back that Hakeem's kidnappers did. And she has no idea.
There’s a wolf in the Lyon’s den...