Hakeem’s mind is twisted after being kidnapped but it’s Cookie who is in real trouble.
At the top of the show we see a few more snippets of Hakeem’s kidnapping. It is definitely not a dream or a joke; Hakeem has been snatched up. But by who?
Cookie thinks it’s another one of Lucious’ head games until she shows him the video of their son tied up. Luckily the Empire leader knows what going on. It is another extortion attempt by the same street thugs that attacked Tiana.
Meanwhile viewers get a glimpse of the thugs’ lair. The place looks like a condemned cinderblock building.
Once inside, the thugs toss a hooded Hakeem on a dusty couch and start destroying their clothes. Hakeem knocks the hood off while their backs are turned and gets a glimpse of his captors. All of the men are have a long horn brand on their backs.
Hakeem immediately tries to be the tough guy. (Just don’t.) The thugs pistol whip him before he can finish telling them his famous last name. Then they contact Cookie and Lucious with their demands — $40 grand.
They pay the money and wait for the van to drop off their son. Only when the van pulls up, it’s empty. The drivers say Hakeem asked to be let out on another street. Apparently the traumatic experience has fired up his libido. Hakeem shows up unannounced at Anika’s house and begins kissing her.
Meanwhile Cookie has her foot on the driver’s neck and is pumping him for information. Unfortunately he was paid to drive the van by two anonymous men and knows nothing about the kidnappers.
Back at Empire HQ, Andre is on a power trip at Gutter Life Records. He announces plans to interview all of the label’s artist and then eliminate the ones he doesn’t like. The news has Lucious’ assistant Becky on edge because one of the label’s rappers, J Poppa, is her new boo.
As expected, many of the rappers are extremely superficial including Lucious’ pet project Freda Gatz. J Poppa, on the other hand, surprises Andre. His real name is Job, he is a preacher’s kid and he knows the Bible like the back of his hand. Andre decides to keep J Poppa on the label and tells him to start incorporating the scriptures in his music like real-life artists Andy Mineo and LeCrae.
Back to Hakeem. When he finally shows up at his father’s house five hours later, he is confrontational with everyone. He lays the blame for the attack on both of his parents and refuses to be treated with kid gloves.
The next day Hakeem tries to get back to work as usual but he is hearing unusual noises and having flashbacks of the ordeal. He gets agitated and accuses the Mirage à Trois members of changing his music.
A concerned Cookie decides to double down and focus on finding some muscle to protect Lyon Dynasty. Laz Delgado gives Cookie a strange idea: contract the street thugs who are taxing them to be her security team. She is apprehensive but after flirting with Laz, she decides to set up a meeting.
Cookie arrives at the meet up spot with Hakeem. He promised to be cool but the moment they step inside, Hakeem pulls a gun on the gang. He’s power tripping real hard. Cookie takes the gun away from her son and uses it to threaten the gang. She tells them to stay away from her office or else.
Back at Empire HQ, Jamal is struggling.
He is still reeling from Michael’s affair and the Staple Center refuses his concert because Empire is marketing him as a gay artist. Jamal turns to his father for comfort but Lucious doesn’t get it. Jamal and Lucious begin to clash when Jamal hires old rival Jamison Henthrop to help challenge the Staple Center’s decision.
Lucious has issues with Andre too. Freda Gatz attacks an audience member during a Gutter Life performance. Andre is upset and wants to fire her from the label. Lucious definitely does not want to let go of his prized rapper. Futher more Lucious doesn’t like it when J Poppa mixes biblical prose into his rhymes. (Nor does Becky. She knows Andre is secretly trying to drive a wedge between her and Job.)
Hakeem has a performance with his girl group, but he’s still off his game. Outside the venue, Lucious tries to reach out to his son the only way he knows how – with a beat that he created just for him. Hakeem doesn’t care. He throws the flash drive containing the music on the ground and storms off.
Next Jamal and Hakeem try to calm Hakeem down.
It seems to work until he takes the stage. Hakeem is frozen, unable to spit his verses. Fortunately Laura brings him back to reality just by staring into his eyes. (Looks like she’s falling for him after all.) The spell is broken and suddenly he’s his old playboy self.
After butting heads with all of his sons, Lucious is spending quality time with Freda. He gives her the beat he tried to give to Hakeem and she flows to it. Freda is the son Lucious wishes he had.
Cookie on the other hand is tired of just flirting with Laz. She shows up at his front door and begins making out with him. Apparently he’s ready for more too because Delgado gets her up against a table and pulls her legs around his waist. He pulls off his shirt and (oh no!) he has the same long horn brand as Hakeem’s kidnappers!
Watch your back Cookie!