Empire’s mid-season finale was a juicy diary filled with betrayals of epic proportions.
It’s the day of the American Sound Awards nomination and every recording artist is waiting to find out if they made the cut. Right away Jamal finds out he’s been nominated for the best R&B song category.
His family and friends are proud. But Jamal can’t celebrate because of what happen last night between him and Skye Summer.
Looks like they did more than just kiss on the lips. Now Skye is acting like she and Jamal are together. He tries to explain things but then Papa Lyon walks in on them.
Now Lucious believes Jamal is “fixed.”
Back at Lyon Dynasty, Hakeem and Cookie have lost the venue for the Cookout. Cookie is taking the news very hard after everything that happened with Laz.
Hakeem, on the other hand, is optimistic that the concert will be back on once he gets the ASA best rapper of the year nomination.
The nomination is being announced by Tiana and it seems like Hakeem is a natural shoe-in. That is until the list of nominees are read out he’s name is nowhere in sight. One name that is on the list is Freda Gatz.
As Lucious says, Hakeem may have won the rap battle but Freda is winning the war.
Hakeem is not taking the snub the well. He storms out of is condo where he was watching the announcement with friends, leaving behind a stunned Laura.
Jamal and Sky perform their new song “Powerful.”
During the performance, Jamal’s promoter Jameson Henthrope takes a shot at Lucious noting that his son has a good chance at being nominated for song of the year — something Lucious has never accomplished. Lucious plays it cool but obviously he’s jealous.
“Powerful” was well received by the audience but hip hop blogger Charlamane Tha God grills Sky for switching sides after catering to a white audience for most of her career. Wow, talk about backstabbing.
Lucious is out to do some backstabbing too when Mimi lets him know there is some resistance among Empire’s board since he sold off the company’s sports and clothing holdings. Lucious says damn the board and announces he’s ready to get rid of all the opposing board members.
Mimi seems to be on board, but her smile is a little suspicious (and so is her pen). Either she has something up her sleeve or maybe she’s just excited to introduce her mystery wife to Lucious.
At the chateau by the sea, Rhonda and Andre are puzzled why the house alarm keeps going off for no reason. Oh well. Andre heads off to work and Rhonda gets ready to host a guest: Anika.
Why is she so chummy all of a sudden?
Especially when it’s obvious that she is envious of the way Lucious is doting on Rhonda and her unborn child. Last episode she nearly choked on her “Hater-aid” when Rhonda told her how loving Lucious is to her all of a sudden.
Lucious is green with envy at the premiere of Jamal’s Pepsi commercial. Jamal’s racked up five ASA nominations by that time. He’s so jealous that he lets it slip to Jameson that he may be in a heterosexual relationship with Skye.
Jamal eventually sits Skye down and lets her know that he’s interested in men and one man in particular, Michael. But Jameson doesn’t know that.
Will Lucious’ jealousy cost his son and Empire’s hand-picked heir a magazine cover? If so, that’s a new low – even for Lucious.
Cookie’s feeling low as she enters Wallace Correctional Facility to perform for her former fellow inmates and their families. She almost bails twice but then she see the face of her friends and finds her strength.
Hakeem also finds his strength after being snubbed by the ASA Awards. So far his only nomination is for the song/video he did with Jamal. Yet he exudes maturity when he pulls himself together and shows up for his mother at Wallace.
Together with Laura, they rock the crowd. Afterwards Cookie goes to reconnect with an old friend named Jezzy (played by The Brat). She’s got rapping talent and Cookie promised to make her a star.
But Jezzy doesn’t want to hear anything from her. Her life has made an awful turn since Cookie left a year ago and she feels like her friend has forgotten her.
Speaking of old friends, Mimi introduces everyone to her wife at the Swiftstream announcement and it’s a familiar face: Camilla Marks.
That’s right, the same Camilla who Lucious tried to pay off in Season 1 to leave Hakeem alone. She vowed revenge and apparently she’s been working with Mimi to get it. (BTW I saw this move coming in my Episode 8 recap)
Mimi calls the Empire Board of Directors together to vote Lucious out as CEO. She also shows the secret footage from her pen camera of Lucious saying her would fire his board.
Now Lucious and Andre are scrambling to lobby board members to his side. The Lyons own half of the company. They need every family member plus one more board member to vote “no” to Mimi’s shakeup to keep Lucious’ job secure.
Lucious’ crooked lawyer Thirsty Rawlings even tries win over a female board member by going down on her. (Yuck!)
Just when it seems hopeless, they rally Jago Locke to their side. Now Andre just needs to round up the Lyon family together. Even though she’s got her own company, Cookie is ready to do whatever it takes to maintain family control of the company that she and Lucious worked so hard to establish.
The only problem is that she can’t make it because she’s still catching up with the Wallace inmates. She assigns Hakeem to be her substitute. Before he leaves, she gives him a word of warning: Lyon Dynasty is our company, but Empire is our family legacy.
What she doesn’t know is Camilla stopped by his apartment earlier asking to rekindle their relationship. Viewers didn’t see Hakeem run back to her with open arms but they didn’t see him reject her like he did with Anika. Nor did we hear him mention Laura. In fact we saw Camilla’s hands travel down Hakeem’s torso without any resistance.
Is he back with her? Are they allies now?
Going into the meeting, Lucious has a fighting chance. Things are shaping up exactly the way he planned – Jago votes “no” and everyone in his family seems to be sticking by his side. Now it’s time for Cookie’s proxy to vote. Hakeem hesitates as his thoughts turn to all the ways his father has hurt him including driving a wedge between he and Camilla. Then he votes “yes.”
Lucious is done for as Empire’s CEO. Mimi is battling cancer so turns the leadership over to – you guessed it – Camilla. He’s crushed. Yeah, his family still owns half the company but it’s like all his sacrifice is for nothing.
He can barely smile until the final ASA category is announced, song of the year. Jamal’s “Heavy” is nominated! And so too is Lucious’ “Boom-Boom, Boom-Boom.”
Jamal is happy to share the category with his father but Lucious’ sly grin suggests something completely different. Uh-uh. Clearly he’s ready to do whatever it takes to re-establish his musical dominance even if that means stepping over his son. Let the treachery begin.
But the real cliffhanger is going down at Andre and Rhonda’s house.
The alarm is going off again but this time someone is in the house: Anika. Rhonda’s home alone and she’s at the top of the steps trying to investigate. Suddenly she’s pushed from behind. She’s lying at the bottom of the steps not moving. Is she dead? Is the baby dead? Was there even a baby?
Sadly we have to wait until March to get the answers to all our question.