We open up this week’s episode of Empire with new CEO Hakeem holding a press conference while wielding a real-life scepter. Seriously, he’s got a gold, lion’s head –topped scepter.
Hakeem talks the talk at the press conference and says all the right things to the reporters about Empire’s new direction. One reporter asks more probing questions about Lucious in particular than the rest and I can already tell she’s going to show up later and continue to annoy me.
Jamal is walking out of Empire with Becky when he’s subject to the funniest flash mob I’ve ever seen in my life. A group of gay men remix Hakeem’s Drip Drop and accuse Jamal of being a “flip-flop” for apparently letting down the gays by sleeping with Sky (Alicia Keys). This storyline is just beyond stupid to me and I don’t understand why it’s made it into a second episode. However, Jamal performs a song in order to the get his gay fan base back on his side by calling out Lucious and his past transgressions. He even puts in a line about how Lucious isn’t even his real name. He calls him “inauthentic” and Lucious’ idea of retaliation is calling a meeting with the annoying reporter (apparently called Harper Scott) and giving her the first crack at “The Dwight Walker” story. Yeah, I don’t understand this development either but knowing Lucious I’m sure there’ll be MUCH more to come.
Laura and Camilla finally meet face to face and it’s all slightly underwhelming. Hakeem’s display of a backbone when it comes to Camilla seems disappointingly short-lived and Camilla once again seems to have him wrapped around her finger.
Apparently Tiana has enough fans for a 30-city tour (in addition to Britney Spears’ Toxic cat suit), and Camilla’s determined to put a kibosh on that too. Tiana’s understandably upset and threatens to quit Empire altogether. Cookie cleverly adds Mirage A Trois as the opening act to Tiana’s tour and Camilla can’t pass up the chance to send the formerly-Virgin Laura away for months (and away from Hakeem) and agrees to finance the tour.
Andre tells Rhonda he’s seen a vision that Rhonda was pushed deliberately. Everybody takes this as a sign that he needs to fix his meds (even though he’s right) and refuses to take him seriously. Andre does seem to be under pressure more than usual and his behavior is increasingly erratic. He takes her to counselling with his Pastor in which he accuses Rhonda of cheating on him. Rhonda is unfazed and notes that paranoia commonly precedes a psychotic break when it comes to Andre. She continues to insist that Andre needs professional help and yet nobody seems to take her seriously.
Jamal pays Hakeem a visit to stress the importance of them ousting Camilla and Mimi and Hakeem takes one for the team by sleeping his way into a conveniently videotaped confession from her. Hakeem sends the tape to the notoriously jealous Mimi and she immediately sheds all her stock in Empire. Andre leads the team into buying up all of Mimi’s stock they can manage, including purchasing shares under his unborn child’s name. This spurs another episode from Andre and Jamal and Hakeem sweetly play him a song they wrote in order to show him how much they care about him and his mental health. I really do love it when the Lyons brothers are getting along.
The episode ends with Lucious walking in on Camilla wiping down her fingerprints as Mimi’s lifeless body floats in the bathtub. Lucious is conveniently recording her actions (how the hell did he even get in?!) and notes that he also has Camilla putting an unknown substance in Mimi’s drink. He gleefully tells her that Hakeem was the one to send the sex tape to Mimi as he pulls out a gun on her. He forces her to take the same pills she slipped to Mimi and we’re left to assume she’ll end up just as dead as Mimi. I honestly feel like we missed a huge chunk of the story because how on earth was Lucious able to get all of this information?
Hopefully these questions and loose ends will be answered in the next episode of Empire.