'Empire' recap: The Lyons are back, and fighting as much as ever - Metro US

‘Empire’ recap: The Lyons are back, and fighting as much as ever

Chuck Hodes

It’s Cookie’s world, and we just live in it, right?

We rejoin our favorite Lyon family schemers at a Free Lucious rally. He’s been in prison for three months. Meanwhile, Hakeem and Cookie debate the finer points of holding a rally in favor of someone they know committed murder. Cookie, memorably, calls Lucious a tampon.

On the stage, a gorilla in a cage is lowered onto the stage, and the crowd clearly doesn’t know how to react, until Cookie climbs out of the costume and riles them up about the injustice of the justice system.

RELATED: Taraji P. Henson says tough times are ahead for Cookie on “Empire”

Our first of the big name cameos for the season pops up: It’s the Reverend Al Sharpton! He’s attending the rally, but doesn’t want to help Cookie with Lucious’ bail because he thinks Lucious committed the crime. Watching Cookie storm away from a revered civil rights icon is kind of amazing in the same way watching Leslie Knope freak out at VP Joe Biden on “Parks and Recreation” was. Andre Leon Talley of Vogue is also at the event, but Cookie doesn’t really have time for him either.

She also does not have time to talk to Don Lemon, though she’s a little nicer to him than Porsha is, who yells at him for messing up at “Peterson.” And Cookie must really be turning over a new leaf, because she corrects Porsha very politely and tells her it’s Ferguson.

It’s worth pointing out that the first 10 minutes of “Empire” feature more black faces onscreen than entire runs of other shows. It’s good to have you back, “Empire.”

We get our first glimpse of Lucious in prison, who’s smiling fondly at Jamal and Hakeem’s performance, which is showing on the flat screen TV. They get really nice consumer electronics in this prison. There’s some shenanigans about the guy Cookie had killed last year, but Lucious doesn’t want to deal with it.

Andre introduces Cookie to Mimi, the venture capitalist played by Marisa Tomei. Mimi is wearing an amazing orange striped suit. She flirts with Cookie a little, who flirts right back. Lucious also sees this on TV. It’s a TV tuned in to special moments involving his family only.

Chris Rock shows up at prison, as Frank Gathers, the rival drug dealer Cookie and Lucious are fighting with. He and Lucious have a reasonably friendly greeting.

Jamal is having trouble running the company, which his brothers don’t have much sympathy for. He visits Lucious in prison, who wants to control every aspect of the place. Lucious is just as gay-friendly as ever, referring to Mimi as a “lesbian bitch.” That guy needs to join PFLAG already.

Andre and Rhonda have a little pillow talk about murder and taking over companies, as couples do. Rhonda is worried Andre will tell his pastor, but Andre is busy pouting about Jamal getting the company.

In contrast to Lucious’ attitude towards gay women, Cookie throws a party full of scantily clad women making out with each other to win over Mimi. It seems to be working, as Mimi is enjoying the party and gives Anika a bit of a come hither look.

Jamal has come up in the world, and has a gorgeous new apartment complete with cook. His old boyfriend Marco is there, so they seem to have reunited. This will now be the sweet innocent thing that gets destroyed by the world of “Empire,” right?

Jamel, the guy who helped kill a guy for Cookie (you know, the one Frank Gathers is pissed about), keeps leaving her frantic messages to ask her to get Lucious to protect him, but she’s ignoring him. Even her sister tries to warn Cookie, but Cookie is too busy with “Empire” concerns.

Things don’t go too well in the hostile takeover situation, as it turns out Mimi has double crossed them and gone to Lucious, who gave her a better deal. This leads to the sure-to-be-Emmy-reel moment where Cookie tells Annika, “I told you to sleep with her,” Annika responds, “I did,” and Cookie says, “You can’t even dyke right.” This show, you guys. Lucious even skypes into the meeting to gloat over his victory.

Also at the prison, Jamel rats out Cookie for being the one who got Frank Gathers in jail. He doesn’t want to believe him, but does.

Cookie’s sister Carol finally shows up at her apartment to tell her she has to dealwith Frank, andCookie finds a box with a decapitated head in it in her apartment.

Jamal is having trouble with his role as an out gay public figure, since GLAAD wants him to do events, but he wants to use his limited free time to work on new music. Cookie interrupts this by encouraging him to get to Lucious’ house, where it’s safer, because she thinks Gathers is going to send people after her family.

All of this is enough to get her to go visit Lucious in prison. He apologizes for not visiting her in prison, but she’s not ready to forgive that. They banter a bit, and then she tells Lucious to “fix it” in regard to the Frank Gathers problem.

He tries to trade signing Frank’s daughter at Empire in exchange for him leaving the Lyon family alone, but it doesn’t work because Frank insists his problem is with Cookie. Shockingly, Lucious stands up for Cookie and tells Frank if he has a problem with Cookie, he has a problem with Lucious. Frank tries to get his men to kill Lucious, but it turns out Lucious has already bought them off. It’s good to own Empire.

The family, overall, seems to prize loyalty to each other over outsiders, despite all their shady business dealings, but Jamal throws the whole family out of the house once Cookie assures them the danger is past.

So now Jamal is very isolated from everybody. That guy really holds a grudge when you try to do a hostile takeover of the company he’s running.

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