'Empire' recap: Freedom rings for Lucious .... and, hello LUDAAAA!

This week's episode of The Lyon King(s) was kind of -- blargh. No? Just me? OK, I'll stop being cray.

It was definitely an episode used to set up future big bangs and plot lines. I get it, Messieurs Daniel and Strong, you can't always be brilliant every second of every day, so (seriously) thank you for throwing us creepy foreshadows and future plot twists.


Oh, and did I mention LUDA? Yes, LUDA (I refuse to refer to him as Ludacris) was all sexy and in-charge. Bless you, Lee Daniels. LUDAAAAA.

Did anyone else have Jack Bauer PTSD in the first four minutes? That "24", floating black box, montage thing was so confusing. I couldn't tell if I should expect Cookie to diffuse a bomb in the White House or Hakeem to assassinate a foreign leader.


We open with Cookie, Hakeem, Andre and Anika all staring in their own floating black box in various scenery, and carrying cheap cardboard boxes out of Empire like they just got the pink-slip from Enron. Topic of discussion: What should they name their new company? We all know the name will be a spin off from Lyon.

We progress through the normal jockeying of power between Cookie and Anika, and I have to say, even though I fangirl hard for Cookie, I give it up to Anika for continuously putting up with Cookie's snarky shade and antics. I'm waiting for homegirl to call Anika "Boo Boo Kitty" one more time and SNAP, CRACKLE, POP -- someone else is in medium-security with Papa Lyon.

While Cookie's outfits this episode are channeling the great Nicki Minaj, we see her set up new studio and office space in a veritable "pigsty," as named by Andre. Not to be deterred by losing Empire, Hakeem hatches a great way to put new chicks in his hen house by launching auditions for a three-member, all-girl group, aka the next Destiny's Child (because that worked out so well the first time).

We're introduced to several flops, but I instantly fell in love with Valentina (played by YouTube star Becky G), the sassy Latina who gives as good as she gets. Valentina naturally ends up naked in Hakeem's hot tub, but thankfully refuses to join his all-girl group.

What does overconfident Hakeem do? Drop the idea? No. Hakeem attempts to persuade Tianna to give up her Queen Bey growing stature to join his group, but T can already pay all her own bills and doesn't have time for fool's nonsense.

I am deliciously awaiting for a Valentina and Tianna rivalry to ensue, and I do not apologize for wanting this Sofía Vergara vs. Kendall Jenner battle royale.


While Cookie & Co. are trying their hands at a startup, Lucious is having his own set of challenges in lock-up. After Mrs. State's Attorney tightens the screws on Lucious by having his medicine magically disappear, we are introduced to Commanding Officer LUDA (there is literally no way that cannot sound hot), who plays Mr. Morally Incorruptible Cop, because LUDA.

After a fun game of "Who's a Boy vs. a Man" in the jail playground, C.O. LUDA disciplines one of Lucious' friends setting off a chain of animosity he's not prepared for ESPECIALLY after he puts Lucious into solitary confinement for breaking the whole No-Recording-Studio-In-Jail rule.

I think that's a rule, anyway.

My idea of jail involves Martha Stewart craft hour and bunkbed makeovers by Ty Pennington.

Side note: Somewhere it's mentioned LUDA's name is Officer McKnight, but he'll always be C.O. LUDA in my dreams.


Next up, during one of Jamal's frequent visits to Papa Lyon we meet Mr. Purple Suit, better known as "Thirsty." We're basically in a game of Clue now. "Mr. Purple Suit did it in Cell Block C with the keyboard!"

Thirsty is an odd addition and ripe for future use. He shows up to visiting hours in a cheap purple suit, sits conveniently near Jamal, weasels his way into conversation with J & L's, and makes promises to help Lucious get out of jail AND gain access to recording equipment while locked up. This man has cajones the size of Idaho and isn't afraid to "get in the mud" as he aptly describes it.

We later find out Thirsty is good on his word and delivers Lucious a set of apparently high-value studio recording equipment (in jail) and #FreeLucious becomes a reality. "Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty the Lyon is free at last!" (I definitely took some creative liberties here. Sorry, MLK).

When I say Thirsty weasels his way in, he does exactly that. We don't know how he got Lucious his recording studio or how he got him his medicine (yay, bonus!), but we do know how he got Lucious freedom.

Apparently the judge set to perform a new bail hearing for Lucious is really into BDSM, or SM, maybe just BD? – I'm honestly not sure how these things work and Miley Cyrus won't respond to my calls – and somehow Thirsty (God, that name) has photos of Mr. Overweight Balding Bail Judge all tied up in leather with a rubber ball lodged in his mouth.

Yeah, let that sear into your soul for 20 seconds.

FREEDOM RINGS for Papa Lyon and now that he is an uncaged beast, we wait breathlessly to see how he'll react to finding out his savior, Thirsty, also released his Jailhouse Rock solo without permission or a conversation about the profits. Where's Katy Perry when you need a ROAR?

Let us all collectively swoon in remembrance of Michael's brief 40-second appearance this episode; Swoon. Sigh. OK, it's Season 2, Mr. Lee Daniels. Enough with the holding hands and cute kisses. Where is the gay drama, the gay passion, the gay sex?!

If Shonda Rhimes can do it over on ABC what's holding you up on Fox? I'm asking for a friend. (But seriously, take a note from Shondaland. Kthanxbai).

I'm glad Michael is getting screen time again but I'm still dying to know what happened to Trick Ryan. Not that he wants to be involved with Shade Ho Jamal, but you know, DETAILS please.

A few good snatches to wrap up this week's episode: Rhonda is back-playing Andre and admits to Jamal she's preggo. Cookie can't seem to keep the family together through no effort on her own. Tianna is SLAMMIN' in her nude, body-pantyhose outfit thingy, and Hakeem is still playing the ladies.

Hakeem also, and MAJOR FREAK OUT, drops his album for free on the Internet so Empire can't control his music. Savvy business move or stupid kid jump? Who knows, but I'm sure we'll see next week on LYON DYNASTY.

We finally find out, after Cookie opens up shop in bagel hood, her new company is called Lyon Dynasty. I pray we will see suit jackets with shoulder pads on the gals and Texas bowties on ranch hands.

My prediction? Cookie changes her name back to Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan — "I am who I am, and that's why I'm where I am".

Mic drop to the original Cookie.

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