Music dramz, family dramz, award dramz, business dramz, baby dramz and gay dramz is this week's episode in a nutshell.
Never to disappoint on the freak-factor, we are also delivered a chilling performance by the cake-machete wielding Leah Walker (Leslie Uggams), as she lectures her son Dwight – my bad, Lucious – "Sorry I was too weak to kill you when I had the chance."
Yeah, that's the kind of week we're having, sister.
The main focus this week is still on the American Sound Awards (ASAs) and the Lyon family drive to earn a prime-time spot performance. To this end, we see an initial ongoing battle between Hakeem, Jamal and Lucious over whose song will played at the ASAs and how it will be performed.
We also see things heat up between Cookie and Lucious as he struggles to accept the fact he has to share direction, power and Empire with someone else, thanks to those pesky white shareholders. Cookie takes no punches in letting Lucious know he is the past and Jamal is the future. You can imagine how this pleases Poppa Lyon.
It's during these struggles we are introduced new #gaydramz via D Major, a scruffy and intensely hot closeted gay man who is in charge of producing this year's ASA awards. This man screams sex just by standing still. Jamal needs to make a decision between love or lust, because Michael.
Following this week's plot lines of dark passion featured in Leah Walker, D Major and Jamal decide to make their own violent "soundtrack" inside a recording studio after an intense argument over Jamal's musical direction. I did not anticipate a gay D Major, but here we happily are. The sex was rough, dark and intense, set to an overlay recording of Hakeem and Tianna (which is kind of incest-y, but it's "Empire"), and speaking of which …
Oh, Hakeem, the grass is not always greener, but hormones and stuff, right? We watch this week as Hakeem pulls typical bro maneuvers and doesn't inform his wife-to-be Laura that he is going to record a duet with ex-lover Tianna. Tears and yelling ensues as Hakeem makes lame attempts to persuade Laura it's "just business" and he has no feelings for Lady T. Right. We all saw the glimmer in that eye. I'm waiting for this hurricane to drop next week.
While Dre drops the grandmother bomb on the family exposing the lies his father keeps on spinning, Rhonda makes her own discovery thanks to Anika's obsession with Louboutins. During a casual visit to Hakeem's baby-proofed hot tub house, the help drops a box on Rhonda's back where she is suddenly jerked into remembering she was pushed down the stairs (and didn't fall), which made her lose her baby.
This incident triggers some seriously repressed memories and later during girl wine o'clock time at Anika's, where Boo Boo Kitty has a penchant for rubbing how pregnant she is into poor Rhonda's reality, the red soled shoe of a dangerous Annika brings a flood of memories back, and we watch, almost in horror together as the realization washes over Rhonda that Annika was the cause of her tragic miscarriage and accident.
Girl is sitting in the house of her family's tormentor and cause of tremendous pain, just sitting there helplessly sipping chardonnay in the presence of a killer. Yes, this is a dark week in the Lyon show.
Let's backtrack for a bit to the thread of family, as we saw the return of Cookie's sisters this week — Candace (Vivica A. Fox) and Carol (Tasha Smith). Girls have opened a can of worms by loudly disagreeing in a restaurant over telling Cookie that Carol helped Lucious kill several people while Cookie was locked up.
If you're going to talk about murder and the whole gang thing, maybe a posh restaurant in Chelsea is not the best place, maybe? So of course an old Carol flame just happened to be present, who conveniently also now works for the F.B.I. Plot twists, and thickeners all around!
Candace is back in town calling Cookie by her "government name" and wearing a fly Chanel suit, trying to get Carol to take her kids back and be a mother. Carol however is trying to be responsible and get her life together post-rehab before she feels she can earn motherhood again.
Her poor defense however was that she lives in a two-bedroom downtown with Cookie…. I mean, really? You are the sister of a multibillionaire. You could ask for the loft of Taylor Swift and have her placed on the curb should you want it. Sigh, the 1 percent and their 1 percent probz.
Remember last week when Lucious attempted to sex-slap seduce the music journalist Harper but she found out about Lucious' mom in "the home" back in Philly? Well, she's back and it's not pretty.
We find a dark scene where Thirsty is driving Harper down a scary stretch of road near the docks (cliché, much?) and talking all gentlemanly about how he would never hurt someone but she shouldn't tell anyone about Leah Walker.
Harper, being a good journo, stating she would never give in to threats, sadly becomes a victim of this week's darkness. We last see her being let outside of Thirsty's car in a dank highway underpass where two men are seen picking her up kicking and screaming. We don't know what happens to her, but I don't think it was an invite to high tea.
The highlight this week was a phenomenal performance by the whole Lyon family at Leviticus where they (for now) buried their family hatchets in people other than themselves, and gave a fantastic emotionally stirring performance, trading sharp rhetoric for friendly fire in an almost loving manner. The R&B soul performance clinched the prime-time spot for them at the ASA awards, but I do believe the hot sex between Jamal and D Major may have helped.
We end this week with the real Leah Walker returning to her former self and what I assume is foreshadowing Madame Walker, family matriarch and Queen Bee. Grandmother Walker wakes Lucious at 3 A.M. for a cake breakfast served with a side of passive-aggressive frosting, atop direct lamentation that she did not kill him as a child.
The scene completes its almost Hannibal Lecter setting with a dark dining room table filled with desserts, classical demonic opera and billowing curtains via what I can only imagine is a cold wind, as Leah delivers her biting commentary to a rare submissive Lucious. I initially believed she poisoned his cake, but that would be too easy for her. This woman is legit scary and a 10 on the creep factor. I love her already.
Best shade this week: Becky telling Porsha she needs to step up her clothing and hair game since she is now a CEO assistant. I would not want to be on the shade end of a Becky.
Next week prediction: Rhonda shoots Annika at the ASA awards show as an act of revenge for her child.