'Empire,' Season 2, Episode 5: Get down or lay down
The first rule of real estate: location, location, location.
Cookie Lyon set up her base camp in the worst neighborhood because of nostalgia and affordability. Bad move, Lyon Dynasty. It's cheap for a reason. Not even the addition of the adorable pup, Whoopty Woo, could protect all from harm.
Absolution shook up our winners list this week. Being forgiven for mistakes doesn't always equal gainful employment, but in the Empire universe, having a seat at the table is the worth its weight in gold. Lucious Lyon slipped back in the rankings through no fault of his own. Nothing truly detrimental ever happens to Empire's resident Mephistopheles. It should though.
With that, let's see how this week's rankings shook out.
10. Prosecutor Roxanne Ford didn't even get any screen time. According to the obligatory newscast and accompanying expository lines, she dropped the charges against Lucious, ruled Vernon Turner's murder a suicide and took a leave of absence probably to try and get that dead body stench out of her car. Who knows if she'll return. Plot point characters disappear into the night all the time around these parts. (See: Frank Gathers, Elle Dallas, Malcolm Deveaux, Olivia Lyon and daughter, etc.)
9. Vernon is still dead, but at least Cookie claimed his ashes. Lucious didn't want to, so he left them behind for Cookie.
8. Poor Hakeem Lyon really went through it this week. He got rejected by his new girl group lead. He found out his oldest brother, Andre Lyon, set him up to take the fall for robbing his other brother, Jamal Lyon. Hakeem had to watch with envy as his mother, Cookie, expressed her unwavering faith in her favorite child, Jamal. And then when he was just out working on his fitness, he got kidnapped by the neighborhood thugs to who knows where in an attempt to shake Cookie down. #BringBackHakeem
7. Cookie can't catch a break. The neighborhood thugs robbed her artist and kidnapped her son. Lucious's lawyer, Thirsty Rawlings, tried to recruit Andre to steal her music master tapes before sending henchmen in to do the job. She was able to foil the robbers with the help of Whoopty Woo, a new promoter, Laz Delgado (the very hot Adam Rodriguez), and her trusty (illegal for a convicted felon to possess) pistol. But with Hakeem missing, it's only a matter of time before Lucious swoops in to simultaneously save the day and clean her out. Hopefully, at least Hakeem will remain on her side.
6. Tiana got robbed in the stairwell of Lyon Dynasty in the opening salvo of the Cookie shakedown. She wasn't hurt, but they took her purse and made a YouTube video seemingly pulling drugs out for the world to see.
5. Jamal's week has been a roller coaster. He recorded and may be touring with R&B hit maker Ne-Yo. Then, the weirdo artist tried to break up his relationship with the offer of sexual favors. Jamal fought with his boyfriend, Michael, about going on tour before deciding to bring him along. But the weirdo artist was a step quicker and turned his sexual attention toward Michael, who didn't refuse. Small consolation: Our girl Becky slugged the artist for him. And Jamal did get to hold Cookie's hand in church. Every moment spent with Cookie is a blessing. #truefacts
4. Lucious "I'm not a king, I'm a God" Lyon tried to taint Andre with his Bacchanalia welcome party, but lost to an actual religious figure. He had cause to celebrate since Rhonda Lyon's lethal blow to Vernon won him his undeserved freedom and Frank Gathers's daughter, Freda Gatz, signed with Gutterlife Records. On the flip side, his plan to steal Cookie's masters failed and now Hakeem is missing.
Lucious wasn't going to come to Andre's baptism -- even after he found out his son tried to commit suicide. Hearing Freda rap about missing Frank swayed him, but only long enough for him to have flashbacks of being nearly drowned in a tub by his clearly disturbed mother.
Note: Dear Lee Daniels,
Flashbacks to post-traumatic stress disorder inducing scenes from Lucious Lyon's childhood do not equal character development.
3. Rhonda can relax a bit now that Vernon's murder has been ruled a suicide. But who knows how long that peace can last since Andre hasn't slept with her since she told him about the baby and she can still wear her tops tucked into her skirts at the four month mark.
2. Andre took over the Gutterlife label and the unending strip club soiree that goes along with it. He then decided to get baptized to wash the stripper dust off or something. I don't know. His motivations always seem random. The pastor encouraged him to confess his sins to his family to clean his house before committing to walking with God. Great in theory, but Andre's confession should really be to a judge before sentencing. He confessed most of his season one plot points to the appropriate people -- shrewdly excluding the fight with Vernon that led to his death. They forgave him and showed up to his baptism -- even Lucious, for a little while. He started his life as a company man again and he couldn't contain his excitement about becoming a dad. Everything's coming up Andre. Let's hope he stays on his meds this time.
1. Porsha got her job back! Cookie was rightfully angry that Porsha dropped her name while turnstile hopping and ultimately got Cookie arrested. Still, boss lady can never stay mad. Porsha brought her grandmother's dog, Whoopty Woo, to protect Lyon Dynasty after Tiana was robbed and scampered back into Cookie's heart. Porkie forever.