Empire Recap: Belle of the Brawl

The hits just keep on coming… and not just for the A-list artists of Lucious Lyon’s Empire Entertainment label.

Specifically, I’m talking about his delicious, quotable ex-wife — Cookie “pay the Pakistani” Lyon — and the way her fists seem to interrupt her conversations with the frequency and tenacity of a toddler trying to get his mother’s attention in the midst of an important phone call.

You gonna Ray Rice me?! I’ve faced bigger in prison — with more talent, bitch!” she screams at the label’s biggest rapper, Kid FoFo, when he threatens to slap her for calling him ugly and talentless during Episode 2 of Empire.

Later, she channels her inner Solange Knowles when Lucious’ current squeeze Anika laughs impertinently at her in an elevator. (In the aftermath, Cookie’s “What have I ever done to you for you to treat me like this?” resonates the hardest and longest, though.)

Heaven help the trick who insults Cookie the next time she’s using her Ginsu to chop vegetables in the kitchen. (I’m kidding, of course! Cookie would never be caught doing the maid’s work!)

I know, I know… I’m supposed to be recapping Episode 2, “Outspoken King,” not writing a tone poem titled “In Praise of the Cookster.” So let me get to work, bitch! (Fun fact: Every time Cookie utters the B-word, an angel gets its wings.)

PUTTING HIS MONEY WHERE THE MOUTH ISN’T | Empire enters a P.R. nightmare when a shopping-mall shooter credits Kid Fofo with inspiring his violent acts. Lucious declines to drop the artist from his roster — passionately defending on a cable news show his artists’ right to express their anger via “music and poetry — not a 12-gauge shotgun” — but when dude insults Cookie for the second time in a week, Lucious pulls the plug. Is it realistic that a label on the brink of an IPO would sever ties with one of its biggest acts? Probably not. But the bottom line is there’s been a pot simmering in the Lyon’s kitchen for 17 years — and it’s only a matter of time before Cookie or Lucious or both cranks it up to boil. I mean, girlfriend throws a shoe — a shoe! — at Lucious when he tosses her from a meeting. And no woman is going to risk a lobby-long limp unless she’s feeling some type of way.

TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME | Trust and believe, though, that Anika isn’t going to let Cookie just roll up to their suburban mansion in a yellow cab, demand a hot breakfast and lay claim to somebody that she used to know. Anika meets her rival for Lucious in nothing but her bra and panties — and drops some of the episode’s best insults. When Cookie tells Lucious he needs to “drop this young bitch,” Anika counterpunches with this gem: “Yeah, he probably will — when I’m your age. Except by then he’ll probably be one hundred and… ten?” Come now, you can’t have an Alexis without a Krystle, can you?

EmpireOH BROTHER, WHY DON’T THOU SING BACKUP? | Cookie and Lucious seem determined to pit their respective sons/acts, brothers Jamal and Hakeem, against one another. Lucious plans to launch Hakeem to stardom with a high profile gig (featuring Fofo) at the launch of his newest club; Cookie wants Jamal on the bill, as well. But whaddaya know, when Fofo gets dropped and leaves Hakeem without anyone to sing the hook, Jamal steps in and the duo ignite the whole audience. Not that the guys are on a straight-line trajectory to the top, though. Jamal drops out of a press conference arranged by Cookie to allow him to publicly come out — mainly because Lucious secretly threatens to cut him off from the family fortune if he shares his truth. And Hakeem seems more interested in courting cute labelmate Tianna than he does in writing, recording or rehearsing. Like Cookie says, Lucious can foster talent, but he’s raised an entitled brat as a son.

BURNT COOKIE | The hour ends with Cookie getting dragged into her limo, where an FBI agent who’d previously made a deal with her tells her the terms of her release have changed. Now, she wants our A&R woman to testify in front of a grand jury. “You gonna get me killed,” she sighs, but what choice does she have?

IN OTHER NEWS… | Andre, it turns out, is bipolar, and keeps putting off getting a refill on his prescription — even when his hard-charging wife offers oral compensation for his troubles. Becky does some snooping and learns about Lucious’ ALS diagnosis — so at least he has someone to speak to about his crisis. Cookie hires a ridiculous assistant named Porsha, because… why not? (“Porhsa, get my damn shoe!”) And the cops find Bunky’s body in the Hudson — prompting Lucious to gather the family, cry some convincing tears and claim he’s going to find the real killer. (Insert side-eye here.)

On that note, I pass the mic to you. What did you think of this week’s Empire? Is Cookie the most quotable character on TV? And is Andre about to mess up his chances for inheriting Lucious’ crown? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Bri says:

    I need you to crank up the spoilers for Empire. Jamal and Akeem work well together. Wonder if their respective parents will ever realize they are better together.

  2. M says:

    Cookie’s liners were on point. She is the best thing about this show for me. The entire storyline is interesting.

    I love her prayer in the previews “”Please do not withhold your blessings, even from ho’s that hire skanks to spy on me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.” – Cookie.

    Luscious really did a poor job of raising Hakeem, look how he is right now. The fame will make him even worse, he will eventually end up in jail or worse.

  3. Tran says:

    Taraji P. Henson is something to watch even though I really missed her on POI.

  4. Wow. “I liked you better when you were a thug.” I hate to say it honey, but Lucious is a bigger thug then EVAH! Else how could he shoot his family IN THE FACE, then pretend he’s in shock and mourning. COLD dude!

    And I think I figured out WHY I am on Team Jamal: I detest rap! As someone else said last week, that’s really my biggest apprehension right now, (other than the fact it on the “cancel anything worth watching” network), although I do like R&B, funk, motown, etc. (Hate rap, hip hop, electronica, and opera, FWIW.) I can tolerate the Hakeem, as long as it’s interspersed with soulful music like Jamal’s.

    And hot damn, I LOVED Cookie’s zebra sequin dress!

    As long as it continues to be MORE about the characters and less about selling weekly records, (cough-Glee) I’m hooked.

    • Mary says:

      I am with you. I hate rap but I will say they hooked me line and sinker with the characters. As long as rap is not constant I can tolerate.

  5. MiaB says:

    Another Cookie one-liner: to Jamal’s boyfriend, “Shut up, Dora.” Lol

  6. George says:

    Did this episode come in way short? It ended 5 whole minutes before the hour (plus started a minute into the hour for American Idol).

  7. Max says:

    this show is so good ! Taraji is on fire! can’t wait to see what happens

  8. I love your review. Good job

  9. TAL says:

    Reblogged this on Cerulean Chronicle and commented:
    Attention ‘Empire’ fans! The following is a recap of Empire episode 1.02 – “The Outspoken King,” courtesy of TV Line:

  10. Ally Oop says:

    I love the mix of drama and comedy in this show. Great one-liners from both Cookie and Anika. And I love the emotional depth shown within the show. Cookie is the conscience of the series. Sure she’s devious but she wears her heart on her sleeve. Loving this show abd can’t wait for more.

  11. Candice says:

    I knew Cookie didn’t get out for good behavior. That didn’t sound plausible at all. I wonder who she snitched on.

  12. Runner says:

    I’m hooked. Sometimes I rewind just to hear Taraji say her lines again. And what’s great is the character has so much depth – she is lovable and despicable, honorable and underhanded, a loving mom who beats her little brat with a broom, and so on… And she does it all convincingly. This is an acting master class.

  13. sladewilson says:

    Cookie and Anika will be a fun war to watch. Anika’s holding her own and then some. I’m waiting to see Jamal stand up and tell Daddy where he can go….

    • TigerLIL says:

      true that she holding it down but she playing herself too…As long as Cookie has “my three sons” Mrs. Anika is going to be some background noise…lol

      • relaxxx says:

        Agreed! Personally I think Luscious may still be in love with Cookie! She is the mother of his only kids and she made a Hugh sacrifice for them. Cookie was with him when he had nothing. Its easy for the new chick to love you when u already have it all.

  14. MB says:

    Andre and his wife are a little too much for me. They take the soapiness of this show to a completely ridiculous level. I mean, listing all of the evil deeds you need to accomplish into a tape recorder? Loudly plotting even more evil deeds at a party where anyone could overhear? And now the whole “off his meds” thing? Come on. Those characters are just too silly for me, but otherwise it’s a pretty entertaining show.

  15. abz says:

    The bib?? Don’t think I’ve ever seen that on television before.
    “The streets ain’t for everybody that’s why they made sidewalks!” LOOOOOOOL
    Cookie and Jamal!! Two main reasons why I’m tuning into the show. Love the both of them and can’t get enough of Cookie’s one-liners.

  16. abz says:

    TVLine should just put a pause on the Quotes of the Week section and just turn into a Quotes of Cookie column :)

  17. Sam says:

    Slezak, your recaps are the best baby.

    What a joy this show it to watch. So many laugh out loud moments! A stellar cast but Queen Cookie rules them all.

  18. Kisha from Houston says:

    I love, love, love this show! The scene where Lucious has to call and apologize to the President was priceless….Mr. President, he loves you, I love you, we all love you…and then…click! Too much!

  19. evababy says:

    – Lucious is such a villain. He kills poor Bunkie and then cries about it. He supports his embarrassment of a son (Hakeem) even though he is a PR nightmare, but will cut-off poor, sweet Jamal. I love how Cookie called him out as a horrible parent.

    – Cookie would be a caricature if Taraji didn’t make her so human and heartbreaking sometimes.

    – And Porsha is not ridiculous. She is probably a distant relative — somebody’s uncle’s cousin’s wife’s sister’s daughter or something. I think she and Cookie could be a great comedy team, like Wilhemina and Marc from Ugly Betty.

  20. LaLa says:

    So, after that explosive pilot last week, the show is settling in. There were so many small details that I think will continue to make this show a winner. Was it me, or does no one know that Andre is bi-polar besides his wife? How does that happen? I know mental health is a touchy subject, but it just made me think of how out of touch with his children Lucious really is. Which is saying a lot considering that Cookie was the one in jail. But the line that really got to me was Cookie asking Lucious in the elevator what she had ever done to him to make him treat her that way. Because all she ever did was to take a bid and be locked away from her kids for 17 years. They should be worshiping Cookie.

    • TigerLIL says:

      For real, the dude is tripping but Cookie gonna bring him back to earth just like Bunkie told him. And Lord have mercy if Cookie finds out Loucious killed poor Bunkie she might flip out and peel his dome back. This show is something else a dollar can turn your head and quick….stay tuned…lol

    • Marc says:

      Lucius’ attitude towards Cookie is puzzling and maybe it stems from something deeper or even more sinister. Who knows? But for now, I’m thinking that he does not like to be reminded of where he’s coming from and the role that she played in order for him to succeed. Either way, he’s vile to her.

      • catherine says:

        I don’t he think he likes to be reminded that a woman took the fall for him so that he could get to where he is now. He has been spinning the story that he did it all alone for decades and doesn’t want that image tarnished.

  21. KC says:

    “Tried” to wach again – just can’t get through 10 mins without cringing. This type of show is not for me.

  22. TigerLIL says:

    This show is super crazy to me but these my peeps. Cookie continues to kill it and she is bringing it week end and week out. I mean the show is packed with emotion and every character has a unique human flaw that makes them very interesting. Anika is beautiful and so call refined, to hear her tell it, but she is wearing her mask too trust me she is far from bright ( insightful). Shes acting like a insecure debutant who appear to be banking on that status to hold a position with a man who is obviously in love with another woman who intrigues his core. She’s accepting of his money but not the essence of his person and that’s going to play her out in the end age aside. For starters never under estimate the history of a married couple particularly one with children that give them both their legacy and please don’t dismiss their spiritual connection cause doing so will get you played. Cookie is hanging at the corporate headquarters acting a complete fool because Lucious loves her point blank period and he knows it is a death do us part proposition. Cookie has got some one liners that keep you rolling girl is in your face and non apologetic with a hair trigger temper and as gansta as they come and contrary to popular belief is not as stereo typical as one might think. Anika came back with some good counter punches but she will never take the thunder of the first blow. The show is very interesting with a lot of dynamics and I see its going to be both bold and provocative, great casting and good subject matter. Everybody got game and the winner is?…lol

  23. puck says:

    Delicious! Taraji is fantastic and I loved the scene in the limo with the agent were Taraji pays homage to her former character on POI “Carter”. Love, Love this show. Hey is a guest appearance by John Reese in the works? If not, it should be.

  24. gillianrosh says:

    I am in love with this show. Cookie is everything. Taraji owns every scene she’s in.

    Hakeem is a little brat, but I like his relationship with his brother, and I root for him to build a connection with his mom.

    Lucious and his crocodile tears made me laugh. He’s terrible. I will love to hate him.

  25. relaxxx says:

    Yeezus I love this show! Cookie and Jamal’s relationship is everything! Even though there are some shady characters, I am enjoying every one. I can honestly see where all the characters are coming from……good or bad! The writing is so good! I love the music, the fashion, the grit, and the plain realness of it all. This is must see tv!

  26. Shay DeShade says:

    Porsha was EVERYTHING.

    • RL says:

      Uh..ima need to call u back..lol
      The media need to stop sleeping on Porsha..her entrance to the cast is memorable..and that aint easy

  27. Shay DeShade says:

    Wayment. Was it “Drop this young bitch?” that Cookie said to Lucious? I thought it was “Drop this yellow bitch.”

  28. kenz says:

    Lucious is scan… When the police was about to get Lucoius , Cookie took the fall. She was a ride or die ! But when she came home!he acted like he ain’t wanna give her some of the money yet alone half of the company . 😊😊😂😂😂👌👌💯💯💁💁💁

  29. dani says:

    He should stay with anika. Sometimes the 2nd woman has to put up a fight to establish her new throne