Empire Recap: One Coarse Meal

“Better be glad I don’t feel like no scene today — ’cause I’ll shut it down,” huffs Cookie Lyon, right after her ex-husband Lucious denies her access to a video shoot being run by his current flame Anika (code name: Bougie Ho) during this week’s Empire.

And for the first half of the episode, the quotable, cantankerous heart of Fox’s addictive hip-hop drama is on such good behavior, I worry that some misguided Fox executive might already be sending notes to the Empire writers’ room asking for a kinder, gentler, “more likable” protagonist.

Fret not, though. Just when you think our Cookie’s been replaced by a Nilla Wafer — who’s this gratitude-filled woman offering a humble prayer while holding hands with her family around the dinner table? — she finishes Grace with this doozy: “Do not withhold your blessings — even from hos that hire skanks to spy on me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”

Amen indeed, Cookie! Way to slap down your rival without so much as lifting a hand (or a broom). If this were a title fight, Anika would be flat out on the canvas, cartoon birds and stars circling her head. If this were an episode of Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi would be all, “Anika, please pack your knives and go.” But this is Empire — where a delectable pre-dinner zinger is just an amuse-bouche in a larger feast of corporate espionage, federal investigations, major-label music rivalries, love triangles and good old-fashioned murder coverups.

So with that in mind, let’s recount the main action from “The Devil Quotes Scripture.”

EmpireIT’S THE SAME OLD SONG | After getting shut down by Anika while trying to connect with a powerhouse Swedish songwriting duo, Cookie travels out to the farm — manure + stilettos, not a good combo! — to track down old flame Puma (Cuba Gooding Jr.). Even though he’s left the music game for charitable work with kids, she wants him to write a hook-laden song for Jamal — to ensure his creative genius translates to multi-platinum sales. Puma gives in to her charms, offers her an old tune called “Up All Night” that’s all about his unrequited crush on her — and whaddaya know? — Jamal updates it into a modern R&B heartbreaker. Only problem is…

EmpireDADDY DOWNER | …Lucious’ unrelenting homophobia. Yep, at a family dinner where all the kids are invited — though it’s Cookie who gets Jamal’s beau Michael on the guest list — Jamal’s post-meal performance clearly leaves his papa impressed. But the father just can’t seem to leave a tender moment alone. He praises Jamal’s arrangement — then starts yammering about how it’d be perfect for John Legend’s upcoming record, seeing how Empire Entertainment owns the rights to it. Even Anika’s face registers a temporary “you’ve gotta be kidding me,” but Jamal’s already on his way out the door. “Tell me, how does it feel that your little girl could do something that you couldn’t,” Jamal says wickedly, throwing shade on Lucious’ inability to make “Up All Night” a hit (and his disgust over Jamal’s sexual orientation). “You’re washed up, and the songs that I’m writing will only further prove that I’m you —but on steroids.” Later that night, Lucious stops by Jamal’s place, but while his face reads apologetic, his words don’t quite follow suit — especially when Jamal reminds his father of the regular beatings he doled out throughout his childhood. “My obedience is no longer for sale,” the younger Lyon huffs, causing Lucious to point out the irony of delivering said speech in an apartment for which he’s not paying. This time, though, Jamal backs up his declaration of independence — he and Michael pack their belongings and leave behind the key — with nowhere in particular to call home. When Michael asks if Jamal is sure he wants to give everything up, though, it’s Jamal’s turn to channel his mother’s delicious flair for the dramatic: “I’m going after his empire,” he replies. “I’m gonna take it.” You do you, Jamal, and get yours in the process!

KILLER INTENT | Lucious sounds so sincere in his grief over Bunky’s death and his determination to catch his killer that it’s almost easy to forget he’s the one who pulled the trigger on his lifelong confidante. (Does getting Gladys Knight to perform at the funeral somehow absolve Lucious of some of his guilt? Discuss!) The only eye witness to the murder turns out to be a paranoid schizophrenic with a taste for cheap liquor, but he positively identifies Lucious as the murderer. That might not be admissible in court, but it means the heat will be turned up beneath the frying pan of Lucious’ current situation.

HOLY MOTHER OF MESSED-UP RELATIONSHIPS | Lucious and Anika decide that Hakeem’s relationship with budding R&B star Tianna is good for his brand — and set up the aforementioned dinner party to give her the family’s seal of approval. Little do they know, though, that the youngest (and brattiest) Lyon son has been in a relationship for over a year with a smokin’ hot older lady (Naomi Campbell) who makes him call her “my mama” in bed (or atop pool tables) (or wherever they wind up intertwined). Ewwww! I can’t wait for Cookie to hurl a cellphone at this predatory lady. #MetaPlotIdea

THIS IS THE WAY THAT COOKIE CRUMBLES | Damn that Anika! Turns out she hired a P.I. to follow Cookie — and dude snapped pics of her with that FBI agent who’s hounding her for intel. Nobody can I.D. the fed, but Lucious accuses Cookie of disloyalty — seeing how everybody’s sure the untraceable license plates = “law enforcement.” And so Cookie — who’s only told little sis Carol about her early-release deal — hatches a plan with her FBI contact: They conduct a meeting at Empire HQ and pass the woman off as Cookie’s parole officer. It works — but even more interesting, we learn the target of the investigation isn’t Lucious, but somebody named… Frank Gaddis? (I’m already casting in my head for this man of mystery — is Dennis Haysbert up to anything?) Cookie also catches a trembly Lucious trying to open a pill bottle — and her “we were married for years” intuition lets her know all is not well in the Empire empire.”Something’s got you shook, Lucious,” she says, half sympathetic, half menacing, “like it’s chasin’ you and you don’t want it to catch you.” Terrence Howard and Tarajoi P. Henson slay it in this scene, informing it with decades of history, a glimmer of romantic tension, and all the suspicion and treachery of two people who really don’t know if they can trust each other. Gooood stuff!

103Empire_ep103_sc18__9-22-14_0567_f_hires1IN OTHER NEWS Porsha may not be the world’s best assistant, but her dismissive “Next!” while she and Cookie audition a potential songwriter makes her an excellent truth-teller in a hiring scenario. Andre’s wife Rhonda definitely did not get the memo about appropriate funeral attire! And the eldest Lyon son and his wifey not only have a verrrry open relationship — at least if he’s gathering intel — but she likes to roleplay his extramarital activities at home. The words “Deputy Mayor Alvarez” never sounded so dirty!

On that note, I turn things over to you. What did you think of this week’s Empire? Sound off below, and do share your theories about (and casting ideas for) the target of the FBI investigation!

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. sladewilson says:

    I just love the way Cookie calls Anika “Boo Boo Kitty”… cracks me up every time. And that little dust up in the hallway was not only funny, it was hot. And I can’t wait for the catfight between Cookie and Naomi Campbell’s character….

    • TigerLIL says:

      Oh you ain’t lying. I mean Cookie is dusting her in the one liners but this week got to say and the winner of the dozenst is Anika. Cookie throws the first punch “you better watch your back” Anika throws a counter punch.. Do you know what a debutant is Ankia fires. Cookie reply with a hard right hand, yeah a bougie Ho with a lot of money. Ankia fires back with a upper left cut naw “a ho that can cut your throat without even disturbing her pearls”…lol now that was the knock out of the night of the night and even Cookie had to admit that as it was really no response necessary….LOL

    • TigerLIL says:

      Me too, its just the way she delivers the line and with so much attitude. And that dust up in the hall way had to be the throw down of the night…all I could think about was in this corner…and its own. Those two are a hoot….LOL Oh and it won’t be no cat fight between Cookie and Mrs. Campbell cause Cookie is going to shut that down once she finds out that Mrs. Campbell maybe a corporate plant by a competitor which I believe the story line will pan out. good looking out

  2. TAL says:

    Reblogged this on Cerulean Chronicle and commented:
    Attention ‘Empire’ fans! The following is a recap of ‘Empire’ episode 1.03 – “The Devil Quotes Scripture,” courtesy of TV Line:

  3. laurelnev says:

    Yjis ride is getting good. Go Jamal! (But Porsha’s hair style has GOT to go!)

  4. Antwon303 says:

    I cannot express how much I FLOVE this show. They are clicking on all cylinders. The writing, the acting and the story is enticing. I am addicted. Cookie, Jamal and Portia are my favorites. But it’s a really good cast. I am so glad they are already renewed for S2…it’s well-deserved. This show is so damn entertaining. I am thrilled that a show with a majority Black cast is doing so spectacular.

  5. ninamags says:

    Another great episode.

    Dennis Haysbert is already on another show.

  6. LaLa says:

    So far, so great! I thought the drama was scaled back tonight (read: Cookie was in mourning), but the ending with Jamal’s declaration did not disappoint. Also, I was glad for the chance to learn more about these people – from Taraji’s ole-skool assymetric cut (with the bumps – I died!) in the flashbacks, to Hakeem’s secret relationship (Ew!) ,to the FBI / parole officer set up, to creepy azz Puma. My question about the storyline is why Lucious moved on from Cookie. It’s obvious that the chemistry is still there for the both of them (even Boo Boo Kitty can see that). So, we know Cookie took the charge, but did Luscious set her up? I”m intrigued. The story is very engaging – kudos to the writers and the cast. Love it!

    • TigerLIL says:

      I think you might have called it LaLa I really think Luscious might have set Cookie up to take the fall unless they agreed that she would take the fall on the premise that she would get less time and he would be able to handle the boys but it is intriguing because Puma indicated that Luscious was foul for letting her go down for him but I don’t know yet because she still has not peeled that dome back and they still very much seem to need each other besides the obvious that they got three kids together producing a bond and history beside should be good great show I love it and funny too…lol

  7. herman1959 says:

    I called it! – Cookie is starting to dress better, even her ex noticed. And, where will Jamal and Michael go? – I’m guessing home to “Mama”.

  8. abz says:

    I’m so obsessed with this show already. I get so upset when the episode ends.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE Cookie. Taraji is amazing and I can’t wait to see more. So glad Jamal stood up for himself. I wonder if they intentionally chose the name Agent/Officer Carter as a nod to Taraji’s previous role on POI. It’s probably just a happy coincidence though.
    The whole Mama/Baby Lyon thing with Naomi Campbell is just creepy. Can’t wait to see Cookie’s reaction to it.

  9. McGee says:

    I’m loving this show!

    My only nitpick us the commercial breaks seem to occur abruptly or mid scene. It almost they’re of the flow of the episode, but tonight was good stuff.

  10. jen says:

    So are we supposed to recognize the name the Feds are after? Was it the name of the rival record label guy Lyon told his people to go after? Shown ever so briefly in the previews as being played by JUDD NELSON!

  11. mamamitzvah says:

    Dennis Haysburt is in Backstroke starting tonight, I think. This did not peak my interest, But I hope it does well.

  12. relaxxx says:

    Another fantastic episode. I loved it when Luscious took the singers cousin/manager in the trailer n beat him up. Luscious should of been a actor cuz the acting he did at the funeral was great. I wish we could of seen Gladys Knights performance uninterrupted. Andre n Hakeem, are just a mess. They use what they got in their pants as weapons! I don’t think they will get the charges to stick on Lucious #olddrunkiscrazy! Boo Kitty is working my nerves! Lucious still loves Cookie. He said it at the funeral home. Poor Jamal is homeless but I’m sure he’ll be ok! Cookie is amazing as usual. Can’t wait for the next episode.

  13. Mary says:

    This show is addicting. Love that Jamal walked out on his father. I have never disliked someone as much as him. I know this sounds terrible but the way he treats his son I have no sympathy for him dying.

  14. TigerLIL says:

    If I can only stop laughing for a moment this show is unbelievable and entertaining. I got a new name for the show “Everybody’s Got GAME” I mean everybody. I said it before Loucious loves Cookie because she represents his strength, the strength and drive to change the hand he was dealt and to push towards success “by any means necessary” but he also loves Anika because she “legitimizes” his success in a manner of speaking but to me that is only in his head and partly influenced by elements of society. JMO, He could have been equally successful with his home girl on his arm and he needs her in the cut throat music game because it mirrors the drug game to me. Having a debutant or so called “refined societial woman” needed on your arm now that you have obtained success is something taught to you to believed once you get on that “conveyor belt” toward success and acceptance in the “corporate world” a world of smoking mirrors and show and tell. With that said the story of the middle son really peeks my interest because the cruelty he endures is something I witnessed in my own family, certainly identifiable. The strange relationship with the youngest song and older women has not played out yet but its foreseeable given he may have had little or nurturing from his mother in the key months of his birth. When Cookie find out look out…game recognize game…lol The oldest son is interesting too not so straight forward with the bipolar problems and the open marriage, hmm kinda strange mix, well we shall see will the Empire Fall no empire in history has every lasted the rulers always jack wreck the thing so I expect no less here…LOL

  15. DOLORES PHATTS says:


  16. Pearl says:

    I just love this show!!!

  17. Gillian says:

    Cookie is love. I love to hate Lucious. I’m enjoying this show way too much!