Empire Recap: He Kissed a Girl (¡!¡!) — Did He Like It?

Poor Laz Delgado!

Adam Rodriguez’s duplicitous Empire character ends this week’s episode — and possibly his run on the series — on the brink of being turned into just another Malbec stain on Cookie’s office carpet, but winds up getting upstaged by a vomiting junkie, a completely crazy kiss and (not so surprisingly) the Lyon matriarch’s eye-popping new jacket (a Tom Ford for Sesame Street original, naturally).

Worst part is, even if he survives Lucious’ “oh, baby boy, you are soooo dead” death-stare, Laz is definitely disinvited from Cookie’s Cookout — and the opportunity to sip Mirage a Trois’ “Bottomless Mimosa” live and in person. #tragique

Laz isn’t the only one having a bad week, though. Boo Boo Kitty’s blonde wig is gone — but her descent into madness is as vibrant as ever. The streaming-service deal that it feels like Lucious has been pursuing since the dawn of time is about to end up next to Uncle Vernon (in the shallow grave under the tree with the hole in it — no, the other tree with the hole in it!). At least the legendary Diahann Carroll gets an early Christmas present by way of a legendary name-check. Let’s recap, yes?

EMP209_sc20_0080R_hires1THEY TRIED TO MAKE HER GO TO REHAB |  Cookie (code name Loretha) and Candice spend two days squabbling in Philadelphia and wearing all the wrong clothes trying to track down their relapsed sister Carol. “I don’t do prisons — I’m definitely not doing a crack house,” huffs Vivica A. Fox’s alter-ego, to which Cookie zings back, “Would you stop acting like Diahann Carroll, heffa? You ain’t been livin’ in the suburbs with that white man all your life!” With the help of Cookie’s prison pal Pepper (Rosie O’Donnell), they track Carol down to a dirty couch in an alleyway, and since she’s clearly not going to be allowed to continue this revolting life choice, she chooses to leave her kids with Candace and go sober up at Cookie’s. Before that decision, however, she pukes all over Candace’s shoes — cosmic payback for Candace’s snide “I didn’t think it was Greek literature” bon mot after Pepper reminisces about Cookie protecting her from Lady Athena while they did hard time. There’s a twist at the end of the K Hole, though: While Cookie’s using the ladies’ room, Candace points out that if Cookie knew what Carol did while she was in prison, “it wouldn’t be such a Sister Sledge reunion.” And just like that, we’ve got a nasty secret to hang over our heads til February sweeps (or whenever the writer’s room needs it). (Please tell me Carol didn’t get with Lucious.) (Sorry for putting that in your heads.)

FFEMP209_sc23_0760_f_hires1THE SKYE’S THE LIMIT | Jamal hooks up (not a euphemism) with pop diva Skye Summers to record the first track for his upcoming Black and White album, but discovers the woman he’s idolized feels trapped in a girl-power pop box. “Burn the box!” advises Jamal, whose “Ready to Go” video is being directed by Lee Daniels (in a verrry meta moment). Jamal and Skye bang out (not a euphemism) a jam called “Powerful” that’s about overcoming racism/seeing past race, and it’s pretty, well, powerful — though no so edgy that you couldn’t envision it as an album cut on any record by Beyoncé or Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. (OK, probably not Katy Perry.)

“Thank you for seeing me,” says Skye, mid-performance.
“Thank you for letting me see you,” coos back Jamal.
“Who the hell talks like this without a Carol-style stomach-purge,” I ask, cynically.

But there’s not much time for my dialogue-induced indignation, as Jamal leans in for a little mouth-to-mouth (definitely a euphemism), and Skye doesn’t look all that unreceptive. Now, let’s remember, while it’s easy to shout, “He’s supposed to be the gay one!,” Jamal is also the first of the Lyon brothers to have thought (however erroneously) that he’d fathered a child (with his old fiancee, Raven-Symone’s Olivia), so it’s not as though Hall & Oates “I Can’t Go for That” is his theme song.

COOKIE? MONSTER! | Laz suddenly seems less sure of the plan he cooked up with his fellow Bully Boys to extort Lyon Dynasty for money. But before he can come clean, Lucious comes strolling in and tells Cookie about all of her new man’s underhanded dealings. “I had no idea I was gonna fall in love with you!” cries Laz, sounding like he’s woken up in a really bad erotic-thriller on Pay Cable. But Cookie isn’t hearing it. She double-checks the bull tattoo on Laz’s back, confirms his gang affiliation, then hands his gun to Lucious with a knowing look. Lucious raises his eyebrows, to be certain. Cookie’s expression remains unchanged. Now, mind you, I don’t have a lot of experience interpreting non-verbal cues for “put a bullet into this snitch bitch,” but much like the Supreme Court ruling for obscenity, I know it when I see it. So until proven otherwise, #RIPLaz.

EMP209_sc21_0580_hires1ANIKA’S GOT A BUN | Hakeem and Laura are working on a new track, “Miracles,” for Cookie’s Cookout — and Anika is watching the live feed scarfing down pregnancy-craving ice cream, printing out maps of Laura’s home and scrawling “LIES” across paparazzi pics of her ex-love and his new flame like she’s AHS: Coven‘s Madam LaLaurie learning America has had a black poet laureate.

Anika drops by Rhonda’s new mansion (purchased for her and Andre by a contrite Lucious) for some iced tea, and misled to think Anika is pining for some random artist (not her brother in law), Rhonda encourages her to do whatever’s necessary to preserver her relationship. I love Rhonda’s side story about sneaking into the dorm room of a college rival who went after Andre, cutting off her ponytail, and texting her, “I will continue cutting if you do not leave Andre alone,” but unfortch, this is totally the wring place and time for it. Anika follows up by crashing Hakeem’s latest party — and bringing every bit of bitchiness Cookie taught her. “Do I know you from somewhere?” asks Laura. “No, I doubt it, honey,” hisses Anika, “unless you bus tables at Nobu.” Anika tells Hakeem about how Laura lives in a house with seven of her siblings — sheesh, compared to the crimes committed by the Lyon family, this transgression is akin to making the guy breakfast in bed — and the plan backfires. “You won’t be a Lyon — ever!” Hakeem winds up telling Anika — and he has no idea the wigged fury he might have just unleashed.

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THAT DEAL | Lucious wants to forefeit future royalties on his catalog for “cash on hand” to complete the SwiftStream deal that I thought was finalized last week with Mimi’s slurry contract-signing. (But hey, what do I know?) Cookie refuses to cosign — seeing as she owns half the rights to most of Lucious’ early music — reminding him she’s the only one who can see the big picture. It’s strike two when his offer to have Hakeem rejoin the Empire family is harshly rebuked (Ummm…did dude actually think his estranged son would say “Yes” to this mess?) Finally, Lucious agrees to Andre’s plan to sell Empire’s sports and liquor assets to pay for SwiftStream — and you know (not just based on next week’s previews) that it won’t end well.

What did you think of this week’s Empire? Will you miss Laz (if indeed he’s dead)? How did Vivica A. Fox and Rosie O’Donnell fare? Sound off below!

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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45 Comments
  1. zac says:

    That kiss was weird. And Rosie O’DOnell really fit her character

  2. Brian says:

    Good episode. Only thing I hate is what they’ve done to the Anika character. The writers have her acting like this over some twerp like Hakeem? Horrible.

    • alanlicious says:

      Im surprised too! Why didnt they have her acting this way when she broke up with Lucious? That seemed like a more signifcant relationship to lose ur shizz over no?

      Hakeem seemed more like something Anika did to get back at Lucious for and yet now she’s (seemingly) obsessed andto borderline Fatal Attraction for Hakeem? What happened tp the smart, rich pedigreed woman we met in Season 1?

      Although maybe the story will take another twist we won’t expect when Grace Gealey goes on maternity leave? Im still waiting for Anika to try to pass the baby off as Lucious’, That’s what i thought the whole convo with Rhonda last qeek was about

    • Annie says:

      There was no buildup to the Anika storyline. We do not know how she got to this position, so it is hard to care about her or anything that she’s doing. I always felt, even when this story first started a few weeks ago, that her main objective was to use Hakeem to hurt Lucious and Cookie. I can get behind that motive, but I do not understand the sudden revelation that she actually thinks that Hakeem loved her, or that she actually cared about him.

    • Ben says:

      No, I think she is acting like this over being pregnant with Hakeem’s child. It isn’t about Hakeem.

  3. Annie says:

    I loved seeing the sister’s together. They need to be regular cast members.

    This wasn’t the strongest episode. I’m lost about the Jamal and Skye kiss. I knew it was going to happen, and the storyline was boring.

    The streaming storyline has not been riveting, but I do think that it will end with Andre turning on Lucious. I think that’s the only way that it can end. I think that Andre realizes that Lucious is hurting Empire, and that he can use this to take over the company.

  4. Dave says:

    Empire is NO longer appointment tv. Sorry, it hasn’t been all season. I still enjoy it but I feel like I could catch the episode on the weekend instead of viewing live. Just doesn’t have that bang anymore. This week was no exception.

    • Annie says:

      There’s nothing at stake. In the first season, everyone had a goal, and the show had a “I can’t wait to see what happens next” vibe. That is not the case right now, but the past few episodes have been good.

    • JosiahBartlet4President says:

      I completely agree. It was never high-brow TV, but last season was edgy and suspenseful.
      Also, I don’t understand why Jamal kissing a girl is such a big deal. It seemed like one of those in the moment things where they were both equally passionate about music and expressed it.

    • Sally McLinn says:

      Me too. It was a Must see TV last season. This season, I can pass on it. The storylines make no sense, esp. the Anika Storyline. I wish the actors had input into writing their characters.
      And all the cameos — give it a break! Even Lee Daniels popped in.

  5. Eva says:

    This truly is the season of gay guys turning (out to be, in the case of Quantico) straight, isn’t it? Not the weirdest tv trend in history, but one of the lamer ones…

    • Steven says:

      Definitely a step backwards.

      • Geo says:

        Yeah, this used to be what tv did all the time, back in the bad old days. Nobody who was gay was really gay; there was always a storyline that could come along that could shove them back in the closet (or make them suddenly bisexual, but conveniently hooking up only with members of the opposite sex from that time forward). It’s been going on at least since “Dynasty” and “Soap” back in the 80s (I know the “Empire” folks are obsessed with “Dynasty” but this is one of that show’s storylines that we seriously don’t need to revisit). Hopefully “Empire” has a better plan for this in the long run, but it’s yet another example of how this season is coming off the rails, and the show needs to get it together again, quick.

        • johnhelvete says:

          About that kiss, I am pretty sure female members of the LGBTQ community could list numerous recent times on TV where a lesbian ended up kissing or having sex with a man, I think there are far fewer examples of a gay male kissing or having sex with a woman. Maybe Empire is suggesting that Jamal might be more fluid than he thought and since that story has been done numerous times for females perhaps doing that story line for a male is appropriate.

      • D says:

        roflmao, a step backwards? how ignorant if anything it’s a step forward. on Quantico you had a straight man that felt comfortable enough to pretend to be gay even kissing a man to support his lie, that should be considered a huge win for the gay community. the guy is a scam artist and for him it was no different then any other lie that should be considered a huge level of acceptance.
        Jamal might be bi or fluid, he is obviously attracted to her or he wouldn’t have kissed her maybe he is one of those people that looks beyond gender and is attracted to the person regarless.

  6. I saw a commercial for this show during Minority Report and I thought I’d give it another try after not watching since last season… That was the worst decision I’ve made all year!

  7. Steveo says:

    Well, having one out, proud, unconflicted gay dude on TV was nice while it lasted

  8. Peter says:

    and im done no intention to watch this episode or any more i hate when shows turn straight charactors gay or people who have been threw that much to b gay and who they are all of a sudden kiss women its a way to get headline and nothing to do with who the charactor was up until no , plus as a gay guy in a small place whos family watch empie crap like this brings up questions that most of us dont want to answer or are not that way . so disappointing in empire

    • Annie says:

      I don’t think that Jamal is going to turn straight. I think that the kiss was done to shock, and nothing more. In fact, that’s why I have a problem with it. Like too many final scenes on Empire, I doubt that the kiss will be explored beyond one or two scenes next week, or it may not be explored at all. Too many of the so called OMG moments on the show have no impact on the few ongoing storylines that exist, which is not a good thing. I’m pretty sure that Skye will only be around for one more episode too.

    • Maalik says:

      #bisexuality WE EXIST

  9. Bigdede says:

    You can tell the writers are writing this show week to week. They didn’t plan out anything except how many guest stars to have on this season. All these stories seem to be written around the guest stars instead of the characters. Lucious in prison story to accommodate Chris Rock and Luda. Jamal singing career (what happened to him running Empire) Alicia Keys, Lee Daniels, 2 other actors I can’t remember their names. Cookie’s Cookout, Adam Rodriguez. Cookie’s sister drug binge Vivica Fox and Rosie. And they have no clue what to do with Anika. Why didn’t she start working for another record company to go against Empire? Why didn’t she seduce Lucious to pass the baby off as his? This show is getting worst

    • Annie says:

      “All these stories seem to be written around the guest stars instead of the characters.”

      This is my main issue, and I’m a fan of the show. Anika and Andre need to be the ones behind this takedown of Lucious, not Mimi, someone who we don’t know, and aren’t invested in. I really don’t understand why a character as popular as Jamal was doing the first season,barely has a presence this season. Why should I care about Skye Summer’s identity crises, that is not the character who I’m invested in.

      The bad thing about making these arcs about the guest stars is that they will be gone in one or two episodes, so what’s the point?

    • Ro Fischer says:

      The show is like old vaudeville routines, in that it goes from sketch to sketch, week to week without any overriding story arc. So little continuity and integrity.

      • Cadence says:

        Unfortunately this is true. I don’t understand how the producers don’t see this. I’ve never liked Ilene Chaiken, I have to laugh when she gives an interview about the current storylines, since there are really no storylines.

  10. keenen says:

    Don’t know what happened to my comment…only to say as the occasional watcher, even i don’t think Lee Daniels will make Jamal straight. We know Alica keys is not going to sign on to do too many episodes, so it is logical this was just for shock and water cooler talk. The dad probably put her up to it.

  11. Maalik says:

    I loved that it showed Bisexuality. Yes, a person(man or woman) can love both genders. #BiTheWayWeExist

  12. liame says:

    That was another winning episode for me. I truly loved that song “Powerful”. Keyes and Smollet knocked that song out of the park.

  13. Viv says:

    Rosie was wonderful & she looks fantastic! Loving the Sisters Sledge too. After Empire, they could go into crime solving (again..) I liked this eppy. I thought it was sweet…

  14. Relaxxx says:

    I mean Jamal was married to Olivia at one point and thought he fathered her child so him sharing another kiss with a woman doesn’t really surprise me! I’m just wondering when Anika plans to tell Hakeem she’s pregnant? I’m glad Cookie dumped Laz and it was nice to see Cookie and her sisters together! All in all it was a good episode but I get certain peoples frustrations!

  15. Coco says:

    I liked Laz and Cookie together. Hoped he was going to be able to turn it around. No choice but to kill him. Aw man! Poor Cookie. Can a woman get a good man.

  16. Nikki says:

    My heart’s broken. How could they kill off Laz? No more eye candy. Won’t watch any more.

  17. Com plainer says:

    Im one of you guys. Im just here to waste time out of my day to complain about everything. I don’t like this and i don’t like that. My life is boring and i hate myself but i feel less of a loser if i get around other losers and complain about more things. Complain complain bla bla my life is miserable. I dont like this and that but i will keep watching even though i dont like it lmao kill yourselves

  18. Gonner789 says:

    All of those that say this is one of the worst seasons ever are lunatics!!! I love the story line and enjoy the way it’s going except for the whole Anika character, i really don’t know where they are going with this. The rest is amazing in my opinion, I like the continued feud between Empire vs. Lyon Dynasty, Jamal kissing one of the most beautiful women in the world lol. Why not?! His emotions are high, he just been cheated on how can you expect him not to love this woman? Like i said this show is doing great and if you are an empire fan you gotta realize its not only about the drama but also the music, understand what they are trying to do and just keep watching or you might miss something.

  19. Tony says:

    Coming from someone who has watched daytime and prime time soaps all my life, it’s clear where this Annika story is going. She’s gonna lose the pregnancy and go so off the reservation, she is gonna steal Rhonda and Andre’s baby and pass it off as Hakeem’s.

    As for the season, it is a bit uneven. But I did like the Cookie and her sisters storyline and would love to see more of her family and their backstory

  20. Kaden says:

    I thought jamal was gay

  21. hahahz says:

    ankia needs to get her life together

  22. kirads09 says:

    I am afraid Empire is losing me. While I still enjoy the cast (especially Terrance and Tariji) and the music, it just seems all over the map. It is as if the writers are creating many many sub story lines, throwing them against the proverbial wall and seeing which might stick. There doesn’t seem to be the core things driving it like in Season 1.

  23. Kristen says:

    Was it just me or did Jussie Smollett and Alicia Keys have crazy chemistry!? I found myself holding my breath every time they had a scene together, knowing that that kiss was inevitable. They worked SO well together! I love his character, gay, straight, or otherwise, but dayyyyum that scene was intense! I love love love them together!

  24. John Kelvin says:

    This series should never have an end,
    I love it forever