Post Mortems
Empire Recap

Empire: Is [Spoiler] Off the Show?

The following story contains spoilers about this week’s Empire. Proceed at your own peril, OK? 

Did Empire just say buh-bye to Boo Boo Kitty?

Near the conclusion of Wednesday’s episode, Grace Gealey’s Anika was seen high-tailing it out of town after presumably refusing Tariq’s “offer” to book her a mother-daughter suite in witness protection in exchange for tattling on Lucious. Speaking of Anika’s wee little one, Lucious’ missus left Bella with baby daddy Hakeen before bolting — a decision we’re sure she will come to regret.

Elsewhere, Cookie reeled from her violent showdown with Lucious, Tory stabbed Jamal in the back and Nia Long’s mystery woman made a grand entrance.

Below, showrunner Ilene Chaiken addresses the big Anika mystery, while also fielding our burning questions about Cookie’s guilty conscience, Jamal’s love life and Lucious’ restraint (yep, we said restraint).

TVLINE | Perhaps the knowledge that Cookie and Lucious were originally supposed to have sex at the end of last week’s episode is distorting things for me, but it felt like Cookie’s intense disgust and guilt at the beginning of the episode was a bit of an overreaction. I mean, she only kissed Lucious…
Sex isn’t the issue. Betrayal is emotional. It’s much more about what’s in the heart, what you feel and know about yourself. I don’t think it would’ve been worse had Cookie had sex with Lucious. It was where they both went emotionally. There was this undeniable truth that they both confronted when they looked into one another’s eyes. That’s what shook her. It’s not, “Did I chat on Angelo because I had sex with my ex?” It’s, “Can I erase the last 20 years of my life with this man who has such a hold on me? Can I ever move on and become that other person?”

TVLINE | I was surprised by the restraint Lucious showed when Angelo was coming at him in his office. He could’ve just blabbed to him that he went to first base with Cookie, but he didn’t. Why?
Lucious is always playing a long game. If Lucious showed restraint, it’s because he knew that there was more to gain by keeping [quiet].

TVLINE | I really liked the Becky-Anika scene. It’s nice when we’re reminded that Anika is a multi-dimensional character and more than just Cookie’s nemesis. Is that a tricky line to walk though?
Yes. It’s a balancing act. In our minds she is a nuanced character, but we only have 42 minutes with this large ensemble cast, and sometimes it’s hard to find the time to portray those nuances. So we seize those opportunities when we can. Anika has always been very real to us. We never wanted to make her into a cookie-cutter villain.

TVLINE | At the end of the episode, we see her heading out of town. Is Grace Gealey done with Empire?

TVLINE | Where is she going? I’m guessing she’s not taking public transportation to witness protection…
It’s more complicated than that. Anika is a smart woman who understands the power of the Lyons. There’s an argument to be made that Lucious Lyon is more powerful than the feds. I’m not sure Anika is going to be so quick to put her in the hands of a slightly unhinged federal agent.

TVLINE | Nia Long’s character Gia is introduced at the end of the episode. We’ve seen in the previews that she cozies up to Lucious. What’s the nature of their relationship?

That relationship goes much deeper than we’re initially led to believe. We’re going to find out that maybe there’s a connection between these two individuals that will lead to all kinds of complications, for Cookie in particular. It’s possibly the most consequential relationship of the rest of the season.

TVLINE | Jamal and Phillip hooked up — is there the potential for a real long-term relationship there for Jamal?
There’s certainly the potential for it. Jamal, rather like his mother, is looking to have a healthy relationship. There are so many things standing in the way of that right now.

TVLINE | Why did Tory betray Jamal?
Because Lucious is a motherf—er.

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. laurelnev says:

    Bye Bye Boo Boo. Should’ve run FAR AND fast while you still had the chance instead of Mrs Robinson-ing your ex’s kid to get revenge.And if BooBoo rats anyone out, there’s still that whole murdering Rhonda thing the Lyon’s covered up, Ms Holier than Thou. ;)

    • Ugonna Wosu says:

      she murdered the baby. Rhonda was self defence. I didn’t see her start that fight.

    • Sally McLinn says:

      Doesn’t make sense that Anika would leave. She’s married to Lucious and that’s why he married her — so she wouldn’t testify against him! So that part of the story makes no sense. And she wouldn’t leave her baby with Hakeem, no way. But with this show you have to suspend disbelief, like I just did with the Kong movie. Just grab the popcorn and don’t even think about what’s logical.

  2. Brian says:

    Like how this show can bring out different emotions out of you when it comes to some of the characters, instead of you just hating these characters no matter what or just being indifferent towards them. This is what Scandal isn’t able to do.

    • Caroline says:

      I think this is just sooo true – the layering in Empire is so great – unlike my once favorite Scandal where the characters lose their identities left and right.

    • Sally McLinn says:

      You’re right. One minute I think Lucious is the smartest man on the planet, then I think no he’s not. But he really is the smartest man in his Empire. He seems to have a cunning insight into all his children and everyone around him. And then there’s Cookie, who goes off emotionally and then she turns around and is just as cunning as Lucious. Now what I don’t understand is that whole FBI storyline. Because Tariq’s supervisor told him to drop the Lucious case and he continued with it. Then he tried to get Anika to testify against Lucious, which any dummy knows the wife can’t testify against the husband unless SHE has done something illegal.
      I think the writers need to get with some FBI consultants to find out what the law is because they write anymore about the FBI.

  3. JM says:

    I think if they wrote out Anika after the drama with Rhonda, it’d piss people off to get rid of both in the end.

  4. Kar says:

    they never should have killed rhonda to keep booboo and it’s like they dropped Rhonda’s murder all together

  5. abz says:

    I am really impressed by Rumer Willis’ voice. Loved her feature on Jamal’s song last week. I hope we see more of her scenes with Jamal and Cookie and that this betrayal doesn’t prevent them from making more music together.
    I can’t stand Nyssa and Shine. I can appreciate Nyssa’s voice and some of her performances but as a character I just can’t stand her. The woman is a nobody, yet she constantly thinks she’s all that and entitled. Those 15 minutes have gone completely to her head. And yes I realize that she’s being influenced and fed by Shine and Andre but there’s no humility/humbleness with that character. Of course that could be said about a lot of characters. I can’t wait till Shine is gone. I would love to see the show focus more on the family and the music and business, and less on thuggish/gangsta stuff with Shina and Andre and more new characters (e.g., Nia Long). I don’t wanna see Shine, Freda or even Thursty any more for that matter.
    All of the Taye Diggs scenes on this show are boring. They should really cut that character.

    • I like Nyssa, but I agree with you she thinks she’s all that , but she’s not. I hate her brother. I do not like the new Andra. I get that he want to be a major player in his father’s company, but for him to try hire someone to kill him?! That’s going way too far. I like Thirsty, but Freda has to go. ….and your right Taye Riggs character is kinda boring. However Angelo just threatened Lucious, which means he will be gone soon.

    • Bigdede says:

      Yes!!! Taye Diggs scenes are super boring. I don’t buy him as Cookie’s boyfriend and thought it was comical when he threatened Lucious. They have to cut his character asap. He brings Cookie down

  6. mrmcgee says:

    I admit I can’t follow whatever is going on with Shine and Andre. Next season the show should also move on from the “feds are trying to get Lucious” plots. That’s gotten old.

  7. Gift says:

    The feds story is getting old. Is Angelo trying to make Lucious mad? Lucious is the devil u don’t piss him off. And he is right cookie trying to pin everything on him, she is not so innocent is she? He cleans off their mess nd that makes him the bad person……. This days he isn’t doing anything. Andre is playing those guys. Akim is so like his father, sweet talking his way out of everything. Why do I Feel like Angelo Should not be trusted…..

  8. Tika says:

    I want to see Becky get more lines, Nyssa should go after a while, V Bozeman should get some scenes, and Anika is not gone hopefully she’ll be in Europe somewhere hiding out & Lucious mom sets uo his half brother for elimination by Lucious. Rumer Willis is good she looks llke her mom Demi in her soap days

    • Sally McLinn says:

      Becky needs to go, but she’s a friend of Lee Daniels. I don’t think Becky adds anything to the show. When she’s on, I just turn away.

      • Jhw says:

        Stop that Becky is a great character. She was always the calm before the storm. She kept the brothers alive from the beginning, she was the first one to discover lucious illness and kept his secret.
        She supported Jamal during his “Flip Flop” era, she got him and Cookie back together, she used Akeems concert tickets to see her favorite Artist. And, she had one real sexual contact encounter on the roof top. So Becky with the good hair is a great character.. I love the weight loss.

      • Gift says:

        Becky isn’t going anywhere, she is a great character.

  9. tINA cRUZ says:


  10. I used to FRIGGIN LOVE LOVE LOVE It was honestly my FAVORITE but now some F=UGLY crackhead lookin chick is singing with Jamal and she isn’t even a real musician it’s SO OBVIOUS and it was REALLY JUST BAD CASTING…it’s one thing to get a some less than avg lookin girl we might believe is a druggie but AT LEAST GET ONE THAT CAN REALLY JAM! hopefully they’ll OD THAT HO UP OUT and so the rest of us can enjoy REAL TALENT…and i really wish they’d stop making Taraji’s eyebrows look like they’re trying to fly off her face, WTF? NOT ATTRACTIVE AT ALL AND THAT JUST RUINS A GORGEOUS WOMAN…why on earth would she allow that? really Taraji? Oh, GIRRRL??? NONONONONONONOOOOO!!!

    • Sally McLinn says:

      I always wondered, what happened to the Courtney Love character in the beginning? She was their #1 recording star, and she disappeared. SHE could be Jamal’s duet partner.

  11. Matt says:

    What’s with misleading headline?
    She’s clearly present in the previews for next week’s episode. So what’s with the is spoiler off the show thing? TVLine you don’t need misleading headlines to get hits. Love your website but was expecting more from this article.

  12. Kimberly says:

    Okay, a few thoughts. First, Angelo looked an absolute FOOL stepping to Lucious and making threats. Second, they’ve lost the impetus of Angelo and Cookie now after last week’s episode and the whole Lucious/Cookie war of the Roses. Third, I am really pissed that the show is allowing booboo kitty to just get away with being a baby killer. She didn’t just cause a miscarriage. Rhonda was nearly ready to pop. So even if you could defend her killing Rhonda…which is a stretch…Andre just giving her a pass while he tries to kill Lucious? I don’t buy it. Not at all.

    And I know a lot of people are pissed at Lucious for the thing with Tory but I really think, in this instance, it was really about the music for Lucious, not malevolent intent. Tory is the one who really screwed up, imo. She’s the one who owed Jamal more loyalty than that. No one expects loyalty from Lucious.

    Oh and one more thing: I am starting to really love Mama Lyon.

    • Angelfan says:

      Don’t think Boo will ever get what’s coming to her for murdering Rhonda’s baby, and killing Rhonda. Though if she has to eat at Taco Time and buy her clothes at Walmart like regular folks while on the run, she’d probably think she was suffering in hell.

  13. Angelfan says:

    Becky for head of A and R!

  14. Sally McLinn says:

    IMO Terrence Howard will always be remembered as Lucious Lyon. That man acts his as s off in that role.
    I’m enjoying Empire more and more — it’s so over the top and campy. Just like the old night soap operas. Nothing makes sense, but that’s what soaps are — illogical. And the flaming costumes they wear? Where do they get their wardrobes!!!!
    However, I wish the gay sex scenes would stop. Not for me, sorry. Another thing – they have too many guest stars this season, just like they did the first two seasons. The lead actors can carry the show by themselves.
    But I love Empire!

    • abz says:

      LOL so stupid. You call that a sex scene? All they showed was a kiss in this episode and then fade to the next scene. That scene bothered you, but Anika and Lucious walking out of the room after clearly having sex with Anika straightening out her outfit, you were fine with? People need to grow the hell up.

  15. Andrea says:

    Love this show!!! Not a big fan of Nia Long, so I can’t wait for the next episode. Think there’s going to be more reason for me to dislike her. But I love Cookie and Lucious.