Empire Season 3 Finale Recap

Empire Finale Recap: Was It an Unforgettable End to Season 3?

Roughly 15 minutes into Empire‘s Season 3 finale on Wednesday it’s revealed that Andre and Shyne are planning to murder Lucious not with a bullet but with a bomb. What’s more, the I.E.D. is slated to be detonated outside of an event space (in this case a casino) following a musical performance. The eerie and, of course, unintended parallel to this week’s horrific terror attack in Manchester was impossible to ignore, and it remained so as the episode built to the inevitable, explosive climax. Should Fox have pulled — or at the very least tweaked — the episode in light of recent events? I don’t have the answer to that. But I do know it was challenging to escape into the fictitious, heightened world of Empire when the episode’s central threat involved a bomb going off outside of a concert venue. 

I’m curious to hear if anyone else had a similar experience while watching the episode. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. In the meantime, let’s rewind to the start of the hour…

Luscious ‘copter’d off to Vegas with Giuliana for the launch of Leviticus Resort & Casino, but made sure to keep his mother — fresh off of murdering Tariq — heavily guarded back at the Lyon Estate, just in case she has another “episode.” The captive life is not sitting well with her though. “I’m not having an episode,” she scolds her son, before reminding him, “I put steel in the skull of your enemy.”

Crazy Leah then makes eye contact with Corpse Tariq and alerts her security detail, “It’s not sanitary to keep that in here.” (Side note: How much fun is Leslie Uggams having with this role?)

We quickly learn that there’s a method to Mama L’s madness when she invites Anika over to the house to retrieve her mail and, more importantly, smear her fingerprints all over the nearby letter opener (aka the murder weapon). Next thing you know Boo Boo K is getting framed for Tariq’s murder.

Prior to Anika’s arrest, Hakeem — who suspects his baby mama may know more about their daughter Bella’s whereabouts than she’s been letting on — follows her right into the vestibule of the Dubois Estate. His suspicions prove spot-on when he spots Bella on the premises. Yep, Anika’s known for (presumably) some time that little Bella has been in the unlawful care of vengenance-fueled baby-napper Diana. Hakeem’s pissed, but he’s mostly just relieved Bella’s A-OK. Diana promises Bella will remain “safe and sound” if and only if he does her bidding (i.e. helps her take down his family). He seems shockingly cool with this arrangement.

Even more shocking? When Hakeem informs the rest of his family that Bella has been found not a single one of them — not Cookie, not Lucious, not Jamal — press him about where the hell she’s been all this time. It all feels very rushed.

The episode’s big twist arrives at the midway point when Lucious announces to Giuliana — with Cookie looking on — that he’s been using her all along. He needed her help getting through Vegas’ front door but, now that he’s inside, he’s cutting her out of the whole equation. He dumps her on the spot, professes his love for Cookie and then surprises his soul mate half with orchestra seats to the opening of When Cookie Met Lucious.

Cookie’s beside herself with joy, so much so that she nearly forgets all about her and Andre’s plan to disrupt Lucious’ big night by inciting a riot inside the concert venue. She orders Shyne to “call off your boys” just in the nick of time. Of course, Cookie doesn’t know the side deal Shyne and Andre hatched to murder Lucious. Speaking of which…

Andre later experiences his own change of heart when Daddy Dearest announces that he and Cookie are essentially retiring from the business to travel the globe and they’re giving their eldest son the “keys to the kingdom —literally.” It’s everything Andre always wanted, so, naturally, he orders Shyne to drop the bomb plot. But Shyne refuses. “You started it,” he shouts. “I’m going to finish it.”

Cut to Andre racing to the front of the casino to get Lucious and Cookie out of harm’s way before their car explodes… but he’s (sorta) too late. Cookie’s escapes injury but Lucious is critically injured. And, after jumping forward three months, we learn than he remains in a coma under the care of a very hands-on nurse that looks a lot like Demi Moore (because it is Demi Moore). In the closing seconds, Lucious wakes up and pretty much declares, “I’ve got amnesia,  y’all!”

Other highlights/musings:
* A very married Charlotte is aghast when Andre informs her that he recorded them getting it on and plans to use it as a weapon of mass extortion.
* Diana has dispatched another, heretofore unseen son of hers (also Taye Diggs-level hot) to woo Jamal, all part of her Lyon Takedown plan.
* What was the deal with Moore’s nurse? And why didn’t Cookie and the rest of the family have more of a reaction when she proceeded to go to first base with him while he was asleep? And why isn’t she “at liberty” to disclose his test results? Until Season 4…

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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50 Comments
  1. Ronnie says:

    The most inappropriate “special nurse” EVER. lol

  2. Lillian says:

    oh now how ugly was that…lol

  3. Matt C. says:

    The finale was amazing! The amnesia storyline is SO soapy and predictable, especially after Lucious and Cookie finally got to a happy, solid place in their relationship, yet I’m interested to see how it affects the whole family. Season 4 can’t come soon enough!

  4. William says:

    This finale was incredibly lackluster. Empire has become so circular that it’s almost irritating to watch because of how regressive it is. There’s absolutely no progress with the characters or the stories, making it difficult to maintain an interest in the series. Not to mention, the cliches/predictability have become overwhelming at this point. I’m over the Cookie/Lucious narrative because it has grown increasing toxic and ridiculous. Such a shame that the series peaked creatively in its first season.

  5. laurelnev says:

    I’m thinking this was designed to be a 2 hour finale, with the adrenaline raising during the first hour, with the second neatly wrapping up what the 1st hour built. And it would have worked better as a 2 hour finale. Trust Fox to once again know better than the creators and mucking things up.

    I would have expected a little more histrionics from Guicy, and the 3 month coma jump kind of deprives us of the joy of seeing the Lyons frame her for the car bomb. Hope they fill that in for us next season. Likewise, I want to see the fallout from the Bella reveal, which was too glossed over.

    Yes, as a stand alone hour, this was very weak. But somehow, it was satisfying. I just wished they hadn’t promised we’d see Demi this season, as it would have been a lot stronger ep w/o that tag-on at the end. (Learn from Wayward Pines, Fox!)

  6. hbeachman says:

    It didn’t even occur to me to connect the bomb going off outside Leviticus LV and Manchester. Because one person (Lucious) was the intended victim, unlike the terrorist out to kill as many concertgoers as possible, I can’t see how this wouldn’t be a case of anything but unfortunate timing.

    I groaned when I heard that the Mormon gaming commish Mrs. Frost’s (Eva L.) husband was named Mitt and they had a son named Brigham. Oy! Thought there would be more drama about Giuliana being tossed out by Lucious. If it wasn’t for the way she ticked off Taraji and several others while shooting she’d probably be back next season–and maybe she will be….

    The moment Lucious started gushing to Andre about how deserving he is to run Empire I knew Andre was going to regret setting the assasination in motion. It was pretty obvious that Crazy Mama was going to set up Anika with the letter opener, but how could Anika not have seen the blood?

    The Bella “kidnapping” by the DuBois family was over way too quickly IMO., should’ve gone partway through next season. It would’ve been better if Hakeem & Anika could only be with Bella briefly before she was taken away by the DuBois. Then it would have been more plausible for Anika and Hakeem to be forced to do what Mama Dubois wanted. Also, I don’t get why Mama DuBois is so hellbent on exacting revenge against Cookie & Lucious. Angelo split up with Cookie so she got her wish!

    • hbeachman says:

      I forgot about the coda with Demi Moore. Thought she was a doctor, not a nurse. Definitely some unusual “therapy” methods!! I also guessed the amnesia angle for Lucious, probably setting up Demi’s character marrying Lucious once he gets out of the hospital. She’s probably in cahoots with Mama DuBois!

  7. Haz says:

    I’m not sure how the scheduling in the U.K. works but they definitely need to postpone this episode.

  8. TV Gord says:

    That was so corny, and–I don’t use this word often–stupid! I wish they would put more thought into these storylines, because these creators and actors made me (us?) love these characters. I don’t think they deserve to be trapped in silly bomb blasts and an amnesia storyline that seems straight out of a soap parody on The Carol Burnett Show. Carol and her ensemble could make it work brilliantly in a sketch, but trying to pass it off as real drama in the 21st century is just pathetic.

    • TV Gord says:

      The amnesia angle was particularly (here I go again) stupid, especially when mere seconds later, they’re showing scenes from this fall where Lucius is fine and everything is back to the status quo. I felt insulted, as a faithful viewer.

    • Marcus Adams says:

      If luscious has amnesia, the feds can’t charge him with anything.

      • TV Gord says:

        He would have to keep that ruse up forever, then. As soon as they know he’s got his memory back, he’s fair game.

  9. Alyson says:

    Does Lucious still have ALS or did it magically clear up? Admittedly, I haven’t watched in a while, but I read the recaps and it never seems to be mentioned anymore.

  10. Brian says:

    I liked it. Really interested in what they’re going to be doing with Demi’s character next season and hope she isn’t wasted. And kinda surprised the Dubois revenge storyline is going into next season. And thank god Giuliana is gone. Terrible character. You know a character sucks when it’s not fun watching them in a scene with Cookie.

  11. Ronnie says:

    I wonder if the introduction of their doctor friends “Barry and Michelle” will come back to help Lucious recover.

    • DryHeat says:

      HA, that was subtle. ;-)

      And Eva Longoria’s kids being named “Brigham” and “Mitt.” Also subtle. LOL

  12. Ron says:

    I stopped watching about half way through season two. It wasn’t necessarily out of growing weary with the show. It was more that I missed a week, then missed a second week. And then it somehow turned into me just not caring to catch up. Based on the summary, I don’t regret my decision. Hey, maybe actually watching the episode would’ve been different and maybe it was amazing. But based on what I’m reading, it sounds like the show has REALLY gone off the rails. I know it was always more a primetime soap than a primetime drama anyway. But this sounds like it’s FULL-ON soap. It just sounds too crazy now.

  13. Yeah I also couldn’t help but see the parallels to the real life horror that happened in the U.K, and it did take me out of the show a bit

  14. Kevin H. says:

    What is with this show? Love the actors but the writing is so sloppy. Anika knew about Mama DuBois having Bella– since when? Because the show needs her to. Same with Hakeem playing along– why??? Do better, Empire.

    • fightfan3 says:

      The way it was shown, it appeared to me that Annika and the Dubois’ concocted the scheme together. i.e. Annika knew the whole time.

  15. Michelle says:

    I didn’t even think of the bomb with what happened in the UK I think I was just so excited for this episode. I HATE the coma memory loss its so soap opera how can you just jump forward. Is Anika in prison? Where is Bella these 3 months we move forward? Who was blamed for the bomb? Is Jamal dating the DuBois plant? So many questions that had to be answered before moving 3 months ahead. I don’t like how there was no questions from the family how Bella was just found by Anika. And the nurse therapy was creepy and if the family isn’t allowed to see his test results who is? Season 4 better start out amazing they need to drop the amnesia it’s so corny

    • TV Gord says:

      I’ve been really affected by the Manchester bombing, but I didn’t make a connection between this episode and that incident, either. Empire just seems to far from reality to trigger anything, in my opinion.

  16. Dominique Jones says:

    Very good empire fans

  17. Gift says:

    How Fanny was that? I wonder what drama is coming next.

  18. Nan says:

    Gosh I really dislike these amnesia storylines and hope that they don’t drag the dang thing out. I’m particularly disappointed by the Bella storyline and how Anika and now Hakeem is complicit in whatever angle they are after.

  19. Derin says:

    My husband and i kept on saying that all the lovey dovey stuff during the concert had to be some sort of dream because it was waaaaayyyy too cheesy. Obviously it was real and just weird. It was just an ok finale. The best part was his crazy mom and her calling Anika about the mail!!!

  20. Thelma Frasier says:

    The ammesia isn’t surprising for Empire, I thought he should have publicly proposed with a ring since he made so much plans for this moment. 3 months later no one questioned how Andre knew about the bomb? I think they should have changed bomb ending enlight of recent events, and they have questioned Bella’s whereabouts in the photograph. The twin scene is cute. What’s up with Demi is this another ex lover with Luuscious. He should be HIV positive by now

  21. mrquik1 says:

    Well if everyone can remember a few episodes back his mom was putting on skin whitener so the nurse is his mom guaranteed

    • Felicia E.A. says:

      I like that thought.. That will be interesting if that nurse is his Mom…

    • laurelnev says:

      Yeah…Leslie Uggams in in her mid 70s, while Demi Moore is in her early 50s. If you can find me a wrinkle cream THAT effective, I’ll sign on in a NY minute. :D

      • mrquik1 says:

        I have inside info. There gonna say she had sugery

        • laurelnev says:

          lol…I can’t tell if you’re joking, trolling, or serious here. :) How are they going to explain away the change in stature and body type? Lipo and lifts? I sure hope you are joking, as that is a little too far in the suspension of disbelief category. :)

          • mrquik1 says:

            Nope not joking wait and see

          • laurelnev says:

            So, IOW, you’re warning me to get ready for a REALLY OUTLANDISH season? Can’t wait! Sounds like I might become a hate-watcher next season, as I’m WAY to far in to give it up at this point, no matter how out there it gets! :D Thank you for the warning!

          • mrquik1 says:

            Lol. I could be wrong but I know someone tha ts on set

  22. Marcus Adams says:

    This episode was very good. I think what they did in 45mins should have been done with 90mins. Too many cliffhangers but, in all,,this was absolutely entertaining and we’ll produced.

  23. Felicia E.A. says:

    It was a very rushed episode indeed. Each segment was quick and dirty. You couldn’t move away from your TV or you would miss a lot.. I did expect amnesia when they stated it was 3 months later.. That was easy to see coming.. I too was thrown when no one asked where Bella had been all this time!!! I mean they were just awww’s and oooo’s but no questions as to where she been.. Not realistic at all.. I did love the Luscious Mom..she was relentless!!.. To me, her scenes were the best of the season finale..

  24. Cheryl Reese says:

    Love Empire but just wanted more
    looking forward to a beautiful next
    season .

  25. Lisa says:

    I think it was a great investment for u’ll to take such knowledge to make such story it’s very interested it’s gets greater n greater

  26. Angellalark says:

    I love the show it was so real

  27. Ella says:

    LOL, this show is a joke. It’s a caricature.

  28. i thought Juicey got fired… how is he gonna come back to draft the papers? LOL

  29. Mary says:

    I was so disappointed in the Lyons- Dubois Family meeting..walked in like gangsters, walked out like lambs.., the resources Lucious, and Cookie have would have taken the Dubois family home apart brick by brick till Bella was found.
    Cookie cared more about Giuliana, than finding Bella. The murdering of Tariq is the work of the Grandmother and Andre taking down Boo Boo.
    Also with Lucious planning How Cookie met Lucious, for 2 weeks why didn’t he have a ring for her? When it comes to Cookie he had no effort just a whole lot of talk..I can buy you a jewerly store! Ankia got 35 million Guiliana got 10 million, Cookie gets promises…I loved Lucious singing..when are you going to have Grandma sing…Leslie Ugums,is a great singer?

  30. Yo momma says:

    Boom boom explode

  31. This show ( and Cookie’s wardrobe) just keeps getting better. While the amnesia story line was a little corny, this show keeps me on my toes. The cast is amazing.