‘Empire’ Season 4, Episode 2: Lucious Meets With an Old Friend, Anika Fights for Freedom, Andre’s Fling Goes Bad
The season premiere of Empire was intense - with Cookie on edge about Lucious' memory loss and Anika framed for murder - and last night's episode just furthered the saga.
Demi Moore's twisted Nurse Claudia may be striking up an uneasy alliance with Leah. The two are often at odds, but there may be some secret partnership because the moment Nurse Claudia leaves Lucious to bathe himself, Leah appears and tries to drown her son while he naps in the tub. Claudia comes from behind the shadows and pulls Leah away from him, but Leah's timing and Claudia's exit seem a bit coincidental.
Jamal plays his new music for his friends, and Becky muses over her potential promotion to an A&R position at Empire. Jamal explains that he only wants to record love songs on his new album, with Becky pondering why before knowingly smiling at Warren. Meanwhile, Andre is having a business meeting at a bar/restaurant when he's approached by a beautiful woman (Teyonah Parrish). They share a drink and then head to the bathroom for an impromptu sex bout. Unfortunately, Dre isn't quite up to the task. Dre blames his medication.
After playing his new song for the A&R, Jamal balks at the suggestion that he should add strings, lose the falsetto and make other changes to the song. Becky chimes in to assure that Jamal will make the changes, but Jamal chides her for not "having his back" but reluctantly agrees.
Becky also meets up with Hakeem, and convinces him that he should push forward with a pop record. Hakeem blasts her for "trying to analyze" him as opposed to fighting for his vision. Hakeem decides to "make one for me--before I make one for them."
Claudia obsessively keeps Lucious at arms' reach. From doctors visits to family functions and private moments, she's always there. The ever-suspicious Cookie decides to move into Lucious' mansion until he regains his memory because "that man is everything" to her and the boys and the family needs him back.
When Jamal writes an entirely new song, Becky goes off on him and Warren for changing things. Jamal asks why she's "talking to me like my mama" and coldly reminds her that she is the interim A&R at Empire. In other words, she can't really tell him what to do. Meanwhile, Andre discovers that the sexy woman from the bathroom is actually Det. Pamela Rose--and she's investigating Lucious' attempted murder.
Jamal is furious when he realizes Becky made changes to his song before presenting it to Empire. With Becky saying she did what she thought was best, Jamal blasts her for stabbing him in the back. He also issues a warning: do it again, and you won't work at Empire.
Claudia has some work to do if her plan - whatever it may be - is going to work. So, she preys on Leah's delusions and convinces Cookie that Leah needs to get some "rest" at a "special" facility.
Smart move, Nurse Claudia, but we wonder if she really thinks she can take on Cookie.
As Claudia, Cookie and Leah are indulging in their own game of chess, Anika leans on Thirsty to get her out of jail. She appears in court for a bail hearing, but quickly gets denied thanks to whomever is setting her up for Tariq's murder (and because the court believes she's guilty of murdering a federal agent). She and Thirsty concoct a story about stalking and abuse, and tell the FBI she was acting in self-defense and in good conscience, they can't and shouldn't hold her behind bars while she awaits trial. (Ultimately, the idea is there will never be a trial, but one step at a time).
Anika gets released, but she returns "home" to Hakeem's penthouse - only to find Tiana inside holding her baby. To make things worse, Leah tells Cookie she set Anika up for Tariq's murder, and that she would do it again. Now that Anika's home, it sounds like she needs to watch her back more than she needed to while spending time in the bing.
Anika seems to be playing the same chess game as Cookie, Leah and Claudia; she just doesn't know it yet.
Then there's Lucious, who usually comes off as some omnipresent, domineering and powerful creature, but since the bombing, he appears timid, weak and helpless. And while his new demeanor is much softer and easier to be around than before, it has his family questioning how long it will take until he's back to his old self. Nurse Claudia believes he needs to be reintroduced to the world (at her tempo), and takes him to a diner he and his friend Eddie Barker (Forest Whitaker) used to frequent. Unable to remember anything but hellbent on trying to force himself to learn about his life, Lucious slips out of the diner and goes to look for Eddie.
When Lucious and Eddie connect, Eddie can tell something is wrong, but he doesn't want to say anything to upset Lucious. So he asks Cookie to keep it real. Cookie admits Lucious has amnesia from the explosion and asks him to keep it quiet. Eddie assures her that not only will he keep it quiet, but he'll do anything to help his recovery.
He's seems genuine, but you know how things go on this show.
Watch the Trailer for Empire Season 4, Episode 3: