|Not nearly enough hashtags in the world....|
This was what I needed. I know I owe you two episodes, and that's sort of deliberate. There are two types of cliffhangers. There are the ones that make you shout, "Aw, shit!" and practically run for your laptop. Then there are the cliffhangers which make you pause, like you've just seen an incomplete episode and you need to know what happens next before you can comment.
Since this is a BGNO post, I need to remember not to recap the whole episode because that's not what this series is about.
So...focusing only on Cookie now.... Week before last showed Lucious heavily favoring Cookie in ways which had some commenters/critics raising a skeptical eyebrow. With the IPO looming over Empire, Lucious needs investors, needs to put on a show for them, needs to give them a great speech...but can't do the last item because of his illness (as for the show itself, I think this is the first Jamal/Hakeem number which had fans asking WTF happened). Lucious asks Cookie - at the last moment, over Anika, over Andre - to give a speech to the investors (see image above) and she nails it. She dismisses the teleprompter and speaks from the heart, which Lucious was counting on. When she nails it, he cheers under his breath, "I love you, Cookie" - in front of Anika.
I need to point something non-Cookie-centric out here. People are complaining that Empire has abandoned its Shakespearean premise of King Lear. This show was never King Lear. It's elements firmly harken to The Lion in Winter. Hell, "Lyon" is the damn family name.
(Trek fans, this is the version starring Patrick Stewart.)
Lucious is King Henry II of England, the aging (in this case, ailing) father who loathes his older two sons, ever critical of them, while favoring the youngest (which nobody understands). Last night's episode revealed that once Andre married a white woman, Lucious stopped trusting him. Now...I did find that odd, since when Lucious doesn't like something about someone, you hear about it every nine seconds since the pilot (i.e. Jamal's sexuality).
Anika is Alais, the pretty young mistress Lucious intends to marry. Cookie, "the Queen", is Eleanor of Aquitaine, perpetually imprisoned by her husband because he feels she'll wreak too much havoc if she's truly set free - does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Seriously, you might want to give it a watch. In The Lion in Winter, Henry II actually references "the legend of a King called Lear" while worrying for the fate of his empire.
Like Henry and Eleanor, Cookie and Lucious have an on-again-off-again romance, which brings us to the ending of the first episode: after revealing he has ALS to his family, Lucious and Cookie get emotional, then physical, and Anika witnesses them going at it in bed.
So, last night showed Lucious thinking he can just have Cookie whenever he wants. Cookie, on the other hand, makes it clearly that he ain't gettin' "no nookie from Cookie until you ditch the bitch." By "the bitch," she means
So now Lucious can't dump Anika for Cookie, because if he does pretty much anything to piss her off, she will burn down his empire. Anika demands that Lucious end the fling and move up their wedding date. She wants the wedding announced at the upcoming White Party, and she wants Cookie to be there to hear it.
Well, Lucious does, and Cookie is, and Cookie is appalled - at first. But then she gleefully reveals to Anika that she and Lucious didn't have a one-time fling, and that just last night - as in the night before the party - they had a "big reunion." The look on Anika's face gives Cookie pure joy and she rubs it in; she correctly guesses that Anika must not have known about the second time because it must have been after Lucious promised to be a good boy and never do it again. Mm-hm....
Now, remember Hakeem and Camilla (seriously, Naomi Campbell?) Now that Hakeem and Cookie are working out their issues in admittedly beautiful way, and Hakeem's got a more clear head on his shoulders with his father's impending death, Hakeem's told Camilla to stop their "Mommy" games. He no longer likes thinking of her as his mother/lover (and it's way past time), and suddenly wants her to be his normal girlfriend (even though she's kind of resisting). Hakeem brings her to the White Party, and the first relative they run into is Cookie. And Cookie is, well, Cookie.
Camilla's not trying to hear it and the back and forth which ensues...whew, Lawd. Camilla tries to let Cookie know she's not one of her prison yard bitches, and Cookie (who seriously appears to have some bisexual tendencies of her own, y'all), remarks that it's a damn shame because Camilla looks like she would've made the perfect bitch for Cookie.
The episode ends with a livid Anika going to see Lucious's rival Beretti, and Lucious going to Cookie to do damage control several hours late. Echoing her son Jamal, Cookie gives Lucious her blessing to marry Anika, because no good can come from loving someone like Lucious.
The epilogue ends with a flashback to Cookie's first night in jail singing, "You're So Beautiful", a track which Lucious wrote and sang to her. The lyrics describe waiting for lost love to return, and Taraji's rendition is heart-wrenching when you consider how Lucious didn't wait for a goddamn thing.
This hilarious VH1 article some of y'all are already sharing from our Facebook page