“Empire” on FOX packed more surprises this week than a box filled with Forrest Gump’s chocolates. First, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) strikes a match and burns down any chance of love with Angelo (Taye Diggs) when his impromptu proposal yields unexpected results. Then, Lucious (Terrence Howard) strikes his own deal with Giuliana (Nia Long) which prompts Andre (Trai Byers) to accelerate his deadly plan against his dad.
We’re not totally shocked Giuliana and Lucious have a romantic past. We are surprised, however, that her abusive snake husband Rafael stole 10 million dollars from Lucious. And, Lucious is really startled when Giuliana greets him at his office and pulls a gun on him to “get his attention.”
After a tense exchange, Lucious agrees to help Giuliana impress the gaming commissioner (played by guest star Eva Longoria) about the Empire Vegas venture. In doing so, though, he backstabs Andre by putting Tory’s (Rumer Willis) “blue-eyed soul” center stage and effectively cuts Nessa out completely. Rumer Willis smashes her rendition of the song Lucious penned for Giuliana long ago “Crazy Crazy 4 U.”
Flashbacks reveal how Lucious (sporting some braids) and Giuliana met and clicked. She's definitely devious, right from day one. We’re thinking maybe the title of the song Lucious wrote for her should be “Crazy Crazy R U.” Giuliana, overall, is probably bad news for the Lyon clan. The question is, will anyone catch on that she's dangerous before things get deadly?
Meanwhile, Andre is furious Lucious dissed Nessa. So, he orders Shine to turn up the heat on their plan to take Papa Lyon out. At this point, Lucious has enemies in every corner. Can he really keep outsmarting them all? Will his luck eventually run out?
Cookie seeks (and surprisingly gets) Lucious and her sons’ approval to marry Angelo. The only problem is, he hasn’t asked yet. Jamal (Jussie Smollett) tells Mayor Dubois to make a grand gesture if he wants to impress Cookie. So, he does, in the biggest way possible. He proposes on national TV. We know something is about to go wrong when she doesn’t really even answer as he slips the ring on her finger and their engagement is announced to the world.
Cookie lights into Angelo for putting her on the spot when they go backstage. Then she blurts out she still has feelings for Lucious and finally tells him they kissed. Angelo loses it – do we blame him? He tells her he compromised everything for her and lists a bunch of illegal things he did for her. Uh oh. He doesn’t realize his show mic is still on and everyone on set hears everything he said.
Mama Dubois (Phylicia Rashad) runs to the rescue. They turn off the mic and Angelo calls Cookie and her whole family “garbage.” She storms out and Angelo’s mama really flips out; like all crazed-eyes and shaking. She promises her son she won’t rest until she sees the whole Lyon family “groveling in the dirt begging for a merciful death.”
Does anyone else think this deep mother-son bond just crossed over into creep city? Nonetheless, nothing's worse than Mommie Dearest Dubois scorned. So, Cookie should gear up for a colossal clapback.
Finally, Anika wears a wire with Tariq and gathers enough leverage for Lucious to blackmail him into leaving town. Tariq is stunned by Anika’s sly double-cross. Seriously? What kind of an agent doesn’t check for a wire on someone sleeping with the enemy?
So, Tariq is out of town (for now). But, we feel like we haven’t seen the last of him. He’s going to want revenge against his estranged brother even more. We're left wondering what war is going to break out first. Andre versus Lucious? Or, Dubois versus Lyon? More importantly, will Giuliana take out Cookie? Or, will Cookie and Lucious crash back together and try to take down anyone who dares to stand in their way?
“Empire” airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on FOX.