'Empire' season 3 finale recap: The Lyons reel from a devastating blow
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The second half of “Empire’s” season three finale aired last night on FOX. In the intense hour, it looks like Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious (Terrence Howard) are finally going to get their happily ever after. But, trouble brews as Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) is ordered to do Mama Dubois’ bidding to spend time with his daughter and Andre (Trai Byers) is too late to stop his deadly plot against Lucious, who is hurt by a sudden explosion.

Too Little, Too Late

We’re cutting straight to the chase of “Empire’s” explosive season three finale ending because the bomb that goes off outside of Leviticus cuts too close to home after the recent horrific bombing in Manchester. Series producers could have never known this episode would so eerily mirror the deadly attack outside Ariana Grande’s concert in England. Still, watching this episode play out as it did was difficult in lieu of all the innocent lives lost in Manchester.

Prior to the bombing, Lucious finally kicks Giuliana (Nia Long) to the curb and professes his eternal love for Cookie. Yay! Why did it take him so long? Plus, Lucious and Jamal surprise Cookie and launch “When Cookie Met Lucious” instead of “Inferno.” Jamal's musical dedication to his "Mama" is just so sweet! But, Lucious' heartfelt serenade of "Dream on with You" to Cookie is a romantic, episode highlight.

We’re all smiles and feeling warm and fuzzy. But, danger lurks as Shine waits to carry out Andre’s deadly plan. Andre tries to call off the bombing after Lucious hands him the “keys to the Empire kingdom.” But, he’s too late. They can’t reach the bomber. Lucious shoves Cookie out of harm’s way as the bomb detonates and is thrown back by the explosion.

Fast forward three months and Lucious wakes up from a coma in a hospital, surrounded by his family. They’re thrilled to see him wake up, but, they're devastated when he doesn’t recognize any of them. The look on Cookie's face tells us Lucious' memory loss is a terrible blow.

Boo Boo Kitty Gets Framed

Winding the action back, Anika (Grace Byers) and Hakeem are reunited with Bella. Of course, there’s a catch! They can be in their daughter’s life if Hakeem does Mama Dubois’ devious bidding. We still don’t know what that is. But, we do know her evil plot involves a hot singer-lawyer seducing Jamal. We’re not happy about this. Jamal has always been the peace broker. Can't the Dubois clan show the middle Lyon child some mercy?

Boo Boo Kitty has much bigger problems than Angelo’s (Taye Diggs) scorned mother, though. It seems Leah Walker killed Tariq for a reason. She wanted to frame her soon-to-be ex-daughter-in-law. Poor unsuspecting Anika opens mail with the murder weapon and then later, the FBI pound on her door and arrest her for Tariq’s murder. Guess that means she won’t be needing the hot sauce she ordered from room service!

Other Thoughts

Overall, “Empire’s” third season was a fast-paced hot bed of dysfunctional drama. Phylicia Rashad and Rumer Willis were especially good in their guest roles; as was Paris Jackson in her brief appearance. We love the push-and-pull of Cookie and Lucious’ rags-to-riches love story. We’re hoping Lucious makes a full recovery. But, so many questions remain. Will Lucious remember the depth of his love for Cookie? Will Andre’s family discover he was at fault for the bomb? Will Anika pay for a crime she didn’t commit? And finally, what evil deeds will Hakeem be forced to fulfill for his daughter’s sake?

We’ll have to tune into “Empire” on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on FOX this fall to get the answers!