'Empire' season 4, episode 5 recap: Betrayal, breakthrough, and baby wars
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“Empire” returned on FOX after its short World Series hiatus on Nov. 9 with a game-changing new episode that is steeped with betrayal, breakthrough and baby wars. Lucious (Terrence Howard) teams with Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) to quiet the naysayers, with surprising results. Meanwhile, Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) prepares for an ugly custody battle as Andre (Trai Byers) might be getting in over his head with his new lady.

Fooling the Masses

After news of Lucious’ amnesia goes public via TMZ, Cookie hatches a plan to convince the Empire Board and the press that everything is fine with Papa Lyon. They commission Becky to “rehearse” some production moves and then let reporters shadow Lucious as he coaches the artist and engineers the first album in Empire’s 20 For 20 campaign. Everything goes well, but, Lucious is puzzled by colors he sees while hearing music. Shine’s anger-infested track spawns images of crimson-red blood. He is moved by the pain in Veronica's performance and encourages her to project it. Other moments are washed in yellow, and blue.

Flashbacks of his former life are creeping in and self-serving Claudia (Demi Moore) doesn’t like it because she wants Lucious to remain her moldable “Dwight” puppet. She encourages him to FINGER paint a mural of the colors he sees. (Yes, we said finger paint!) This bit is rather cheesy, especially when they’re both covered in paint. It’s too reminiscent of Moore’s iconic potter’s wheel moment with Patrick Swayze in “Ghost.” Claudia is betraying Cookie by trying to keep Lucious for herself. But, we have a feeling she won’t be able to succeed.

It’s nice to see Forest Whitaker return as Eddie Barker, who swoops in to “rescue” Lucious from the skeptical press. It looks like Eddie’s going to take a more active role at Empire and this is great!

Is He Really Going Out with Her?

Andre starts to sweat again when Lucious brings up “whoever” plotted his demise with the explosion. Meanwhile, Andre can’t stay away agent Pamela and their hook-up seems like a confusing, convoluted who is playing who mess. She tells him Shine threw shade at him and they have footage of Shine doing something to Lucious’ car before the explosion. She warns him so he can “get ahead of things.” This seems so strange, unless she is really that smitten with Andre.

Andre confronts Shine, who says he hasn’t talked to the cops. They trade threats and Andre says he won’t be pitted against his family anymore. So, he challenges Shine to expose him to the cops. We all know Shine could go down if he does. So, we think he’ll probably keep quiet.

Can Hakeem Win His Baby War?

Hakeem makes a big, hot-headed mistake (What else is new?) by punching Angelo (Taye Diggs) in the face after he taunts him. Uh oh. His Baby Mama is mad and out for blood. Punching Angelo doesn’t bode well for Hakeem's impending custody battle. He panics and wants to leave the country with Bella and even tries to talk Tiana into going with them. She “agrees” until she brings Cookie to the airport to meet him and they both talk him out of leaving. He shouldn’t run. But, his chances of winning his custody fight seem pretty slim. We’ll see.

 

Break On Through to the Other Side

It appears the painting propelled Lucious right into a full-blown amnesia breakthrough. He remembers everything, Most importantly, he loves Cookie, not Claudia and the daffy therapist is startled when he orders her to leave. Newly-revived Lucious wants to tell Cookie what he remembers. But, she’s worried and frazzled about Hakeem’s custody hearing. So, it will have to wait.

This is interesting. Will he come clean to Cookie? Or, will he “milk” his amnesia a little longer to further his own agenda. We hope not! But, this is “Empire” and drama is always key. So, we have no idea what to expect from here.

“Empire” airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on FOX.