'Empire' season 4, episode 8 recap: The Lyons face a shocking truth
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“Empire” returned last night (Dec. 6) on FOX in an explosive episode that finds Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Andre reeling from a shocking discovery. Mama and Papa Lyon unite and pledge to take Diana (Phylicia Rashad) down for the dirty deeds she’s delivered in her quest to destroy their family. Plus, Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) continues to struggle with losing his daughter and he gets advice from an unlikely ally.

Together We Stand

Cookie and Lyon call a family meeting to discuss the fallout from Jamal’s (Jussie Smollett) attack on Warren and to plot a strategy for keeping their family safe from Diana Dubois devious plans. Jamal doesn’t want help and Andre assures his parents life is good, despite their worry that she’s plotting something for him next. They’re all worried Jamal might break his sobriety after the incident.

Cookie and Lucious enlist Thirsty’s help to locate Warren. Cookie is anxious to deliver a “message” to Warren to keep Jamal out of jail for beating him up. When she finds him, he tells her Jamal is the love of his life and asks her to tell him he’s sorry and that he’ll work with her to help clear his name. Cookie also demands to know what else Diana has in store for the family and he agrees to talk.

Hakeem Gets an Unlikely Life Lesson

Hakeem tries to work on music with Jamal to refocus his pain. He arrives just as Jamal considers popping pills. Thankfully, he doesn’t follow through. Later at Empire, Hakeem gives Tiana advice in the studio and she slaps him in the face and walks out. Hakeem is frustrated. Shine tells him he wants to show him something. They go for a drive and Shine pulls up to a big house with a yard full of young kids who see him and call him Daddy!

It turns out he has kids with three different women and they avoid all sorts of drama by keeping their relationship to him a secret. He tells Hakeem to remember, his baby comes first and to never let a woman come between him and his daughter—even Tiana. Hakeem goes to Anika’s to try and see Bella but she’s not there, she’s at her boyfriend Angelo’s. Hakeem is bummed. We hope he can eventually spend some time with Bella. He may have a lot of flaws, but, his love for his baby is pure.

Heartbreaking Flashbacks

Watching her children get hurt by Diana triggers more prison flashbacks for Cookie. This time, she remembers when Poundcake’s baby is born. She holds her and says she would do anything for her. She’d even kill for her and Cookie agrees. Later, Cookie can’t find Poundcake and it turns out she was sent to the hole for a whole month and she was forced to sign away rights to her child, who wound up in the foster system. Cookie’s prison time was such a dark time for her and the flashbacks continue to give us insight into her abrasive, gun-toting personality.

He’s Come Undone

Andre meets Pamela at an outdoor café and asks her if she’s working for Diana Dubois. She’s confused and upset that he doesn’t trust her. They fight and people around them notice. Pamela leaves and Andre angrily smashes a glass. Thirsty is watching Andre unseen and calls Lucious and tells him to get there right away.

Lucious arrives and questions Andre, who confesses he’s been dating a cop. Lucious handles the news better than we expect and says they want to meet her. Later, Lucious and Cookie discover Diana convinced Andre’s therapist to prescribe meds to mess with his mind. They tell Andre and he promises them he’ll get a new doctor.

He calls Pamela and asks her to come over. They get into another heated conversation which eventually leads to Andre telling Pamela he was behind the car bombing. She says, “I got you” and then announces via gunpoint that he’s under arrest. They fight, her gun blasts a hole in the window. She falls to the floor and Andre kills her.

Meanwhile, Cookie and Lucious arrive to warn Andre he’s being played after discovering there was never a detective named Pamela Rose on the NYPD. Andre is distraught and rants on about how he killed her and didn’t want to. He screams “Look what I did!” When they go to look at her body – HUGE shocker – there’s nothing there.

It turns out Andre has been hallucinating and dreaming up their entire relationship. All three Lyons are terrified when they realize this and we can’t blame them – we never saw this one coming! There are two big questions as we head into next week’s finale: Will Andre ever recover from this traumatic mental break and what will Cookie and Lucious do to Diana for all the damage she’s caused?

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