'Empire' season 4, episode 9 recap: Murder, revenge and misery rock Fall Finale
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“Empire” just might have packed more plot twists and shockers into a single episode in last night’s Fall Finale on FOX than the series has ever seen. Andre (Trai Byers) continues to recover from a psychotic break in the hospital while Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious (Terrence Howard) continue their plot to take Diana (Phylicia Rashad) down. So many unexpected things happen that by the end of the episode, all the drama is turned on its head.

“Trapped” at the Captain’s Ball

Mama Dubois is long overdue for a Cookie-style clapback and she finally receives one this week at her beloved Captain’s Ball in front of her high-society friends. Warren goes to Jamal’s place to beg his forgiveness; which Jamal refuses to give. Can anyone blame him, really? He goes a step further and tips Jamal off about his mother’s plans that evening.

So, first things first, Cookie and Lucious grab Angelo and beat him up until he signs a document saying he participated in kidnapping baby Bella. Then, the three of them crash Diana’s Captain’s Ball. Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) and Jamal hit the stage and sing a great rendition of “Trapped.” The crowd watches them perform and is confused. Before long, Mama Lyon takes the stage to tell everyone the dirty deeds Diana has been doing – including kidnapping her granddaughter. Diana tries to blow it all off until the crowd gets uneasy and then the cops come in and arrest her. We’d say she’s pretty trapped now, given that she’s headed for a jail cell.

Becky and Eddie Deal with Unexpected Surprises

Have we mentioned lately how great Gabourey Sidibe is in her role as ambitious A&R girl Becky? She brings a light to a lot of the darkness in these past few episodes. Becky keeps the Lyon brothers grounded on multiple levels. This week, she faces an unexpected emotional situation. She’s pregnant. Thirsty finds her crying and she really doesn’t want to talk about it. But, he figures it out pretty fast. What is she going to do? Will she keep and raise her baby? Will she tell the father? It’s going to be interesting to see how she handles it.

Eddie is wrapping up his work at Empire because Lucious seems recovered enough to return to his producing duties. Then his ex runs into the building and frantically tells him they’re broke. All their money was lost in a Ponzi scheme. He tells her he’ll fix it. He’ll just stay on at Empire. That seems a little too easy, though. Will Eddie’s affiliation with Empire will ultimately lead to more trouble?

Is Angelo Dead or Just Wounded?

Angelo goes to Warren’s motel waving a gun and then Jamal arrives. Angelo shoots Warren in the shoulder and he falls. Angelo and Jamal continue to fight with the gun between them and it goes off. Angelo sinks to the floor covered in blood. Jamal panics and calls 911 to say, “There’s been a shooting. I think someone is dead.” That’s the big question. Is Angelo really dead? Or is he just severely wounded? Taye Diggs did an excellent job in this role as Angelo transitioned to a very kind, charismatic and bright man to a very dark and crazed person. If he’s dead, we’ll miss what Taye Diggs brought to the show and the role.

Baby Bella, a Confession, and “Misery” in the Making

Hakeem forces Anika to give Bella back to him, or else he’ll charge her with accessory to kidnapping. Anika cries and begs Hakeem not to take her. But, she doesn’t want to go back to jail. We’re really proud of Hakeem when he tells Anika he would never cut Bella’s mother out of her life. So, he’ll still allow her to see their daughter. Before he leaves with her, he tells Anika he doesn’t want her to ever be used as a pawn again and we’re so glad someone finally understands how terrible that is.

Lucious returns to Andre’s bedside at the hospital. In his sedated state, Andre confesses to Lucious about planting the bomb and trying to kill him. Lucious is shocked and is obviously trying to process what he heard as a needle is plunged into his neck and he blacks out.

Lucious wakes up in the next scene with his wrists strapped to a bed as creepy Claudia stands over him and says, “I told you I’d never leave you Dwight.” Uh oh. We have an “Empire” “Misery” movie in the making. Will Lucious escape Claudia’s evil clutches? We’ll have to wait till the New Year to find out.

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