On Wednesday’s “Empire,” the competition between Lucious and son Hakeem boiled over, while Cookie’s work with Jamal forced him to make a choice. Here are the most important things to know about “My Bad Parts,” the eighth episode of season 2.
The episode began with Lucious and Freda debuting “Shots Fired” to “send a message to Hakeem.” He was mid-hookup with Laura, who just revealed she’s a virgin, when he saw video of the rap calling him “Daddy’s little girl.” Hakeem then released his own video vowing to battle Freda and “show the world who the real Lyon/lion is.” Unbeknownst to him, Anika discovered she was pregnant… presumably with his baby.
Jamal worked with Pepsi on a possible sponsorship deal to become the new face of the company, but nine other artists were also in the running. He had to submit a song within a week, and while Lucious promised to help, Jamal instead worked with Cookie on the track. She wanted him to switch allegiance to Lyon Dynasty, but he was afraid Lucious would sabotage the Pepsi deal as revenge. Later, Cookie was forced to hide in Jamal’s apartment when Lucious unexpectedly showed up to offer a beat, and the patriarch wondered why his ex’s coat was there.
Mimi was desperate to finalize the streaming deal with Jago, and clashed with Lucious over the buy-out. He demanded Andre get Thirsty to “dig up some dirt” on Jago to have him under his “control” just like everyone else. After the investigation, Andre and Thirsty recommended they back out of the plans, but Lucious refused, and was determined to manipulate Mimi to get what he wanted. Later, at a meeting with Jago, Lucious and Mimi signed the deal over Thirsty’s objections, but it seemed like the Lyon mogul had something up his sleeve.
Cookie was furious over the rap battle, worried that Hakeem was playing into Lucious’ game and risking Lyon Dynasty’s credibility as she tried to plan Cookie’s Cookout. Hakeem ripped Laz as a “punk ass promoter” as he, too, discouraged the face-off, leading to a shoving match. Cookie then slapped Laz for “touching” her son. Later, Hakeem became angrier when he found out Cookie was helping Jamal with his Pepsi deal, and felt jealous that she wanted him at Lyon Dynasty. She called him a “snitch bitch” for threatening to tell Lucious.
When a pregnant Rhonda told Anika that babies are Lucious’ “kryptonite,” turning him into a supportive softie, she wondered how her own pregnancy may affect things. Afterward, Anika went to Hakeem and tried to come on to him, but he asked to “talk, no touching,” saying he was “in love” with Laura. She laughed and played it cool, and kept the pregnancy secret to herself.
Jamal later said he had another sound he wanted to combine with Lucious’ offering, and worked with Cookie on the recording… which Lucious interrupted. As it turned out, Jamal actually purposefully had them both come to “neutral ground” in hopes of getting their help with blending the tracks. Neither wanted the merger, leading them to demand Jamal to “choose.” Instead, he said he was “done.” Cookie and Lucious, however, went on to make a bet: If Hakeem won the rap battle, Cooke would get Jamal’s album. If Freda won, Lucious would get Hakeem’s.
Later, after getting advice from Hakeem, Jamal had both his parents come to the Pepsi meeting, where he debuted a song that seamlessly combined the two tracks with lyrics asserting his independence. He told Cookie and Lucious afterward that BOTH would produce his album… and “enjoy it.” Before they could tell him about the bet, Pepsi revealed they were giving him the deal.
The rap battle followed, with Hakeem and Freda spitting rhymes in each other’s faces with the family watching. The crowd seemed to be heavily favoring Freda, but that changed when he took Jamal’s earlier advice to engage the audience and make it more of a “show.” Hakeem ended by smashing a sign with his name, saying he would no longer use “Lyon.” That promoted Lucious to have a flashback to himself as a little boy, when he was first inspired to take lion/Lyon on.
Hakeem was declared the battle’s winner, and toasted with his mom, Jamal, and Andre. Cookie was happy to have her “boys back” if “only for one night,” but Lucious interrupted, forcing her to reveal the bet. They were further interrupted when Cookie’s sister Candace (Vivica A. Fox) unexpectedly showed up, saying their sis Carol was on a bender and had left a note blaming Cookie and Jamal.
At the end of the episode, Hakeem sent Laura off in a car, unaware that Anika was the driver in disguise. The promo for next week showed Lucious signing a new singer (Alicia Keys) as Anika tries to win Hakeem back. TELL US: What did you think of tonight’s “Empire?”