Fox’s Empire Recap – “Die But Once” Season 1, Episode 11 (Season Finale)

In tonight’s explosive episode (part 1 of the 2-part season finale) of Empire, Andre discovers Jesus, Jamaal is tested by the Devil and Lucious is resurrected from the dead. #offthechain

The episode opens with Lucious on his piano, frustrated with writer’s block. Lucious wants to drop the most epic song at his final concert, Cookie Lyons presents The Lucious Lyon Sound. At his wits end, he summons Becky Cookie, but finds out that she is away for the weekend.

In a snowy woodland cabin in the Bershires, Cookie and Malcom have snuck away for for a romantic weekend. Cookie’s mind is on her impending, star-studded tribute concert, but Malcolm takes her mind away for a few moments of pleasure. After, Malcolm reveals to Cookie that Camilla rejected Lucious’ bribe money to leave Hakim.

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Back at Empire, the building is abuzz in preparation for the press conference and big announcement of Empire’s new partnership deal with Snoop Dogg. Lucious is served papers a legal notice. It’s an injunction from Creedmore Records stop Lucious from going public. Lucious wants to put Malcolm on the case but Malcolm is away in the Berkshires for a long weekend. Lucious’ medical team trails behind him for his scheduled checkup, but he tells them he has no time and no symptoms, except for “double-vision.” One of the medical staff curiously notes that double vision isn’t associated with ALS, foreshadowing that Lucious’ prognosis may be different than what he’s been told.

Snoop Dogg takes the stage to perform his newest single, Peaches and Cream of his new upcoming album, Bush. Snoop ends with a freestyle and throws it to Hakim who is in the crowd watching. Hakim, still bitter that Lucious sent Camilla away, takes the stage and in less than eight bars, disses his father, promising revenge.

“They call me keem, what’s popping fellas?
The way I spit it, I even make my daddy jealous.
Ya’ll think he got the power, Shame the D,
that poor fool can’t even keep his family together.
They say that he the king, well I’m the prince,
I’mma run the Empire and leave with your bitch.
I’m gone.”

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And with a mic drop, Hakim walks off with his crew but doesn’t get far before Lucious catches up with him and punches him square in his face knocking him down. Hakim gets up, spits blood and walks away. [This is Hakim’s 3rd beatdown of the season.]

Both Jamal and Hakim discuss their hatred of Lucious and what he has done to them, Jamaal reminding us of Lucious’ betrayal of impregnating his wife and tricking him into believing the child is his. Hakim decides to leave Empire, stating that he never signed a contract. Jamal advises against it.

Still looking for Cookie, Lucious confronts Porsha, Cookie’s assistant, who slips up and reveals that Cookie went away for the weekend to the Berkshires — the same destination as Malcolm. Lucious’ realizes the betrayal and storms out.

Cookie arrives at the Empire lobby with her sister, Carol, in tow, when her office key fails and the security guards refuse to let her in. Irate, Cookie calls for Lucious who appears to tell her she’s been busted and banned from the building. Cookie refuses to leave, declaring that Empire is her company and that she is a board member. Lucious reveals that Andre only pretended to put her on the board. Cookie leaves but swears revenge.

Frustrated and unable to resume work after his bi-polar timeout, Andre goes to a church to find Michelle, his music therapist. Michelle invites him to stay and connect with God.

[Commercial Break: Did you see 50 Cent’s Power commercial that aired during Empire? On a black screen, the commercial opened with “Every Empire is built on Power…” Subliminal shots fired. #DriveBy And yes, SOHH.com will be doing recaps for Power Season 1 & 2.]

Cookie is packing her belongings preparing to leave when Malcolm walks in. After telling her that Lucious didn’t fire him for the affair, Malcolm tells Cookie he has resigned to take a high-level job in D.C. and wants her to leave with him. With a kiss goodbye, Cookie tells him she can’t leave Empire.

Reborn and renewed, Andre meets with Lucious and informs him that he too is resigning as CFO of Empire. Lucious tells him Empire needs him and begs him to stay but won’t promise him the coveted helm.

With no other family or friends to turn to, Lucious turns to Jamal for help. Cold, but willing, Jamaal takes Lucious back to his old home in Philly where they grew up. Haunted by the demons of their tumultuous past and flashbacks of painful incidences, Lucious and Jamaal dusts off the old keyboard and begin to create, freeing Lucious from writer’s block. In the episode’s “Power/Glee” moment, with Jamal on the keyboard and Lucious on guitar, the two throw jabs back n’ forth creating a powerful track to debut at the upcoming concert. [NOTE: Peep the reference in the song to “Whoop That Trick” — a nod to the Hustle & Flow movie that Taraji and Terrance first appeared in together.]

Newly bonded, Lucious challenges Jamal to get his masters back from Beritti — who has filed a court order preventing Lucious from using any of his classic hits — in order to prove that he has the heart to take over Empire. With the Empire prize and his father’s approval finally within his reach, Jamal heads over to Creedmore Records to prove he is worthy. He viciously grabs Beretti and hangs him over the side of the balcony ala Suge Knight, promising to drop him if Lucious’ masters aren’t released.

Meanwhile, Lucious gets wind that Hakim is in the process of defecting to Creedmore Records. Lucious shows up to stop him and finds Jamaal hanging Beretti over the balcony ledge – and Hakim banging Anika on the edge of the bathroom sink! #coldBlooded

It turns out that the suspicions of his medical staff are confirmed — Lucious’ double-vision is NOT ALS — it’s a treatable disease called Myasthenia Crohn and he’s not dying.

Lucious’ doctor gives him an injection to treat him for his double-vision and shakes, then offers him a sedative to sleep better. Lucious falls into a dreadful sleep, having dreams that Bunky’s corpse is by his bedside. Talking in his sleep, Lucious confesses to Bunky’s murder. Cookie is sitting by his bedside and is shocked when she overhears him confess to killing Bunky. Devastated, Cookie attempts to smother Lucious with a pillow as he sleeps.

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