Tonight’s “Empire” episode “Without Apology” lived up to the billing with Cookie and Lucious finally on the same page, Eddie low-key flexing his villainous ways and plenty of twists to keep everyone watching. After taking it all in, SOHH’s come up with 5 Huge Takeaways from Wednesday’s show!

1. Forest Whitaker’s “Eddie” Could Become A Top Villain

Tonight’s episode left little to the imagination about just how great of an actor Forest Whitaker is and – more importantly – just how much of an overwhelming force “Eddie” could become in the remainder of season four if not the entire series. While there have been a few bad guys like Taye Diggs’ Angelo who have started off being a fan favorite and then quickly turning bad – “Eddie” has the range to really become the worst (in a good way) villain “Empire” has had to date. His relationship with the Lyons goes way back – notably his brotherly bond to Lucious Lyon. His executive position at Empire has allowed him to not only oversee key characters like Tiana Brown – who is now giving up a potential engagement to Hakeem because of Eddie’s influence – but help broker deals with Cookie and Lucious’ blessing. There is plenty to come with Eddie and with all of the power moves he made tonight, it looks like he could be the most unexpected bad guy we’ve seen on the series thus far.

2. The Show’s Getting Its Groove Back

It’s no secret over the past few seasons “Empire” has suffered some drops in ratings and seriousness but tonight’s episode delivered some key shine into what could be the series getting back on track with its roots. No flashbacks. No unnecessary wasted scenes. No guest stars – actually, take that one back but finally it was a guest spot we could actually appreciate it. Watching “Martin” star and TV veteran Tisha Campbell return felt way bigger than a two-second typical “Empire” guest spot. What made it even more special is how her role in a three-woman group (a la Total, Xscape, TLC) felt genuine and sparked a ton of laughs. What better way to introduce the crew than showing them performing at a local mall opening? Simply said, the humor element and decision not to waste a guest cameo were both felt tonight. The group’s interactions with Cookie and Lucious had replay value in them – something that’s been inconsistent with the show in past episodes.

3. The King’s Back

Face it – there will never be another Lucious Lyon. You can try to kill him, lock him up or even take away a body part but the truth is “Empire” needs Terrence Howard’s character-that-you-love-to-hate just as much as you’d think. If you think about it, almost every season has centered on some devastating storyline to ‘off’ him from the series. In season one a non-curable disease was supposed to be the end of Lucious. In season two it was him locked up. In the third season – well, it was the near-fatal bomb attack on him. Face it, the show knows we low-key love Terrence Howard’s bawwwwwwse status and after suffering through the first part of the season with a zzz-filled memory loss Lucious, the almighty king is back at his throne and we finally saw ‘and’ felt this tonight.

4. End The Secret

It could be argued we never needed to have the ‘who tried to kill Lucious’ question answered in this season or possibly even the entire series. But with some early episodes to play with and saving us the hassle of watching an entire part two of the season with Lucious piecing together clues to who really tried to kill him – Andre kept things 100 and told his pops the truth. Needless to say, the interaction between Lucious and Andre is worth watching a few times – some bad acting and some just pure laughter, but the biggest takeaway from this is an unnecessary storyline being addressed. Now you could argue things might get crazier with Leslie “Shine” Johnson getting dragged and forced to face Lucious one on one – but the cat is out of the bag and “Empire” allows the series to evolve well beyond a simple storyline forcing us to keep looking back at season three.

5. Cookie’s Condition

Just when you thought the corny storylines were done – “Empire” went the extra mile to have Cookie experience some major medical condition. Heart attack? Seizure? Doing too many Tyler Perry movies and not giving yourself a break? We’ll have to wait and find out what exactly is going on with Cookie but there’s no denying this is one of the biggest moments of tonight’s episode. Will this be a storyline or issue Cookie needs serious medical help with? Are we going to have to go down memory lane and find out where this stems from? Remember “Empire” finally buried the Lucious medical storyline(s) and could be playing with fire if they don’t handle this properly.

Did you like tonight’s “Without Apology” episode? Think “Empire” is starting to get its mojo back? Should “Power” worry about the competition? Let us know in the comments section below!