In tonight’s episode, Anika gets busted with Beretti, Andre goes off his meds and the Empire rides off the rails. #8to10!
While Anika and Lucious sit in their mansion with a wedding planner going over their nuptial details, Cookie loudly bursts onto the scene with the crazy bombshell — Anika has been working with Billy Beritti. Turns out that while Anika was paying Porsha to spy on Cookie, Porsha was actually spying on Anika and caught “fake ass Lena Horne” at Bill Beritti’s house. Lucious, stunned by the sudden news, immediately calls his head of security, Malcolm (Derek Luke), and orders that Empire be locked down. Cookie heads upstairs and starts tossing Anika’s clothes off the balcony ala “Waiting To Exhale”. In full flight mode, Anika gets on the phone and dashes out of the mansion. Following Anika out the door, Lucious informs her that if the Empire IPO doesn’t go through, Anika’s dad will go to jail for fraud. Anika exits the gates of the mansion where a fleet of black SUV’s pull up and Anika jumps in… with Billy Beritti’s in the back seat.
Suicidal and haunted by the memories of his father’s persistent rejection, Andre flushes all of his medications down the toilet.
Empire’s conference room has turned into a war room where all the executives are on deck with papers strewn about strategizing how to defend against Creedmore Records’ attempt to pillage their artist roster. With their top artists “in play” and at risk including Tiana, Elle Dallas and Travie Wild, Lucious and Cookie rush in ready for war and to draw blood.
At Creedmore Records headquarters, Anika, Beretti and their executives listen as V (checkout V’s first appearance early in the season) auditions for a spot on the Creedmore roster. After promising V he’ll treat her like Lucious never did and make her a huge star, Billy sits down alone with Anika. He wants Anika to give him some real dirt on Lucious. Anika is reluctant to tell him that Lucious has ALS. Billy reaches out and touches Anika’s knee, but Anika rejects his advances saying she wants to keep their relationship “professional.”
Galvanized by the positive response to his “coming out” and motivated to “draw blood” for Empire, Jamal tells Lucious that he believes he can get multiplatinum singer, Delphine (Estelle), to sign with Empire. Jamal had just spent time with Delphine and he had gained her favor after they recorded a rousing track together (see Jamal and Delphine sing “Conquerer”). Lucious blows him off, still reeling from Jamaal’s new “status” and blaming him for Empire’s artist defection.
On her own mission to stop artists from defecting to Creedmore, Cookie goes to confront Empire artist, Royale-T, who is holed up in a studio in the Bronx with some of Creedmore’s people. Pulling out her hood credibility and reminding him of her 17-year jail bid, Cookie does what she has to do to keep Royale-T on the label — challenging him to a “sizzurp drink off.” When it’s all said and done, the entourage are all passed out with Cookie and Royale-T left standing and Royale-T secure on the Empire roster.
As Cookie staggers out of the studio, a thug tries to mug her. Fortunately for her, Empire’s security honcho, Malcolm, is posted up outside and stops the robbery. Cookie rewards him for his heroics, offering him a taste of her “cookie.” Malcolm turns it down saying she is Lucious’ woman and off-limits.
Jamal and Hakim are in the elevator on their way to report to Empire’s war room when Andre enters, smiling and babbling about buying a new Lamborgini to use for wooing artists to stay on Empire. The brothers get into a heated argument about Andre’s bizarre purchase, an altercation ensues and suddenly, the elevator stops and goes dark. (We later learn the malfunction was due to a malicious hack by Creedmore.) Andre starts freaking out, sweating, yelling and nervously talking to himself incoherently. The brothers realize Andre is in crisis and try to calm him down, reminding him of their childhood. In a heart-wrenching scene, Jamal and Hakim sing “Lean On Me”– coaxing their visibly lost big brother into a song of consolation.
Trying to intercept Beretti from poaching Travie Wild, Lucious and his security team race to the airport where Beretti is putting him on a plane to Europe. As Berretti’s fleet of black SUVs are leaving the airport, Lucious’ posse pulls up in their own trucks. Beretti and Lucious jump out of their trucks and face off with their henchmen behind them, guns drawn. A standoff ensues, with Beretti dropping a hint that he slept with Anika (“she talks in her sleep”). Lucious promises to take Creedmore down and the men retreat to their cars and a cold war.
Lucious panics when he finds out Tiana has a meeting with Creedmore. With Hakeem in tow, Cookie rushes off to intercept her. Hakim sees Anika approaching the rendezvous spot and stops her, telling Anika he wants her to come back to Empire. Realizing Hakim’s diversion, Anika sees Cookie and Tiana through the restaurant window talking, and tries to nudge her way past Hakim. Not so fast Boo Boo Kitty — Hakim bought the goon squad with him and you’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
Andre is in a full-blown bipolar crisis in the Empire “war room” and out of control. At one point Andre whispers to Lucious, “When you’re naming a successor to the company, you pick the one who knows you’re a murderer.” Unaware of Andre’s mental illness but visibly worried, Lucious orders his security team to hold Andre in the conference room and call his wife.
Back at the restaurant, Tiana tells Cookie what she wants — to stay on Empire records and to get back with Hakim. Hakim tells her that he loves Camilla.
After an intense argument about Lucious’ homophobia, Lucious and Jamaal meet with Delphine at Leviticus. After a successful meeting, Delphine joins Empire and then joins, Lucious, Jamal,Tiana and Cookie on stage for an impromptu performance of You’re So Beautiful.
The episode ends with an emotionally riveting scene in the Empire conference room. Out-of-control and violent, Andre is being retained as his wife, Rhonda, looks on helplessly and crying. Andre becomes physically violent towards his father, getting in his face and telling Lucious that he knows about “the murder.” With EMS units now on the scene, Andre is screaming and fighting any attempts to detain him. They tackle Andre down to the ground, injecting him with a sedative. Relunctantly, Rhonda signs the consent papers to commit Andre to a mental institution for 48 hours.