In tonight’s episode of Empire, we see the Feds come hard at Lucious and friends, Hakeem and Jamaal go at it – again and Cookie proves to be one smart cookie; pun intended.
We start off with a raid of the Empire offices by the Feds. While the offices are being ransacked by the Feds, Jamaal is in the studio doing an interview with Rolling Stone.
Meanwhile, Cookie is meeting with Anika who has once again come with her tail between her legs to beg for a job at the Lyons Dynasty offices. Hakeem gets a message about the raid at the Empire office and they laugh at the misfortune of their rival, Lucious. Suddenly, the doors burst open and the Feds roll into the Lyons Dynasty office as Cookie, Anika and Hakeem look on angrily.
After assessing the damage and destruction, Lucious gathers his entire staff around the conference table and declares war on the Feds.
Lucious calls a meeting with his family, telling them they must stick together despite their rivalry as the feds are attacking the entire Lyons clan to get at Lucious. During the meeting, Hakeem flatly asks Lucious if he killed Bunky to which Lucious adamantly denies he laid a finger on his late friend, who in fact, he shot point blank in season one.
Lucious realizes that the Feds don’t have a case unless Vernon testifies, which we know won’t happen since Andre & Rhonda killed Vernon in the season finale.
Cookie requests a meeting with Lucious to propose a truce with Empire during the raids. She offers Lucious the participation of Hakeem in a “Lyons family” music video featuring with Jamaal to show the feds and the world that the family is strong and unified. In exchange, she asks Lucious to give Lyon Dynasty national radio airplay on Lucious’ newly purchased Apex Radio network. Lucious refuses to open the airwaves to Lyon Dynasty but agrees that he will stop try to poach Cookie’s artists.
Andre meets with Lucious, again begging to return to the Empire fold. Lucious promises Andre that he will take care of Andre’s new son but refuses to let Andre back in the Empire. However, Lucious promises to give Andre “anything he wants” if he can make the FBI investigation into the death of Bunky ‘go away.’
Defying his promise to stop attempting to poach Lyon Dynasty artists, Lucious attempts to lure Hakeem to Empire by promising him a beat and Empire’s resources. Hakeem refuses.
Attempting to make good on his promise to make the FBI go away, Andre and Rhonda set off at night to dig up the body of Vernon Turner who Roxanne the federal prosecutor is seeking to testify about the murder of Bunky. After digging for hours, Andre and Rhonda realize that Vernon’s corpse is not in the place in the woods where they thought they had buried it.
Cookie gets hemmed up by the police outside of the location where Hakeem and Jamaal are filming the video for Ain’t About The Money, their militant song to demonstrate their unity. (As the police are shoving Cookie into the car, she declares that if she dies in police custody she did not commit suicide — a reference to the mysterious real-life death of Sandra Bland who was found hung this summer in a Texas jail.). Badass Roxanne strides into the holding room to inform Cookie that she was picked up on an arrest warrant — for jumping a turnstile. [It was actually Porsha who hopped the turnstile and falsely gave Cookie’s name.] Roxanne threatens to hurt Cookie’s boys — even promising to leak Andre’s medical records showing he is bipolar — if Cookie doesn’t snitch on Lucious.
After sitting in her cell for a while, Cookie remembers her tortuous time in prison. Appearing stressed and ready to spill the goods on Lucious, Cookie fabricates a story to Roxanne about how Lucious and Bunky were fighting over the Apex Radio acquisition and that after this “Bunky wound up dead.” Roxanne is satisfied that Cookie has given her something concrete to capture Lucious and promises to stop the Apex Radio deal. But Cookie has outsmarted Roxanne, pulling a power move that cleverly secured her release AND crushed Lucious’ plans to control the radio airwaves and lockout Lyon Dynasty.
Back on the video shoot set, Hakeem and Jamaal get into a real fight during the filming. Hakeem vows to never come back to Empire. [Note: If this were a real fight, everyone on the set would have pulled out their phones and taped it. WORLDSTAR!]
With sunrise quickly approaching, Andre and Rhonda futily begin to fill in the holes they’ve dug in search of Vernon’s body. Suddenly, a car approaches in the dark and Thristy Rawlings emerges with Lucious who had Andre’s car tracked after his suspicions were raised that Andre had some knowledge of Vernon’s whereabouts. Thirsty’s handy “corpse detector” quickly locates the decaying body of Vernon and they throw his remains in the trunk with Lucious secretly whispering to Vernon that he should “rot in hell for being a snitch.” [Note: We thought the corpse detector was silly until we found out it is very real.]
Cookie is dropped back off at the video shoot set where she encounters Anika who tells her the gig is over and done. Anika is once again rebuffed and tossed aside by Cookie, who tells her she doesn’t trust her.
Roxanne Ford is gleeful and excited about Cookie’s tip and eager to stop the Empire/Apex Radio deal. She enters her car and screams at the sight of Vernon’s dead body in the passenger seat.