Fox’s Empire Episode #4 False Imposition – Recap and Takeaways

Taraji P. Henson as Cookie in Empire

Episode 4 of Fox’s weekly music industry drama Empire exposed more dirty dealings by Lucious and hinted at a future showdown between him and industry rival Beretti. Hakeem continues to be the resident conceited asshole. Yet another episode finds him avoiding the studio and rebuking and disrespecting his mom. Hakeem also learns a valuable lesson about giving keys to women and 44-year-old side chicks in this episode. Cookie gets a wardrobe upgrade that compliments her assets and gets double takes from Lucious – even a little finger coddling went on. Cookie also is more assertive this time, taking on management of Empire’s young female artist and calling meetings – all to the dismay of Anika. Anika convinces Lucious she can wheel and deal in the hood resulting in a meeting that backfired with flying bullets. Jamal is living like a pauper and Andre steps up and gets his dad’s back in a major way. Andre’s wife Rhonda was nowhere to be found in this episode – guess she’s washing bibs and recovering from her plugging she received in the previous episode.

In Episode 4 Lucious continues to put the heat on his defiant son  Hakeem to get his ass in the studio and lay down some serious tracks. Hakeem is a spoiled brat whose biggest problem is he’s been raised in a lap of luxury and coddled by Lucious for his entire life, He’s never had to grind and sacrifice like his parents to obtain the notoriety and wealth he wallows in. In fact Lucious is the very reason Hakeem can’t seem to write anything worth anything. Folks be careful how you coddle your kids-they may have a difficult time leaving the nest and making something of themselves.

 Hakeem also has “mommy” issues and its apparent by the way he treats his Mother Cookie. His mommy issues have led him into a relationship with an older woman (Camille played by Naomi Campbell) where Hakeem seems to let his guard down regarding some of his issues. It’s amazing what an older woman in a hot tub can get out of a guy.

Naomi Cambell as Camille in Fox’s Empire

Hakeem got a little too relaxed in this episode and forgot he’d given his recently hooked girl and Empire artist, Tiana a key to his pad. Tiana walks in and finds him up close and personal with Camille in the tub.

Tiana storms out, Camille lashes out and Hakeem should have learned a lesson all men know. Never take a side piece to a crib where the main flame has access. That’s a form of Russian Roulette where the bullet is guaranteed to wind up in the chamber (in some cases literally) if you play that game long enough. The takeaway for older women that cuddle up to spoiled “kept” pompous brats is they can expect some simple stupid shit to jump off at some point.

 The encounter with Hakeem and Camille didn’t effect Hakeem’s and Tiana’s performance at the Teen Choice Awards nominations concert. Tiana cares more about music than she does some spoiled brat blinded by a cougar and she made that quite clear to Hakeem before they went on stage. When he swaggered into the building late she admonished him by saying “”What I’m not cool with is you dissing your mother and showing up to sound check late.” Tiana, like Cookie is “bout it bout it”.

Together and to the delight of Tiana’s new manager Cookie, Tiana and Hakeem perform Tiana’s single “Keep it Moving” and rock the house.

After the departure of Kid FoFo from Lucious’ stable of performers last week, Lucious found himself needing a new act. Especially since Hakeem and Jamal are dragging their feet behind their issues that have them headed everywhere except the studio. Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) suggested the red-hot rapper Titan that is currently tearing up the scene but is dealing with one of Lucious’ rivals. . Before Lucious could move on Titan the rapper lands in jail for shooting a drug dealer. Lucious uppity refined girlfriend, Anika gets wind of this and tells Lucious she wants to go down in the land of gang – bangers and hood rats to get a deal done with Titan. Cookie correctly scoffs at the notion of the bougie debutante even thinking about going near the hood or anybody in it and takes it upon herself to get the deal done by working through Titan’s mother.

Well, Lucious crazily decides he’s going to roll down in the hood with Anika and meet with Titan’s manager/cousin. I echo Cookie’s reaction to Lucious when she realize he was rolling with Anika on this.

 “Are you stupid?”.

 He’s either that or p**** whipped beyond realizing what he was doing because that meeting he and Anika arranged almost got their asses killed. Yes, the drug dealer shot by Titan had some associates that decided they would shoot up the restaurant where the meeting was taking place. Lucious and his bougie girlfriend wound up on the floor covered in shattered glass and ducking hot lead. I bet Anika peed her thongs – or worse.

Cookie would have pulled a Gak out and one major shoot out would’ve taken place – but I digress.

Speaking of Cookie, while Lucious and Anika were ducking bullets, she was playing the role of a Muslim Mother visiting Titan’s mother who embraces the Muslim faith. Cookie talks about how the religion got her through incarceration yet when she was freed she became lonelier than ever. That was an effective play on a Mother at the threshold of experiencing the loneliness of being without her son. The play got Titan’s Mother’s attention, but Titan’s Mother doesn’t have the last say on who he signs with.

Enter that “white man ” we’ve heard is behind so many hip-hop artists. Titan is signed to a contract with Lucious’ business rival Beretti. Beretti  (Judd Nelson) picked up Kid FoFo when FoFo’s relationship with Empire went south-something that didn’t sit well with Lucious. Add to that Beretti has taken the credit for some of Lucious past work and he promises to bring down Empire if it goes public.

In the meeting between Lucious and Beretti at Lucious’ club Leviticus, Baretti’s attempts to blackmail Lucious by threatening to derail Empire’s IPO by divulging the real low down dirt on Lucious. Beretti might want to watch his back – if Lucious can kill his childhood friend and ex-wife’s cousin without batting an eye I suspect he’s cable of doing anything to Beretti.

Lucious dismissed Baretti’s threats, and visited Titan in prison and promised to pay the $1.7 million to repair the community center – all Titan had to do was start recording for Empire on a phone that Lucious gave him. Titan took the phone and the money. Lucious and Beretti aren’t done here.

One thing this episode clearly depicts is people’s loyalty to the sometimes ruthless, self centered, ecentric Lucious. Cookie who took a fall and spent upwards of 15 years in the slammer for a man who never came to visit her makes repeated attempts to cover his back. She softens up to him considerably in this episode and seems genuinely determined not to see him fail. True love dies a slow death and history is tie that always binds. Just sayin’.

Cookie and Lucious on Fox’s Empire

Then the cops come a knocking at Empire investigating Bunky’s death. When Lucious is questioned about his where abouts during the time Bunky was killed Lucious takes it upon himself to lie and say he was home – probably banking on Anika backing the story. Then before that lie is absorbed by the officer, surprisingly his eldest son volunteers an alibi for his Father saying Lucious was at his place. The bewilderment created by the unsolicited lie is resolved in a flashback that shows a young Andre getting his Father out of a jam by hiding a gun in his toys during a visit to their home by police.

I don’t think these double alibis went unnoticed by the investigating office who already suspects Lucious. Lucious can expect to hear from that officer again in a future episode. There’s a drunk that saw the whole killing that could very well prove a problem for Lucious. Note to self – Never volunteer to lie to any cop to cover any thing you had absolutely nothing to do with.

Trai Byers as Andrea on Fox’s Empire

Then there’s Anika who is so far standing by her man even under the inauspicious cloud of Lucious’ terminal illness and the presence of a meddling and menacing ex-wife. After a shaking episode while shaving Lucious reveals to Anika that he is running out of time. Anika does the intimately correct thing by consoling her man while shaving him herself.

Memo to Lucious – trust this one with your throat but watch your money around her. The next episode is going to find Anika in a position that could lead to her getting a large piece of the Empire pie. The girl has more than one agenda here.

Even Jamal, who Lucious despises because he is gay seems determined to do the right thing by Lucious. After cutting himself off from Lucious and the amenities of Lucious’ success and living like a pauper, Jamal returns a check to Lucious because he felt he hadn’t earned the money. There is some things money just can’t by and in Jamal’s case it’s principles. Kudos to Jamal.

Takeaways from Episode 4

WATCH Anika . Boo Kitty has a long range self sufficing agenda .

Cookie is easing into her corporate heels and boardroom seat. She’s calling meetings and acquiring artists. She’s not by any means done.

Taraji P. Henson as Cookie in Fox’s Empire

When one has made the sacrifices Cookie has they want what’s theirs. The lady wants her family and her company.

Jamal and Lucious’ stand-off. At some point Father and Son has to come to some amicable terms or they both will lose out.

The older son Andrea is up to more than just getting Dad’s back. In the world of high stakes music money and fame, blood is not thicker than money – then there is Andrea’s wife Rhonda who is up to more than “blowing wwhile wearing a bib”.

Lucious is messing with the Nation of Islam when he goes after Titan. He’s multiplying his adversaries – Beretti and now the Nation. Lucious maybe able to rub out Beretti but the Nation won’t be so easy to get out of sight out of mind. The lesson: sometimes its safer to just play the game straight and accept the fact some things aren’t meant for you to have.

Hakeem is headed for trouble and a failed career if he doesn’t change his ways. You can’t dis your Mom on a grand scale and expect good things to come your way – especially if those goods things have to come from a man who still has feelings for your Mom. You also can’t expect the fruits of labor to fall from a tree you never devoted any time to planting and cultivating.

Andrea is up to something. You don’t voluntarily cover a murder up for no one for no reason. It could be love of Father or love of future power and money – remember he’s got a freak in his ear and his pants and freaks like Rhonda don’t come cheap.

Andrea and Rhonda before the bib and blow on Fox’s Empire

Cookie is slowly making a play for the man everybody thinks is Anika’s man. Ex’s know what buttons to push and when to push them. If you missed Cookie’s big “button” wrapped in that dress that got her a finger hold and a “Baby” from Lucious hit the rewind on your device. Lucious didn’t miss it and reminded him of one of many things he misses about cookie. Cookie is crafty, cunning, straight up fierce, and loyal to a fault – all things that former husband or lover can’t ignore.

That’s my recap for this Episode .  Fox currently has the hot TV ticket with this series. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again the show kicks some real life relatable knowledge. It triggers perspectives on real life characters and situations we all can relate to or have had experiences with.

I’ve been reviewing this series since its inception. Check out my anaylisis and takeaways from Episode#2 and the #1Episode. If something in the recaps or the shows moves you lets talk about it in the comment section.

And my PSA message for this post – Never forget those that gave you a leg up when you had no interest for them to invest in. Those are the tried and true people in your life.

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