Life comes at you fast, and so does the action in Empire‘s season two. We barely caught our breath after last week’s over-the-top, celebrity guest star-filled, whirlwind of a season premiere and the drama (and sometimes comedy) returned with more of the same last night. This week’s episode moved the storyline along, and we saw a new empire take shape, Jamal still feeling himself, Hakeem still getting all the ladies, Lucious still struggle rapping and a twist at the end that we didn’t see coming — and neither did the judge. Strap in for another wild Empire ride.
Episode 202: Without A Country
Nothing is more embarrassing than leaving your former place of employment with all your belongings in a box and having to carry it out yourself like it’s all good. Andre, Cookie and Hakeem had to take that walk of shame out of the Empire offices (surprisingly without a security escort) and tried to look unbothered, but Andre and Hakeem were very bothered. Cookie verbally snatched them up and told them to get themselves together while casually mentioning that they should start their own company. And wouldn’t you know it, they decide to do just that. Cookie is ready to roll and so is Hakeem, who now wants to develop his own artists in addition to being one, but Andre takes some more convincing before he too comes around with a little push from Rhonda who thinks it’s a good idea. Andre and Hakeem meet up with Cookie (who is now rocking her third wig in three minutes) at Ghetto Ass Studios (this name still slays our souls) and she’s lets her sons know that mama’s got this.
Once inside Ghetto Ass Studios, the trio try to strike a deal with the cereal killer owner to use his space to record. That’s when he lets them know that their girl Boo Boo Kitty is already in the studio with Veronika, played by V. Bozeman. V. is in there recording “Hourglass” and although she sounded flawless to us, Anika had some criticism for her that she wasn’t trying to hear. V. storms out right as Cookie storms in to save the recording session and tells Boo Boo to beat it.
Lucious meanwhile is being seen for a medical visit for his Myasthenia Gravis. The prison nurse breaks the news to him that his meds aren’t there and they haven’t been authorized. Lucious doesn’t take that news to well, but his only recourse is to talk to his lawyer.
Jamal welcomes a TV talk show crew to his lavish penthouse for a performance and interview. He sings the new track “Born To Love You” before settling in for a sit-down with British journalist Sharon Carpenter for her show Spilling the Tea. Despite sitting right across from Jamal, she yells at him the entire time and their banter is as corny as can be. Things liven up when Cookie busts up the tea party to have a word with Jamal. They take it outside to the balcony for a little privacy, and Cookie tries to convince Jamal to give Hakeem his album back. Jamal isn’t exactly on board with that idea but his face is really cracked and on the floor when Cookie tells him that she’s starting a new company with his two brothers. Bloop!
Back on the prison yard, Lucious and the homies (one of whom is played by rapper Petey Pablo) are kicking it and they unfortunately encourage the Lyon king to rap a few bars. He drops the beginnings of what would later come to be known as “Snitch Bitch” before he starts having a coughing fit that gets the attention of Officer McKnight, played by Ludacris. Officer Not-So-Friendly is not here for any shenanigans from the prisoners, even though there were no shenanigans taking place, and he busts up their chillaxin. Lucious and C.O. McKnight exchange more words and the tension is thick between the two when Luda tells him that the world would be a better place without him. Ouch.
Hakeem is serious about getting his mini-Diddy on and putting together a girl group. He holds auditions at Ghetto Ass Studios and the talent pool is as shallow as a puddle, but one sassy Latina catches his attention. Valentina, played by singer Becky G., makes the cut, but she isn’t down to be in a girl group so she gets to stepping. Andre stomps into the audition and goes off on Hakeem for having it without telling anyone what he was doing. Of course, Hakeem blows him off, and Andre goes to Cookie to try to reason with her that Hakeem needs to be in the studio recording not auditioning thots. The three get together to go over a game plan, and Hakeem is concerned that the group may end up with two Latinas in it. Cookie throws some Jennifer Lopez shade, but the shade really gets epic when Anika strolls in much to her disgust. Hakeem reveals that he wants to name the group Rainbow
Connection Sensation, and Cookie turns her disgust toward him. Oh, but Boo Boo Kitty isn’t safe and she catches it again from Cookie. Ish got real when Cookie said, “Let me tell you something, ho,” and proceeded to read Anika for filth.
Jamal goes to visit Lucious in the clink, and they talk business and such. The elder Lyon lets his cub know that he’s itching to record a “Lucious Lyon joint from the joint” and tells him all the equipment he needs to make that happen. Seated at another table is a brother in a loud purple suit who eavesdrops on their conversation before introducing himself and passing on his card. He’s a lawyer nicknamed Thirsty, played with shady realness by actor Andre Royo. Jamal clowns his University of Guam law degree and cheap suit, but Thirsty breaks it down to them about the prosecutor and the dirty tricks she’s playing by withholding Lucious’ meds.
Tiana is back on the scene with a new song and we see her and her dancers rehearse to “Get No Better 2.0.” Hakeem comes into the rehearsal with the bright idea to ask Tiana to join this girl group he’s putting together. She’s not trying to hear him, and when Cookie comes in she lets her know that she’s not down with their new company and with any girl group nonsense.