By YRS Jerzy
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Throughout the course of “Empire,” stories have been driven, primarily, by Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson). Other stories have been led by Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Hakeem (Bryshere “Yazz” Gray). Last night’s episode focused on Andre (Trai Byers).
Billed as one of the main characters, Andre has played more of a background role, along with his wife, Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday). The two have played out the role of low key villains. Many of the conflicts that led to current tensions were because of them.
When Lucious kicked Andre out of Empire, he went through a bipolar meltdown. While Lucious forgave everyone, Andre has struggled to gain the full forgiveness from his father. It turns out, this is actually due to Lucious’ mother (Kelly Rowland) struggling from mental issues.
After Lucious discovered Andre and Rhonda killed Vernon (Malik Yoba), the key witness in his murder trial, he allowed his son back into Empire. Continuing a plot from the previous episode, Lucious has plans of reviving another label, Gutter Life, around Freda Gatz (Bre-Z), the daughter of Frank Gathers (Chris Rock). He relaunched the label around her upon his Empire return and reinstated Andre as CFO and head of Gutter Life.
It was here where Andre began to struggle, as Lucious had a bunch of strippers dancing on Andre. Meanwhile, small tension was building between Jamal and Michael (Rafael de la Fuente) over Chase (Adam Busch). Ever since he debuted on “Empire,” Chase has been flirting heavily with Jamal and he went very far in last night’s episode, leading to a moment Michael walked up on.
Hakeem is still on his mogul mode and he introduced a new girl for his Latina girl group. After the girl met Tiana (Serayah), she learned of Hakeem’s history of getting with the girls on his labels. Still wanting to sing, the girl, Laura continued working with Hakeem, as Tiana got robbed by some girls at the entrance of Cookie’s (Taraji P. Henson) studio, likely on Lucious’ orders.
Lucious orders Thirsty (Andre Royo) to obtain the masters of Cookie’s Lyon Dynasty music by any means necessary and Andre walks in on Thirsty making that move. Once Thirsty tells him he is taking Vernon’s (Malik Yoba) place, Andre hastily puts him in his place. Later, he tells Thirsty to tell Lucious to come to him directly if he wants his help and that he is not going to betray Cookie.
Trying to do better, Andre meets with his pastor and tells him all about the struggles he is having, leading the pastor to advise him to confess all and get baptized. This leads to Andre calling a meeting with his brothers, Jamal and Hakeem, to tell them he was the one who led to Jamal getting robbed, causing their entire beef. Later, he confesses to Lucious that he put Cookie up to blackmailing him when she first got out of prison.
Everyone forgives Andre and he invites them all to come to church for his baptism. Sure enough, everyone shows up, even Lucious, and there is more insight into why he is the way he is. After telling Andre to man up, Lucious was unable to watch him being baptized after flashing back to his mother going through a bipolar episode and trying to baptize him, almost drowning him in the process.
There were tons of jokes when Lucious entered the church and even more when he left, mainly from Cookie and Hakeem, who did the right thing and apologized for coming onto Laura and giving her a ride home. After church, however, Hakeem found himself kidnapped.
Watch last night’s episode of “Empire” below:
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