Empire opened with the final rehearsal for the ASA award show and with Lucious (Terrence Howard) telling the band “there’s no room for error.” Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) comes in and begs him to go home and get some rest instead of avoiding his mother after her outburst at the end of the last episode. While at the house, Lucious’ mother Leah (Leslie Uggams) sees a segment about the movie and his song “Boom Boom Boom Boom” that chronicles his story he told of her attempting to kill him and then kill herself. She says to herself, “he’s always been a liar.” Carol (Tasha Smith) tells Cookie about her run-in with Tariq (Morocco Omari) the ex-cop, who she still hasn’t told about her sobriety. Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Freda (Bre-Z) are practicing their new song for D-Major and he loves it. D suggests that Jamal have him produce the album instead of Cookie.

‘Empire’ Season 2, Episode 17 Recap

Andre (Trai Byers) is checking on Leah and she tells him that she doesn’t like feeling left out, talking about the award show. Andre explains that he will try and get her there but that it could cause a lot of problems for his dad. She tells him that she won’t say anything about Lucious lying and that no one will even notice her. Anika (Grace Gealey) visits Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) at work because she’s been reaching out and hasn’t heard anything back. Rhonda tells her she’s just been busy getting ready for the awards. Rhonda then asks Anika about the shoes she recognized and if Anika was wearing them the night of the accident.

Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) and Laurel (Jamila Velazquez) are discussing wedding plans and she wants to have press around so her music can be featured as well. He breaks the news to her that it “won’t be taking off” like they expected and she accuses him of not believing in her anymore but is okay with simply focusing on the wedding.

Cookie had Lucious do some research on Carol’s friend Tariq because she feels like it’s connected to Lucious somehow.

Cookie meets with Tariq before Carol is supposed to show up and calls him out about his intentions. He instead informs her that Lucious killed her cousin. Cookie asks Carol about her date with Tariq, especially what she has talked to him about. Carol tells Cookie that she won’t be able to steal another man from her and that she only wants her around to make herself feel better. Cookie kicks her out of the office, tells her to move out of the apartment and that she won’t be attending the awards with her anymore.
Jamal and D-Major work on his album and D-Major tells him not to think anything about his date for the awards. As they get closer, Lucious comes in and D-Major reacts as if Jamal was being inappropriate. Lucious already knows that D is on the down-low and warns Jamal that this is something he does a lot with successful young men. Jamal gets offended and the two start arguing, with Lucious saying that he’ll be happy the day Jamal dies from AIDS.

Jamal starts to tell Cookie about what happened with Lucious and it turns into Cookie telling him to stop working with Freda. She tells him that they all need to lay low and reveals that she snitched on Freda’s dad which is how she was released early. She thinks that Freda is just as dangerous as her father.

Andre comes to get Leah for the award show before Lucious can find out, but Thirsty is at the door when they are leaving to stop them.Cookie and Lucious decide to attend the awards together after all and as they are getting ready they reminisce about the hard times before they got where there are.

Thirsty locks Andre and Leah in the house so they have to watch the awards from home.
On the red carpet Jamal tells a reporter that he’ll be shelving his album and that tonight is the last performance he’ll be doing with his family. He also talks to Freda about leaving Empire and finding a new label they can finish the album with.

Leah watches Lucious continue with his lie that his mother died and is getting more and more angry.
Carol shows up on the red carpet drunk and Cookie tries to silence her before security starts to escort her out.

Before that, Carol runs into Freda and asks to be her plus-one. When Freda refuses, Carol gets angry and says she wouldn’t even be there if it weren’t for what Lucious did to Freda’s father. Freda looks back on her relationship with Lucious and realizes why he felt the need to look out for her. She sees the family posing for a photo and runs towards them, grabbing a gun from an officer on the way. Jamal sees her coming and jumps in front of Lucious, getting shot. Freda gets taken away.
At the hospital, Jamal needs immediate emergency surgery. Thirsty finally allows Andre and Leah to leave the house to get to the hospital. The family blames Lucious for what happened to Jamal.
Carol’s friend Tariq turns out to be exactly what Cookie warned her about and is seen questioning Anika at the police station.

As the doctor comes to give an update on Jamal, Leah goes outside of the hospital to talk to the press and it looks like she is going to tell them who she is. Stay tuned for next week’s episode.

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