‘Empire’ Season 3, Episode 14 Recap: In ‘Love Is A Smoke,’ Cookie Is Shunned Again
This week’s episode picked up exactly where the episode from two weeks ago left off. We begin with a flashback of Lucious (Terence Howard) playing a song on the piano for Giuliana Green (Nia Long), who surprised the Lyon patriarch at the end of episode 13, when Lucious was clearly angry to see her.
‘Empire’ Season 3, Episode 14 Recap: ‘Love Is A Smoke’
The flashback, and Lucious’ reaction to her in the present, evidently show he and Giuliana were romantically involved and she did something terrible to him. Lucious even literally calls her a “dangerous woman.”
We later find out that Giuliana lied to Lucious and stole a large sum of money from him. She cheated on her late husband Rafael with Lucious years ago without telling either one of them. Rafael, a longtime rival of Lucious, decided to exact revenge on Lucious’ romantic advances on Giuliana by extorting Lucious and running away with $10 million in the process. After Giuliana points a gun at Lucious to attempt to convince him to support Andre’s Vegas expansion of Empire before the city’s gaming commissioner arrive, the Lyon patriarch scorns her, saying he has no reason to trust her after what she did to him. Giuliana tells Lucious he has no idea what she went through, and confesses to him that she killed Rafael after more than 15 years of being abused by her husband. Thus, Lucious seems prepared to help Giuliana, perhaps out of sheer pity.
Meanwhile, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) reveals to Lucious that Angelo (Taye Diggs) had promised to propose to her should he win the mayoral primary, which he did. Lucious seems way more cool with this than one would expect, but knowing his devilish ways, we can’t help but wonder in that moment if he is already planning something completely fiendish.
Angelo aks Jamal (Jussie Smolett) for advice regarding proposing to Cookie, and the middle Lyon son voices his complete support for Angelo’s move. No shock there, as Jamal and Angelo have seemed to have a very cordial relationship this entire season. Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) is the only one who acts as immature and whiny as he usually does and doesn’t seem prepared to accept the possibility of his mother living with another man.
Cookie is delighted when Angelo asks her over for dinner at his place, imagining that he will propose to her. However, Angelo simply asks her to do a big TV interview order to draw huge ratings. Cookie is visibly disappointed, although if we as the audience simply think a little bit, we just muse: “Won’t he just ask her to marry him on live television?” Which he does and Cookie says yes! It’s such a beautiful yet corny and cliche moment.
However, that rom-com trope quickly unravels and Cookie pulls Angelo aside and calls him out for “putting her on the spot.” Angelo, not realizing he forgot to remove his mic (smooth move), justifiably become enraged with Cookie after she tells him no in a private room outside the TV studio because she still harbors feelings for Lucious. A thoroughly dejected Angelo yells at Cookie to leave and calls her and the rest of the Lyons “poison.” Even Angelo’s mother (Phylicia Rashad) gives us a taste of how fierce and ruthless a tigress she can be when she backs her son and, after also telling Cookie to buzz off, promises to Angelo that she will exact a vicious revenge on the Lyons “until they are begging for a merciful death.” Damn, Mrs. Dubois!
Andre (Trai Byers) continues pursuing his deal to expand Empire to Las Vegas with help from Shine (Alvin ‘Xzibit ‘Joiner) and asks his mother and two brothers to support him. As part of this deal, Andre attempts to get Torey Ash (Rumer Willis) to write a song for Nessa (Sierra McClain). Though Torey, being the sarcastic girl-with-an-attitude she is, is initially skeptical of this idea, she ultimately acquiesces, and Hakeem and Tiana (Serayah McClain) join in on Torey’s recording of the song on Empire XStream to oust Andre and Nessa from the potential Vegas headliner performance.
Tension between Jamal and Torey is renewed after the former sees the latter surrounded by alcohol and drugs in her recording studio.
Anika (Grace Byers) continues to secretly see Tariq (Morocco Omari) at his apartment while wearing a wire given to him by Lucious and Cookie to take Tariq down, as Lucious’s half-brother is simultaneously attempting to bring Lucious and Cookie to justice for their past crimes. Tariq seduces Anika, who returns the sexual advances in order to help the Lyons ruin Tariq’s career and get him off their trail. Lucious even has his shady lawyer Thirsty (Andre Royo) pose as an FBI agent that uses the code-name “Sweet-water” (so corny) and call Tariq to tell him to meet him at an undisclosed location so Tariq can give “Sweet-water” information about the Lyons.
However, we obviously know this is a trap, and Tariq is surprised to find himself meeting with Lucious instead of this fake agent. Lucious blackmails Tariq and says he and Thirsty could have him both fired from the FBI and thrown in jail for working on Anika’s case while still under suspension. Luciuos offers Tariq money as a bribe to keep quiet about him and Cookie, and tells his half-brother to run, which Tariq angrily does, seeing no other options left for him at this point.
We are also introduced to a new character named Charlotte Frost (Eva Longoria), the head of the Vegas gaming commission who comes to Empire to approve Andre’s proposed business venture to expand the label.
After Cookie returns to Empire for Lucious’ “Inferno” show that Torey is headlining, Cookie spots Lucious and Giuliana kissing and we can see the utter heartbreak in the Lyon matriarch’s face as she realizes Lucious has betrayed her yet again. Poor Cookie, will she ever find happiness? She may just have to learn from her mistakes.
The episode ends on a major cliff-hanger, as Andre decides to finally execute his plan to kill his father. Andre orders Shine and his other men to “take him out” after he realizes Lucious still opposes and has even thwarted his Vegas deal by replacing him and Nessa with Hakeem and Tiana as headliners for shows in Sin City.
Will Andre really order Lucious murdered? Or will he simply attempt to ruin his father’s career and overthrow him as CEO of Empire so that Andre can take over the company himself? What will happen with Tariq and Anika? Will Angelo Dubois and his mother return to exact revenge on the Lyons for ruining Angelo’s political career? Will Cookie find herself a new man or do something drastic again?
Find out when “Empire” returns next Wednesday at 9 pm EST on FOX! From the preview, we can see that Snoop Dogg will be a special guest! Will he play himself?