Much of Wednesday’s night’s episode of Empire appeared to revolve around Lucious (Terrence Howard) attempting to win back Cookie’s (Taraji P. Henson) love by showering her with dozens of gifts at her home, all of which Cookie swiftly rejected. Well, all except for one: a gold gun the couple used in their days as drug-pushers.

‘Empire’ Season 3, Episode 2 Recap

Anika (Grace Gealey) interviews several women at Lucious’ home, desperate to find a nanny who can help take care of her newborn daughter, Bella. However, Lucious angrily disapproves. His mother Leah (Leslie Uggams) offers to help care for Bella, but Anika’s distrust of her leads her to refuse Leah’s offer.

Jamal (Jussie Smollett) appears on a radio interview alongside a city councilman named Angelo DuBois (Taye Diggs), who is trying to convince Jamal of helping to host and promote an anti-violence summit called “Woke” at a local government building. The summit, DuBois explains, will hopefully let a group of economically disadvantaged teenagers who love music to perform a song and help spread a message of ending all types of violence, especially gun violence. During his radio interview, Jamal feels taken aback by DuBois’ attempt to defend Jamal’s fainting at the XStream event the previous week as a result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from being shot by Freda at the ASAs.

After DuBois and the kids from the prospective summit take a tour of Empire’s facilities, they all meet Lucious, who very generously offers for Empire host the summit and live-stream it via XStream after DuBois briefly explains it to him. Jamal immediately gets suspicious and senses a nefarious ulterior motive, knowing his father’s conniving ways. (Lucious Snake sometimes sounds more appropriate a name then Lucious Lyon, right?)

Meanwhile, Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) continues to make music with Nessa (Sierra McClain) and her brother, notorious thug Shyne Johnson (Xzibit). Andre (Trai Byers) continues to sob and yell out his wife Rhonda’s name all alone in his apartment, still seeing her and hearing her voice in hallucinations. Jamal shows up to Andre’s apartment and promises to be there for him and help him take his bipolar medication correctly, just as Rhonda used to do.

Lucious shows Cookie a song he wants Jamal to sing at the summit, a song that reminds him of when he and Cookie first met. Cookie reluctantly accepts.

At the summit, Cookie bashes Lucious for letting DuBois, a government official, into Empire’s facilities for an entire event. Lucious reassures her by saying he had his lawyer run a background check on the councilman and that DuBois is clean, aside from a DUI from 20 years prior.

During preparations for the summit, Cookie then lambastes DuBois, saying he has no idea what the kids at that summit have been through– poverty, discrimination, etc.–because he came from a wealthy family. Lucious is stunned and Jamal is clearly embarrassed by his mother’s lack of self-control.

Cookie sits down with Andre and has an intimate heart-to-heart. In that talk, Cookie tells her oldest son how proud she is of him for everything he has accomplished in life, and how she will always be there for him, no matter what. Andre tells his mother how much he still despairs since losing his wife.

During a studio recording session with Shyne, Hakeem realizes how dangerous his new music partner is. Shyne catches one of his friends gawking at his sister Nessa in a sexual way and punches him, knocking him out cold.

At the “Woke” summit, Lucious ambushes Jamal and tells him to perform in front of everyone to make up for him being unable to perform at the ASAs and the XStream event. Just like at the latter event, Jamal again gets disoriented by all the people, noise, and camera lights as the attention turns to him. He leaves the venue, panting, and nearly faints again as Cookie rushes over to her son to check on him. Lucious quickly follows, disappointed, and shows no pity for Jamal’s plight. Jamal then makes a shocking confession: he doesn’t think he can sing anymore, at least not live. “I can’t do it no more,” Jamal says. Lucious says nothing, but gives Cookie an arrogant “I-told-you-so” look, given that he told Cookie earlier in the episode that he had a feeling Jamal was simply using the summit as a cover for his inability to continue performing on a stage.

Becky’s (Gabourey Sidibe) boyfriend J Poppa, one of Empire’s artists, tells her that he’s leaving the company because he got an offer from another label. Becky is taken aback, saying that she wants to stay at Empire, despite the fact that Lucious and Cookie have refused to make her head of the A&R department. J Poppa tells Becky he has heard a rumor that Empire is looking for someone else for that position. He also tries to convince her to come join him at his new label for two reasons: because she doesn’t seem to be fully appreciated at Empire, and because J Poppa knows the FBI is investigating Lucious and doesn’t want to be involved with that in any way, even indirectly.

The three Lyons brothers meet up to promise to make changes in their lives and stick by each other, and Andre announces he has decided to move the rest of his belongings out of the house he and Rhonda used to share in order to continue dealing with her loss in a more healthy way.

Back at Lucious’s house, he and Anika find the camera Lucious’ FBI agent half-brother Tariq (Morocco Omari) hid inside one of Bella’s stuffed bears.

While moving his belongings out of his old home one afternoon, two police officers arrive outside Andre’s old house and stop to question him, claiming there have been several breaks-in in that neighborhood and evidently suspecting him of being a robber. Andre is at first confused and equally suspicious that the cops have bad intentions against him. After the cops begin to mock him and ask him for ID, Andre starts talking back and refuses to comply. One of the two cops tackles Andre to the ground and presses his face to the concrete, drawing his gun and pointing it at Andre’s head while his partner handcuffs the eldest Lyon son.

Empire airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.

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