The majority of this episode dealt with Hakeem Lyon and his family battling Anika to maintain custody of Hakeem’s baby daughter Bella.

Empire Season 4, Episode 6 Recap

Angelo Dubois, of course, represents Anika in the hearing, which unsurprisingly features inelegant outbursts from Hakeem and Cookie. The perennially shady Thirsty and another unnamed lawyer co-counsel Hakeem.

Also in this episode, Andre begins seeing a new therapist named Dr. Lambert in order to grapple with his conundrum of dating NYPD detective Pamela Rose while not placing his prone-to-crime family in danger.

The beginning of the custody trial is mostly shown with montages of several witnesses on both sides who either praise Hakeem for making an effort to become a “better man and parent” or lambaste the Lyons as vicious thugs who run Empire like gangsters.

Angelo intimidates several of the Lyons’ witnesses, most notably Tiana, whom he accuses of providing a more-than-unsavory and inappropriate environment to raise Bella by engaging in alleged threesomes and drug orgies in Hakeem’s penthouse apartment, where Tiana and Hakeem were raising the baby while Anika was in prison (for allegedly murdering FBI agent Tariq).

Tiana breaks down in tears and Hakeem barks at her, calling her weak for not fighting back harder against Angelo on the stand. Tiana retaliates by saying she won’t be there for him ever again, even if he desperately needs her help. (Sorry Hakeem, can’t scapegoat people for your own mistakes!)

The whole courtroom also learns in the hearing that Anika cheated on Lucious with Hakeem while she was still engaged to Lucious, and that’s how Bella was born, and that Cookie advised Anika against leaping from that ledge last season while she was pregnant with Bella. Also revealed to all is Cookie’s violent behavior in prison. Lucious — who has just recently returned to his normal self after his state of amnesia — demands to take the witness stand and does so upon Hakeem’s approval, despite the rest of his family and Thirsty advising against it.

Lucious delivers a relatively strong case in favor of Hakeem, who grows frustrated with his attorney after he is told getting Bella is still a long shot away. Also against everyone’s recommendation, Hakeem decides to represent himself for the final portion of the trial, and seems to have custody of his daughter secured after he interrogates Anika while she’s on the stand. He bombards Anika with nearly a dozen questions about her daughter and she is unable to answer any, though Hakeem obviously knows all the answers. His point is made clear: he knows Bella much better than Anika does.

The Lyons begin celebrating their near-victory when Angela brings in his secret weapon: his mother Diana, who serves as his side’s final witness. (Of course, we shouldn’t be shocked by this at all! Even if Angelo tells the judge at the start of the hearing that his mother is traveling) Diana comes home early from her trip looking supremely confident and ready to hurt the Lyons hard. She reveals that she and Hakeem have had clandestine meetings every week to discuss Bella. Mrs. Dubois rolls one of the tapes of her and Hakeem’s meetings, and the youngest Lyon son is shown trashing his family: saying how violent Lucious is, and how he doesn’t trust either of his brothers with Bella because of their personality. One tape proves to be enough for Hakeem to both lose the case and have his family hate him, although Diana adds that he said in another meeting that he wishes Cookie was still in prison.

Only Hakeem could manage to lose custody of his daughter and have his family hate him all at once. Following a tense encounter in the courtroom bathroom between Cookie and Diana, the pair seem to hint they are not done with each other. If this had been a football game, it would have seemed like a pretty even game for the first half, then the Lyons gaining a comfortable two-touchdown lead in the third quarter, before the Dubois came from behind to win it all in the final quarter due to some terrible fumbles on the Lyons team. Just crazy.

Anika picks up Bella from Hakeem at his penthouse, and Hakeem tells her all the important things she needs to know about Bella now that Anika is going to be a full-time mommy.

The Dubois and Anika go out to dinner and celebrate their victory, and we meet a new member of their band of scoundrels: it’s none other than Dr. Lambert, Andre’s therapist! Lambert tells Diana that he prescribed more medication for Andre, presumably to hurt him rather than help him.

Also returning this episode is Becky’s former flame J Poppa, a rapper who previously worked with Empire and then left. He has now returned to the label in the hopes of earning the chance to record a song for Empire’s 20th anniversary “20-for-20” project. Andre helps negotiate J Poppa’s return, along with Becky. We sense some tension between Becky and J Poppa, particularly since the last time they were together, he asked Becky to travel the world with him because he didn’t think she could land the position of head of Empire’s A&R. However, we now know that she did get that job, along with a raise, thanks to Cookie.

J Poppa records an incredibly corny yet catchy Christian song with help from Shyne as producer in order to cement his image as an artist who has abandoned his life of vice for a faith-filled existence.

After a brief talk, Becky and J Poppa hook up again, although we can’t tell just yet how long this fling will last.

Empire is off next week due to Thanksgiving, but tune in Nov. 29 at 8 pm EST on FOX to find out what becomes of the Lyon-Dubois feud!

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