Tonight on FOX Empire premieres with an all new Wednesday March 18, season 1 finale called, “Die But Once; Who I Am,” and we have your weekly recap below. On tonight’s episode, in the Season 1 finale, Lucious has a secret that’s about to change everything as he and Jamal [Jussie Smollett] seem on their way to forming a music-centered relationship. Meanwhile, Hakeem [Bryshere Y. Gray] decides to flirt with the enemy; at the same time, he’s trying to figure out what’s the best move for his career; and Cookie [Taraji P. Henson] cooks up a plan to get herself back on top.
On the last episode, Andre formed a new musical relationship with Michelle (guest star Jennifer Hudson), and a woman from Lucious’ past, Angie (guest star Mary J Blige), came into the picture. Meanwhile, Lucious invited the whole family over to his home. However, everyone arrived with their own agendas. Hakeem, under the influence of Camilla (guest star Naomi Campbell), set out to show his father that he was a true artist and a good businessman. Then, Cookie prepared to state her own agenda for Empire and for her family, when Olivia (guest star Raven-Symoné) arrived. Did you watch the last episode? If you missed it, we have a full and detailed recap right here for you.
On tonight’s episode as per the FOX synopsis, “Jamal and Lucious are on their way to forming a music-centered relationship, but once again, Lucious has a secret that’s about to change everything. Hakeem decides to flirt with the enemy, while trying to figure out what the best move is for his career. Meanwhile, Cookie is cooking up a plan of her own.”
Don’t forget to join us for our live recap tonight at 9:00 pm when Empire airs on Fox. While you wait for the recap, check out a sneak peek of tonight’s episode below!
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The #EmpireFinale starts with Lucious playing the piano and notices his vision is getting blurry. He looks at his hands which are shaking. Becky comes in and asks to talk business but he asks to talk later and snaps at her. She tells him to use his inside voice with her. Lucious thinks about Cookie shushing the kids while he writes a song. She advises him on how to rearrange the song and get a new hook. The place is loud and crazy but he has no problem writing. In his silent office now, he can’t get any inspiration.
He calls for Becky and asks her to get Cookie for him. She says Cookie is out of town. Lucious goes over the Snoop schedule for Hakeem’s launch. Lucious tries to call Hakeem but he won’t take his calls because he’s still mad about Camilla. Lucious asks if Andre is coming tonight and Becky says no. Lucious sees an empty conference room and then says his tribute concert is in one week with Cookie producing. He says it’s his last show. He says he’s trying to perfect this song to perform that day on the day they go public so he goes out big.
He says he needs Cookie. He tells Becky to find Cookie for him. Cookie is in a cabin in the snowy mountains with Malcolm. She asks whose place it is and he says it’s a buddy of his from Iraq. They kiss and she tells him let’s go inside. He says they can make a snow man. She works on the concert schedule and says TI and all these other artists want to do the show. Malcolm asks if she can take a break from work and he pulls her down by the fire. He asks if she’s nervous. He tells her that they can go as fast as she wants because she’s in charge. She unbuttons his shirt and kisses him.
Lucious’ caregiver is there and he tells him he’s fine except for the double vision. He asks Becky to find Ryan and she says he’s with Jamal. The nurse says it’s strange since double vision usually isn’t associated with ALS. Jamal and Ryan are at the record signing and a kid tells him that coming out gave him the nerve to come out to his family too. Jamal gives them each a hug and signs their CDs. He thanks them for coming by. Ryan says that was special. Jamal tells Ryan it’s okay if he goes to Hakeem’s but Ryan says he’s sticking with him.
Cookie tells Malcolm that she’s worried about how mad Jamal and Hakeem are at Camilla. She says she wishes Lucious would just drop dead already so she can host a memorial concert and take in big ticket prices. Snoop Dogg gives an interview about working with Empire. Lucious says he’s going public so artists can share in the wealth. He talks about Snoop’s mew song then greets Titan. He says Hakeem’s album will go live the day they go public. Then a reporter asks about Jamal’s album and says Jamal is being compared to Lucious’ sound and reviewers say he’s surpassing him.
Lucious says the day Empire goes public, the first black publicly traded company, his new song will release. A guy shows up and serves Lucious. It’s from Beretti – he’s trying to get an injunction against the concert. Lucious calls Hakeem over and says he’s glad he’s there. He asks if he’s ready. Hakeem says he was born ready. Snoop performs his new song Peaches and Cream. Hakeem takes the stage with him and picks up a mic. He raps about his dad not being able to keep his family together. He says he’s going to leave with his bitch and drops the mic and goes.
Snoop rushes to say he had nothing to do with that. Lucious follows him and punches Hakeem in the face. Hakeem gets up, spits out some blood, glares at his dad and walks off. Jamal reminds Hakeem that their dad is dying. Hakeem says he hates Lucious and can’t wait until he does. Jamal reminds him that his dad made him marry Olivia then slept with her and knocked her up. Jamal says they still want the company to be around when he’s gone. Hakeem says he’s never signed a contract with Empire and can take his album where he wants. Porsha reads a news release.
Lucious comes looking for Cookie and is shocked to hear she’s in the Berkshires. Then Porsha tries to cover that’s where she is. Andre comes to church to see Michelle. He tells her he tried to go back to go work but nothing fits, not the job or his suit and tie. She says maybe God is telling him to try on something else and says she’ll show him the church. Cookie brings her sister Carol to Empire to show her the set up. She tells her that Lucious is on the way to hell and it will all be with her. Cookie goes to scan her security card but it doesn’t go through. The security guy gets a call.
One asks for Cookie’s key card. He says they were instructed not to let her in. She says Lucious better come talk to him. She asks what he’s doing. He tells Carol welcome to New York and tells Cookie to leave. He asks if she thinks her boyfriend is coming to her visit. She says he’s sick for being jealous. He says his attorneys have told him he doesn’t owe her a thing. He tells her she was never on the board and Andre lied to her. He says a convicted felon can’t be on the board. She tells Lucious he’s going down and says everyone is waiting for him to die and he’s going to die lonely like he deserves.
She says she built it and it’s her company. She leaves ranting and angry. Andre sits and prays with Michelle. Malcolm comes to see Cookie who is packing her office. She says she was given 15 minutes to pack her things. She asks what reason Lucious gave for firing him and he says he wasn’t fired. He says Lucious didn’t want him to leave but Malcolm says he wants her to come with him to DC where he’s taking a high level government job. He says he wants to take care of her and begs her to come with him. She says he’s a beautiful man. She says she can’t do it and can’t leave all of this.
The security guy comes in and Cookie says her time is up and she’s heard that phrase many times before. She kisses Malcolm. Andre goes to see Lucious but won’t sit. He says he just wants to tell him in person to look for a new CFO. Lucious says not to be stupid and says he worked his ass off for this IPO and says he won’t be around forever. Andre asks if he can look him in the eye and tell him he can have the company. Lucious says no but says Empire needs him. Andre says he’s getting to know God and he’s filling that dark void in him with a higher purpose.
Lucious says there is no higher purpose than being a maker of music. Andre walks out on his dad. At Leviticus, it’s Jamal’s listening party. Lucious shows up and makes nice. He asks if he heard about the Beretti injunction and Jamal asks what he’s going to do about it. Jamal says he must wish he didn’t lock out Cookie. Lucious says he’s writing new songs but keeps getting stuck. Jamal says it’s writer’s block and it’s horrible. Lucious asks if he remembers talking to them about one of them taking over for him. He says he read an article calling Jamal the future of Empire. He tells Jamal he believes that. He says he needs to know that Jamal has that monster in him that can do what he has to do.
Andre is at church with Michelle helping set up for service. He says he feels at home there with her. She says he’s there with God. Lucious goes with Jamal to a ghetto neighborhood. He takes him to their old house and Lucious asks if he wants him to throw him in the trash can again. Jamal says he’s there because he said he’d bring Cookie back then goes to walk off. Lucious says yeah and Jamal says Carol gave him the keys. Lucious says at least Jamal walks like a man. He uncovers Lucious’ old organ and asks to hear the song he’s working on.
Jamal says he’s a complete fraud and maybe Beretti did write his best stuff. Lucious tells him not to push it. Jamal says he used to worship him even though he hated him and tried to beat his life out of him. Jamal says he thought if he could make music like that Lucious would have to love him. He tells Lucious to step aside and starts playing something. Lucious says it’s good and Jamal asks if he’s off because he’s afraid of dying. Lucious says he’s been facing death from both sides since he was 9 years old and made his bones. He picks up a guitar and plays a cool rhythm and tune.
Jamal starts playing along on the organ. Lucious says it’s not dangerous enough. He tells Jamal to show him what he’s got. Jamal plays a tune and Lucious strums along. Lucious sings about Scarface and then bang bang. Jamal sings along. It’s pretty good. Jamal sings about getting only one try and nothing to lose and so much to prove. Lucious sings about going hard or going home. They keep writing and playing. Lucious sings about getting your back off the wall. It’s a really cool song. They work it out. Lucious thinks about shooting a guy back in the day.
Lucious tells Jamal that now he has a song but Jamal says it’s not his. Lucious says he’ll get a credit. Jamal says he has to bring Cookie back in. Lucious says he needs his masters back from Beretti and says if he wants Empire that’s what he needs to do. He says otherwise there won’t be an Empire for him to lead. Cookie comes to Lucious’ house yelling for him. Carol is impressed with the house and tells Cookie to get over herself. Lucious comes down and greets Carol with a kiss. Lucious says he over reacted and he’s going to let her produce the concert.
She asks about the text from Jamal saying he’s going over to Creedmore where Hakeem is meeting with Beretti to sign. Cookie tells Lucious not to let anything happen to her babies. Beretti tells Hakeem that making music should be fun. Jamal shows up and Beretti says he’s a fan. Jamal hangs Beretti over the balcony and says he wants the master. Lucious shows up and Jamal tells him he shouldn’t be here and tells his dad to go get Hakeem. Lucious walks off. Jamal says he’s going to sign the rights to the masters. Jamal says his daddy thinks he’s a killer and he thinks he’s right.
Lucious finds Hakeem with Anika. She turns his face back to her. He looks at his dad then goes back to kissing her. Next day, the doctor tells Lucious that ALS and MG are very different but have similar symptoms. She says the eye muscle weakness only happens with MG. She says it was a good catch by his nurse. She says ALS is usually diagnosed by eliminating other conditions. He asks her if MG is as serious. She says it’s myasthenia gravis. She says it’s chronic but highly treatable. He asks why she didn’t test him for it. He tells her to get the hell out of his house.
He starts laughing. Lucious goes to see Andre and tells him it’s okay to get right with God. He tells Andre he acted on his best interests and says he wants him to come ring the bell at the stock exchange next week and wants he and Jamal both there. He asks about Hakeem but Lucious says he wants Andre to do it. Andre says he’s happy there and Lucious says he can’t spend his life hiding there. Andre says he’ll still be there when he’s dead and will send a prayer his way. He goes to listen to Michelle singing with the choir. Lucious walks beside him and asks if that’s the little angel feeling his head with ideas.
Lucious says let’s see who’s more powerful, your God or your Daddy. Lucious goes up there and says God spoke to him when he hears her singing. He introduces himself to her and says he wants to make a gospel record with her. She’s stunned. She hugs him and says thank you and God bless. Andre stomps out. The nurse gives Lucious an injection and says in a couple of weeks, he’ll be tremor free. He says he may have insomnia but he gave him a strong sedative. Michelle tells Andre that this is a blessing. He tells her that his father is the devil and she just spread his legs for him.
Cookie finds Lucious asleep and mumbling. She says if he wasn’t dying already she would kill him. She says she can’t believe he got Jamal to almost kill Beretti. Lucious wakes and rants and says get off my bed, I’m not going with you. He’s talking to Bunkie who says he’s there to take him out. He tells Bunkie to go on. He says he can’t be there because he killed his ass because he kept threatening him. Lucious says everyone that crosses him dies. He says Cookie and Hakeem can’t hurt him. He says God tried to kill him but he ain’t got ALS and ain’t dying.
He says this isn’t his farewell concert, it’s his comeback concert. He says he’s going to rise from the dead like the Messiah. Cookie backs out of the room shocked. Michelle sings at the packed church service. Jamal and Ryan are at Empire having sex in his dad’s office. Hakeem and Anika are in bed after sex. Andre watches Michelle sing but then walks out. Cookie rants to a sleeping Lucious that Bunkie was her cousin. She calls him an SOB. Cookie gets a pillow and goes to put it over Lucious’ face. She hesitates then says it’s over and puts it over his face.
She pulls the pillow off him and walks out. Jamal and the family sit around the table. There are wrapped gifts for all of them. Lucious straightens his tie and walks into the room. He thinks back to when it was him and the boys before Cookie got out of jail. He told them none of them were ready to take over for him and says he will start grooming one of them to take over. Now, Lucious tells them a miracle happened. He says he was misdiagnosed with ALS. He says he has a serious but not fatal illness. Jamal says that’s amazing. Lucious says he woke up so conscious of all the harm he’s done to them.
He says he’s not asking for forgiveness. He asks them to open the gifts. Hakeem says he doesn’t want anything from him. Hakeem has a huge gold necklace with a gold wing medallion. He tells him he’s sorry about Camilla and says he’s giving him his own jet and says he’ll never try to control him again. Andre gets an ornate gold cross. He says it’s the Lion of Judah because he knew what he was doing when he tried to take Michelle. He tells Andre he’s starting the Lyon Foundation and says Andre can run it starting with $100 million. Jamal opens his last.
It’s a small staff with a gold Lyon and he tells Jamal that the Empire is his. Cookie comes in and Lucious tells her that he got a reprieve and that he’s not dying. She says she’s so happy he’s not dying. He tells her he got her a gift too. She opens it and sees a pillow. He must have been conscious enough to remember what she did. Becky brings tea to the guys and says Jamal promoted her to A&R and it’s the last tea she serves. Hakeem asks her what kind of black girl is named Becky. She says her mom is white.
Jamal says he feels like Lucious really loves them and built it all for them. Hakeem asks if dad isn’t dying why he picked a successor. He says it protects them. Andre agrees that it shareholders like a succession plan. Jamal says he’s not Lucious. Hakeem asks if he’ll be in charge of his album and the gigs he can promote it. Jamal says he thinks it should be pushed back one to two months. Hakeem says he wants it out the day of the IPO. Jamal says his album is climbing the charts and to let it climb then drop Hakeem’s. Andre gives Jamal the slow clap and says that’s perfect.
Cookie tells Porsha that Lucious is up to something and she says at least he’s still letting Cookie produce the concert. Rita Ora is singing. Cookie gets an urgent text from Becky. Jamal reminds Lucious that he said he’d let Cookie back in the company. Lucious says that was before Cookie tried to murder him. He says he has security cameras in every room. He says checkmate bitch and plays the video of her putting the pillow over his face. Jamal looks disgusted. She says it’s not what it looks like. She put the pillow on him and Lucious grabbed her wrist in his sleep.
Cookie says Lucious killed Bunkie and will kill anyone. She tells Jamal to watch his back because he’ll kill anyone. Lucious says you have to be willing to sacrifice your queen to win the game. Cookie is hustled out of the building once again by security. Her federal contact meets her there. She watches the electronic sign for Lucious’ concert change to erase her name. The feds shove her in the car. They drive off with her. Lucious waits for Vernon outside his place and says he’s happy to have him back. He says he needs him. Lucious says they have business to do and says he has to take care of Cookie.
Carter says they are building a case against Lucious. Cookie says she doesn’t have to help with it. They ask if she knows Shine Johnson. Lucious was rambling about Shine last night in his sleep. Carter says Shine told them that Lucious killed Bunkie. They tell her to just tell them so they can take Lucious down. Cookie says to find themselves another snitch. She says she fulfilled her obligation to them. She heads out and calls a taxi. Vernon watches her leave the federal building. Hakeem works out while Anika watches. He says they both wanted to hurt Lucious but he’s not signing with Creedmore.
She looks at a book he has – A Curious Mind – and says it’s an inspirational book. She says she’s happy he’s reading it. She tells him he should also read Machiavelli. He says he already read it. She says he had a disdain for effiminate princes and says he can be a much better king than Jamal. She asks if he’s ever heard of a hostile takeover and says they also need Andre. She asks if he can handle it. It’s the press conference for Lucious’ big concert. Vernon says all Cookie did was see her PO. He tells Lucious that Rita Ora pulled out of the show because she’s team Cookie.
Hakeem talks to Andre about the hostile takeover but he says to take the loss gracefully. Lucious says Michelle is going to sing tonight and hooks her up with one of the producers. Lucious introduces Patti LaBelle and says she agreed to be part of the show. He takes questions. They ask how he’s going to manage his music and run his public company. Lucious says Jamal will be running the company. Black Rambo is there and says he’s off the label and says he’s not working for a gay. He says there’s no room in hip hop for them bitches.
Next day, they talk about Black Rambo. Jamal says they can’t take him on head to head. Lucious says he will make a statement about not accepting bigotry. Andre says it’s a terrible move and will cost stock prices. Andre asks if Empire is now the cult of Jamal. He says this is not the time to make a bold stand on an issue that alienates so many of their artists. Cookie waits for Hakeem to finish his haircut then she sweeps up while telling him she doesn’t like what Lucious did. She says she thinks he and Jamal should have been co-leaders. She asks if he’s still with Anika. He says he never was and wants Empire.
She tells him they can build their own. She says she did it before and knows how good he is – much better than he or Lucious realize. He says they don’t have to start from scratch no more. Rhonda is packing her bags when Andre comes home. He asks what’s going on. She reminds him that he already left him. She says he may not have screwed Michelle, but they shared something intimate. He says she went running to Lucious when he offered her a contract. She says he left her for a phony and conceded Empire without a fight.
Andre calls Hakeem and tells him that he changed his mind. Hakeem brings Cookie to Anika’s. She asks why she shouldn’t throw this drink in her face. Anika trash talks and Cookie throws the drink on her and punches her. They all out brawl. Hakeem and Andre finally pull them apart. Hakeem reminds them they all hate the same man. Anika has the contact with Tricky Tricker, a corporate raider. Hakeem says they have to stick together if they’re going to do this. Cookie agrees and says she will work with Boo Boo Kitty this time.
[2015-03-18, 11:22:15 PM] Rachel Rowan: There’s a free style rap battle going on in a shady joint. Black Rambo takes down a guy then Jamal steps up to take him home. Rambo tells Jamal he doesn’t want to do this but Jamal says bring it. Rambo raps about homos and pink tutus then calls him a bitch. Then it’s Jamal’s turn. He says it doesn’t matter that he’s gay because God didn’t make it better. He says he needs to get on his knees. He sings about his sin ain’t no better and his skin ain’t better. Then he ends in a falsetto – bitch. He puts on his jacket and walks out to lots of applause.
Cookie is in the studio listening to some idiot white rappers. It’s Tricky’s grandson and Anika says if they can sell Kid FoFo they can sell his punk ass grandson. Andre talks to Tricky and them about how much he’ll invest. He gets up to $250 million. Tricky says if they can replace the CEO with a schill then the board it will be easier. He says when he can nail a CEO with a good scandal it works best. He says they need to raise $250 million and a scandal to nail Lucious. Cookie meets with Vernon. She asks if she tore her family apart again for no reason.
She asks if Lucious killed Bunkie. Vernon says it’s crazy the things that can make a man go back to using. He says Bunkie was trying to shake Lucious down for $3 million and threatened to take down the IPO. Vernon says he raised her boys and Bunkie was like a brother to him. He says Lucious was his hero. She says she lost everything and can’t lose him. Vernon goes to see Andre with a gift bag. He says he needs to talk to Andre and says he’s like a son to him. Jamal is at the concert rehearsal. Cookie comes to see him. He calls for a break then goes over to her.
Jamal says all he wanted was for Lucious to love him. Cookie says she wants him to always remember what she told him all those years ago in that visiting room – I got you. She says no matter what else is going on, she’s got him. Jamal says he needs to know. Cookie says that it’s between Lucious and the Lord. Vernon tells Andre that they’re getting what they want. Andre says he stabbed him in the back and says he’s family. Andre says he’s his dad’s thug and now Jamal’s. He shoves Vernon and they end up in a fist fight. He tells him to get out of his house.
Rhonda comes in and whacks Vernon in the head with a candle stick. She’s freaking out because he’s all busted up. He tells her she came back and Rhonda says she wants to fix this. She goes to check on Vernon. It looks like he’s dead. There’s a huge puddle of blood on the rug. Andre says they have to call the police. Rhonda says no to. Andre says it was self defense then she tells him she’s pregnant and they might not see it that way. It’s time for the opening bell.
Lucious wants to wait for Vernon but they tell him they can’t wait. The chairman tells him to press the green button. Jamal, Hakeem and Andre are with him as is Rhonda. Then there’s the Lucious Lyon Sound Show. He sits backstage getting ready to go on. Cookie is with the family watching the show. Hakeem is up first. Jamal comes out with him. Lucious thinks back to his rough life in the hood as a kid. Their number ends. Next up is Michelle singing another of Lucious’ hits. Andre isn’t happy to see her all tarted up singing outside of the church.
Jamal goes to check on his dad and asks if he’s ready. Lucious says Dwight Walker is his real name. He says Cookie doesn’t even know it. He says when he became an orphan at 9 he knew Dwight wouldn’t last a week on the streets and created the immortal Lucious Lyon. He tells Jamal that he loves him and always did but he did terrible things to him. He says he was just scared and says it’s hard enough growing up in this world as a black man but then to be homosexual on top of it. Jamal tells his dad he’s proud of him too for being able to change his mind.
The cops come in and arrest Lucious for the arrest of Bunkie. Lucious says she’s a parole officer. He says she’s a ghetto rat and did this to him. She says she didn’t. He tells Jamal to go do their song. The crowd is chanting for Lucious. Jamal tells Cookie it’s between him and the Lord. Jamal takes the stage and remembers him waling down the stairs in his mom’s heels and scarf. He says he’s the son of Lucious Lyon. He sings the song they just wrote together. Patti LaBelle comes out and sings with him. They hold hands and wail it out.
Becky tells Lucious she can’t find Vernon and the stock is plummeting. He sees Hakeem and Andre glaring at him and Becky says there’s word of a hostile takeover. Carter freaks out because Vernon was her star witness and has disappeared. Jamal is at work with the board the next day. Andre and Rhonda are at the OB checking on their baby. Anika is producing Hakeem at the studio. Cookie is making herself comfortable at Lucious’ house. She puts a family photos of all of them on the piano. Lucious thinks about how the streets and disease couldn’t stop him. He says even God couldn’t stop him and says Lucious Lyon cannot be stopped. He says – game on bitches.
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