Obviously there will be spoilers ahead! You’ve been warned!
This week’s episode of Empire began with a bang, literally, as FBI personnel busted through the front doors of Empire Records in search of Lucious Lyon, practically destroying everything in their path. Surprisingly, Luscious is not fazed by this breach exclaiming, “If the cops come to raid your house, you’re a G, if the Feds come to raid your house, that makes you an OG”. Cookie catches the news of the break in, and plans to use this chaos to take vengeance on Luscious, to no avail. Right as she prepares to leave, the FBI break in to Lyon Dynasty’s headquarters too! The most explosive (and disgusting) moment during this whole scene is when Lucious’ prosecutor, Roxanne Ford, storms into his bedroom only to find him as naked as the day he was born. Luckily, we were only graced by his top half.
In response to this sudden investigation, Jamal believes that he should postpone his cover for Rolling Stone along with his new album. Meanwhile, Hakeem struggles to pick up the pieces after his girl group, Mirage A Trois, dissolves when frontwoman, Valentina, leaves him for Empire.
Once again the Lyons are forced to have yet another family meeting, and this time around, (instead of a good ol’ table dragging) Lucious’ lawyer urges the clan to reconcile their differences and face this investigation head on. Despite everything that has separated them, Andre and Rhonda’s pregnancy may be the thing that pushes this family together. In one scene, Lucious and Cookie seem almost giddy to be first time grandparents.
Jamal decides to go on with his Rolling Stone cover, so he invites an eccentric Warhol-esque artist to capture him in his ritzy penthouse. The dialogue between the two of them gets pretty intimate, much to Michael’s (Jamal’s boyfriend) chagrin. Michaels’s expressions during this scene are utterly hilarious.
To insure this new call for unity, Jamal and Hakeem move forward with their plans to shoot a music video together. Their video for the song “Ain’t About the Money” took an epic post-apocalyptic Black Panther vibe. During this shoot we also find that Jamal looks really good in black turtlenecks and berets. Underlying tensions are obvious between Hakeem and Jamal and suddenly when they break out into a brawl in the middle of the video, everything falls apart. They fight in the middle of the set, and it spirals out of control. We thought the punches thrown by Jamal were very out-of-character for him, though maybe Hakeem would destroy a beautiful painting of Jamal. It seemed to us like the acting in this scene was almost overly-melodramatic for Empire, and the dialogue between Hakeem and Jamal was awkward as well.
In the middle of filming the music video, Cookie goes outside to take a phone call and gets arrested by a dirty cop working for Roxanne Ford. Her arrest induces painful flashbacks from the last time that she was in jail. Once again, Taraji P. Henson proves why she deserved an Emmy nomination with the tears and harrowing whimpers she conjures up while sitting in jail. Roxane attempts to get information out of Cookie with the threat of leaking Andre’s struggle with bipolar disorder, but Cookie knows this game all too well, so she sells false information for her family’s safety and her own freedom.
Finally in Episode 4, we get a glimpse of Rhonda and Andre’s relationship. Rhonda proves to be the most OG of all the Lyons when she says, “I’m ride or die, all the way,” as she and Andre go to dig up a dead body in the middle of the night! While pregnant! Andre’s obsession with gaining Lucious’ approval and re-joining Empire reaches its apex as he decides to dig up Vernon’s corpse. As he and Rhonda are digging in some creepy forest, they get freaked out and think the cops are on their tail. It really turns out to be Lucious and his lawyer, planning to dig up the same body Rhonda and Andre are looking for. Lucious is finally able to smile at his eldest son when he realizes that Andre killed the man who was planning to kill him. To top it all off, they plant the rotting corpse in the back of prosecutor Roxanne Ford’s car!
“Poor Yorick” closes out with a lovely performance by breakout star Jamila Velazquez, singing the classic song “Blue Bayou” in Spanish. Hakeem sees her at a bar and becomes enamored with her amazing voice. Could she be the star he’s been looking for? Will Cookie’s revelation destroy or protect the Lyons? Is Lucious and Andre’s relationship on its way to recovery?
We give this episode a 4/5 stars for Jamila Velazquez’s beautiful rendition of “Blue Bayou” and for moving Andre’s plot line forward. Bonus points go towards Jamal’s outfit in his new music video and Taraji P. Henson’s acting in her heartbreaking flashback.
Stay tuned for next episode’s recap/review by Spectrum!