Empire Episode 5 Recap

“Dangerous Bonds”

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Photo Credit: Fox

Drip drop, drip drip drip, drop…

…is the sound of the sweat rolling off Cookie’s underarms as she wrangles the various crises she experiences in “Dangerous Bonds.” It also happens to be the hook on Hakeem’s new soon-to-be hit single with his boo-thang Tiana. For once he seems to be making some moves of his own, with Daddy Lyon’s financing and oversight of course! This time he seems committed to the cause.

**If you haven’t seen the episode definitely stop reading here. If you have, let’s enjoy this delightful little adventure together.

First things first, Tiana, has her boo’s back! When Takeem hit the red carpet, some entertainment reporter slights Hakeem by calling him the son of Lucious. Tiana smoothly redirects ‘ol girl back to Hakeem, broadcasting that she’ll know his name soon enough. Empowered by Tiana having his back, Hakeem grows a backbone and some motivation much to his father’s amusement. I think he also grows some feelings for T.

Meanwhile Jamal’s out in the world having his “Good Times” scratchin’ and survivin’ moment. He’s determined to work on his single without any financial assistance from Daddy Lyon and so he hits up the hood studio, complete with grimy walls and bullet holes in the door. Cookie summed it up perfect: “You keepin’ it ghetto, that’s for sho!”

Mama Lyon has work to do, aka grand jury testimony so she leaves a parting message with dude that owns the studio. “…you take care of my baby boy, ok? If not, I’m holdin’. The name’s Cookie ask about me.” Yes Cookie darling, YOU have the best lines and Miss Taraji you bring the fiyah every time! I haven’t forgotten you in “Baby Boy.” She’s always pulling that emotion from the depths of her soul delivering believable emotional characters without fail.

Frank Gathers anyone? Obviously he’s the man behind the red rose design on Cookie’s former product, which means he must be the kingpin. We learn more about this mystery man and Cookie’s affiliation with him in this episode. A red rose dropped on Cookie’s doorstep after her grand jury testimony sends her spinning. Turns out Gathers was responsible for killing the undercover agent Cookie was selling to back in her heyday. Present day Frank is in jail, but his power reaches beyond the confines of prison gates sending Cookie running scared and plotting back to Philly to her little sister Courtney’s house played by the Tasha Smith—who always brings the comedy and drama. Carole suggests she visit an old friend, Jemel who can ‘take care’ of things.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Dre and his wife make strides in their attempts to maneuver him into the ‘next up’ slot to take over Empire Records. Dre’s best asset is his wife who seems to have fully realized and embraced the term, carpe diem. Wifey peeps Tiana making out with her side piece, a blonde Ralph Lauren-model-looking chick and snaps a pic. Their plan? To leak the pic and derail Hakeem’s “Drip Drop” video. Daddy Lyon ends up on set squashing the beef so Dre’s plans are foiled. Then genius gets the bright idea to plant information about Jamal’s whereabouts and what he’s holdin’…jewelry, expensive shoes etc. Dimwit pitches the idea to wifey, who’s hesitant because she has sense. Hakeem’s thug life friends take the easy bait and roll out, hitting Jamal’s session and runnin’ the crew. Thankfully ol’ school Bronx aka the studio manager pulls out the shotgun and thug life retreat into the night. I guess an ass-full of buck-shot wasn’t appealing. The unfortunate outcome of this situation, Jamal thinks Hakeem set him up. Tension building fo’ sho.

The episode winds down with Cookie—from the backseat of her car service in Philly—discussing a hit on Frank Gavis’ muscle, Teddy McNally, with her sister while (via phone) orchestrating a new studio session for Jamal post- robbery incident and Tiana’s return to the “Drip Drop” video set.

Later we discover Lucious left the red rose on Cookie’s doorstep for their “anniversary” which is strange since he just got engaged to Anika. Sooo guess that hit on Teddy McNally wasn’t necessary…

Oh yeah and we meet Lucious’ future parents-in-law who aren’t fans. It doesn’t help when he asks Anika’s daddy to break the law and write him a clean bill of health so he can continue unfettered in his quest to go public.

I was pumped when…Jamal got his renewed life in the studio. Reminded me of the building-a-beat-scene in “Hustle & Flow”

I could live without… The proposal

Random Thoughts:

· Dre and his wife Rhonda. How did these two get together? Rhonda is a character with a lot of promise. I want the writers to expand her character. This actress makes the most of her few appearances but the tension building potential with ol’ girl is bottomless.

· Lucious referring to Cookie fondly as “The Cookie Monster”.

· Hakeem excitedly telling his father his studio/video shoot plans for Drip Drop, “…we gotta be audacious.” Woah there homeboy, that’s a big word for you, Tiana lit a fire under that ass.

· Cookie’s stash spot! The jewelry box on her coffee table contained a silky leopard print scarf (be sure), a rubber-banded fold of cash and a silver pistol. Reminded me of my teen fantasies of being a mob wife Goodfellas-style. In my vision I rocked a fur coat, candy-red lips and packed a pearl-handled pistol…ahhh the folly of youth.

· Cookie’s “…you black like me!” comment to the Middle Eastern cabbie! LOL

· Hakeem proclaiming he would take over the game from Drake, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. Sweetie (insert the hand-pat) I hate to break it to you, but although I anticipate “Drip Drop” being a hit, I sense it might be your only one.

· Jamal’s song; can I get it on iTunes?

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