Empire-Episode 7 Recap

“Our Dancing Days”

Photo Credit: Fox 

“Kaboom! Guess who stepped in the room, Tical…”*

That’s how
I felt watching the closing scenes of Episode 7 of Empire. If you haven’t seen
it already you probably want to stop here, ‘cause this recap will be full of
spoilers. My apologies for the delayed post; I thought about not finishing it
since my schedule’s a little tight right now, but this week was too good to let

The overarching theme of Episode 7 is family and the
biological members of the Lyon clan are driving the story. Early in the
episode, we find out Lucious forced Jamal to marry Olivia, (Raven Symone, her
character name is giving me Cosby Show flashbacks). I’m guessing he figured a
forced marriage would persuade the gay out of him. Cookie is not happy about this
chick resurfacing and blames Lucious courtesy of a torrential rant. She only
lets up when his ALS symptoms trigger and he falls out, smacking his head on
the floor.

Cut to Cookie and Anika hustling behind the gurney to the
ambulance. There they jostle for wifey position to determine who can ride with
Lucious to the hospital.  Anika’s the
winner, but only for now…

Later at the hospital we find out the doctor recommended by
Anika’s father actually had his medical license revoked.  No surprise—he administered poison, collected
a check and drifted into the mist. Some of these smaller pieces of the story
actually seem like they should have a greater impact. For example, who is
Anika, why is she so frosty and why did her Daddy set up her future husband to
die? I guess Anika would gain Empire by marriage default, but they’re not even
married yet. Maybe I should stop trying to make sense of it but there are so
many avenues this show can explore and sometimes I feel there are dead-ends I’m
interested in seeing fleshed out.

Like the story of Dre, poor Dre and his twisted temperament.
I’m jumping ahead here but this scene ties in my previous quibble about stories
that need expansion.  We need more of Dre
and his wife Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday). We’ve had one flashback and while I’m
not a fan of too many flashbacks, perhaps we can be served with a couple more
involving Dre or just some good ol’ dialogue to reveal his story. Dre is
obviously angling to take over Empire and can barely contain his fear about the
IPO when Lucious finally reveals his ALS diagnosis. Dre’s reaction felt off to
me, he ended up hunched over fully-clothed in the shower. It was a special
moment, not special in a ‘oh poor Dre’ kind of way but in a confused, ‘is he
hyperventilating and why?’ way. Based off wifey’s sketchy amused eyeball
maneuver upon hearing Lucious’ announcement I’m surprised Dre’s night ended
with him drenched and clothed in the shower. Maybe I’m putting too much thought into it perhaps he just loves his pappy, who knows? I need more detail about these

Let’s go back to the Empire showcase, the pivotal event of Episode
7. Lucious reassures his sons that he needs them and even shares a real moment
with Jamal; for once you feel like Lucious loves Jamal and doesn’t have this
one-note ‘you disgust me’ attitude towards him. Elle Dallas (Courtney Love)
comes traipsing into the party, sober and ready to work, only to get sidelined
by Anika. At first I wanted to know what her issue with Elle Dallas was, then I
realized Anika sees Cookie’s come up and has peeped the respect Lucious has for
her and she’s not having it. Getting rid of Elle Dallas isn’t about Elle it’s
about Cookie. For all her Jack & Jill breeding and permanent stale face
she’s concerned about Miss Cookie from the Block. For a minute I thought Mr.
Devoe aka head of security may have peeped Anika’s Elle sabotage but if so, we
don’t know yet. I trust and believe Anika will get her come-uppance and I’m not
talking about the closing scene of this episode either, I mean literally Cookie
will find out about that sabotage…I hope! Next, Lucious is stricken by one of
his ALS symptoms and his throat closes up preventing him from giving a speech
to his investors after Hakeem and Jamal’s performance. He sends Cookie out to
speak on his behalf; of course Anika throws him the side-eye then throws Cookie
the raised eyebrow when she hesitates before taking the stage. In true Cookie
fashion she throws out the cues and speaks from the heart. You get the feeling
there will be a lot of investors in Empire after that speech and Lucious even
utters, “I love you Cookie,” while sitting right next to Anika.

After the show the whole ALS announcement happens and
Lucious spends time with his fiancé before she leaves on a business trip, his
kids and then Cookie. Cookie’s emotional and based off her Vanity 6 camisole
reveal from last week, she still loves and is attracted to Lucious. That’s why
it wasn’t a surprise when Lucious took Cookie to bed, his and Anika’s bed. In a
scene straight out of a soap opera, Anika doesn’t take the trip after all and
arrives back home to quietly watch Lucious and Cookie happily rediscover each
other in the crack that seems to be in every cheaters doorway. I was intrigued
that she just walked away which makes me wonder, what’s up with Miss Anika?
Guess we’ll find out next week! Oh yeah, we should also be circling back to the
fallout from Cookie’s unnecessary hit from two weeks ago. Can’t wait!

Random Observations:

Cookie’s nails looked like claws when
she placed her hand on the window of Lucious’ room, all I needed was the single

“I been around Empire so long I’m on CP
time”-Elle Dallas

Becky’s (Gabourey Sidibe) response to
Jamal’s daughter’s childish prattle, “Good luck with that.”

*Listen to the Anything
remix by SWV and Wutang Clan, those lyrics are perfect for the Cookie/Lucious

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