Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the beautiful insanity of Empire's second season. Tonight was slightly lower-key than the last two episodes, focusing more on drawing the battle lines for the upcoming fight between Empire and Lyon Dynasty (as well as making Andre cry), but that doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of fun stuff going on. Check out the best moments below.
5. "Random Hood Rat"
Jamal is sort of sidelined for most of this episode, while Becky tries to get him to reconcile with Cookie so he can make fire music. But he takes that anger out on Freda Gatz, who he calls a "random hood rat" to his father in a way that starkly clarifies the kind of life Jamal has led (remember the loft he was living in in the first episode?) and the class-based assumptions he's bringing to his artistry. Oof.
4. Cookie Pulls Out the Table Cloth
There's an attempt at familial reconciliation when Lucious gets back from prison, but Cookie declares open war by going beyond spilling the tea -- she pulls an entire cloth out from under their dinner, wrecking what looks like an extremely expensive meal. Hopefully Taraji got to eat at least a little bit of that food after.
3. Cookie Brings Back Real Hip-Hop
When she gets on the phone with Sway (one of many appearances by Sway Calloway during the episode), Cookie assures him that she's bringing back "real hip-hop" by singing the hook to Boogie Down Productions' "The Bridge is Over." Does this mean that the next time we see Lyon Dynasty, the label will have signed J. Cole and put out fresh new editions of Native Tongues vinyls?
Hakeem steals the scene here with his Lucious diss track (performed with Timbaland at his father's own coming home party), but the appearance of Pitbull (and his attendant scheming with Cookie) deserves its own place on the list. We may be in the season of the 'Keem, but there's a whole season for that. Pitbull needs recognition now.
1. HOW, SWAY
Lucious' final mic drop is to sign Valentina, stealing Becky G away from Hakeem, then bringing her exclusively onto Sway's radio show after acquiring control of the station (which totally seems like it should raise ethical/legal flags, right?). Good work Lucious. The problem is just that Cookie, understandably, gets pissed... because she didn't have all the facts. From Sway.