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“Empire” Recap: Betrayal and brotherly love



Note: The following recap contains spoilers for the ninth episode of “Empire,” entitled “Unto the Breach.”

Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson, “Hustle and Flow”) storms onto the scene this week. She interrupts an affectionate wedding planning session between Anika Lyon (Grace Gealy) and Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard, “Hustle and Flow”) and spills the beans on Anika’s relationship with Billy Baretti (Judd Nelson, “The Breakfast Club”), Lucious’ arch enemy in the music business. Cookie pretty much sums up the entire dramatic scene by shouting “BYE, FELICIA” as she flings “Boo-boo Kitty’s” clothes out of the mansion window.

Empire Enterprises becomes a chaotic mess in the aftermath of Anika’s betrayal. With assistants and managers frantically running around, gathering intel on every employee, artist and affiliate, and cases of cash being taken out of the bank for bribe money, the entire situation seems almost like a parody of itself.

The episode follows each individual member of the Lyon family as they hustle to sign as many artists as possible within 24 hours. Cookie uses her street smarts to out-drink and out-smart her competition and secure one of the more “hood” artists to the Empire label. Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollet, “The Mighty Ducks”) sings and makes friends with a huge pop star that would save the company (although Lucious’ homophobia gets in the way of his appreciation for this achievement), Andre Lyon (Trai Byers, “Selma”) convinces an up-and-coming online artist to sign with Empire and Hakeem Lyon (Bryshere Gray) entices his former girlfriend to come back to the label.

All seems to be going well, until all three Lyon brothers end up locked in an elevator, and Andre, who is now off his medication, begins to spiral out of control. Just when the situation seems to be getting violent, the three brothers sing a song to calm down and share a beautiful moment of brotherly love…for now.

Meanwhile, archenemies Lucious and Beretti share a tense conversation in which about 20 of their bodyguards aim guns at each other. Really? Is it really that serious? No. The family gets it all together just in time to sing yet another rendition of “You’re So Beautiful” (written by Jussie Smollett).

But wait, someone is missing. Of course, Andre, excluded from pretty much all family affairs, is not present for this beautiful moment, and is, in fact, suffering from a violent panic attack. No one in the family really seems to care, and poor Andre is sedated and carted off to the hospital at the end of the episode. The last thing he says to Lucious before being taken away in regards to picking a successor to Empire Enterprises is, “You pick the one that knows you’re a murderer.” Drops mic. So, Andre is typically not the one holding the microphone, seeing as he has no musical talent, but you get the idea.

Tune in to “Empire,” Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on FOX.

Cookie had her suspicions about Anika right from the start.

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