Empire – Absent Child
By: Gladys Luna
The Lyon and the Dubois families are faced with each other since the Lyons allegation that the Dubois are the one responsible for Bella been taken away from them. They begin to argue about how powerful each family is and their upbringing until they are abruptly interrupted by Anika (Grace Byers) who pleads to the head of the Dubois, Diana (Phylicia Rashad), to give her the baby back, but the woman assures her that she doesn’t know where the little girl is. However, she tries to offer her their help, but Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious (Terrence Howard) don’t believe a word she says. So, Cookie decides to stand up and leave the room followed by her family.
Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray), Anika and Thirsty (Andre Royo) are at the Child Protective Services office, but no one seems to provide any certain information about the child. Hakeem is growing anxious until one of the employees takes the three of them to his office and tries to explain them what is truly happening. Apparently, they have been receiving different motions and they won’t be able to see the kid for a while. Anika leaves the place in angst as Hakeem starts to yell at the employee when he hears the news about his daughter. The Lyons gather at Lucious’ house in order to create a plan to get Bella back. Thirsty suggests Anika divorce Lucious as soon as possible so that way she can´t be related to the Lyon family anymore. They all agree to work together for the child´s sake.
Lucious is watching the “Inferno” show rehearsal. He asks the crew to stop and bring more into it. That is when Jamal (Jussie Smollett) shows up and tells him that he has been doing a mix of the song they have been doing together that is just “fire.” Lucious want to do a remix of the song as well and although Jamal doesn’t seem to be convinced at first, he agrees to his father´s ideas about it. Cookie meets with Andre (Trai Byers), Shyne and Porsha (Ta’Rhonda Jones) in order to plot the way they will bring down Inferno and make When Cookie Met Lucious a hit. Also, they are planning a way to bring Bella back.
Jamal meets Lucious at the studio, Grim Reaper (an artist that Lucious wants to collaborate on the song) shows up and begins to rap. As he is singing, his white shirt begins to show some red stains from the wounds he had when he was shot while in jail. Jamal and Lucious share a small argument about the song since they disagree about it. That is when Jamal convinces Lucious of listening to the version of his song and he ends up loving it.
Anika is waiting for Lucious, but she is surprised when she sees Andre entering the room instead. He walks straight towards her and begins to fight her, blaming her for killing Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) and his baby. He pushes her against the couch and she begins to cry and confesses why she pushed the woman down the stairs. Andre tells her he will make her pay and Anika agrees with him on that confessing she deserves the pain she´s going through and that is when Andre steps away from her and tells her she should suffer as much as he did. Then, he leaves the room.
On the other hand, Hakeem seems really beaten down at not finding his daughter. He is at his place surrounded by his friends and then he stands up and asks everyone to leave the house as he just wants to be left alone.
Cookie and Andre meet Gino (Alexander Gemignani) to convince him to present Jamal´s When Cookie Met Lucious instead of Inferno in the Vegas show, but the man is very clear when telling her that if she makes sure Lucious go onboard as well, then he is in.
Hakeem is doing a live streaming where he pours his heart out about his daughter´s situation and accusing the Dubois of having taken the baby from him. Suddenly, he begins to rap where he earns the sympathy and full support of the viewers who have started to send messages as “Free Baby Bella.” In the meantime, The Dubois’s lawyer is discussing with Angelo (Taye Diggs) and Diana the actions they should take against Hakeem for having libeled them on his live streaming. And just when they are walking on the street, they are met with a group of angry fans screaming “Free Bella” to their faces, quickly finding themselves cornered against the wall.
Lucious talks to his mother Leah (Leslie Uggams) about how helpless he feels with everything that is currently happening in his family and when he questions her if she thinks he is a good father, she simply replies him with “you´re not even a good person” making the man to go deep in thought. Cookie scolds Andre for not supporting her before Gino when he suggested to bring Lucious on board on the Vegas project. She tries to convince Andre that they need Lucious and the whole family so the new business can grow, but Andre disagrees completely with her. Nessa (Sierra A. McClain), who is in there witnessing the whole discussion between mother and son, tries to defend Andre but gets slapped by Cookie who asks her to never meddle between them.
Lucious is playing piano when Leah approaches to him and opens a shoe box bringing some old pictures and handing them to Lucious. The worn photographs show Lucious’ father in uniform. Lucious’ still blames himself for hadn’t been able to save his father, but Leah comforts him by saying he was just a little boy to do that. He also confesses to her that when Jamal was in the same situation, he didn’t hesitate to save him and Leah kind of opens Lucious eyes by telling him that Jamal is special – something that really seems to bring some sense in the man. The woman walks out of the room, leaving Lucious alone with his music and thoughts. The next day, Jamal arrives at the studio and finds his father waiting for him outside. The young man begins to rant about Lucious not wanting anyone to take control of his music so he asks him to let him do When Cookie Met Lucious and he can continue with Inferno. Lucious waits for the man to finish and then leads him into the studio where Jamal finds life size glasses with pictures of his grandfather printed on them, followed by Lucious’ confession that in the same way he took after his father, one day, Jamal´s music will be Empire’s legacy as well and should start with the song they just created.
Shyne and his men have held Angelo captive. They keep beating him as a way to get the truth about Bella´s whereabouts out of him. Cookie enters the room and Angelo pleads to her to tell the other men that he had nothing to do with the child been taken, but she doesn’t believe him. She keeps asking him to tell her where the baby is and assures him that she know his mother is behind all of that. So, as Angelo doesn’t seem to provide any good information about it, Cookie decides to leave the room not before asking the men to keep beating him. Later that day, she pays a visit to Lucious and confirms him that When Cookie Met Lucious will be the premiere show on the Vegas stage.
Then, Giuliana (Nia Long) walks in saying that Gino called her, which made her come back to town and make sure that she and Lucious were still on the same page about said business. The man supports her and then tells Cookie that Inferno still is the launching show of the Empire Casino. Cookie can’t believe what she is seeing and when she tells Lucious all she has done for him all the pasts 17 years, Giuliana just thanks her and confirms that she´ll be taking care of everything from there and on.
Nessa visits Andre and asks him why he hasn’t answered any of her calls. He coldly tells her that his family needed him and that confession dawn some realization on the girl, she understands that Andre has only been using her for his own benefit. When she says it out loud to him, he doesn’t say otherwise making Nessa utterly disappointed of him.
On the other hand, Diana is taking care of Angelo´s wounds. He is truly upset and tells her he will go to the police and make sure every Lyon ends up on jail. Suddenly, his mother rings a bell and a woman walks in the room with a baby stroller showing baby Bella in it. Angelo seems to be in shock when he sees the little girl that his mother quickly introduces as the new member of the Dubois family to him. Diana confesses that, since the Lyons had ruined one child of hers, she has decided to take on of them.