Somebody Tell Me What's Happening on Empire (Tinashe Is Helping Jamal With a Visual Album???)

Image via Fox

Previously on Empire, Rhonda became the first and last woman to ever wear a blowjob bib, after falling to her death in the Season 3 premiere last September. That is my most recent memory of the show because somewhere along the way, my ability to indulge in the Lyon family drama dropped to a new low.

Literally every second of Empire over the past three seasons has left us more confused than the last, to the point that no one ever truly understands what’s happening, which means checking back in with the show should be easy. After a months-long hiatus, I’m ready to find out what everyone’s up to. Last night’s episode opens with Nia Long’s character (who is she?) flirting with Lucious as he plays the piano in cornrows, which signals that it’s a flashback. Although Lucious and Cookie are on speaking terms, Cookie has a new dude named Angelo, who she says is about to propose. There’s mention of a “primary,” which I presume means he works in government? (Later, I realize it’s Taye Diggs.)


Despite the potential engagement news, Lucious dismisses it and wishes Cookie well, in the nicest way he can: “Whatever you and him got, it ain’t nothing compared to what we had.” Cookie notes that Vegas—whatever Vegas is—is “moving ahead” and Lucious appears to be opposed to the Vegas thing. Andre is meanwhile dealing with “a very dangerous woman.” Who? More dangerous than Rhonda? During a meeting between Andre, Nia Long’s character and the rapper Xzibit plays, I wonder who is the “gaming commissioner” they keeping speaking of, and Nia kindly provides some bad exposition: “The head of the Vegas gaming commission has flown out here as a personal favor to me. We’re gonna have to present facts, figures, revenue projects and hit songs by our headliner.” Got it, thank you.

Rumer Willis, who I initially mistake for Kyle from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, is playing a mellow-voiced pop star. Nia, again, provides a lot of helpful backstory for Andre/us: She saw Lucious the other night and he didn’t remember her and they go way back. Ah yes, Taye Diggs is also on this show, and with just a few more people this could be a Best Man sequel. (Nia’s character’s name is Giuliana.) Another flashback to the soundtrack to Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.”

Image screengrab via Fox

Rumer proves she’s a decent singer, but who is she on here? What I know is that the demo she’s recording is for the Vegas thing and Lucious wants to introduce the song in a big way. Nia, with more exposition, tells Lucious that he owes her a favor because she killed her husband for him, which sounds like something worthy of a favor.


Anika has a new boo, but I feel as if there’s some shadiness between them based on 1) her body language and 2) the fact that their conversation in the bedroom is being recorded.

Okay. TINASHE??? Tinashe is “helping Jamal with his VISUAL ALBUM”???

Cookie gets proposed to on live TV. But oh no, Angelo is still mic’d backstage while screaming at Cookie about all the bad things he’s done! Including an illegal handgun. Not good for his political career. Phylicia Rashad rushes in to inform him that he’s still mic’d. “My mama was right. Your whole family is poison. All of y’all are garbage,” Taye tells Cookie. Wow. Emotional.


The episode ends with Rumer performing, sounding like alternate dimension version of Amy Winehouse. What else have I been missing?

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