Empire Season 2 Episode 11 Recap: Life, Death and Business

Lori Acken

With Lucious losing the Empire to Mimi and Hakeem going against his own father by siding with Camilla, there are high expectations for the Season 2 return of Empire.

We last saw Rhonda as she was pushed down the stairs in her new home — the one that Lucious so willingly paid for. Since Anika is pregnant with Hakeem’s secret misfit child, it would seem that Anika is at the top of the suspect list for who’s responsible. Jealousy is one ugly monster.

Rhonda is left crawling on the floor to get her phone and call for help. She doesn’t get a clear vision of who did this to her, but she’s not giving up. She throws her phone at the front door to set off the house alarm system. Her motherly instincts must have kicked in because that was some smart thinking! All she asks for is that they save the baby. She doesn’t care if she dies, as long as the baby is safe.

Lucious has made it clear that he won’t go down without a fight to get his Empire back and Cookie is in the same boat. She gives Hakeem a good butt-whooping with a broom that ends up snapping into pieces to prove she means what she says.


Cookie wants Hakeem to take his vote back with another meeting but Hakeem won’t do it. What a stubborn little brat.

All the Lyon men besides the currently unwanted Hakeem have to pin Andre to the ground at the hospital when they tell him that Rhonda’s baby didn’t make it. Rhonda tells Andre that there isn’t a God, because she prayed to him to save the baby and he didn’t. Andre doesn’t want to hear that his God doesn’t exist, but I think he does take a second to consider it after what happened.

Whoa. Lucious is scary when he’s not thinking clearly! He tells Cookie that his plan is simple: if Hakeem thinks he’ll be CEO of Empire, Lucious will take him out. Cookie doesn’t want to think of her son dying, so she asks for Lucious to wait a couple of days until she can put her plan in motion. She wants to try to take Camilla out from the inside. The only problem is Cookie needs to find a way back into Empire. Lucious gives Cookie 48 hours to get her plan underway — and by the way, since he’s adding bullets into his gun, I think he means it.

Since Camilla is in charge of Hakeem now, she can say who he can and can’t date. And if Hakeem wants to become CEO of Empire, he needs to ditch his “little Mexican girlfriend” Laura. Hakeem keeps saying it will be hard for him to dump Laura because he feels something special with her and thinks he really loves her, but I’m not buying it. Clearly he thinks running Empire is more important than her.

Empire Season 2 Hakeem Cookie

All the CEO candidates at Empire withdrew their nominations, because they each had their run-ins with what it feels like to be in the Lyon’s den. A good old-fashioned beating, car explosions and seeing your dead cat hanging from the ceiling could definitely make someone change their mind about running a company that once belonged to Lucious Lyon.

Of course, Hakeem is present to step up to the plate and take on the role of CEO. Let the games begin!

With the ASA awards around the corner, Jamal feels the pressure to impress Jameson Henthrop and gain more attention. Jameson tells Jamal that he’s not happy with the rumors that Jamal was with Skye because then that gives press the idea that one can choose to be gay. Jamal is upset that his sexuality has to come into play when it should really be just about the music. To tell Jameson how he really feels, Jamal performs a new song that expresses that he should have the “freedom” to be with whomever he wants. I think Mr. Henthrop got the message loud and clear.

Cookie tried to make Empire buy Lyon Dynasty but Camilla wasn’t having it. Since that was Cookie’s only plan of getting on the inside of Empire, she was left with nothing. Once she told Andre and Jamal about her plans, Jamal had another idea of how to make the plan work. The only promise he makes Cookie keep is that she takes Camilla down.

There’s no need to worry about that, Jamal.

When Rhonda comes home for the first time, she tells Andre that she doesn’t want to ever sleep upstairs again. It would make sense that Rhonda has some post-traumatic stress associated with the stairs, which made me question why she then tried to go up them by herself. Once she sat down on a step, she remembered the accident and that it wasn’t an accident at all. Rhonda was pushed down those stairs! If only she could remember who did it.

Empire Season2 Jamal Cookie AndreCookie walks into Hakeem’s new office with her two loyal sons by her side. Needless to say, Camilla the leech is right next to Hakeem to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid because he doesn’t know how to run a company by himself. The Lyon gang came in to remind Hakeem and Camilla that Jamal’s album was a joint venture between Empire and Lyon Dynasty. Jamal figured he should let Lyon Dynasty release it since there are no records of who was set to release it. If Camilla dares to take them to court, Jamal says they’ll just leak his album online. This is getting good!

Now this would be terrible press for Hakeem — because his first move as CEO would be losing his biggest artist, Jamal. Cookie gets what she wants by having her own company, Lyon Dynasty, under Empire and becomes head of A&R for all of Empire. Camilla was not happy about it but Cookie got what she wanted to get into Empire. Now all Lucious has to worry about is coming up with the music. Cookie wants the dirty work left up to her.

Hakeem can’t shake his feelings for Laura. Whatever he said to her must have worked because Laura isn’t so innocent anymore. Let’s just say he can’t make any more virgin jokes — and he has a role in that. He better not break her heart!

Empire-Season2-EP11-Hakeem-200x300Lucious has Hakeem meet him where he gunned down Bunkie. I was shocked to hear it, but Lucious finally confessed to the murder. He told Hakeem that he’s standing right where he shot Bunkie in the face and that’s where he died. If I were Hakeem, I’d be freaking out right now. Especially since Lucious has a gun in his hand and Hakeem just took over his job.

Lucious tells Hakeem that he’ll stop at nothing to take his company back. I’m not sure why, but Lucious gives Hakeem his gun. He tells Hakeem that now is the time for him to figure out how far he’s willing to go in order to run Empire. If Hakeem doesn’t shoot Lucious at that very moment, he promises the next time they see each other, he’ll do his very best to take Hakeem’s life.

Hakeem points the gun at Lucious’ head, and Lucious even turns around to make it easier for him. Hakeem doesn’t pull the trigger.

What were your thoughts on the return of Empire? Do you think Rhonda will be able to remember who pushed her down the stairs? My guess is Anika pushed her. Who else would want to make sure there is only one heir to the Empire throne? Will Hakeem be able to replace Lucious as CEO of Empire? It looks like he’s only Camilla’s little puppet and she’s the one setting up her place on the throne. Will this alliance between Cookie and Hakeem work out? Cookie has a plan with getting what she wants but I’m not sure Hakeem knows that yet. Did you think Hakeem was going to pull the trigger on Lucious? Will Lucious keep his promise? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

New episodes of Empire premiere Wednesday nights at 9/8CT on FOX.

Photos: Chuck Hodes/FOX