Before I begin my recap and review let me give you my rating. This episode for me was somewhat confusing so for that, I rate this episode (8). Here is why...
The episode started with Hakeem and his crew recovering from the train up of last night. Derrick goes on social media and announced his love for Jamaal. Derrick walks into Jamaal's apartment to see Phillip and Jamal's half dressed. Derrick stops recording his video and wants answers from Jamaal. Unfortunately, Jamaal has no answers to give and tells Derrick to get out his apartment. Wow, I am shocked Derrick finally came out the closet. Who knew he loved Jamaal that much? Phillip leaves for Jamaal to handle his situation with Derrick. Jamaal asks Phillip to stay but he left anyway. That was very mature of Phillip.
Hakeem ease drop at the door while Lucious is having a meeting. Hakeem thinks his meeting is about his birthday present. This meeting is about Anika. Looks like Mama Leah has made her place perfectly back in the family. Cookie wants to know if Anika has any information about her. Lucious looks like he is getting sick again. Cookie calls him on it but he denies it. Hakeem interrupts the meeting wanting details of his birthday present. Cookie shuts that down by telling him they have bigger issues. They can't celebrate his birthday until things die down. Of course, Hakeem isn't feeling that. He is turning 21 and feeling his grown manhood now. Lucious wants to know why Hakeem didn't question Anika about leaving Belle with him. Hakeem didn't know his baby mother wasn't home and has run off.
Nessa performs a love song with Andre watching. Giuliana shows up at the club. She finds out Nessa is Andre's woman. Andre and Giuliana discuss Nessa opening up for her new club. Giuliana is more concern about getting her hands into Empire. I think she also has a thang for Andre. However, Andre got a thang a for her too? Better watch out Nessa. Angelo is a little disturb with Cookie. Once again, Cookie has a problem that involves Lucious help. Cookie tried to explain she didn't know the details of the meeting I and ask for Angelo's help. Angelo is willing to help but he wants to know what Cookie is hiding and what Anika have on her.
Angelo finds a gun in Cookie cabinet while she is telling him Anika has nothing on her. Angelo makes it clear to Cookie, he is running for Mayor and the street life isn't a part of their life. He isn't trying to jeopardize his chance to become Mayor. My issue with Angelo is he knew Cookie life before he got involved with her. She was in the streets deep. Nothing should surprise him by now. Cookie agrees to get rid of the gun. Angelo then asked her, " have you ever shot anyone?" Cookie tells a lie. We see a flashback of Cookie shooting a guy on the leg for not understanding no and Lucious isn't home. Anika is with her parents. She has a plan to not get herself killed by Lucious or caught up in Tariq's plan to take him down. Her mother isn't happy about this plan but Anika assures her the plan was the only way to see her daughter again.
Hakeem will be streaming his birthday bash live. He feels a little bummed because Tiana is on tour and will not be there. Derrick shows up at the studio to talk to Jamaal. Derrick came out because of his love for Jamaal. It's shocking to see he really loves Jamaal. Derrick has lost business due to him coming out. Cookie interrupted the conversation between Derrick and Jamaal. She can't stand Derrick for giving Jamaal drugs. Cookie makes her feelings known to Jamaal about Derrick. She tells him to dump Derrick before he loses Phillip. Jamaal fired back with stay away from Lucious before she loses Angelo. I love Cookie and Jamaal's bond. It seems she is closest to him then all her sons. Hakeem and Andre have an argument about his birthday bash airing on Empire Xtreme. Lucious tells Andre let Hakeem have his moment. Apparently, the joke is on Hakeem who thinks no one cares about his birthday when actually they are surprising him. Lucious asked Thirsty has he been able to contact Raphael, u the dude from Vegas (Giuliana dead husband). Andre asked Lucious is he trying to do business in Vegas. Lucious wants to know was Andre behind the anonymous call he got about Vegas. Andre tells him no. Cookie miss a hair appointment thanks to Giuliana and a phone call from Lucious about Anika calling to come home.
Tiana surprises Hakeem and show up at his party. Hakeem has a problem getting paid fromthe club promoter. Thanks to some help from strangers with guns, Hakeem gets his $50,000 and a bigger entourage to his next club. Anika comes home to an ambush from Lucious, Cookie and Mama Leah. Anika tells Cookie and Lucious about he plan to get the case thrown by making it seems as though Tariq is involved with Anika. Mama Leah walks in with a gun to kill Anika. I can't understand why Mama Leah doesn't like Anika. She never liked her from day one. Lucious gives Anika one week to make her plan work or he will let his mother get her wish. That wish is killing Anika. Jamaal and Phillip agrees to help Derrick through his coming out time. I like Phillip and Jamaal together. I just hope Jamaal give him a fair chance and don't allow Derrick to ruin it before it start.
Anika meets with Tariq. She tells him Lucious doesn't know about her meeting him. She apologize for running. She gets Tariq to agree to protect her. Looks like her plan just might work. The way Tariq looks her and how he touched her face, he just might be into her. Derrick arrive at Empire I but his badge didn't work. Derrick tells security to call Jamaal just as Phillip walks up. Phillip tries to have a mature conversation. Derrick isn't happy with Phillip talking to him then he see Jamaal. At that moment, he decides to tell Phillip he will never hit Jamaal (Meaning sex him) like he do. Derrick then puts his hand on Phillip's arm. Phillip gives Derrick a nice lunch to his face. Jamaal ask Phillip what's wrong with him. Phillip makes it learn, Derrick had that coming and walks out. Jamaal goes after Phillip leaving Derrick.
Hakeem arrive at Lavictus. He is welcome with Tiana performing a song for him. To Hakeem surprise, Jamaal comes out on the stage to perform. Andre shows up behind him telling him Happy Birthday. Hakeem gets on the stage to perform with Tiana and Jamaal. While they was performing an altercation happens with the extra guys Hakeem brought along with him. The guy liked Kennedy who is Tiana's friend. She was not interested in him. He got mad and assaults Kennedy. All hell breaks loose in the club after that. Fights everywhere in the club. Andre confronts Hakeem. Empire will be held liable due to video and witness of Hakeem hiring extra security. Hakeem thought the guys was apart of Shine's crew hired by Andre to watch him. I see how Hakeem could think that. Andre does do his share of sneaky stuff. Andre makes it clear to Hakeem you will take responsibility for this. Andre took Hakeem's camera and take his access to Empire Xtreme. Hakeem is worried about his birthday party ending badly but Tiana is worried about her friend. She leaves Hakeem to go check on her friend. Listening to Hakeem's lyrics, Jamaal tells Jim this why it's his fault. That's you, time to be a man.
Giuliana and Andre meet up to discuss business. Andre draft a contract, however, Giuliana isn't ready to sign. Giuliana wants to know why she hasn't meet Lucious. Andre makes it clear he trying to close the deal to make Lucious an offer he can't refuse. The sexual tension between Andre and Giuliana is steamy. I don't think Nessa would agree with Andre flirting and seduction towards Giuliana. He tells Giuliana they have an understanding. I doubt that very serious. Cookie gives Angelo her gun to turn in for her. Being on parole, Cookie can't be turning in guns.
Giuliana seems to be working with someone who wants Lucious but can't get close to him. Hakeem arrives at Lucious's house to take his daughter. Lucious has a talk with Hakeem about the day he was born. He tells Hakeem he's a man and a Lyon. A Lyon always looks after his club. He happy to see Hakeem becoming a man. Will we be seeing a change in Hakeem?
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Editor: Lattice Johnson