#Empire S4 Ep10 ~Birds in the Cage~ Recap & Review

Episode Rating Scale: (10) Exceptional

Empire is back on. Yeahhh, baby. This episode was better than what I expected it to be. What's in store for us to see this season? I can't wait to find out. Lets recap!!


This episode opens with life after the Dubois takedown. Who survived to move on with life? Looks like Jamaal, is having a hard time accepting he killed someone. Cookie, Lucious, and Thirsty arrive at his condo. Jamaal doesn't know how to put behind him; he killed Angelo. Cookie makes a good point, Jamaal is alive. Angelo would have killed him and Warren.  That's a fact. Cookie tries to reassure Jamaal everything will be alright. Somehow, this will not be alright for Jamaal. Once Jamaal goes to get some rest, Cookie tells Thirsty she can't find Lucious. She shows Thirsty a strange text from Lucious. Now last we saw, the family was unsure if Lucious was 100% back. So it's fair to say, anything Lucious does unexpected could be Dwight, not Lucious. But in this case, it's neither one; it's Claudia.


Lucious wakes up to find Claudia standing over top of him. She had him drugged and chained up. Lucious is furious. He asked Claudia,"Do you know who I am?" He then makes it clear the pain he will do to her. Now, Claudia is a crazy ass all outdoors. She has convinced herself that Lucious doesn't exist. Seeing her Dwight enraged, she shoots him with something to calm his nerves. How will they take the coo-coo out of Claudia?


I like when they do the flashbacks. We get to see more of what happened with Cookie in jail. Cookie and the other inmates made a plan to kill the Correctional Officer who raped and took Poundcake's daughter. The plan didn't go as planned. Cookie in up in solitude. Cookie's thought was interested in Thirsty. Thirsty discovered footage that shows Claudia at the hospital where Andre is currently. Unsure if Lucious/Dwight contacted her, Thirsty and Cookie don't know what to believe. But, they know something isn't right. Cookie tells Thirsty to reach out to Gloria. Gloria is the doctor that recommended Claudia to Cookie. With Thirsty not being able to contact Claudia on any of her numbers, they have to seek other sources. One fight after another for the Lyons. 


Lucious wakes up again. He is trying to get free from the ball and chain on his good leg. Lucious asked her why she is doing this. Claudia has convinced herself that Lucious doesn't exist. Lucious makes it clear he doesn't know Dwight. He makes it clear; his name is Lucious Lyon. Maybe Lucious is 100% himself again. Unfortunately for Lucious, Claudia believes he is traumatized. She makes it clear; she is getting Dwight back. That means, she will do whatever to bury Lucious. 

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Even in crisis, Empire still has to conduct business. Tori and Hakeem does the first performance of the season. Backstage, Porsha tells Becky, Cookie doesn't want Tori doing any interviews. Not good for Becky being that, it's a host if reporters waiting. Becky on her phone. She doesn't understand where Lucious is at. Porsha reminds Becky, Lucious has a son in the hospital and the other at the precinct; his plate is full. Too bad Lucious doesn't know Jamaal killed Angelo. Becky and Porsha doesn't know Lucious been kidnapped. But, Becky problem isn't the Lyons. 

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Thirsty brings Gloria to see Cookie. Cookie waste no time digging for answers about Claudia. All she wants to know, "does she has something to worry about with Claudia?" Cookie, you most definitely do.

Claudia is trying to get Lucious to cooperate. If Lucious doesn't cooperate, she has a gun and another weapon to sedate him.   Back to Gloria, Cookie, and Thirsty. Gloria shares a story with them about uncomfortable behavior from Claudia in the past. In that story, they learn about a cabin Claudia have. That's the cabin she using again to hold Lucious captive. Feeling uncomfortable with the situation, Gloria stops talking. She knows yet friend is up to no good. She has seen Claudia crazy before. 

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It seems like Hakeem is the only Lyon moving on from the Dubois takedown. He arrives at Jamaal's condo in darkness. Jamaal has no sunlight shining inside his condo. He is sitting on the couch, in the most profound remorse. No, I get it, you took a life. But would he instead, his life been taking? I don't understand why he is beating himself up over killing Angelo. Angelo was trying to kill him and Warren.  Hakeem shows him no pity. He makes it clear; the Dubois came after them with all they had. They survived it. They survived with a few scares apparently. But, it is nice to see Hakeem growing more mature each season. He is giving his big brother some courage at this point. 

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Porsha catches Becky in the bathroom. She points out she spent a lot of time in the bathroom. She calls Becky out on being pregnant. Becky didn't plan to get pregnant, but she did. She took a few pregnancy tests hoping they were wrong. As she breaks down in tears, Porsha comforts her. The funny part is, all Becky wanted to do was wash her hands lol. 


Back at the cabin, Lucious is playing the piano. He puts on a good performance to get Claudia close to him. See, Claudia has marked off a certain area to not go into. If she crosses those boundaries, Lucious will be able to grab her. Lucious fake tears and break down, get her to cross that boundary. He had a fooled for a moment. She hugs Lucious. He hugs her back but then grab her by the throat. He almost had her where he wanted. But, Claudia had everything figured out. She managed to break free of Lucious. She turns on this red light with music playing. She made a gadget of Lucious song layered on top of each other with color. The one thing that helped Lucious gain his memory; she was now using against him to cause him pain. It looks like an unbearable pain.  Claudia is one crazy doctor.


Thirsty located the cabin. Cookie tells him to text her the address. Thirsty try to get Cookie to wait for him, but she insists on going alone. Cookie never felt Lucious was 100% back, so she doesn't know what to expect. She tells Thirsty if he is Dwight, she wants to talk to him. But we all know, Cookie communication isn't the best. She heads upstate to the cabin. These emotions bring back another flashback. Cookie is in the hole losing her mind. The CO brings Poundcake to visit her. Poundcake explains why she betrayed them. The same CO who raped her and took her baby; offered her baby back to her for information. Poundcake told him about the plan to kill him. Now, why would she trust him? Why would she betray Cookie? It looks like Cookie endured a lot those 17 years. You can only wonder what else happened to her in jail. 


Jamaal and Hakeem visit Andre. Andre awake and looking better than we last saw him. He sitting in a wheelchair but he is alert.  Andre was surprised to see them. The Lyons cub has endured some pain and anger. Andre heard what Jamaal did. He asked him was he ok. Hakeem comments, "Jamaal took him out." That comment brought Jamaal's guilt more present.  Jamaal recap the destruction Diana brought to everyone; even the death of her son. Jamaal is hating being called the hero in this situation. He doesn't want to be patted on the back. He doesn't want the high five for killing Angelo. Yes, he wanted this war with the Dubois to be over but not at the cost of him taking a life. Snap out of it Jamaal.  You could be the one dead. Angelo wouldn't be this remorseful for killing Jamaal. I hope this guilt doesn't cause him to relapse. The Lyons cub comes together as brothers. Andre, Jamaal, and Hakeem comfort each other once again. I love to see them like this. Leaning on each other, loving each other and supporting each other through a rough patch in life.


Lucious is awake again. How many times she is going to sedate him! Geesh!!! Claudia is sitting at the table patching her burn wound. A car pulls up. Claudia sees it's Cookie. Lucious starts yelling, but Claudia grabs a knife. She tells Lucious, "You better get rid of her or I will slint her throat." Claudia stands there with a knife behind her back. Lucious tells Cookie he did what she asked. He helped her take down the Dubois. He wants to be a better man and finish what he started with Claudia. He is playing the piano and Claudia is listening for clue droppers. At this moment, Cookie believes Lucious. She believes he is where he wants to be and she left. Lucious put on a great performance. I think I would have believed him too. 

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On her drive back, Cookie is hurt by Lucious once again. The melody Lucious was playing is playing in her head. Cookie is having flashbacks of jail. Cookie wrote music while in jail. The melody Lucious was playing was the song she wrote. Cookie realized Lucious was lying. He needs her help. This Cookie and Claudia showdown has been long overdue. Time for Cookie to put some paws on Claudia. This just got me excited. Now, I am the crazy one lol. 

Porsha and Becky discussed her plans. Becky is experiencing what most women experience all the time. We live in the moment. We don't think about the outcome. She is just building her career. She has finally been promoted to head A&R. A baby wasn't in her plans. On top of that, she wants nothing to do with Jay Poppa at least that was the last scene we saw. Call me crazy, we only seen one lovemaking scene with them two. But Becky said eight times. Were that eight times in that one interrupted studio session? Did they hook up after the let's keep it a professional conversation? When did Becky get pregnant? Is Becky going to tell him? Is baby keeping the baby? 

Claudia doesn't understand Lucious love for Cookie. She is not fazed at all by Cookie's unexpected visit. She asked Lucious to play her song. He quickly denied her request. His inspiration for music just walked out the door. He makes it clear to Claudia, he will kill the world for Cookie. Then calls Claudia a broken bitch. Well, choose your words wisely Lucious. Claudia is crazy in the worst way. Not happy with Lucious response, Claudia turns on the red light special she created. She brings Lucious to his knees again. Balled up in pain. Then the power shuts off on everything. Claudia goes to fix the electricity and Cookie shows up behind Lucious. She tries to take Lucious out of there but learns he is chained up to the piano. Cookie looks for something to free him, but unfortunately, Claudia has other plans. Claudia smacks Cookie with a pan. Not good at all. Why hasn't Thirsty showed up yet? He knows Cookie should have been back. I mean it was daylight when she left. Now, Cookie and Lucious are in trouble. 

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While knocked out, Cookie remembers another jail experience. She didn't break from being in the hole even though that was the plan. When she wakes up from being on conscious, she finds herself tied to a table. Crazy Claudia is standing there. "Dwight told you he doesn't need you," Claudia told Cookie. Who will save them now? 

Cookie asked Claudia what's her plan. Claudia thinks she can erase Lucious and create Dwight. She believes Lucious loves her. Claudia thought Lucious was talking to her when he said I love you. I must say this crazy therapy session just might help Cookie and Lucious. I mean, Cookie and Lucious are learning some inner feelings that haven't been mentioned. Guliana name was brought up. Then Angelo was brought. Lucious and Claudia learn that Angelo is dead. Claudia lightbulb finally was lit. She now gets it. Anyone who tries to break up or threatens Lucious and Cookie's bond; ends up dead. Cookie and Lucious find their life together funny. Claudia doesn't find it funny at all. All she sees is toxic in Lucious and Cookie's relationship.  She tells them that don't have love. They only have toxic.

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Claudia brings up her prison time. Claudia brought up how Lucious abandoned Cookie in jail. We never once heard Lucious reason for leaving Cookie in jail. Lucious doesn't feel he abandoned Cookie. His manhood was put on trial and found guilty. He can't protect his woman from jail. He couldn't defend from a life of an inmate. I guess seeing Cookie's scare wounds was too much for him. He felt hopeless. It's understandable, but you still don't abandon the woman who took jail time for you. First-time Cookie hearing why she was abandoned for 17 years.  Then Claudia brought up Cookie's release from prison. Claudia is digging deep. Sadly, she doesn't release she is helping them vs. tearing them apart.

Claudia asked Cookie did Lucious give her half of Empire once she was home. Lucious said yes, but Cookie reminded him that he didn't. Lucious was starting beef with his sons over Empire. He was forcing them to stand up and take the crown to Empire. Three kids, one winner. Lucious excuse for that was he thought he was dying. Which he did think that? But why not be fair? Give all three Empire. Cookie didn't feel it was right then or now. She brought up her 17 years of sacrifice again. Lucious is tired of hearing that. He is so tired of Cookie saying she gave up 17 years for their family. He so tired of hearing it, he tells Claudia to stab him in his neck. Lucious describes his pain and his struggle since Cookie was jail. He said it was hard raising three sons and building a company. Despite his pain, Cookie didn't buy it. She reminded him of the help and support around him. She even brought up Bunky. She talked about Bunky not deserving to be dead. She brought her father died of a broken heart. Cookie feel like Lucious took her from Barry. But Lucious breaks it down. Cookie and Lucious both wanted bigger and better out of life. They both saw opportunity in each other. You know the saying, "  Game recognize game." That's what brought them together. Leave it to Claudia to twist his words. She tried to convince Cookie that Lucious doesn't love her and she doesn't love him. Claudia stated, Cookie loves Empire, not Lucious. The look on Lucious face. I guess that was an eye-opener for him. He sat there looking like he was waiting for Cookie's response. 

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Cookie makes it clear that she loves all her family, including Lucious. Despite everything they been through, she chooses Lucious over Dwight. Lucious belong to Cookie.  Claudia is in between a dangerous game of love. Looking Claudia dead in her face, Cookie lets her know she is not leaving there without Lucious. As Cookie points out, Claudia doesn't know her. Nor does she know what Cookie is capable of doing? Cookie doesn't feel threaten by Claudia. Claudia feels threaten by Cookie. Now, Lucious has to choose. Claudia gets up and put the knife to Cookie throat. I mean, Cookie did tell her to do what she has to do. 

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Lucious begs Claudia not to do this. Cookie keeps taunting her to do it. Cookie is crazy as all outdoors. Claudia is crazy and has a knife to her throat. She crazy enough to slit her throat. Cookie seems not to realize that, but Lucious knows. He begs Claudia not to do. Then they are interrupted by a car pulling up. I thought it was Thirsty, but it was Gloria. Gloria confronts Claudia about having Lucious. Claudia tries to get rid of her, but Gloria insists on going on. Claudia takes the ax and hit her friend in the head. Wow!!! WIth friends like that who needs enemies.

While Claudia is dealing with that, Cookie finds a way to get free. Prison has given her some new tricks. Cooking pulls a razor blade out her wig. Which I must say, the bob Cookie rocking looks good on Taraji. Claudia walks back to the cabin to find Cookie free. This episode is just got real in this scene. Who doesn't like a good girl fight? Claudia asked Lucious, "where is she?" Lucious says," She gone to get the police. I told you this wouldn't work out".

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Claudia turns on her red light special and looks for Cookie. I feel cheated. It wasn't a real catfight because Claudia used the taser. I was disappointed. Claudia and Cookie were overdue for a catfight. Knowing that Claudia would kill Cookie, Lucious finally freed himself. He got free just in time. Claudia was about to kill Cookie.  Lucious hits Claudia with something then grabs the ax to finish the job. Well, Lucious didn't kill her. Will that be his most significant mistake? Claudia gets arrested. What enemy is coming next?

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The episode ends with Dre waking up from a bad dream. His guilt is preventing him from healing. Dre has to tell Lucious he tried to kill him. What will Lucious reaction be? Has Lucious changed enough to forgive him? Stay tuned in to find out.


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Author: Lattice Johnson