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Since the beginning of Empire’s season, rapper-turned-cutthroat record label CEO Lucious Lyon placed his three sons in a battle royal to determine who will be his successor once his ALS runs its course. All that flew right out the window with the sensational 2-hour season finale that left us breathless!


Lucious was desperately trying to find head security officer (and Cookie’s side bae) Malcolm to go over the company’s protection during his tribute concert. At the same time, Lucious tried to track down Cookie to help write a new song, since his old label boss Baretti slapped him with an injunction preventing him from using his old tracks. Where could those two be? It turns out; they were in the Berkshires!

Mal and Cookie scurried off for a romantic getaway, where they cemented their newfound relationship in front of the fireplace on the floor! The duo also discussed life without Lucious interfering, once he was dead and gone. Things appeared to be all right in their little world, until Cookie’s big mouth assistant Porsha accidentally spilled the beans about her boss and Mal to Lucious.

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Lucious decided to get real petty with his feelings by firing Cookie and banned her from the building once she returned to town. As the two had their nasty showdown in the lobby, Cookie screamed in his face he couldn’t do a dang thing since she was on the board. Lucious told her with glee she wasn’t on the board because she was a convicted felon, which Andre knew when he promised her a seat. Cookie informed Lucious, “You’re on a dark path, Lucious. You’re goin’ down — and I’m not gonna let you take my company with you. Seventeen years, bitch!” We know Cookie is a woman of her word kids.

Later, while Cookie cleared out her office, Malcolm extended an invitation for her to head to Washington, D.C. with him, since he accepted a new government job. A teary Cookie declined Malcolm’s offer, since she wasn’t ready to give up Empire and or her bond with her sons quite yet. Farewell Malcolm, it was fun while it lasted.

At Empire’s pre-IPO celebration concert where Lucious announced Snoop Dogg joined the roster, Hakeem threw down the gauntlet when he dissed his father in a freestyle. He remarked to a stunned crowd, “That mofo can’t even keep his family together!” Hakeem’s still steamed his pops got rid of Camilla and let everyone know it.

Later, Lucious punched Hakeem in the face for his disrespect, but it didn’t phase the young lad. Hakeem vowed to Jamal he’s joining Beretti’s label, Creedmore, since he never signed a contract with Empire. Jamal implored his brother not to do anything stupid and sympathized with Hakeem on the issues he has with their father. Jamal decreed he wanted Empire to be around once Lucious finally died.

The eldest Lyon son, Andre, has seen the light and is all about kicking it with Jesus. After his stint in the hospital, Andre spent his time in the church and seemed to be smitten by therapist Michelle (Jennifer Hudson). Lucious tried to bring Andre back into the fold, but as much as Andre spoke about being saved and sanctified, he remained bitter with his dad over his antics. Lucious tried to temp Andre with a return to the company with a promise to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, but a fed up Andre declared, “I’ll send a prayer down to you in a flame-proof jar!”

Lucious drove home the point money can buy any and everything as he offered Michelle a record deal to record gospel, while a heartbroken Andre looked on. Andre tried to warn his new friend about his father’s manipulative ways, but Michelle was dazzled by her newfound riches. Disgusted, Andre fired back, “My father is the devil, and you just spread your legs for him!” WHOA! Mad much!?

Lucious attempted to get Jamal to help him write his song, since he torched his bridge with Cookie and Hakeem. Just like Cookie foretold, Jamal’s face was everywhere and the press couldn’t get enough of him. Jamal assured his father he’d help him out if he apologized to Cookie and get her back at Empire. Jamal took Lucious back to their old Philadelphia home, where Lucious once again tempted him with the possibility to take over Empire as the CEO. Jamal confessed how much he worshipped the way his father created music as a child, but refused to fall for the dangling carrot.

The two then created a killer song, but Jamal let his old man know, he wasn’t giving him permission to use the song, unless he brought Cookie back to Empire. Lucious countered Jamal’s request and told him he’d bring Cookie back, and hand Empire over to him if he got his masters back from Beretti.

Lucious brought Cookie to his home, where he gave a quasi apology for the way he treated her. Then, the two received word both Jamal and Hakeem were at Beretti’s place. As Lucious rushed out to get his sons, a horrified Cookie demanded Lucious protected their boys, or else.

At Beretti’s, Jamal shocked everyone when he dangled him over the balcony in a Suge Knight/Vanilla Ice-style, and demanded Beretti sign over the masters to his father’s music. Lucious arrived and appeared to be shocked; yet proud the son he underestimated started to turn into a chip off the old block.

The next day, Lucious’ doctor revealed he doesn’t have ALS at all, but Myasthenia Gravis (MG), an illness that mirrored ALS symptoms, but is very treatable. The Lyon patriarch will live to see another day to terrorize his family once again.

Under a new drug cocktail, Lucious started hallucinating while in bed, when Cookie paid him a visit As, Cookie checked him on what he’s done to their family, Lucious dreamed he saw Bunkie, who ripped into him for the misdeeds he committed. Lucious fired back that Bunkie couldn’t be around since he killed him! Cookie was stunned to learn Lucious was the culprit behind her cousin’s death. She almost had her ex-husband join Bunkie when she attempted to smother him with a pillow, but decided not to at the last second.

Later, Lucious decided to clue his family in on the good news, and the only one who seemed happy about it (whatever that is) was Jamal. Lucious celebrated his new diagnosis by presenting Hakeem with a gaudy gold necklace with wings, and informed him he’ll have his own private jet to go on tour and see Camilla. He gave Andre a cross, and bestowed him the honor of heading Empire’s new charity. Then, Lucious gifted a scepter to Jamal, which signified he is the one who will run Empire. Lucious saved his best gift for last with Cookie when she arrived and faked the funk on being clued in about his health. Lucious gave Cookie a pillow; his subtle way of telling her he knew she tried to smother him.

At Empire, Lucious, Jamal and Cookie discussed what else was to come, when Lucious showed Jamal the video of Cookie trying kill him! Cookie tried to tell Jamal what Lucious did, but Jamal shunned his mother for her actions. Dude, this is the same man that threw you in a trashcan and also allowed your mother to rot in jail for 17 years! Cut her some slack!

While Jamal reeled by the latest betrayal, Anika gassed Hakeem up. She believed he should plot a hostile take over of Empire with Andre as payback against Lucious. Andre didn’t go for the plan at first, until homophobic Empire rapper Black Rambo (seriously?) bum rushed their press conference and balked at the idea of a gay man being in charge of the company. Black Rambo demanded other artists vacate the label, since a gay man ran the joint. At an emergency board meeting, Jamal and Lucious decided Black Rambo had to go for his antics. Andre was baffled the two would “alienate so many of our customers”.

Andre’s home life was shattered when he came home and found Rhonda packed and ready to leave him. It seemed Rhonda wasn’t down with Andre’s close “friendship” with Michelle. When his estranged wife learned Andre didn’t put up a fight against Jamal, Andre decided Hakeem’s plan was something he wanted in on.

Cookie dropped by Hakeem’s and tried to cajole her son to team up with her for their own company, but her baby boy flipped the script and told his mom to help him and Andre snatch Empire. Andrea, Anika, Cookie and Hakeem came together to plot how to take Lucious down, but the bad blood between Cookie and Boo Boo Kitty still lingered, especially now that she’s got her hooks into Hakeem.

Before the meeting could begin, Cookie and Anika embarked on a shade-fest, which turned into a bar room brawl with hair being pulled and punches thrown. Not to mention Boo Boo Kitty’s pearls being snatched. The two finally came together to strategize how to get Empire.

The gang needed $500 million and for Lucious to be caught in a scandal. Anika found a billionaire who was known for being a corporate raider, but only promised them $250 million if they’d make his grandson a hip-hop star.

Meanwhile, Vernon appeared, clean and sober from a stint in rehab, where Lucious ordered his pal to keep an eye on Cookie, since she knew all about Bunkie. The legal ace followed Cookie to the FBI’s office after they grabbed her up and attempted to force her to testify against Lucious. Even after the agents confirmed Lucious snuffed out Bunkie, Cookie still refused to cooperate.

Vernon checked in with Lucious where he lied and claimed Cookie checked in with her parole officer and wouldn’t give him problems. Later on, Cookie met up with Vernon where he confessed Lucious killed Bunkie, when they schemed on how to get the IPO derailed.

Vernon headed to Andre’s and tried to repair their fractured relationship. However, the two ended up in a violent fistfight. While Vernon pummeled the breaks off Andre, Rhonda returned home and broke up the fight by smacking Vernon over the head with a candlestick, killing him. Yet another Lyon family member has committed murder. Andre tried to call the police and insisted he and Rhonda would be all right. Instead, she quickly trumped his 911 call when she announced she was pregnant!

The IPO went off without a hitch, and Lucious’ legacy concert began on a high note. Just when things were looking up for Lucious, the feds popped into his concert and arrested him for Bunkie’s murder! Lucious immediately accused Cookie of being a mole.

While Cookie appeared to be blown away by the developments, Jamal stepped up and performed his father’s song. Meanwhile, Andre and Hakeem smirked at their dad being hauled off in handcuffs. Did Jamal drop a dime on Lucious? While Lucious is in jail, viewers discovered Vernon betrayed Lucious, when Agent Carter stated “Where’s Vernon Turner? He’s our star witness!” Never saw that coming!

Were you surprised by Empire’s season finale? Sound off in the comments below!


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‘Empire’ Season Finale Recap: A Lyon Rises While Another One Falls  was originally published on