‘Empire’ Recap – “The Unkindest Cut” (S3:E8)

(1) Tiana is rehearsing a performance she’s going to do in conjunction with some heffa’s high priced fashion line. Cookie, who is wearing a travesty of an outfit, walks in with Angelo and Mama Dubois a.k.a. Diana. Jamal walks up to Cookie riffing about that stupid A&R dude, Cookie cuts him off and takes the entire group over to meet the heffa, I mean Helene Von Wyatt, who is busy berating the nanny I believe. Turns out Helene and Diana go waaaay back, boards and whatnot, etc. Diana’s annual Captain’s Ball is coming up. This year it will be a fundraiser for Angelo’s campaign. Surprise, but not really, Diana wants Jamal to perform. Cookie tries to steer her elsewhere but Diana will not be deterred that easily. No one gets their way faster than a wealthy black woman, y’all betta know this. Diana flat out states she wants him to write a song for the ball AND perform it. Cookie kept trying to shoot it down cause she know how he been doing but Jamal says he’s in. Dear lord how is this about to go. #Nervous

Sidebar: The look Mama Dubois gave Cookie when she said “I understand that it’s important for us to get Angelo elected into office” – full black woman incredulity. Her inner monologue was “Us? Really??” Phylicia is the TRUTH!

(2) In case y’all were wondering, Andre is NOT okay. He was in the middle of a convo with Rhonda (like that’s gonna stop any time soon) when Nessa came up on him from behind. He flew out of his chair like the devil had just breathed down his neck. Glad he’s not the type to swing first and figure it out later. Nessa’s 94 lb body might have died from one blow.

Nessa understandably asked if he was okay, he said yeah and started talking about business. He ain’t okay girl, not by a long shot.

(3) Dandy Lucious is at the manse getting his nails done. He has a loose slick back in place. Thirsty walks in. Lucious asked him if he wanted to get his nails done which I’m pretty sure was an euphemism for sex which kinda got confirmed when Thirsty responded with “nah, I’m a rub and tug type.” #Ewwwwww

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Thirsty announces he ain’t got nuthin on Tariq. Lucious tells him to dig deeper.

(4) Helene wants Tiana with straight hair for the show and in a different outfit ’cause white privilege. Cookie ain’t feeling that idea but she didn’t flat out say no either.

(5) Dre tells Nessa they need to strategize on how to follow up on her debut. Nessa sees Tiana rehearsing and declares she wants that. Ish bout to get ugly. Just watch.

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(6) I repeat, Cookie’s outfit is godawful. See featured photo.

(7) Dre and Cookie “discuss” his absence from her dinner. Dre apologizes and tells her he was doing the same thing she was doing, meeting Nessa’s family. He got all emotional about it, voice cracked and everything. Cookie notices this breakthrough for him. I know its TV but didn’t Rhonda JUST die. Never mind. Anyway Dre asks if Nessa can shadow Tiana, Cookie feeling soft and kind-hearted cause her bi-polar baby seems to be doing well says yes. Y’all know this is not gonna turn out well for Tiana right?

(8) Nessa shows up to help out Tiana. She’s hanging dresses and whatnot. Tiana mad about the straight hair and the wardrobe change. Porsha tells her to be quiet and get her coint. Cookie walks in with Hakeem and Lucious. The plan is for Hakeem to re-record all of Gram’s tracks on Tiana’s album. Tiana ain’t feeling that ish either. She is not having a good day. She and Hakeem trade barbs. Fun times!

(9) Lucious, Anika and Mama Leah are a fancy tea spot acting up. Anika tells Leah to stay the hella outta her way and Mama responds with a raised voice about not wanting to be locked in that room again. Lucious grips her up, it’s tense y’all. He can’t be manhandling women like that, let alone his mama, he’s crazy as hell. Black folks showing out in public. Smdh.

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(9.1) Well well well, turns out an undercover was sitting at the next table catching the entire exchange. Tariq outside in his car fuming, was ready to run in and save her from Lucious’ clutches or something dramatic like that. His partner stops him and they come up with the idea to turn his mother against him cause mutual hate.

(10) Tiana tries the dress on and it is absolutely clear that it makes absolutely no sense for her to wear that getup. Nessa “accidentally” lays the dress down on top of a curling iron. Tiana goes ballistic: “Are you stupid? ARE YOU STUPID??” Then she goes IN on Helene, noting that she only partnered up with Empire because she got dragged for her “wack a*s out of Africa collection with no black people in it”, then called her a “skinny racist b*tch” who can’t handle her “realness”. Yeah girl all that. Seriously though the tirade was valid but from a story telling perspective it felt forced. Moving on…

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Nessa tosses out a completely insincere “sorry” while Porsha drags a properly pissed Tiana out of the room. Nessa then calmly walks over to a mirror and reapplies her lip gloss (poppin) while Tiana’s home girl stands oblivious in the background. Word?? It’s clear Nessa did that ish on purpose and dummy in the room ain’t gon’ say nothing?? She wasn’t that damn drunk.

(11) Tariq rolls up on Mama Leah while she’s on a doctor’s visit. Like she’s in one of those airy hospital gowns and everything, well hers does close in the back, thank god.  Tariq referred to himself as a “lawman” I just wanted to point that out. Tariq tells her he’s going to get her outta Lucious’ house and away from Anika. Moms re Anika: “That light bright wife of his, she’s evil.” Tariq was like yep now help me make her go away. Moms smiled. Awwww look at that, a friendship is born.

(12) So Tiana’s Tirade has already gone viral on the interwebs. Tiana mad cause she’s being called a diva – I’m sorry is that a bad thing now? And Porsha was right she ain’t say nothing wrong. Ain’t told nan lie. Still PR is PR and this is NOT good PR. Helene ain’t taking Cookie’s calls, situation ain’t looking good right now for nobody. Well look who offers to save the day – Andre’s shady a*s. I’m just happy he’s not wearing a hat in this scene.  He’s gonna go talk to Helene, something something streaming, something something broadcast points, blah blah blah shady.

(13) Phillip, Jamal’s PTSD coach (I know y’all forgot), sets up a virtual reality therapy treatment for ‘Mal. Puts Jamal back on stage performing in front of a full audience complete with Freda coming through the crowd and everything. VR is some real trippy ish y’all. On cue in walks Lucifer. Came to throw lawry’s on Jamal’s plan to perform at the Captain’s Ball. Told him to not never ever nevah perform that “Listen, Mama” song again and that if he fails with this next gig that’s it, he’s going to get dropped from Empire. Umm is that a threat? Cause that sounds like EXACTLY what he needs. Didn’t he get dropped once before? Anyway Lucious flips his tail and walks out of the room. Phillip points out that Jamal’s vitals were stable during the VR experience but as soon as Daddy Devil walked in the room and got his forked tongue going all his synapses were firing off in the danger zone.

Phillip: “Lucious is your PTSD trigger.”
Jamal: “Man, Lucious is everybody’s damn PTSD trigger. You trippin.” That was funny cause true.

Phillip is like look homie, you gon’ have to figure this out with him or else you not nevah gon’ perform again. Ever.

(14) Andre “so so shady” Lyon goes to holler at Helene who made sure to mention that she’s hired LOTS of black people in her lifetime AND, wait for it, she’s let black people into her pool. Helene is racist. I also want to point out that the child playing her daughter looked directly into the camera when she broke out into her Tiana dance and then immediately went back to being a robot child. It was odd.

Dre offers up a suggestion, instead of Tiana how about someone more definitively “urban” who is more “culturally aware” i.e., “more black.” Says Veronica might be too old, but heeeeey how about Nessa Parker? Helene shoots that down, she wants someone with the right look a.k.a. “a white look” cause she’s racist. Two more key lines from her: “A preference is not a prejudice” and “you people expect change to happen over night.” Bish drop dead.

Damnit there goes that damn hat. That means sinister Dre is about to make an appearance. Sure enough he notes the beauty of her daughter’s hair, hair that Helene has been pathologically brushing throughout this entire scene because that’s what you do during a business meeting. #BecauseEmpire

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So Dre bout to send someone to cut off this child’s hair? Word Empire?? I’m too tired to be outraged at the moment. Moving on…

(15) Mama Leah is back at the doctor’s office. Got two goons hovering. Tells them it’s a GYN visit so they sit their a*ses back in their seats. Sho’ nuff Tariq is waiting in the hallway. They go out back and he gets Moms an ice cream cone. That’s nice. She starts running her mouth about Anika and Lucious having “dirty nasty sex.” Both Tariq and I ask at the same time: “You mean, Lucious and Anika are sleeping together?” Then Mama Leah took a dig at Tariq’s mother, that was rude. She tried to soften it up by saying he reminds her of her husband. Tariq wanted to here more.

(16) Yep someone snuck in that child’s bedroom in the middle of the night and cut her hair off. If you’re spending even two seconds questioning the how of it, don’t. I already spent 5 seconds I can’t get back wondering about it myself. #LetItGo #BecauseEmpire

(17) Hakeem was posted up in Dre’s office waiting for him. He figured out that Dre (and Nessa) set the the whole thing up. Hakeem mad, said he’s not gonna promote any of the tracks he’s on with Nessa. That’s telling him Hakeem!! (No it’s not.) Dre says “yeah you are, contracted to bro.” Dre taunts him some more so Hakeem jumps up like he gon’ do something, I mean he tried. Took a wild a*s swing at his much TALLER brother and found himself face down with his arm twisted behind his back. This boy… More taunts come from Dre, the brothers growl and breath heavy in each other’s faces. They exchange a few more taunts then Hakeem spits on the floor before leaving. #AndScene

Look I’m just recapping what happens. I ain’t embellish nothing – this time.

Sidebar: In the world of Empire they have “TMI” not TMZ #TheMoreYouKnow

(18) Helene comes to see Cookie. Of course Cookie doesn’t know what’s happened but agrees they should use another artist. She suggests Veronica. Helene of course suggests Nessa. Cookie is surprised, asked her how she even knew Nessa. Helene uses the language Andre used “authentic soul singer, sends the right message.” Cookie clarifies that the kinky hair is cool too? Helene ain’t stupid, says sure, she quotes Cookie, “drop some bass tonight and have black girl magic on it.” That sounded all types of crazy coming out of her mouth but fine let’s go with it.

(19) Hate how much treachery occurred to get to this performance but it was a good look. All that hair and gorgeous colors on all that beautiful skin YAAAAASSSSSS! Also I do like Nessa’s voice, still NOT feeling her acting but it’s bothering me less nowadays.

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(20) Why Helene and Andre up in a booth together like he ain’t just have her child’s hair cut off?? Don’t make one lick of sense.

(21) Tiana rocking cornrows watching the performance from Hakeem’s place. Hakeem told her not to worry, he has her back. They have a cute moment reenacting a scene from Creed. He starts braiding/unbraiding her hair, says he has a daughter now so he has to practice. I want to roll my eyes but imma give him that. It was sweet.

(22) Diana is congratulating Helene on another amazing show when Helene cuts her off “you in danger girl!” She tells her to get the hell away from the Lyon family. She kept it all the way real: “The Lyons are actual gangsters. You cannot have Angelo associate with them.” Unfortunately that is a true statement and Mama Dubois’ face was like “damnit I knew it.”

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(23) Cookie called Dre out for tanking Tiana like that. She’s mainly mad ’cause he lied to her. She’s noticed that he’s changing in a way that she hasn’t quite figured out yet. Andre said he was “up, awake and blessed” trouble trouble trouble.

(24) I don’t really want to talk about this “disturbing” almost sex scene with Anika and Lucious but let touch upon a few observations. Anika is dressed in a dominatrix spider woman inspired outfit from Hustler walking around breaking expensive sh*t in the dining room while trying to get Lucious to agree to let her work outside the house. What year is it?? Then they get to rolling around on the table when Mama Leah walks in yelling her favorite expression “Sodom and Gomorrah” and brings that bit of foreplay to an abrupt end. She compares them to yard dogs and is especially furious about the location because well she eats there. Yeeeaaaaah… But why did Anika snort tho? She was wrong for that. Then Lucious makes a joke about how he was just about to have a snack. If looks could kill, Leah would have murdered both of ’em on the spot.

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Lucious climbs down off the table and orders Moms into another room. He comes up behind her like he’s about to strangle her with his purple necktie when lo and behold she turns around smiling saying she handled Tariq just like she was told AND got him to buy her TREE ice cream cones. Called Tariq a sucka. Well I’ll be damned. And the whole scene at the tea spot – an act. Ain’t this something. So her intel is that Tariq is jealous of everything Lucious has, especially his memories of their father. Here’s the thing I’m not convinced about, that Mama Leah ain’t still gon’ turn around and double cross Lucious. Wit her “crazy a*s.” Where/How does Anika fit into this particular web of insanity? You know what, never mind.

(25) Jamal has a new song – blaming Lucious for EVERY THING. Went IN! Called him a nightmare, said he was heartless, selfish, said he failed them all, that he is a cold, cold man. Sang about how he let the love of his life get locked up cause he wasn’t man enough to say he did it. DAYUM! Said his judgement day was coming, sang about lying about his momma being dead. Jamal was sanging all the secrets!

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Well the devil has feelings after all. Some of those jabs landed. Lucious said it ain’t his fault Cookie’s daddy died, Cookie said had he not died when he did he definitely would have died when I got locked up. That shut him up. Lucious hurt y’all and you know what happens to hurt people – they hurt people. Jamal delivers another monologue, Lucious fires back by noting all of the dirty work he’s done to keep his family safe and then he brings up Cookie calling in a hit to clean up a mess she made re Frank Gathers and nan son knew about that situation. Jamal doesn’t want to believe it. Why is he so damn naive sometimes??? Lucious  said he ain’t never gonna apologize for loving Cookie. Finally a line Lucious said something I can appreciate.

Coming Up: The Fall Finale!!


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