Empire: Dangerous Bonds Review

The show opens with Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) and Tiana Brown (Serayah) being interviewed about Hakeem’s career and his father. Hakeem talks about his new song, Drip Drop, which is about to be released. Tiana returns home, where she makes out with another woman. Meanwhile, Lucious (Terrence Howard) puts together a romantic date for Anika (Grace Gealey). Lucious successfully proposes to Anika. At the same time, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) speaks with Jamal (Jussie Smollett). The pair visit a record producer. The studio glass is riddled with bullet holes.

Agent Harlow (Nealla Gordon) harasses Cookie and continues to pester her about testifying. Hakeem meets with Lucious and insists he needs to reinvent himself, if he wants to be King. Andre Lyon (Trai Byers) begins doubting his chances. He is required to get the funding for Hakeem, which he believes will be his downfall. He reports the news to Rhonda (Caitlin Doubleday), who suggests they’ll discover a way out of the situation. The pair photography Tiana and her girlfriend. Meanwhile, Cookie testifies in court against Frank Gathers. The prosecutor insists Cookie witnessed Frank Gathers shoot FBI Special Agent Daniel Koenig. After it is over, Cookie complains to Harlow that she didn’t know the man was a Fed.

Andre proposes his budgeting plan for Hakeem’s video to Lucious, who doesn’t like the idea. Vernon (Malik Yoba) suggests Lucious has a problem, since he has to be healthy, in order to launch the IPO. Next, Cookie calls Jamal and tells him she is coming to the studio. When she opens the door, she finds a rose outside, which makes her think Carter is after her, since his drugs has a rose on the packaging. The next time she opens the door, she discovers Andre, who insists he didn’t leave the rose. Andre requests Tiana to appear on Hakeem’s video. Cookie attempts to use the situation, as leverage, to get on the IPO board. While Hakeem works in his expensive study, Jamaal records in the rundown studio. After a few minutes of shooting, Andre gives the order to post the pictures of Tiana and her girlfriend to all websites, which connect to TaKeem. Rhonda makes it happen in an untraceable manner.

Hakeem watches the video and confronts Tiana, who uses Hakeem’s other girl, as an excuse. Andre suggests sending Hakeem’s posse to Jamal’s studio. He entices them with money and the criminals head towards the studio. Jamal prepares to record the song one last time, when the thugs enter and hold everyone at gunpoint. After a shot, the studio owner is able to defuse the situation, with the help of a shotgun. Jamal seems to blame the situation on Hakeem.

Cookie arrives in Philly, where she meets with Carol (Tasha Smith), who suggests Teddy McNally is behind the rose incident. Cookie doesn’t have an answer, when asked what she is going to do. Since the thugs were after Jamal, Tyree (James T. Alfred) pushes him out of the studio. Cookie is warned about the situation, before Tiana tells her about her girlfriend, India Spring (Elizabeth Whitson). Cookie suggests she get back on the set, while leaving Jamal in Tyree’s hands. Lucious agrees to handle Hakeem, but insists Tiana’s girlfriend meet them on the set.

Lucious speaks with Dr. Steve Calhoun (Tim Hopper), who is Anika’s father. Lucious questions about potential ALS researches, but Steve insists nothing will stop the outcome. Since Anika loves Lucious, the Doctor agrees to do everything for him. Lucious asks him to commit fraud, by giving him a clear bill of health for the IPO. Steve agrees, but insists Anika never learns about it.

Carol and Cookie meet with Jermel, who insists he can stop Teddy. Cookie gives him 5 grand for Jermel to take care of Teddy. Meanwhile, Jamal gets a new crew, while Hakeem continues to refuse to work with Tiana. Lucious tells him the situation is actually good for him, since he’ll have two girlfriends. Eventually, Hakeem agrees to shoot with Tiana. When Cookie finally shows up, she begins making corrections to Jamal’s song.

Afterwards, Jamal confronts Hakeem about the robbery attempt. The pair end up in a squabble, before Jamal hits Hakeem in the stomach and leaves. Hakeem confronts Andre with the news and insists they get the song out, before Jamal can. Lucious pays a visit to Cookie and thanks her for setting things straight with Tiana. The pair speak about their anniversary. Lucious admits to giving her the rose earlier. Although Cookie attempts to stop the assassination, Teddy is gunned down.


Whether or not you’re a fan of the music, you can still find something enjoyable in Empire. This episode was excellent thanks to its fast pace. Plenty of things were going on at once, but it never felt confusing or convoluted. In fact, the episode made some serious strides in the battle between Hakeem, Andre and Jamal, with Andre outsmarting his brothers. The real question of the episode revolves around Cookie. What exactly has she unleashed, with the hit of Teddy? The episodes deserves an 8 out of 10.

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