The show starts off right, where the last one left us, with Cookie smothering Lucious with a pillow. Of course, she stops and he joins the boys. Each of them have a gift wrapped in black paper. He reveals he doesn’t have ALS. After some urging, Hakeem opens his gift and receive a big gold necklace, a private jet and an apology. Andre receives a gold cross and a hundred million. Lucious tells Jamal that the Empire is his. Cookie enters and learns about the misdiagnosis. When she opens her gift, Cookie receives a small pillow.
Afterwards, the Lyon boys discuss the situation and why Lucious would even need a successor. Hakeem and Jamal already argue over the release of Hakeem’s record. Lucious confronts Cookie and Jamal about Cookie’s murder attempt. Thanks to Malcolm, he has surveillance footage to back it up. Cookie is escorted out, when she begins accusing Lucious of killing Bunkie. Just when things can’t get any worse, Cookie is picked up by the feds. Meanwhile Lucious picks up Vernon. Harlow Carter informs Cookie they’re already putting together a case against Lucious. She leaves without saying a word, but is being watched by Vernon.
Next, Hakeem speaks to Anika and tells her he wants Empire. Anika suggests getting Andre’s help for a hostile takeover. Vernon tells Lucious that Rita Ora has pulled out of the show. Patti LaBelle speaks to the press on behalf of Empire. Black Rambo enters and insists he isn’t going to work for a fairy like Jamal. Andre, Lucious and Jamal argue over their next move, while Cookie speaks to Hakeem and informs him that they should build their own. Afterwards, Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) packs her belongings and leaves Andre. He calls Hakeem and confirms he has changed his mind.
Cookie, Anika, Andre and Hakeem meet up. Anika and Cookie fight a little, before they agree to work together. Afterwards, Jamal shows up at a club and challenges Rambo to a battle. Jamal impresses everyone, before leaving. Next, Cookie and crew meet up with Tony Trichter and negotiate the hostile takeover. Tony suggests catching Lucious in a scandal. Cookie meets with Vernon and questions him about Lucious killing Bunkie and she learns about Bunkie’s shakedown.
Vernon and Andre argue and fight, before Rhonda enters and saves Andre, but kills Vernon. Since Rhonda is pregnant, they refuse to notify the police. Next, they finally launch the IPO, before Lucious’s big concert. Backstage, Lucious tells Jamal his real name, Dwight Walker. He tells the story of the name change, in order to survive the streets. The pair seem to be bonding, before the FBI bust in and arrest Lucious for the murder of Bunkie. On the way out, Lucious tells Jamal to go out there and do their song.
Jamal takes to the stage and performs, while Lucious is escorted out and is updated by Buckey. He stares down Hakeem and Andre on the way out. They overhear the FBI saying that Vernon is their star witness and they need to find him. While the business continues without him, Lucious says it is game time, behind bars.
There is no denying that Fox hit it out of the park with Empire, which successfully gained increased ratings with each episode. The finale certainly put a plan in place for the next season, but much of it was fairly predictable. Vernon’s death fell flat and seemed to matter very little. From the very beginning, it was all, but certain, that Jamal would take over Empire and that Lucious wasn’t going anywhere. This isn’t to say the episode was a total failure, but it would’ve been improved with a little unpredictability. A 7 out of 10 is reasonable.