When the episode opens, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) pays a visit to Lucious (Terrence Howard), at his house. While there, she runs into Lucious’s new woman, Anika Gibbons (Grace Gealey). While Cookie eats, they discuss the possibility of Lucious backstabbing his son, Jamal (Jussie Smollett), which he denies. He doesn’t want Jamal messing up his club and insists Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) will perform alone. After Anika and Cookie argue, Cookie threatens to expose Lucious for starting the company with drug money, which was Cookie’s. They continue to disagree about Jamal.
Meanwhile, Hakeem is interviewed about his debut performance at Laviticus. During the session, Tiana Brown (Serayah) arrives and impresses Hakeem, with her looks. It is revealed that Anika just signed Tiana to the record label. After a performance from Tiana, Hakeem tries to impress her, by offering her VIP access at Laviticus. Of course, she isn’t interested and blows him off. Next, Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) questions Lucious about Bunkie’s (Antoine McKay) presence. Lucious isn’t interested and insists to talk to Vernon (Malik Yoba), since he needs to find someone to backup Hakeem. Vernon suggests Kid Fo-Fo (Kristopher Lofton), who was recently named as an inspiration of a deadly shooter.
Next, Andre (Trai Byers) continues to scheme, in hopes of undercutting Hakeem, with Lucious. Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) questions him about Dr. Obst, but Andre insists he cancelled his last two appointments. Rhonda reveals that Andre is bipolar and needs to go to the doctor. Andre insists Cookie has already sabotaged Hakeem’s performance. Next, Cookie visits Jamal. We’re introduced to Porsha (Ta’Rhonda Jones) who tells Cookie that she received a call from someone named Carter. Cookie insists Jamal will get up on stage, when Hakeem performs.
Next, Lucious speaks with Fo-Fo and insists he apologize, but his request falls on deaf ears. Next, Vernon gets a call from Detective Walker (Damon Gupton), which requests him to identify Bunkie’s body. Although Vernon insists they need to let the family know, Lucious suggests staying away from Cookie, who is a cousin. After Lucious tells Vernon to gather everyone at his house that night, Cookie and Porsha figure out how to steal Hakeem’s spotlight, which it to let Jamal come out. Cookie calls to complain to Lucious about Fo-Fo, but instead learns Bunkie is dead.
Lucious tells everyone about Bunkie’s death, before Hakeem and Cookie argue. Jamal tells Hakeem about Cookie’s plan, before Hakeem brings up Tiana. Next, Lucious receive bad news from Andre that the bank for the IPO pulled out, due to the Kidd Fo-Fo controversy. Lucious insists now is the time to take Empire public, before telling Andre that Empire will be his, if he gets the deal done. Lucious is also alerted to Jamal’s press conference. Meanwhile, Cookie attempts to organize the press conference. Next, Hakeem and his friends are out at a fancy restaurant, where Hakeem urinates all over the floor. Hakeem behaves like a fool, which forces the police to intervene. Since the whole thing was filmed, it quickly goes viral and Lucious is forced to make up for Hakeem’s bad behavior.
Lucious reprimands Hakeem. However, the ticket sales have soared, since the video was released. Meanwhile, Kelly McGann (Lia Mortensen) and the national news have been going crazy about the Kidd Fo-Fo story. Lucious plans to go on their show and defend the company. He is prepared for the interview. Cookie enters and suggests Lucious has changed. Next, Lucious meets with Jamal. Lucious insists Jamal’s announcement will hurt Empire and attempts to talk his son out of it.
Next, Jamal plays piano, while he is supposed to be at this press conference, while Lucious goes on the Kelly McGann show. The journalists begin to leave, since Jamal is a no show. Meanwhile, Cookie is interviewed and speaks about Lucious’s violent lyrics, which is shown during Lucious’s interview. After the interview, Andre reveals the banks have signed back on. Cookie joins everyone in the elevator, where an argument ensues. Lucious terminates Kidd Fo-Fo’s contract with Empire, because his lyrics suck.
Afterwards, Lucious gives Hakeem some encouragement, before telling him he is going on stage alone. Jamal apologies to Cookie. Andre is off his rocker, but continues to drink. Jamal tries to convince Hakeem he can do it alone, but he wants Jamal to join him. Jamal goes on stage, with Hakeem, as everyone watches including Tiana. Afterwards, Tiana confronts Hakeem backstage, while Cookie and Lucious discuss the performance. Lucious was pleasantly surprised, by the performance. Outside of the venue, Cookie is forced into a car, where she speaks with Agent Carter. Carter wants Cookie to testify in front of a grand jury, which Cookie suggests will get her killed.
The second episode of Empire picked up, where the previous episode left off. The story definitely flows smoothly and is paced fairly well. Each actor comes off as authentic, which certainly helps. However, some of the episode felt cringe worthy. The whole restaurant scene made my skin crawl. Despite this, there were some very solid elements to the show, especially the flashback, during Lucious’s interview and the last performance with Hakeem and Jamal. Sadly, much of the good is overshadowed by unoriginal action. The episode deserves a 6.5 out of 10.