‘Empire’ Season 2, Episode 3 Recap: Damn, Becky G, That’s Cold
A brutal hour of serious party-crashing one-upsmanship
In a show full of conniving characters who’ve never seen a back they couldn’t stab, we may have a new frontrunner for the title of most ruthless: Becky G. Yes, Cookie and Lucious made some pretty impressive power plays, but it was the betrayal by Becky G (once again playing the feisty singer Valentina) that stung the most.
Becky G’s turnaround was the last spine-hitting knife of the episode, but this hour began with the extension of an olive branch, a rare sight in the Lyon family. Now free on bail, Lucious invites the entire pride to his house for a swanky dinner. At the end of the day, he’s just a family man, and is willing to forgive everything — the corporate takeovers, leaked records, uh, murder attempts — if Cookie will abandon her Lyon Dynasty label. Cookie, naturally, rejects this offer, and leaves the room while dragging the table liner and entire meal onto the floor like a slow-motion magic trick.
Lucious then turns to Anika for insider advice on how to take down Cookie’s company, now that his peace offering has violated the five-second rule. This is the first of many bad decisions characters make throughout the episode, as Lucious greatly underestimates how much his ex hates him. She goes to Cookie, giving the Lyon matriarch the info she needs to crash Lucious’ welcome back party. Hakeem and Timbaland, making a rare in-front-of-the-camera appearance, interrupt Jamal and Pitbull mid-song with smoke grenades — a move that even impresses Mr. Worldwide.
Things are looking good for the Lyon Dynasty after their party-crashing success and the upcoming radio debut of Hakeem’s girl group, Ménage a Trois, but Andre wants nothing more to do with them. That’s a shame, because Lucious wants nothing to do with him either, even though he was the only person at the dinner party who actually wanted to make amends. After giving Lucious a great idea for a business venture that he ends up stealing, Andre attempts, against his better judgment, to use the news of his wife’s pregnancy as a bargaining chip. Lucious, while happy to become a grandfather, acts as if he’s lost a son. More telling though, is the reveal that his mother, played by Kelly Rowland, was also bipolar. Between this, and the flashback in the last episode, it seems as though Lucious’ hesitance to let Andre back into Empire has less to do with betrayal, and more about the difficult childhood memories his presence brings up. This sucks for Andre, as most things do on this show, but hopefully Empire can use mental health issues constructively and appropriately — using the soap nature for good rather than shock.
After casting out his own son, Lucious then tries to bring his enemy’s daughter into the fold, tracking down Frank Gathers’ daughter, Young Ma (Bre-Z Murray) at a rap battle. Somebody really should’ve told her opponent that daddy jokes were off-limits, though, because she draws a gun on him, only stopping when Lucious gets in the way. Ultimately, the Empire magnate is unable to convince her to sign with him, which, all things considered, is probably good, given that he, you know, killed her dad. But it doesn’t seem like he’s going to stop pursuing her — probably unwise.
Meanwhile Becky G, bless her, is still sleeping with Hakeem and being a diva, though Cookie shuts that down real quick. Like a drill sergeant, Cookie tells the young singer that if she wants to be known as an artist and not just as somebody who slept with a Lyon cub, she better drop and give her 20 before learning those goddamn dance steps. Becky G heeds this wisdom — she doesn’t want to just be known as Hakeem’s girl, or a member of a girl group, for that matter. So when Lucious takes Andre’s business advice and buys the radio station right before Ménage a Trois made their debut, she joins in on the payback. “Sorry, Hakeem” she lies.
Lucious might have gotten Cookie back tenfold for her party crashing, but he should probably keep an eye on his ambitious new ally. We’re calling it here first, folks — by the end of the season, Becky G is going to run Empire.