Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious' (Terrence Howard) are back together as business partners, and there's even a hint at a romantic reconciliation. But is it just set up for another epic Lyon brawl?
We got a few hints they might want each other back, from Hakeem's zinger — "I ain't getting King Kong and Godzilla back together!" — to Cookie's swipe at Lucious' almost side-piece Harper Scott (Annie Ilonzeh) — "It smells fishy in here. You might want to send for some vinegar and water."
When Harper tries to shade Lucious for his devotion to Cookie, he checks her, shoves her and sends her on her way; later, Cookie and Lucious pretend like they're not still hot for each other, buy they're not convincing. These two are so Lemonade: a couple that spars at times, but are ultimately united in their war against everyone else. Cookie needs a thug and Lucious needs a ride-or-die chick. Where else would either of them go?
By the end of it all — after Anika (Grace Gealey) has been rushed to the hospital with pregnancy complications; Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Michael (Rafael de La Fuente) look like they might rebound; Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) has a bottles-and-models orgy before his engagement is broken off and then back on again; and we get a glimpse of Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) (with the good hair?!) — Lucious' shareholders decide they want to reinstate him, but only with Cookie as his partner.
"I think it's a fantastic idea," Lucious says, "I wouldn't have it any other way," before hugging Cookie and saying, "I got your back."
Of course, the ominous, shady look he gives when saying that suggests that's not true; we don't know what yet, but we can be sure Lucious has something sinister up his sleeve. He's a cunning manipulator, this guy, one who probably has The Art of War or The 48 Laws of Power on his nightstand.
He keeps enemies close, and since Cookie has more dirt on him than anybody and will do anything for her sons (including Andre (Trai Byers), who's just discovered his father had been lying to him about his grandmother), he definitely has reason to keep her in check. Theirs is the kind of toxic relationship that works only when there's juicy dysfunction going on--another pair of high-profile R&B singers comes to mind — so we can bet on a storm following this calm.
The episode ends, after all, with a shot of Cookie's back, suggesting that's exactly what we should all be watching.
Empire airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.