Adjusting to regular life after serving two years in prison for Anika's (Grace Byers) death has been difficult for Andre (Trai Byers) on Empire, especially since his family is now broke. With his fortune gone and his elitist friends leaving him high and dry, the eldest Lyon son has found himself in a pretty rough spot. But if there's one person he can count on to have his back no matter what, it's his fierce mom Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) who, after spending 17 years in jail, knows exactly what he's going through.

In this sneak peek at Wednesday's episode, titled "The Depth of Grief," Andre confides in Cookie about daily life since his release and how demoralizing it's been to have his former buds turn their backs on him. "My college friends called us animals," he tells her.

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Never one to let someone else's opinion bring her down, Cookie delivered the perfect response to those naysayers while also making a strong case for prison reform. "Well did you tell those ignorant asses that just because someone makes a mistake, doesn't make them less than human? What about the people inside that didn't do a damn thing but be born black or brown?" she says in a fiery speech.

Changing the conversation, Andre confesses that while Cookie was behind bars, he told his friends she was dead because that was easier for him to accept than the truth. Again, Cookie has no hard feelings about her son's heartbreaking reveal and instead, expresses her appreciation for him trying to help his friends who are still locked up. "I'm proud of you for trying to help," she tells him.

Wednesday's episode also finds Cookie worried about her son Jamal (Jussie Smollett) who's distraught over his missing boyfriend. Meanwhile, Hakeem (Bryshere "Yazz" Gray) will try to prove to Tiana (Serayah) that he's changed and Lucious and Cookie's (Terrence Howard) new artist Devon (Mario) might be crumbling under pressure.

Empire airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.

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Taraji P. Henson, <em>Empire</em>Taraji P. Henson, Empire