Empire recap: Can you count on me?

<em>Empire</em> recap: Can you count on me?

As Empire continues what’s so far been a season of rebuilding, one theme lingers throughout tonight’s episode: opportunity. For better or for worse, our characters all have opportunities facing them. From fame to freedom, revenge to reclamation, everyone is out to take what’s theirs.

After two long years, it’s finally time for Andre’s release from prison. Dressed in (of all colors) angel white, he’s welcomed with open arms by Lucious and Cookie who, despite the realities of Lyon Family Management distracting them, are overjoyed to see their son back in society. Meanwhile, Kingsley has made a return visit to Diana DuBois in prison to continue picking her brain for more Lyons dirt, but she has his number. Having pegged his mission to the humiliation at the Empire “return” party, Diana wonders if Lucious reminds the insecure Kingsley of all his childhood bullies. “You’re the little dipper to his big dipper,” she coos with a laugh. Ultimately, she’s willing to give Kingsley the information he needs to take down Lucious, but what does she want in return? Lotion, of course. Wait, what? Eager to keep up appearances even in lockdown, Diana’s found out about a special lotion rumored to be made of fetal tissue and stem cells. If Kingsley can retrieve this, Lucious’ “Achilles heel” is all his for the taking.

Back in office/mansion of Lyon Family Management (now with air conditioning!), Porsha, accompanied by a set of newly hired interns, shows Cookie video of a female rapper she thinks would be a great addition to LFM. Cookie quickly dismisses her as “Cardi B-minus,” but does take a liking to the background singer on the track. Tagged on the video as Devon, Cookie tells Porsha to find him as she’s certain they can make him a star. When Jamal gets the news that Kai’s missing from his current assignment, Becky wonders if he’s in trouble. Jamal shuts the talk down and tells her not to freak out because he’s not freaking out. We then flashback to the moment they met at a London bar, where Kai comes to Jamal’s aid after his drink is spiked in clear view of paparazzi inside.

Back at the mansion, Andre catches Lucious in the middle of loading his gun and spots his father’s book, which contains a list of his past criminal “backers.” As the now hardened Andre expresses regret that he couldn’t have followed that same street life his father had, Lucious tells him he never expected to have to “collect” again. Though he senses that Andre wants to join him as a backup, Lucious refuses and tells him to stay away. Over at Empire, Kingsley informs Giselle her services as COO are no longer needed, but as we all know Giselle is incapable of taking no for an answer…ever. Reminding her co-worker/ex-lover/nemesis that she has all the music industry expertise he doesn’t, Giselle makes it clear that despite everything in their past, things will be professional between them from now on. And if it isn’t? “I’m going to #MeToo all over your ass,” she says as she grabs her position (and Kingsley’s manhood) as hard as she can.

Lee Daniels and Danny Strong created this Fox drama about a kingpin of hip-hop (played by Terrence Howard) and his family, who fight him for control of the empire.

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