To the top of the Billboard charts, to the balcony of the New York Stock exchange, to a prison cell in Brooklyn, Lucious Lyon has emerged a free man.
|Season Two, Episode Five|
|Air date||October 21, 2015|
|Writers|| Wendy Calhoun|
“A High Hope for a Low Heaven”
Over at Lyon Dynasty, Cookie and Anika work together with Laz to throw "Cookie Lyon's Block Party," a big event to launch their company, showcase their artists and premiere a signature Dynasty anthem written by Hakeem. Meanwhile, Jamal gets busy working on his music with Ne-Yo. Also, Hakeem begins a tender romance with the lead singer of his girl group, and Andre takes steps to rid his soul of past sins.
The episode starts with a reporter on television announcing that after four months, Lucious Lyon has been cleared of all charges. Lucious is with Thirsty at Empire HQ, where Thirsty reveals that the authorities are announcing that Vernon committed suicide in order to hide the fact that his body just showed up inside the prosecutor's car. Andre walks into Empire, where both Lucious and Thirsty welcome him. Thirsty tells Lucious that there are reporters outside, to whom Lucious doesn't want to talk to in case they twist his words around. When Andre tells him that it would be better to make a statement, he does so using Andre's phone to post a message online.
At Lyon Dynasty, Tiana is undergoing a photo shoot. Cookie is struggling to remove text alerts from her phone which Porsha enabled, and tells Tiana that she fired Porsha since Porsha got her arrested. The pair view Lucious' video as Hakeem walks in with Laura. Hakeem tells Tiana to show Laura to the studio and kisses Tiana on the cheek before he walks away. Laura sees this and asks Tiana if they're together, but Tiana tells her that Hakeem is like that with all the girls.
Meanwhile at Empire, Lucious is throwing a little celebration in the board room, where he announces Andre as the new President of Gutter Life Records. In order to tempt Andre off his newfound religion, he has a bunch of scantily clad women attempt to seduce Andre, to no avail. Lucious then goes off to the studio where he oversees Jamal's single ("Born To Love U"), with Ne-Yo watching. Ne-Yo tells Jamal that it's not bad, and reveals that he's going to perform with Jamal on a couple of his tour dates. Michael walks in, surprised and amazed to see Ne-Yo, and reveals that he's going with Jamal on the tour. Lucious calls it a mistake, as he tells Jamal that an artist should never bring his girlfriend, or in Jamal's case boyfriend, on the road. Lucious asks Ne-Yo what he thinks, and Ne-Yo says that while touring does get lonely and there are a lot of temporary companions (groupies) on the road, if Jamal has something real with Michael then he doesn't see a problem with it. Lucious disagrees with Ne-Yo, to which Jamal says that Lucious is the last person to give any sort of relationship advice, a comment which warrants a smirk from Ne-Yo.
Andre goes to his church to speak with the reverend, where he tells the reverend that his father had revived Gutter Life Records and had made Andre the President of the label. The reverend warns Andre that Lucious is testing Andre's religion, the same way he did with Michelle White a few months back, the very person who let Andre to his religion. Andre tells the reverend that he wishes to protect his family (by getting them into Heaven) by getting baptized. The reverend tells Andre that he must first confess his sins to his family and then invite them as well. Andre laughs, telling him that the only way his family would ever go to a church is if someone died. The reverend suggests that perhaps God wants Andre to be the shepherd who leads the Lyons to church.
At Lyon Dynasty / Ghetto Ass Studios, Tiana is left alone after a studio session. Two female "fans" walk in and ask if they could take a selfie with her, to which she agreed. However, one of the girls slips out a razor blade from her mouth and push her down to the ground, running away after stealing her bag. Tiana goes out to try and screams for help, but the pair get away.
Tiana goes back into the studio, where she is consoled by Hakeem and Cookie. Chicken shows them a video of masked burglars going through Tiana's belongings. Cookie realizes that they have been "marked" - meaning they are being extorted for money. Cookie tells them that she will deal with it.
At Laviticus, Jamal and Michael are talking to Chase One, the photographer, who makes comments about same-sex marriage and heteronormative traits in same-sex relationships. While Chase and Jamal are walking down a corridor, Chase tries to give Jamal a blowjob. Jamal dismisses him, telling him that he doesn't find Chase attractive and that he would never do that to Michael.
She then works on promoting her artists to a concert promoter, Laz Delgado. He is the fifth promoter she's met with, but the first who did not leave when they found out what happened to Tiana. Laz tells Cookie that since she's Lucious Lyon's ex-wife, most people on the streets think she's swimming with cash and that they'll come for her. Laz tells Cookie that he's prepared to get his hands dirty, but their meeting is interrupted by Porsha, who comes with a harmless looking dog, wanting her job back and offering to have the dog, which is her grandma's mutt, be security. Cookie dismisses her, but as she is leaving, she rehired Porsha in a probationary manner.
At Empire, Rhonda is helping set up Andre's office. Andre tells Rhonda that he's been to see Reverend Pryce, and that he's getting baptized, which he wants her and the rest of his family to show up to. Rhonda doesn't think the Lyons will show up, but Andre hopes they can put their schedule aside for one day. He also tells Rhonda that he needs to confess his sins to his family, but assures Rhonda that he won't tell them about Vernon. Rhonda tells Andre that she's not wearing any underwear and tries to have sex with him, but he rebuffs her advances and proudly claims that things are different now that they're having a baby, which causes Rhonda to have a different look on her face.
Lucious and Cookie are summoned to a funeral parlor to collect Vernon's ashes since he does not have any next of kin. Lucious refuses to take the ashes, since Vernon snitched on him. Cookie tells Lucious she doesn't believe Vernon killed himself, and asks if Lucious or his goons killed him. Lucious states that he didn't kill Vernon, which Cookie believes. Cookie, however, tells Lucious that Vernon had come to her and told her how Bunkie tried to shake down Lucious. Lucious, surprised that Vernon revealed his murder of Bunkie to Cookie, is also surprised that Cookie knew Vernon was a snitch. Cookie wonders how the very people who helped them (Bunkie, Vernon) are now dead with no one wanting to claim them, and tells Lucious that they need to find a way to make their family safe. Lucious tells her that he is safe, and anything that happens to Cookie or Lyon Dynasty is on her since she left. Cookie asks if Lucious had anything to do with Dynasty being marked, but Lucious dispels her comments and walks away, leaving Cookie to claim Vernon's ashes.
Andre walks into Lucious' office, where he sees Thirsty helping himself to Lucious' alcohol. Thirsty tells Andre that Lucious is busy, and that he has replaced Vernon as the new Chairman of Empire. He then asks Andre how his relationship is with Cookie, and tells him that Lucious wanted him to try and steal Cookie's tracks. Andre bluntly tells Thirsty to leave his drink on the table and to get out of Lucious' office when Lucious isn't there. Thirsty is surprised, as he thought he and Andre were on good terms after they dug up Vernon, but leaves regardless.
Jamal is in the studio where he is unable to focus on his singing ("Never Love Again"). He reveals to Ne-Yo that he told Michael he didn't want him to come on the tour, to which Michael interpreted it as him wanting an open relationship. Ne-Yo tells Jamal that he should bring Michael on the road, and tells him that he shouldn't take relationship advice from Lucious Lyon.
At Lyon Dynasty, Laura, Carmen and Marisol are dancing to Pharrell's music. Hakeem hugs Laura from behind and kisses her on her lower neck, asking her if she feels him. Laura, disgusted, leaves, telling Hakeem that she's not like other girls, and that she should have known better.
Meanwhile, Jamal is talking to Becky about how Ne-Yo is going on tour with him. Becky tells him that no matter what the Bible says, she believes Jesus truly loves him for Jamal to be so blessed. Jamal wants to share some good news with Michael, who Becky says is out on the balcony. However, Jamal walks in on Michael getting a blowjob from Chase. Jamal shoves him against the wall, telling him that if he doesn't leave right now, he'll end up leaving through the balcony.
At Lyon Dynasty, Cookie and Laz are in a conversation when they hear Whoopty Woo barking. They then hear the sound of glass breaking, and see two men attempting to steal stuff. Laz tackles one of them to the ground and pulls out a gun. Cookie pulls a gun out of her purse and finds out that the men are stealing her masters. When asked who sent them, they reply that Thirsty did, who Cookie knows is Lucious' lawyer. Laz and Cookie dismiss the men while Cookie seethes in anger.
Andre and Hakeem go over to Jamal's apartment, where Hakeem is surprised that he wasn't invited to Jamal's party, evidenced by wine glasses and Becky being knocked out on the sofa. Andre confesses to his brothers that he arranged for Hakeem's goons to rob Jamal and pinned it on Hakeem (back in "Dangerous Bonds"). Jamal is hurt that his brother would go that far, and Hakeem is aghast since Jamal almost died that day. Andre simply states that he was sick then and he was sorry, and he is forgiven by both Jamal and Hakeem. He invites the two to his baptism, to which Hakeem states he'll come, but Jamal is wary due to the fact that he may be told to "pray away the gay". Andre tells Jamal that even if the church is against homosexuality, he is not, and asks Jamal to come to support him, and not the church.
Andre then goes over to Empire, where he berates Lucious' decision to have Thirsty send men to steal Cookie's music. Lucious tells him that Thirsty does whatever he's told, unlike Andre. Andre tells Lucious that he's aware of Lucious testing him, but Lucious simply states that the only commandments Andre needs to follow is his, and that he needs to check his faith at the door. Andre cannot do that, and tells Lucious that he was the one who told Cookie to blackmail Lucious into giving her Jamal. Lucious is not as surprised, telling him that he knew Cookie had a smart person on the sidelines. Andre then reveals that one day when he was off his meds, he went to Lucious' studio and put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Lucious is shocked, but Andre tells Lucious that even though Lucious gave him life, God gives him hope. He then invites Lucious to his baptism, but Lucious doesn't see how having someone dunk him in tap water will absolve him of all his sins.
Meanwhile, as Laura is walking in order to catch a train home, Hakeem pulls up next to her. He apologizes, adding that he's never met a girl singer who wasn't down with him. Laura tells him that she doesn't care about the money or the fame, and that all she wants to do is sing and make people happy. Hakeem tells her that his driver will bring her home and that he'll catch a cab, but not before telling her that he won't ever overstep his bounds, and that he respects her.
At Empire's studio, Freda is attempting to rap but cannot focus on the lyrics. Lucious realizes the song is about her father. He tells her that while her father was a rotten bastard, he loved Freda, and he was the type who would have hugged her with his left arm if he had lost his right arm. His words managed to push Freda over the top, who manages to perform her rap successfully. However, her rap about losing her parent moves Lucious (as he lost his mother).
At church, Cookie is going over Andre's dress with a lint roller. She tells Andre that her mother wanted them baptized as kids, but that she (Cookie) thinks people should be baptized after they're grown and choose the Lord, adding that babies don't have sin. Andre tells her that he's done some bad things, to which Cookie tells him that she has as well, but that they're good people and that God knows his heart. She then tells him to shut up, adding that no one, including her, needs to know what bad things he's done. Jamal shows up to the baptism, where Cookie professes her surprise. Jamal tells her that he will stick with and support his family. He and Cookie manage to repair their relationship. Jamal tells her that he's going on tour with Ne-Yo, and that Lucious has brought him to the next level, which is what he and Cookie wanted. Cookie asks him if Lucious is coming, and Jamal says no. Cookie says that it's a good thing, since if Lucious, being a devil, walked in here, the whole place would catch fire, which causes Jamal and Hakeem to laugh.
Lucious, however, pulls up to the church. He looks up towards the cross, and then enters. The entire church is surprised at his attendance. He tells Jamal that Freda's song moved him, and he realized how importance his presence is to his sons. However, he gets into an argument with Cookie, which the entire church can hear. As Andre is getting baptized, Lucious gets a flashback to when he cussed at his mother when he was a child and how his mother attempted to baptize him in their bathroom, nearly drowning him in the process. Lucious gets up and leaves, to the surprise of everyone in the church, including Andre. As Andre is successfully baptized, Cookie holds Jamal's hands, which Hakeem notices. Hakeem then goes on a run around the park topless. However, he is then kidnapped and dragged into a van.
|Born To Love U*||Jamal Lyon|
|Never Love Again|
|Why Go||Freda Gatz|
|Mimosa||Mirage a Trois|
|Mona Lisa**||Leah Walker|
- * denotes a song that was performed in a previous episode.
- ** denotes a song that is briefly performed in the episode, but released as a single.
- Can't Feel My Face - The Weeknd
- Come Get It Bae - Pharrell feat. Miley Cyrus
- Prey - Stella Angelico
- Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon
- Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon
- Trai Byers as Andre Lyon
- Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon
- Bryshere Y. Gray as Hakeem Lyon
- Grace Gealey as Anika Calhoun (absent)
- Kaitlin Doubleday as Rhonda Lyon
- Ta'Rhonda Jones as Porsha Taylor
- Gabourey Sidibe as Becky Williams
- Serayah as Tiana Brown
Special Guest Star
- Ne-Yo as himself
- Adam Rodriguez at Laz Delgado
- Bre-Z as Freda Gatz
- Andre Royo as Thirsty Rawlings
- Kelly Rowland as Leah Walker (flashback)
- Rafael de La Fuente as Michael Sanchez
- Adam Busch as Chase One
- AzMarie Livingston as Chicken
- Jamila Velazquez as Laura Calleros
- Yani Marin as Carmen
- Raquel Castro as Marisol
- Charles Malik Whitfield as Reverend L.C Pryce
- Shannon Brown as Dwight Walker (Young Lucious Lyon)
- Lucious becomes a free man, as the case against him is dismissed due to Vernon's death.
- Lucious revives Gutter Life Records.
- Andre is made President of Gutter Life Records.
- Thirsty becomes the new Chairman of Empire Entertainment.
- Andre reveals to Jamal and Hakeem that he was the one who set up the robbery at Ghetto Ass Studios back in "Dangerous Bonds".
- Andre gets baptized as a way to wash away the sins of his past and be "reborn".
- It is revealed Lucious was traumatized as a child when his mother nearly drowned and killed him.
- Hakeem is kidnapped.
- Andre's middle name is revealed to be Martin.
- For the fifth episode in a row, at least one member of the main cast is missing in this episode. However, for once it is Grace Gealey (Anika Calhoun). Ta'Rhonda Jones (Porsha Taylor), Gabourey Sidibe (Becky Williams) and Serayah (Tiana Brown) all appear in the same episode for the first time since their promotion from recurring guest cast to the main cast.
- For the first time this season, an episode has a higher amount of viewers tuning in than the previous episode. (This episode brought in 12.28 million viewers, compared to last episode's 12.22 million)