I want you guys to eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow, we war.
|Fires of Heaven|
|Season Two, Episode Three|
|Air date||October 7, 2015|
“Without a Country”
Cookie and Anika secretly work together behind Lucious' back to pull off a surprise performance that catches the eye of Pitbull (guest-starring as himself). Meanwhile, Lucious tracks down Frank Gathers' daughter (guest star Bre-Z Murray), to try to convince her to sign with him at Empire, while Hakeem is hard at work on his girl group, Mirage a Trois. Also, Andre and Rhonda hope their baby-on-the-way will be the key that unlocks Lucious' cold heart and opens the door for Andre to return to the Empire fold.
The episode begins with Roxanne Ford addressing a group of reporters about how Lucious Lyon is a manipulative sociopath who will be convicted. The reporters ask about her running for attorney general, but immediately swarm Lucious as he exits. Lucious simply tells them he'll give Roxanne a donation and walks away, with Jamal and Thirsty. Lucious is told by Thirsty that part of his plea deal bars him from entering Empire HQ, and if he steps foot inside, he goes back to prison. Lucious gives a speech on Empire's front steps to a rallying public about conquering the music industry. At Hakeem's place, Cookie shows up to take him to an interview with Sway at Apex Radio. However, she sees Valentina there, and realizes he hooked up with her, to which she slaps him and calls him stupid. As he leaves with Cookie, Valentina asks him to give her a shoutout for her Twitter. After performing a song, he sits down for an interview, where he talks to Sway about leaking his album online. Sway asks him what Lucious thought about it, but as Hakeem hasn't spoken to him yet, Sway calls Lucious. Lucious, who is surprised at the news, simply tells Sway that Hakeem needs to grow up. Hakeem tells Sway that he's producing a new girl group, Mirage a Trois. When Sway asks if Hakeem could get the girl group on his show within the week, Cookie tells him no, but Hakeem promises him anyways.
That night, the whole family, including Rhonda, are over at Lucious' house for dinner. Lucious offers to forgive them for everything they did against him if they dissolve Lyon Dynasty, but Cookie refuses, pulling all the food out from under the tablecloth and leaving.
Lucious calls Anika over to Laviticus, where he tells her to tell him about Lyon Dynasty. She initially refuses to give them up for him, but Lucious tells her that Cookie will never forgive her, and once Hakeem comes back to Empire, it'd just leave her and Cookie. Anika then asks Lucious what he wants.
Over at their studio, Hakeem is struggling to have his girl group work. Cookie asks for them to redo the hook, but Hakeem does not appreciate his mother butting in. Valentina initially refuses to sing as Hakeem did not give her a shoutout, but after he calls her pretty she gives in.
Meanwhile, Andre is having lunch with Lucious. Andre tells him that Apex Radio is struggling financially, and he can set it up so that Empire can buy all their stations. That way, Empire controls urban radio and give all of their artists' constant airtime. However, Andre asks to return to Empire. Lucious refuses, telling Andre that he could hire any MBA to do what Andre has done this whole time, and that if Andre really wants to come back, he'd have to do something the others won't do.
Their lunch is then interrupted by a call from Jamal, who claims a girl with a group of thugs walked into Empire for a record signing. As Lucious cannot enter Empire himself, Jamal serves as his proxy, and he tells Jamal to sign her no matter what as she means everything to him musically. The girl happens to be Freda Gatz, who refuses to sign since Lucious himself is not at the meeting, and adds that while she believes Lucious would never get her out the ghetto, she adds that her father told her never to trust him (presumably after their meeting in jail), and leaves. However, Jamal remarks to Becky about how Lucious said Freda meant everything to him musically, and wonders what that leaves him.
At Jamal's apartment, he, Lucious and Thirsty are watching one of Freda's rap videos. Lucious reminds Jamal that he failed, telling him that Hakeem could have signed her, and asks him whether he should regret choosing him as his successor. Thirsty is able to recognize Freda's usual hangout from the video.
Anika goes to see Cookie, to her surprise. She humbly tells Cookie that while she's unemployed, she wants to stick it to Lucious. When Cookie inquires as to whether she met with Lucious alone at his house, but she tells Lucious that she met him at Laviticus, where he was planning a party for himself. She begins to leave when Cookie insults her. However, Cookie asks her to stay and talk more about Lucious' party.
At Laviticus, Jamal is performing for the audience with Miami rapper Pitbull. However, Chicken hijacks the DJ's booth and the performance is interrupted by Cookie and a squad of goons, and Cookie introduces Lyon Dynasty's newest and hottest artist -- Hakeem Lyon. Hakeem sings a song about the Dynasty taking down the Empire, and refers to himself as the lion and his father as the cub.
At the Lyon Dynasty studio, Sway calls Cookie. Andre shows up while Hakeem is watching a fight between the girl group. Andre goes in to talk to Cookie. Cookie offers him to return to the Dynasty, but she tells him that he wants to be at Empire, and that he has a vision for Empire that he wishes to leave for his child. Cookie tells him she wants to do the same thing with the Dynasty, but realizes that Andre is about to have a child. She asks whether Lucious knows, and Andre says that he hasn't told him because doing so would be using his unborn child to get back into Empire. Cookie, however, tells him that sometimes pulling heartstrings gets the job done, and reminds him that family means something to Lucious, who also wants to leave a legacy for his sons.
Andre goes to see Lucious at home. Lucious remarks about Andre constantly meeting with him and being persistent, and Andre tells him that he came to tell him, in person, that Rhonda is pregnant. Lucious is joyous, as he's always wanted a grandchild, especially a grandson, but inquires about the child's mental health. Andre tells him that since bipolar disorder does not run in their family, the child wouldn't be affected. Upon hearing this, Lucious has a flashback to his childhood, where his own mother, who suffered from bipolar disorder, buys Lucious a plethora of birthday gifts, despite his birthday being a month away. Lucious pleads with his mother to return the gifts as they need money for food, but Leah (his mother) simply enters into a trance-like state and Lucious sings to her as she stares at the ceiling. In the present, Lucious dismisses Andre, telling him that it breaks his heart that Andre would use his child like this. As Andre leaves, Lucious thinks of his past while he plays on the piano.
Meanwhile, Freda is engaged in a rap battle on the streets as Lucious, Thirsty and a couple of bodyguards walk in. As Freda finishes her long rap, her opponent spits a few bars and then adds that he would kill her (in a musical sense) the way her father was killed in jail. She freezes up, and her opponent gives a sexist remark. As Freda pulls out a gun, Lucious intervenes, but Freda manages to fire three shots, which attract the attention of the local cops. As everyone scatters, Lucious begs her not to do anything that she can never come back from, telling her that her father would not have wanted this. He tells her that he is willing to sign her and save her from all this. Instead, Freda flees the scene and Lucious and company follow suit, not wanting a run-in with the authorities.
At Empire's studios, Jamal is unable to record music due to him turning down every last producer Lucious sent, despite all of them being the top producers in the industry. Becky tells him that the only producer who could get through to him was Cookie, and to go talk to Cookie, since the beef is between her and Lucious, not himself.
As Lucious prepares to leave the ghetto, he comes across Roxanne Ford, who tells him that they've located Vernon Turner and that Lucious is going down. Lucious is able to see through this lie, as if she really had Vernon, then Lucious would have been back in jail in an instant. Roxanne tells him that she has something planned for him, and Lucious tells her he has something similar for her.
Cookie is whipping Valentina and the other two girls into shape, her instruction bordering on the military. Hakeem strolls in and is amazed by his mother's ability to get them in shape, and asks where she learned this skill from, to which Cookie replies that she learned it in prison.
Outside, Jamal tries to sneak into Lyon Dynasty's studios, but before he can enter he is intercepted by Lucious. Lucious tells him not to crawl back to Cookie, as Cookie tried to take Empire from him. Jamal tells him that he needs a producer who can make him into a top tier artist, and Lucious promises to be his producer.
At Apex Radio, Sway is waiting for Mirage a Trois to go up. Everyone is there except Valentina, who is running late. Lucious walks in, telling Cookie that he's crashing her event as she did to him, but tells him that their event is cancelled since he bought out Apex Radio. He quickly tells Cookie and Hakeem that they shouldn't be surprised, since they know all about him. Valentina then walks in. Hakeem apologizes for his father messing up her appearance on the radio, but Lucious tells him that he signed Valentina. Valentina apologizes to Hakeem as she goes up to perform solo. Lucious reminds Cookie that as Empire now controls the radio, it would make it much harder for Lyon Dynasty's songs to be played, and tells them that their company is done for. As Cookie and Hakeem leave, Lucious watches and laughs over his victory.
|Bout 2 Blow||Hakeem Lyon|
|No Doubt About It||Jamal Lyon & Pitbull|
|Dynasty||Hakeem Lyon feat. Timbaland|
|Do It||Mirage a Trois|
|New New||Valentina Galindo|
- 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
- Kaitlin Doubleday as Rhonda Lyon
- Ta'Rhonda Jones as Porsha Taylor
- Gabourey Sidibe as Becky Williams
- Serayah as Tiana Brown (absent)
Special Guest Star
- Pitbull as himself
- Timbaland as himself
- Bre-Z as Freda Gatz
- Becky G as Valentina Galindo
- Andre Royo as Thirsty Rawlings
- AzMarie Livingston as Chicken
- Kelly Rowland as Leah Walker (flashback)
- Rafael de La Fuente as Michael Sanchez
- Tyra Ferrell as Roxanne Ford
- Shannon Brown as Dwight Walker (Young Lucious Lyon)
- As Lucious is unable to step foot inside Empire, Jamal is forced to continue his roles as interim CEO at Empire, while Lucious runs his business from Laviticus.
- Andre reveals to both his parents that they're about to be grandparents.
- Hakeem releases his first song under the Lyon Dynasty label.
- Lucious' mother, Leah, is officially revealed via flashbacks to have been bipolar.
- Valentina leaves Lyon Dynasty and signs with Empire.
- For the second time in a row, this episode had less viewers tuning in, just like the last episode.
- Cookie tells Hakeem that she learned how to whip women into shape during her years in prison; this is another reference to her having "bitches" in prison, which first came up during her first confrontation with Camilla.
- Leah's mental breakdown, in which she buys Dwight/Lucious birthday gifts despite it not being his birthday, both mirrors and is a callback to Andre's first mental breakdown, in which he purchased a bunch of New Year's gifts, despite it not being New Year's.
- Terrence Howard & Taraji P. Henson were reunited with Craig Brewer (the director of this episode) for the first time in 10 years. Brewer had directed the pair in his 2005 movie Hustle & Flow, a film often called a spiritual precursor to Empire.