|Past Is Prologue|
|Season Two, Episode Eighteen|
|Air date||May 18, 2016|
|Writer|| Lee Daniels|
“Rise by Sin”
“Light in Darkness”
After a life-changing experience, Jamal refuses to make music until his family ends its seemingly endless cycle of violence and fighting. Meanwhile, the Feds are tailing Anika because they want to force her to testify against Lucious. In order to protect her family, Cookie organizes a meeting at Hakeem and Laura's wedding with various people from her and Lucious' past.
- Hourglass - Veronica (Veronika Bozeman)
- Turn Around - Freda Gatz (Bre-Z)
- Hemmingway - Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett)
- Panda - Desiigner
- 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; credit only)
- Andre Royo as Thirsty Rawlings
- Jamila Velazquez as Laura Calleros
- Bre-Z as Freda Gatz
- Leslie Uggams as Leah Walker
- Veronika Bozeman as Veronica
- Shannon Brown as Dwight Walker (young Lucious Lyon, via flashback)
- AzMarie Livingston as Chicken
- Morocco Omari as Tariq Cousins
- Xzibit as Shine Johnson
- Tobias Truvillion as Derek Major/D-Major
- Kevin "Webb" Wigfall as Webb
- Claudette Burchett as Juanita
- Marcell Johnson as Marcel
- Tyler Ravelson as Tay-O
- Francisco Posada as Trap
- Jamal, who spends most of his time in a wheelchair, initially decides not to make any more music until the circle of violence stops. However, as he learns from Andre, the cycle will keep going until it decides to stop itself. With a little nudge from Lucious, who visits Freda, Jamal begins making music again.
- Rhonda confronts Anika and punches her for pushing her down the stairs.
- Cookie meets with Shine Johnson, a thug from her and Lucious' hood days, who promises to keep his mouth shut to the Feds if his nephew is signed to Empire and if he gets invited to Hakeem's wedding.
- Arturo, Laura's father, is aware of Shyne's reputation and does not want him at Laura's wedding.
- Anika attempts suicide but is talked down from the ledge by Cookie, since Anika is pregnant with Cookie's grandson.
- Lucious tells Cookie that he loves her and that there's a reason he never remarried. Cookie is also open to rekindling her relationship with Lucious, albeit after Hakeem's wedding and Jamal's recovery.
- Shine shows up to Hakeem's classy wedding blasting rap music and with hookers on his arm, prompting many of the guests to consider leaving. However, after Anika is served with a subpoena, Shyne hits a U.S. Marshal over the head with a champagne bottle, causing a riot. The Calleros, upon seeing the spectacle, call off the wedding - Laura telling Hakeem that she wants no part of this life and Arturo, her father, callously dismissing the Lyons as thugs.
- In order to prevent Anika from testifying against Lucious, he proposes that the two get married, as Andre has been ordained to perform marriages. Cookie is aghast; Lucious tells her that he still loves her and that she's his ride-or-die, while Anika would just be his wife on paper, but Cookie storms out, regretting her decision to prevent Anika's suicide while also realizing that she won't do literally anything to save her family.
- FBI Agent Tariq Cousins shows up, and Leah Walker recognizes him immediately as her former stepson and Lucious' half-brother, revealing that they share the same father, a man named Joe Walker.
- It is also revealed that Joe was shot to death in front of Lucious.
- After Lucious and Anika are legally married, Lucious tells Anika that he knows she pushed Rhonda. Anika immediately runs away to the balcony, where she is ambushed by Rhonda. In the struggle, Anika admits that she pushed Rhonda in order to kill the other Lyon heir. Andre enters in the middle as they both seemingly tumble off-screen.
- The events of this episode take place on May 10, 2016.