Empire Season Finale Recap: Who?

Taraji P. Henson as Cookie.


Toil and Trouble, Part 2 Season 3 Episode 18
Editor's Rating 4 stars




Okay. I’ll give the episode this — it moved. This was Empire moving with the confidence and a surety that I haven’t in a dog’s age. But … there is a lot happening here. Demi Moore shows up. With no warning or, dare I say it, reason, Demi Moore shows up. I swear to God, if I never see an establishing shot of the Vegas again, it’ll be too soon. Lucious and Nia Long are arriving via helicopter to the roof of Laviticus. Okay, I’ve been spelling it “Leviticus” this whole time, but there’s a couple establishing shots where it’s spelled “Laviticus” and that’s not a thing. The book in the Bible is Leviticus. I Googled Laviticus, but it just says “Did you mean Leviticus?” all snooty. We gotta talk about all of this.

So Grandma Walker is being held at Lucious’s mansion while Duke Page just decomposes in the bathtub wrapped in plastic like Laura Palmer. That’s what we in the biz call a “topical reference.” Lucious tells Grandma Walker to just be cool for a literal second and take her medicine and not murder anyone while he’s gone. She brags that she put “steel in the skull of your enemy” because she is a badass bitch and you cannot control her. Meanwhile, Hakeem is at his apartment with his friends for craft hour. Boo Boo Kitty is there trying to calm him down, but all the shirts already say “THE DUBOIS ARE BABY STEALERS TEAM HAKEEM,” so he’s really drawn a line in the sand. Boo Boo Kitty tells him she knows Baby Bella is safe so there’s nothing to worry about.

We’re back in Vegas. Drink every time they play that Dean Martin “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” remix. Nia Long and Lucious are having one final walk-through with Eva Longoria and she reminds him that if there’s any trouble, like say when Tupac was shot, it’ll be the last time Empire Records sets foot in Vegas. Also, I did not realize that Empire was opening an entire casino and resort. It always seemed like they were opening a club in a hotel or just doing their weird Cirque du Soleil thing. They opened a whole resort in about four weeks. Andre is meeting Xzibit under a series of bridges to discuss murdering Lucious once and for all. They’re going to raise hell, scare Eva Longoria, and she’ll just give them the lease and they’ll take over Læviticus. Xzibit reveals that he’s hired a bomb guy to blow up the casino, just to drive home the whole “Empire is dangerous” thing. (I understand they probably couldn’t do much about it at this point, but this part of the story line did feel a bit in bad taste considering recent events.)

Boo Boo Kitty is back at Lucious’s mansion packing up all her things and Grandma Walker comes in to give her the mail that’s still being delivered to Lucious’s house. Grandma Walker gives Boo Boo Kitty a letter opener. The same one she used to murder Duke Page. We all got that, right? Meanwhile, Lucious is back at the office signing the final pieces of paperwork with Nia Long while Cookie watches from the lobby. Lucious comes out of the office to tell Cookie that she’s banned one more time. Jamal is at the original Læviticus on open-mic night with Becky when a beautiful dark-skin prince decides to sing one of Jamal’s songs while eye-fucking him. So that’s happening.

Mama DuBois is sitting at home with Baby Bella when suddenly BOO BOO KITTY arrives. Guys? GUYS? WHAT?! Hakeem arrives shortly after because he followed Boo Boo Kitty there. Mama DuBois agrees to let Hakeem see Baby Bella if he pledges to do anything they ask. Hakeem, what do you think they’re going to ask you to do? It isn’t gonna be nice.

It’s opening night of Læviticus and Andre has Eva Longoria over a table in the back room and he mentions that he gets really excited when he watches the video he made of them. She slaps him and he says he doesn’t think of it as extortion, but more gentle persuasion to secure that lease. Cookie is walking around backstage, helping Xzibit understand that he’s there to protect her family when it’s time for the plan.

Lucious finds Cookie and tells her he knew she would be back here. She’s just there to support Jamal. Lucious says it’s time for his money to be shared with the woman he loves, so IT’S TIME FOR NIA LONG TO KICK ROCKS. I gasped. He did the whole thing to screw Nia Long and use her connections to open up the casino. That was legitimately good. I loved this twist. I was ready for this happy ending. He did it all just to see Nia Long’s face when he told her off. He takes Cookie to the audience and the show that’s being performed isn’t Inferno, but When Cookie Met Lucious! Jamal is singing some song where he says “Mama” 32 times in an all-white Jesus outfit and a scarf. Cookie calls off Xzibit. Lucious performs a love song with his guitar and he looks like it’s painful to be singing to Cookie, but like the song says, “Life is like a mound of clay.”

Meanwhile, the DuBois family is meeting and the hot singer in the club is part of the DuBois family because of course. The family is ready for their revenge and they’re going to use Hakeem to do it. Everyone rubs their hands together maniacally.

After the show, Hakeem tells the family that Baby Bella is safe at Boo Boo Kitty’s parents’ house and no one is like, “Wait … how did she end up there? What happened with DCFS?” While the family is reveling in the moment, Cookie’s old boyfriend Barry shows up with his wife, Michelle. C’mon, Empire. They just retired and handed their business off to their daughter and are going to travel the world. Lucious is inspired and asks Cookie if she wants to travel the world with him and get far away from the drama (that Lucious created). They tell their children that they’re stepping back from the business and giving all the control to Andre. It’s a genuinely touching moment, but then Andre remembers he was going to blow his parents up. He rushes to stop Xzibit, but Xzibit tells him that the bullet is out of the gun.

Boo Boo Kitty is hiding out in a hotel when the police show up at her door with the letter opener covered in blood. She’s under arrest for the murder of Duke Page.

Cookie and Lucious walk outside to ride off into the sunset. Andre rushes to stop them, but he can’t make it. The bomb goes off and Lucious throws Cookie out of the way to safety, taking the brunt of the blast. The show flashes forward to three months later with the family reading a card from Stevie Wonder to Lucious when he’s in a damn coma. Nurse Demi Moore comes in and starts kissing his hands in a really weird way. Just as Cookie kicks her out, Lucious’s eyes open. The family huddles around him and he looks at them and just says, “… Who are you? Who?”



Empire Season Finale Recap: Who?