Empire Recap: Memory Lane

Photo: Chuck Hodes/FOX


Full Circle Season 4 Episode 2
Editor's Rating 3 stars

Is every new episode of Empire going to have a new special guest star? If so, I’m fine with it … if it also means that every episode is going to be coherent and well-paced. I mean, don’t get me wrong. There’s still some weak points and twists and turns, but Empire is turning into a real show. I don’t know what to do with myself.

The episode starts with Demi Moore drawing a bath for Lucious d.b.a. Dwight. He decides he’s going to take care of himself for a little bit and gets into the bath on his own. The second he starts to relax and slips under the water, though, a hand comes out of nowhere and holds him down under the water. He’s flashing back to Kelly Rowland dunking him in the bathtub as a child and — oh, of course — it’s Grandma Walker holding him down in the bathtub again. She can see the evilness in him and needs to help him. She tends to swing wildly between lucid and not, depending on what the plot needs.

Cookie is moving back into Lucious’s house because she wants to watch Demi Moore. She’s there to supervise and movers are rolling in rack after rack of wildly colored furs. Meanwhile, Jamal is having a listening party at his house for a new song he’s working on for a movie soundtrack. Tori, Becky, Warren, and a series of other light-skinned hipster types litter his apartment.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I just realized tonight that Rumer Willis is Demi Moore’s daughter. I remember that her dad is Bruce Willis, but I just forgot that Demi Moore and Bruce Willis were a thing. I’m excited they get to work together.

Back to the show, Becky is operating as interim head of A&R and she’s glad that Jamal and Tori patched things up. Jamal wants to write an album full of love songs, and Becky jokes that the album is inspired by Warren. At the same time, Andre is meeting with some big fancy business boys to sell off parts of Empire XStream to get some cash coming into Empire. Andre is at the bar when, suddenly, famous hottie and all around amazing hair-haver Teyonah Parris slides up next to him. They exchange some flirty words and the next thing you know, they’re in the bathroom pulling up her dress. Unfortunately, Andre can’t get it up and she says, “You missed out on the best piece of ass you ever had,” and that’s simply not how women talk.

Demi Moore is quizzing Lucious about facts from his life and Cookie comes in to ask him about the sale of XStream, but he can’t remember anything about it. Cookie tries to jog his memory by showing him a photo of them and he can’t get over the fact that there’s a gun in the picture.

Meanwhile, Boo Boo Kitty is in court for her bail hearing after being in jail for five months and you know she’s not doing too great because she’s got a cheap-ass wavy wig on. When the judge denies her bail, she tells Hakeem to tell Cookie that she remembers the day Bunkie died. Cookie and Thirsty meet with her and she tells them they have to do something to help her or else she’s going to spill about Bunkie. Cookie reminds her that Boo Boo Kitty got a cool $25 million to disappear and now she’s causing trouble. She’s got to shut up and play nice.

Becky and Jamal are meeting with someone from the film to get notes on the song and they want some serious changes. Becky decides that anything is possible, but Jamal is a little hesitant. Remember when this show was vaguely about music?

Lucious goes with Demi Moore to an old diner he used to visit and the owner reminds him of some off-color stories. Demi Moore is not interested in hearing about the big-boned bitches Lucious used to roll with. Lucious asks her if the stories make her uncomfortable and why she’s trying to control everything. She says that she just “manages” the situation. The owner brings up one of Lucious’s old friends, Eddie Barker, a record producer he used to work with. Lucious slips out without Demi Moore to go find Eddie at a wedding. When Lucious rolls up to the wedding, Eddie is played by … SCREEN LEGEND FORREST WHITAKER. This is exactly what I needed. I didn’t know I wanted it, but this gave me everything. Lucious tries to pretend that he can keep up and tries to pass off some things he’s learned about the discography of Lucious Lyon to fit in. Lucious has Eddie tell him some stories from their past and the more violent ones scare him so badly that he trips and falls as he tries to run away.

Demi Moore is rightfully freaking out because she lost Lucious, a full-grown man with no memory. She tells Cookie and Cookie snaps that she’s going to have to do everything herself. When she hears that Lucious might have gone off to find Eddie, she calms down because Eddie is “family.” Becky and Jamal clash because instead of editing the song to fit the studio notes, Jamal just made a whole new song. Becky puts her foot down and Jamal and Warren tell her to remember that she doesn’t really have any authority over them. Remember? “Interim.”

Cookie comes to pick Lucious up from Forrest Whitaker’s house and oh my God, Forrest is singing. Do you think they asked him to be on the show and he was like, “Yeah … but only if I can sing!” Forrest tells Cookie to sell off parts of Empire and to focus on the music again. When she gets Lucious home, she finds Grandma Walker rifling through her room looking for a gun. Grandma tells Cookie that she’s going to kill Demi Moore just like she killed Duke Page. I’m sorry … WHAT GRANDMA?! Cookie immediately puts her in a nursing home.

Andre meets Teyonah Parris again, but this time he learns her name. She’s Pamela, NYPD detective and Misty Knight cosplayer. And she’s part of the team that’s looking for Giuliana. Becky decides to replace Jamal on the movie-soundtrack track and the producer wants to throw in way more money for marketing and the music video. Cookie checks in with Becky and applauds her for making a smart decision. Way to get that promotion, Becky.

At a press conference, Cookie announces that Empire is going to release 20 albums this year to celebrate its 20th anniversary. That’s not a thing that record companies do, right? Andre flips out on Cookie for ruining the sale and tells her that he’s the only one who makes sure money is coming in. Cookie throws him out for insubordination.

After a brief montage checking in with Jamal and Hakeem and their sweethearts, Lucious wakes up in the middle of the night to find Demi Moore packing her bag and he convinces her to stay. She cradles his head and comforts him. Cookie isn’t going to be pleased about that.

Empire Recap: Memory Lane