This episode is all about Empire getting “hacked” by a “hacker” who “hacks” into their private server. Classified information leaks to the press and the public. Nudes. Nudes everywhere. How do you think FBI Director James Comey felt watching this episode? Like all people with taste, James Comey is obviously an Empire fan. I can just picture him sitting at home under an afghan, eating some popcorn, telling his wife, “See. I told you so.”
Where did those nudes come from? Cookie sends one to her bougie boyfriend, Angelo. He drops by before his event and she’s in a fabulous feathered robe. Unfortunately, he has to rush out the door to deal with a crisis before his mayoral race announcement so she sends him a nude to make up for her late arrival to his event. As Cookie goes to look at her phone, one of Tiana’s songs won’t stop playing and she can’t turn it off. Meanwhile, Jamal is struggling with a new song and withdrawal from his pain meds. Suddenly, Tiana’s song starts playing on the computer and the image of her album starts to look suuuuuuuuper creepy. Boo Boo Kitty is comforting her tiny little baby when Lucious comes in with a new baby soothing app. Suddenly, TIANA’S SONG STARTS PLAYING AND HER FACE LOOKS SUUUUUUUUUPER CREEPY. What is happening?!
The words “Lucious Lyon — You got got!” appears on Lucious’s iPad.
Andre and Thirsty bring in a nerdy white guy who will be Lucious’s whipping boy and an exposition machine for the entire episode. We learn someone has hacked Empire’s email server. Lucious wants to make sure that the XStream subscriber list stays safe and thinks that either Shine or Tariq could be a suspect. Also, the idea that Birdman is behind the attack is floated past Lucious. I should mention that Lucious is GETTING A RELAXER during this meeting? Who let this happen? Do the writers just have a “black as hell” board covered with extremely black things? Do they throw a dart at the board and include one to two black-AF things in every episode?
Hakeem and Nessa are in the studio working on a song that sounds like it came out in 2010. Hakeem tries to put the moves on Nessa again, despite having no evidence that she’s interested. Andre comes into the studio to confront Hakeem. Nessa sees herself out and Hakeem calls her baby even though they’re definitely not dating. Meanwhile, Lucious gets a visit from the computer nerd and the hackers want one million dollars wired every hour to an account. Lucious picks up the computer nerd and slams him on the couch and demands he fix it. That’s not how you increase employee productivity, Lucious. So he takes the nerd to the server room like this is Minority Report. Thirsty gives Lucious a stack of printed-out e-mails so Lucious can see who is loyal to him and his regime … er, company. Lucious wants to fire anybody who isn’t loyal to him. There are a lot of weird political parallels here that I don’t feel emotionally or intellectually equipped to address.
An emergency board meeting is called and Andre reveals that he was covering up Uncle Vernon’s dalliances with prostitutes using company money. If anyone tries to cross him, he’s got a ton of leaked e-mails and knows that other board members are into some freaky shit. Cookie leaves the meeting to go comfort Tiana because Graham is cyberbullying her about the leak. Everyone gets new phones to get ahead of the hackers, but e-mails and files start appearing on the TV screens in the lobby because that’s apparently how computers work. Tariq shows up with the FBI to lend a hand to the Lyon family in their time of need. When she shows up, Cookie’s cookies appear on the screens and everyone averts their eyes. If this were real, everyone’s jaw would hit the floor and they wouldn’t be able to tear their eyes away. Lucious throws a chair at the TV to get his ex-wife’s boobs off the screen.
Everyone is dealing with the fallout from the leak: Becky is trying to get Xavier to form an alliance with her to help Tiana. Jamal is reading the hateful emails that were sent to Empire when he came out. He’s working with D-Major when a floating evil Tiana head flies onto the computer screen like Ghostwriter and begins erasing everything. Angelo stops by to see Cookie because his campaign manager won’t let her talk to him. He fires his manager, but Cookie knows that her past could be used against him so she breaks up with him. I just want Cookie to be happy.
The computer nerd finds a keylogger in the studio where Tiana has been working and they realize that it could have only been left there by Graham. (Or could it?) Lucious and Andre confront Graham, unleashing Shine and his team of enforcers in his pristine all-marble house. After having a man beaten for sport and revenge, Lucious shows up at an event to thank his employees for remaining loyal to him. Is Empire Records a banana republic? Nessa and Hakeem perform their new song in matching sequin houndstooth and Xavier betrays his alliance with Becky. Thirsty promises to help Becky get revenge while he looks her up and down.
Jamal is at home, drinking and taking pills when he decides to drunk dial D-Major. D-Major shows up and they start talking about Jamal’s new album. They start kissing and wind up in bed together. When they wake up the next morning, Jamal is unresponsive and instead of calling a damn ambulance, D-Major calls Philip to help wake him up. Meanwhile, Tariq is sifting through Empire’s emails, looking for evidence that Lucious could be involved in nefarious activities. Before bed, Cookie watches Angelo on TV as the press asks him about their relationship. He thinks the leak is a huge invasion of her privacy, so he strips down on-camera to stand in solidarity with every woman who has been humiliated. Better than a safety pin, if you ask me.
Finally, Andre takes Nessa on the worst possible date imaginable to an abandoned warehouse. Yes, he is wearing a lame fedora. He trusts Nessa so much he wants to show her something. He meets with Vaughn while Nessa hides in the shadows. Andre paid Vaughn to hack into Empire’s servers to force the board to put him in charge. Andre tells Nessa that the world sees him as a high-class thug, so he might as well be one. Also, Andre’s ghost wife gave her blessing for him to be with Nessa because she’s the embodiment of music. They kiss in the moonlight. This can’t go wrong in any way at all, right?