What We May Be
Phylicia Rashad as Diana Dubois.
What could be more nerve-racking than meeting your new boyfriend’s parents? Trying on outfit after outfit, thinking of appropriate conversation topics, hiding all your fur coats and leather pants because his mom donates to PETA — it’s all so stressful. This week, Cookie gets the chance to meet Angelo’s mom and has to put her best foot forward.
First, Angelo stops by with a cup of coffee to deliver an ultimatum about their relationship. He took his shirt off on the local news for her, so she needs to commit. Cookie, unsurprisingly, is turned on by unhealthy relationship milestones and throws her panties right in his face. It is on.
While Cookie finally gets some of that Rent D, Lucious is shaming his middle son by showing him a video of Charlemagne Tha God calling Jamal the turkey of the year. Thanksgiving burn! Charlamagne calls the Lyon children “Khaki-colored,” which reinforces my theory that they just let Charlemagne write his own dialogue. He might not even know that Empire is a television show. Did he think he was genuinely roasting three toasted-almond-colored individuals? Lucious takes the public shaming to ask Jamal about his new album. He’s not entirely convinced it’s even real. After Becky reveals that Jamal is indeed working on new songs, Jamal says that he’s making more than an album. He’s creating a video museum. It’s definitely NOT a visual album.
Andre is having a very busy business call with other businessmen when Nessa drops by with an invitation to a memorial party for a fallen member of her family. She also tells him that Shyne wants to kill him. Shyne pops out from behind a pillar, as one does on Empire. Shyne tells Andre that he met with Freda, who was just signed to Shyne’s label, but she’s not interested in rapping ever again because bad things happen when she raps. Shyne won’t be played by Freda or anyone else, so it’s up to Andre to get Freda to come to the memorial and rap in public. Jamal comes home to find his therapist and D Money arguing about Jamal’s drug problem. D Money decides that the best way to deal with Jamal’s burgeoning drug addiction is by handing him a random bag of pills. Cookie comes over and whips Jamal with Twizzlers for having two men in his home.
Cookie wants to listen to Jamal’s new album and see his visual museum. He’s taken Cookie’s home videos and set them to a song about her. Revolutionary stuff. Cookie sees images of her father and freaks out. Oh great, another tragic father-child relationship in this show. Can’t someone just grab a Panera bread bowl with their dad and gab about college football? Cookie can’t handle these memories of her father, so she rushes out. She’s so distraught from seeing a home video of her father that she completely misses meeting Angelo’s mom.
WHO IS. PLAYED BY. PHYLICIA RASHAD.
Everyone at the fundraiser is wearing white and pastels except Phylicia. She’s wearing SILVER. She’s disappointed that Cookie stood her up. Once the fundraiser is over, Cookie storms in and throws off the bougie hos hanging all over Angelo. She isn’t great at apologizing, so Angelo has to remind her to do it. Cookie tells him that she got startled seeing video of her dad. She thought she’d hidden all those feelings deep down. Meanwhile, Jamal is going to Aunt Carol’s beauty supply store, Baby Hair on Fleek. Ugh, Empire, read the room. Carol tells him that their father kicked Cookie out for being involved with Lucious because he left guns and drug money in her room. He broke down and hugged her goodbye and left her on their doorstep. This is not the typical reaction of a father who believed his daughter could grow up to be anything.
Cookie wants to meet Angelo’s mother another night and decides to invite her sons as a bougie buffer. All of them wear enough silk and cashmere to distract the eye of Phylicia Rashad.
There’s also some subplot about how Hakeem can’t take care of his daughter. Who cares, this amounts to nothing.
Cookie is trying to find reservations, but Lucious has either booked up the entire restaurant or he’s planning on dropping by with a gang of weirdos to ruin their dinner. Candace is going to help Cookie de-ho-ify herself and Pygmalion her apartment. While she’s inviting her children to this dinner party, she tells Jamal the tragic conclusion of her childhood saga. The heartbreak of throwing Cookie out gave her father a heart attack and he fucking died. Then there’s a fun little montage of Porsha, Cookie, and Candace redecorating her place while Porsha orders things using Amazon’s Alexa, available now on Amazon.com!
Jamal is the first to arrive and he’s high as a kite. Meeting your mom’s new boyfriend’s mom is the best time to try out new recreational medicine, I guess. Angelo and Phylicia Rashad show up and Jamal kisses her hand 15 times because tee hee, drugs! Hakeem storms in with his baby and basically throws her at Cookie because he can’t figure out how to shut the baby off. Andre doesn’t even make it.
Andre pulls up late to the memorial barbecue, which looks like something out of an early Fast & Furious movie. They’re playing DMX so this scene could be set in 2001. Nessa and Shyne are upset that Andre didn’t arrive on time, but when he finally showed up, he brought Freda Gatz along and convinced her to rap again. That should probably count for something.
Back at America’s least successful dinner party, Cookie finds out Angelo’s mom is allergic to everything she planned to serve and Lucious and Boo Boo Kitty arrive looking for their stolen baby. Lucious delights in explaining the entire strange family tree — his wife gave birth to his grandson — for Phylicia. To distract everyone, Cookie prods Jamal to sing one of his new songs for everyone. He just sings that damn “Mama” song we’ve been hearing all season. Lucious and Anika slip out, but not before Cookie and Lucious exchange longing looks while we see those two child actors who look nothing like them. After dinner, Phylicia says that she can tell why Angelo admires Cookie, but if she hurts her only son, she will destroy her. A success as far as any first meeting with a significant other’s mom goes!
Lucious gets ready for bed in his ridiculous do-rag and old-man pajamas and he sneaks a peek at Boo Boo Kitty applying lotion to her whole body. Cookie gives Angelo a goodnight kiss and tells him to come tuck her in once his mom is tucked in. Is being tucked in … good? Finally, Andre and Nessa smile at each other while Freda raps about her father, but *GASP* Shyne is secretly recording her. It was about to be such a happy ending too!