Empire is back with more deaths. It’s two years after Eddie Barker stole Empire Records from the Lyons. Tonight’s season five premiere starts with Lucious at a funeral. He’s standing over a casket, looking extremely sad, and all of our nerves are bad because we don’t know who’s inside! Then we flashback six months prior to that moment.
Cookie and Lucious are broke. They can’t even afford $50,000 to fix the AC in their house and their house staff is complaining about not getting paid. Cookie is trying to hustle up money even if it means getting Lucious a judging spot on a reality show but Lucious is being difficult because he has other plans that include getting Empire back from Eddie! Kamal has been living in London for the past couple of years, he has a new man and he’s starting a record label but he plans to come home soon. He also reminds them that it’s their two-year wedding anniversary but of course, they forgot. There’s a lot going on.
Then we find out that Andre is in jail for killing Anika. Someone photographed him spiking Anika’s drink. He admitted to that, couldn’t get around it, but he said he didn’t think she’d tumble over a banister and fall to her death. That’s obviously a lie because what else would he get out of spiking her drink? Anyway, Thirsty was able to get his sentence reduced to two years on reckless endangerment. Now that we’re almost two years past that, it’s safe to say he’s coming home soon, but until then, Cookie and Lucious need him to get some crucial information in the bing.
Dre gets acquainted with a man named Steven, who happens to have run Eddie’s Ponzi scheme once upon a time ago. Obviously, Dre finesses him and gets the important information they needed. Hold that thought.
Now we get to Hakeem. Remember when Blake’s dad came out guns a blazing? Hakeem ended up getting shot. Blake jumped in front of him and managed to stop his father but it was too late so now part of Hakeem’s lung is missing and he’s in rehab because he can’t breathe very well. Obviously, this is keeping him from being able to perform and he’s bitter about it. He’s being a brat about his therapy and on top of that, he and Tiana are living together (or married) with two children to raise (Bella and then the baby Tiana had). Eddie sidelined Tiana once he found out she was pregnant but she wants to get back in the game and she wants Hakeem to perform with her at an upcoming award show to get back on Eddie’s good side so they can make some money. Tiana’s solution is that Hakeem can lip-synch. You know he gives her a hard time about it but he loves her so he’s probably going to agree.
But this leads to another question, how is he going to lip-synch effectively when he still struggles to breathe?
Andre ends up coming through with the information that Cookie and Lucious need to get Empire back. Now we’re at that award show and Cookie and Lucious are sitting near Eddie and his wife Giselle (they got remarried but still hate each other). The show opens with Tiana performing. She got her wish. Hakeem is with her lip-synching, but again, he can’t really breathe properly so he loses his breath and the entire world realizes he was pulling a Milli Vanilli. He runs off embarrassed, but Blake steps in to cover for him.
Then, Cookie spills a drink on Giselle. She pretends it was an accident but obviously it was a ploy to force her to leave them alone with Eddie. They cut to the chase, they know Eddie has been funneling money from Empire to offshore accounts and if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll get up on that stage when Lucious and Cookie win their award and announce that he’s stepping down from Empire.
Next, we see Eddie, drunk, frantic and going through some files because he did what he was told. Giselle comes in demanding to know wtf is going on. Eddie explains that they lost because the Lyons discovered their discretion, but Giselle wasn’t in on that. The only thing Giselle was trying to do was steal Empire from Eddie. She gets pissed the two of them go back and forth and end up tussling, Giselle knocks him down and he hits his head on a table corner. You see where this is going right?
Lucious gets the news that Eddie is dead and he is pissed because now the deal is off. He’s feeling hopeless and tries to blame cookie for giving up Empire and not trusting that he had a plan. Cookie wasn’t with him going to jail so she throws that back in his face. They start bickering back and forth but then Jamal interrupts their verbal sparring match. They’re happy to see him and even his new boo but Jamal gives them perspective. They should be happy that the Empire of Evil is done. They’re talented hustlers and they can figure something else out.
Cookie and Lucious mull it over and decide to start their own thing, but they need an artist first. Cookie remembers a woman she saw sitting in her car singing and rapping at the prison where Dre is. It turns out, she’s a social worker and her name is Treasure. Cookie introduces herself and says she’s going to change her life.
Treasure stops by their house with a shady manager, but Lucious handles the manager in his own special hooligan-style way, and in short, Treasure gets down to business. She turns out to be quite impressive and they want to sign her. This is the beginning of the new family label that Cookie and Lucious plan to sign, even Jamal is on board.
But then, the episode ends where we started, with Lucious hovering over a coffin. He says, “Sorry” and we’re all wondering who tf is in there!
Don’t get your hopes up, we’ll have to wait all season to find to find out who it is.