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Empire Watch: Clapback Season

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While Lucious is scheming, Hakeem is unraveling at the seams. The pressure of the big shareholder’s meeting is making him crack. Everything he planned to announce isn’t working, from the clothing line to the Swiftstream app. Cookie tries to reassure him and scolds him for losing his cool in meetings.

Back in the studio, Freda is tightening up her verse for Jamal’s new song, but she’s about to get real tight when she hears the news about Stacy Run Run not wanting any other female rappers on the track. Freda ain’t here for the promises and sob stories, telling him to do him and just win. After Stacy Run Run makes a run to Japan leaving him with some sub-par vocals, Jamal later tries to win Freda back, but she’s not feeling him.

Speaking of broken promises, Andre decides to bring the family together at Lucious’ manor for Anika's big announcement that she’s pregnant with Hakeem’s baby. She makes her case and then leaves the scene of the crime. Of course, Lucious isn’t going to leave well enough alone. He shows up at her apartment to make Anika a deal: give the baby away to Hakeem and get $10 million. Anika, however, as a proud mother, refuses to give up her baby. Lucious threatens to get dirty if she doesn’t take the deal, but Anika has some tricks up her sleeve, too. Lucious responds, “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’re threatening me. But I know better.”

On the day of the shareholder’s meeting, the venue is lit, looking more like a nightclub than a investment meeting. Tiana continues to have the best songs of this season, performing the new song “Body Speak.” She struts her stuff as an audience of shareholders with varying levels of rhythm clap along. After Tiana leaves the stage, Cookie comes out to introduce Hakeem, but not before bragging about Lion Dynasty Records’ accomplishments.

Hakeem steps out ready to embrace the crowd, answering questions like a pageant queen. However, Lucious has other plans, catching his son off guard by questioning him about everything that’s going wrong at Empire. In a masterful stroke, Lucious steals a move from elected officials and has a shareholder give a testimony about using her Empire dividends to buy school supplies for her students. As Lucious tries to start a riot, Cookie tries to save her baby by being a peacemaker, expressing that Lucious and Hakeem will work together to improve the company. However, we all know that’s not true. Hakeem is on stage still trying to grasp what the hell just went down as Empire slips from his grasp and he's later ousted by board, leaving the CEO title up for grabs and Lucious ready to be back on top.

The episode closes with Thirsty taking another trip out of town. This time, he’s in New Hope, Philadelphia, at a nursing home paying for the room and board of one Leah Mary Walker, better known as Lucious’s mother. Far from being as dead as her son proclaims, we see her in a bathrobe and staring out of a window as she sings, “Mona Lisa… Mona Lisa….”

Next week, clapback season continues. Lucious turns his attention to Jamal, Cookie is falling in love with Lucious again and Anika is rushed to the hospital. Also, as the promos ominously proclaim, before the season is over, a Lyon will fall.

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