Empire recap: Bloody Noses and Crack’d Crowns

EMPIRE: Taraji P. Henson in the “Bloody Noses & Crack’d Crowns” episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, May 16 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes
EMPIRE: Taraji P. Henson in the “Bloody Noses & Crack’d Crowns” episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, May 16 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes /

Two warring factions vie for control of the Empire, but which one will ultimately come out on top? We may have gotten our answer in Bloody Noses and Crack’d Crowns.

I was a little disappointed in last week’s episode of Empire. It seemed to me like a filler episode that existed to stretch the season to fit its 18 episode order. I theorized that this week would be much better as the battle lines had been officially drawn. And boy, was I right! Tonight’s Empire was bananas.

This episode thankfully wasted absolutely no time on tedious side-plots or unnecessary characters. Lucious states at the top of the hour that it is time for the company to “get back to its roots” and, refreshingly, the show itself did just that this week.

Empire Season 4 Cookie Lucious
EMPIRE: L-R: Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard in the “Bloody Noses & Crack’d Crowns” episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, May 16 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes /

A Family United

How exciting was it to see the Lyon clan finally working in harmony towards a common goal? You know what they say — having your family, wealth and life’s work threatened makes the heart grow fonder.

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We begin with a meeting of the Empire board (aka the fun police) where they inform Lucious and Cookie that they have decided to bring Eddie back into the company as Chief Advisor. Frustratingly, there is very little our heroes – well, maybe we shouldn’t call them that – can do.

With Eddie one step closer to overtaking Empire Records, Lucious and Cookie band together to try to come up with a strategy. What a breath of fresh air it is to see these two plotting how to get rid of Eddie and not just opting to murder him. I call that character growth.

Andre informs the pair that Eddie and potential buyer Kelly Patel are going to make their move soon: they plan to make an offer to buy out the board, therefore obtaining full control of the company. Cookie then tries to convince Lucious that they need to buy out the board instead. He is strongly against the idea until he has a 30 second flashback to the good ol’ days and changes his mind. It is a pretty quick turn-around, but honestly the idea of these factions finally going at each other is so exciting that I will gladly turn a blind eye to such plot contrivances.

Almost-Undercover Boss

In order to get the scoop on Eddie’s master plan, Andre convinces his parents that he should pretend to switch sides – he will act like he is behind Eddie and then feed the info back to Lucious and Cookie. It’s really convenient that Andre has turned on his family before as trying to kill your father really makes this kind of turn more believable – so props to Andre for laying the groundwork.

Empire Season 4 Cookie Lucious Andre
EMPIRE: L-R: Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard and Trai Byers in the “Bloody Noses & Crack’d Crowns” episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, May 16 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes /

Andre seemingly convinces Eddie and Anika to cut him into their plan after a brief speech about how his family has never understood him. He tells them that they will need a Lyon on board if they ever want their plan to come to fruition. They oblige, and inform Andre that Kelly Patel is going to make the board an offer of $650 million for their seats.

Upon hearing this news, Lucious and Cookie are really fretting as if they don’t have that kind of money. Look, I’m not saying Cookie’s closet is worth $650 million dollars but have you seen her wardrobe? That’s gotta be at least a cool $200 million right there.

Anyway, after rounding up their assets and checking under their couch cushions the pair decide to throw a benefit concert to raise the approximately $20 million dollars they will need in order to outbid Patel.

Lucious immediately begins brainstorming ways to get people to tune into the event and hopefully donate in the process. Remember Blake, the white rapper whose unfortunate childhood photo posing in front of a confederate flag went viral last week? Lucious brings him back into the fold after Blake goes on television and denounces racism and states once again that his father made him take the photo. “That video is about to go viral,” he states.

He also approaches Jamal and asks him to reveal the identities of his Anonymous bandmates during the event. Since Jamal started the band to separate music from his personal life and fan expectations he isn’t fond of the idea. Instead, he tells Lucious that he will perform solo.

Help Us We’re Poor-ish

It’s the night of the benefit concert and things start off remarkably well for the Lyon’s. The performances are amazing and the money is trickling in.

Andre meets with Eddie and Kelly Patel and they tell him that they are aware that he has been feeding info to his parents. Eddie then makes the puzzling decision to inform Andre that Patel is really going to bid $700 million dollars, not $650 million. It probably would have been a better idea to wait until after the concert to divulge this information but what do I know?

Empire Season 4 Cookie Lyon Taraji P. Henson
EMPIRE: Taraji P. Henson in the “Bloody Noses & Crack’d Crowns” episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, May 16 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes /

With the new information that Patel is upping his bid, Lucious and Cookie scramble to come up with something huge that would cause everyone to tune in since they will have to up their goal if they hope to outbid him. Jamel steps up and offers to do a reveal of Anonymous after all. He has to convince Tori, but she comes around to the idea easily enough.

They take the stage to conduct their reveal and viewership surges. Lucious and Cookie then make an impassioned plea to the public, reminding everyone that when they started out they had absolutely nothing. This message resonates to people everywhere as demonstrated in a cheesy but effective montage. We see people from all walks of life moved by the message and donations begin flooding in, leading to their goal being surpassed!

Lucious and Cookie take their celebration home where they share a nice exchange in which he informs her that the one thing he would give up his company and everything he has ever worked for is her. It’s a sweet moment and Cookie would seem to agree as the two are quickly fondling around on his bed.

The next morning, Eddie and his most recent ex-wife Giselle pay our lovebirds a visit. Eddie informs Lucious that he has one final chance to give up the fight for Empire Records. This doesn’t phase Cookie and Lucious as Eddie as seemingly lost the battle.

To everyone’s surprise Eddie has had an ace up his sleeve this entire time – he pulls out the scarf that Lucious was wearing when he shot and killed Shine! He informs the pair that he will go to the police with the scarf if they don’t give up their fight for control.

There you have it, folks. Lucious and Cookie worked so hard to remain in control of their company and they would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that inconveniently misplaced scarf!

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What did you think of the episode? Do you think Lucious will find a way out of this situation or will he and Cookie be forced to let their company be taken over? Find out when the season 4 finale airs next Wednesday at 8/7c.