(Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not seen the midseason finale of “Empire”)
The midseason finale of “Empire” opens with the announcement of the nominees for the American Sound Awards (ASA’s). Hakeem (Bryshere “Yazz” Gray) is shut out of the Best Rapper category by Lucious’ protege Frida Gatz (Bre-Z).
Lucious (Terrence Howard) also sees Jamal share an intimate moment with Skye Summers (Alicia Keys). After deducing that the two are sleeping together, Lucious embraces Jamal and says, “She fixed you.”
Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) then returns to the prison in which she spent 17 years to put on a concert for the inmates. Cookie was hoping to see her old friend Jezzy (Da Brat), whom she promised to make a star once she got out of prison. But Cookie learns that Jezzy has received a life sentence after killing her cellmate.
Lucious finally announces that Empire has acquired music streaming service Swift Stream. He invites Mimi (Marisa Tomei) onstage to share in the glory. Mimi invites her wife onstage for support. Lucious is shocked when Camilla (Naomi Campbell), Hakeem’s former lover, takes the stage with Mimi.
At a board meeting after the announcement, Mimi reveals her plans to remove Lucious as the head of Empire. She plays secret recordings of Lucious speaking ill of the board of directors and orders an emergency vote later that night.
In order to win the vote, Andre (Trai Byers) approaches Cookie and Hakeem, who are still shareholders in Empire, and asks for their support. Cookie agrees, telling Hakeem that Empre is their legacy.
At the board vote, Lucious appears to be safe until Hakeem turns on him and votes to remove him as chairman, under Camilla’s influence. Mimi then turns over her position in Empire to Camilla.
Luicious returns to his home with Cookie, Andre, and Jamal. After taking a few shots at his walls with a rifle, he and Cookie embrace in a rare moment of tenderness.
In a shocking twist, the pregnant Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) is pushed down the stairs of her home by a mystery assailant. The episode concludes with Lucious receiving the ASA Song of the Year nomination for the song he collaborated on with Frida Gatz.
“Empire” season two resumes in March.