So the Empire finale is March 18… have you caught up yet? If not, we have the ultimate Empire season one binge-watching guide for you. Catch up on the madness that’s gone down between Cookie, Lucious, Jamal, Boo Boo Kitty, and company. We’re breaking down everything you need to know in five minutes. No, really, we timed it.
Episode 1: “Pilot”
Summary: This is the intro to it all. Lucious Lyon is the face of Empire Records, and he’s just been diagnosed with the debilitating disease, ALS. His next quest is to find the successor to his business. On the flip side, his ex-wife, Cookie, was just released from prison, and she is coming to reclaim the throne she left.
Cookie’s quote of the night: “You’re messin’ with the wrong b-tch.”
Best song: “Good Enough” – Jamal Lyons
Craziest moment: Lucious put his son, Jamal, in the trash can for walking around in heels.
Ratings: 9.9 million
Episode 2: “The Outspoken King”
Summary: We meet Tianna Brown, Empire Records’ new songstress, and Hakeem is feeling her. The family is trying to find out who killed Lucious’ best friend Bunkie, and Cookie meets with the FBI. Also, one of Empire’s artists was involved in a shooting, and Lucious has to come to his defense.
Cookie’s quote of the night: “You gonna Ray Rice me? I’ve faced bigger in prison – with more talent, b-tch!”
Best song: “No Apologies” – Jamal Lyons
Craziest moment: Things get heated in the elevator when Cookie tried to clock Boo Boo Kitty.
Ratings: 11.07 million
Episode 3: “The Devil Quotes Scripture”
Summary: It’s time for Bunkie’s funeral. (Gladys Knight sings!) Hakeem and Tianna go forward with their relationship, but Hakeem is also checking someone else out. Jamal records another song that could be a hit, but Lucious has other plans for his son.
Cookie’s quote of the night: “And God, please do not withhold your blessings… even from hoes who hire skanks to spy on me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen, hallelujah!”
Best song: “Bad Girl” – Jamal Lyons
Craziest moment: Anika hires a private investigator to follow Cookie because she thinks she is trying to take Empire down.
Ratings: 11.36 million
Episode 4: “False Imposition”
Summary: Lucious wants to steal an artist from a rival label. Cookie starts to manage Tianna, and Jamal is trying to find his songwriting sweet spot. Cookie tries to start a relationship with Hakeem, but he’s not willing.
Cookie’s quote of the night: [To Hakeem] “You need to stop rappin’ like you’re from the streets.”
Best song: “Keep It Movin’ – Hakeem Lyons and Tianna
Craziest moment: Tianna catches Hakeem in a bathtub with another woman.
Ratings: 11.47 million
Episode 5: “Dangerous Bonds”
Summary: Cookie testifies in court and then gets a rose that makes her think it’s a death wish. Hakeem shoots his first video, and Tianna is caught cheating on him. Jamal does things his own way.
Cookie’s quote of the night: [To cab driver] “What you mean, ‘you people’? You black like me!”
Best song: “Drip Drop” – Hakeem Lyons
Craziest moment: Andre sends the goons to go rough up Jamal at the studio, and it doesn’t go as planned.
Ratings: 11.47 million
Episode 6: “Out, Damned Spot”
Summary: Cookie has to manage Empire’s first platinum artist, Elle Dallas (played by Courtney Love), who also happens to be a drug addict. Jamal gets a surprise visitor.
Cookie’s quote of the night: “Anika, now this is an ass!”
Best song: “I Wanna Love You” – Jamal Lyons
Craziest moment: Cookie breaks down Elle Dallas to break through and gets her to remove all of the physical things that are holding her back.
Ratings: 11.96 million
Episode 7: “Our Dancing Days”
Summary: Lucious is really trying to get this IPO poppin’ and he wants to prove that Empire is a family business to investors.
Cookie’s quote of the night: [To Lucious] “I make you better. Don’t you forget it.”
Best song: “Money for Nothing” – Jamal and Hakeem Lyons
Craziest moment: Anika slips drugs into Elle Dallas’ drink to sabotage Cookie at the investor’s party.
Ratings: 12.02 million
Episode 8: “The Lyon’s Roar”
Summary: Anika confronts Lucious about sleeping with Cookie. Andre is getting blocked by Lucious, so he won’t be able to run the company. Andre is deeply hurt. Also, Cookie is planning a major project for the family, but all of that gets sidetracked at the white party.
Cookie’s quote of the night: [To Lucious] “Nothing good can from loving you.”
Best song: “You’re So Beautiful” – Jamal Lyons
Craziest moment: Andre isn’t feeling the love from the rest of his family, and he confronts his demons head on.
Ratings: 13.9 million
Episode 9: “Unto the Breach”
Summary: Cookie catches Anika in a lie, and Empire is under attack. Dre’s bipolar disorder begins to impact the rest of his family in a way that it hasn’t before.
Cookie’s quote of the night: “Take these cookies!”
Best song: “Conqueror” – Delphine (Estelle)
Craziest moment: Andre’s bipolar disorder is out of control and he is taken away in an ambulance.
Ratings: 14.33 million
Episode 10: “Sins of the Father”
Summary: Lucious proves that he just might be the worst father, ever. Olivia comes back with an extra guest. Andre tries music therapy with Jennifer Hudson.
Cookie’s quote of the night: [To Camilla, Hakeem’s cougar girlfriend] “Oh, so Yoko [Ono] you got the tambourine under that fur?”
Best song: “Nothing But a Number” – Hakeem Lyons
Craziest moment: A gunman is in the Lyon household and the gun is pointed at Jamal.
Ratings: 14.9 million
Episode 11: “Die But Once”
Summary: So much happened in this episode, it was unreal. Cookie goes away to the Berkshires with Malcolm. Lucious finds out and turns into petty Betty. We also find out who becomes the head of Empire. Andre walks with God. Jamal takes a walk on the dark side, and Hakeem gets back at his father. Lucious also meets with his doctor who tells him some good news, and he makes a surprising confession.
Cookie’s quote of the night: [To Lucious] “If you weren’t already dying, I swear I’d kill yo ass.”
Best song: “For My God” – Michelle White (played by Jennifer Hudson)
Craziest moment: Jamal hangs the head of Creedmoor off of a balcony to get Lucious’ music rights from him.
Ratings: 15.82 million
Episode 12: “Who I Am”
Summary: The family is plotting a hostile takeover from Lucious. Rhonda, Andre’s wife, becomes a murderer, and Lucious’ life takes another turn he didn’t expect.
Cookie’s quote of the night: [To Anika] “Run them pearls, h-e!”
Best song: “Peaches and Cream” – Snoop Dogg
Craziest moment: Cookie and Boo Boo Kitty finally scrap.
Ratings: 17.62 million
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