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The Top 11 Times ‘Empire’ Has Made Us Cry

Andre Empire Fox
Andre Empire Fox

Empire is a roller-coaster ride of a series that makes us laugh, gasp, sing along and weep.  The groundbreaking drama has all the things that make prime-time television shows amazing: sex, drama, family tension and violence.

Jamal Lyon
Jamal Lyon
Empire’s plot is unpredictable yet Lee Daniels and Danny Strong have ensured that our emotional attachments to Cookie, Andre, Jamal, Hakeem and yes, even Lucious would need to be released in the form of tears every now and then.
So as we prepare for show’s return, let’s take a look at the Top 10 Times “Empire” Has Made Us Cry.

11. Andre Leaves Lyon Dynasty. Season 2, “Without A Country”


Cookie Lyon

After Lucious foiled the hostile takeover plan, Cookie, Andre and Hakeem join forces to start their own record label, Lyon Dynasty.  While Hakeem was excited to start the label, Andre was reluctant from the start.  Dre begged his father to allow him to return to Empire but Lucious refused.  Rhonda even visited Jamal to try to convince him to give Andre another chance.  Then, Hakeem leaks his album online sending Andre over the edge because he knows that Empire will sue over the rights of the music.  Andre wants out, “Let me go, Mom.” Lyon Dynasty doesn’t fit Andre forcing Cookie to tears after she lets her oldest son go.

10. Cookie Breaks Down After Losing Laz. Season 2, “Sinned Against”


Cookie Lyon
Cookie Lyon

Cookie decided to make out with Laz (Adam Rodriguez) in front of Lucious in the show’s “Sinned Against” episode.  This upsets Lucious leading him to look into Laz’s background.  Lucious expresses his anger like a passive-aggressive teenager, throwing shots at Laz and tipping a wine bottle over to stain Cookie’s carpet.  Laz has developed feelings for Cookie and tries to call off the scam but it is too late.  Lucious finds out that Laz is a member of the 125th Street Bulls and the gang was attempting to extort money from Lyon Dynasty.  The 125th Street Bulls is the same gang that kidnapped Hakeem.  Once she is alone, we see Cookie Lyon fall apart like we never have before, throwing glass and ugly crying about letting her guard down, ultimately putting her son in harm’s way.

9. Cookie Visits Andre At The Hospital. Season 1, “Sins Of The Father”


Cookie Visits Andre
Cookie Visits Andre

Empire’s “Sins of the Father” episode begins with the Lyon family meeting at a medical clinic in order to help Andre.  The clinic’s therapists discuss how to handle Andre’s bipolar disorder and of course everybody is there except Lucious.  The therapists suggest musical therapy yet a very emotional Cookie is not having it.  Cookie believes that Andre’s disorder is “white people’s problems” leading to a very emotional scene where Cookie breaks down when Andre is unresponsive.  The scene shows just how much Cookie has missed and how uninformed she is about her son’s lives.  While Cookie was in prison, Andre was diagnosed bipolar after he had his first psychotic break.

8. Cookie Cries Over Bunkie’s Coffin. Season 1, “The Devil Quotes Scripture”


Cookie Bunkie's Coffin
Cookie Bunkie’s Coffin

After spending 17 years in prison Cookie Lyon wants to spend time with her family.  This can be difficult when one of your family members is Lucious Lyon who kills Cookie’s cousin, Bunkie, in the show’s first episode.  In Empire’s “The Devil Quotes Scripture” episode Cookie cries over Bunkie’s dead body.  Without Cookie Empire Entertainment would not have been possible yet Lucious kills her cousin because Bunkie threatens to snitch on Lucious regarding murders he committed years ago.  Cookie is on an emotional roller-coaster between Agent Carter, attempting to reestablish a relationship with her sons and losing her cousin.  While Cookie is usually able to hide her emotions she breaks down when she sees Bunkie’s dead body.

7. Cookie’s Final Moment With Her Family Before Her Verdict. Season 1, “The Lyon’s Roar”


Empire Fox Flashback
Empire Fox Flashback

Empire’s “The Lyon’s Roar” features a flashback showing Cookie’s last meeting with her family before her verdict.  Hakeem is only a toddler at the time, and he needs his mother’s love.  Lucious shows that he is a horrible parent by putting Jamal in a trash can so Cookie knows the upcoming verdict will have a major impact on her family.  Cookie and Lucious also know that the feds caught her in a drug deal worth $400,000.  How do you tell your three young sons that you won’t be around to raise them? Cookie loves Jamal and she loves Lucious yet she knows she needs to be there for them to love each other.  We know it was killing her to have to leave Jamal with Lucious after seeing him put Jamal in a trash can.

6. Child Protective Services Takes Bella. Season 3, “Civil Hands Unclean”


Anika Calhoun

In “Civil Hands Unclean” Anika and Hakeem’s baby gets taken away by Child Protective Services.  Hakeem is maturing.  After watching footage of actual lions, he’s starting to understand the importance of fatherhood.  Lucious sees Hakeem’s progression and he decides to get Hakeem’s name on Bella’s birth certificate.  Lucious’ name was on the birth certificate after him and Anika staged their marriage.  The Lyons have numerous enemies, making it difficult to determine who called CPS. It could have been Angelo and the DuBois family or it could have been Giuliana.  To make things worse, Cookie was there, reminding us that she went through a similar situation.  Cookie spent 17 years away from her kids.

5. Andre Attempts Suicide. Season 1, “The Lyon’s Roar”


Andre Empire
Andre Lyon

Empire’s “The Lyon Roar” episode begins with Andre and Vernon having a conversation about the best way Andre could takeover Empire Entertainment.  Vernon and Andre decide that they will elect Andre as interim CEO because it won’t be difficult for him to transition from temporary to permanent.  To ensure that he will get enough votes, Andre plans to work the board.  He convinces Rhonda to seduce an old board member but she gets too drunk and ends up vomiting before it can go down.  Luckily Andre successfully recruits another board member and at the meeting he receives all the votes he needs except his father’s vote.  Lucious tells Andre that he cannot trust him because he married a white girl.  Andre feels neglected by his father and attempts to commit suicide in Empire’s recording studio but luckily the gun jams.

4. An Intruder Pushes Rhonda Down Her Staircase. Season 2, “Et Tu, Brute”


Rhonda Lyon
Rhonda Lyon

When Lucious finds out he will be a grandfather he buys Andre and Rhonda a beautiful home.  Anika has been going through difficult times so her and Rhonda have been buddying up.  After hanging out with Anika in the nursery room of her and Andre’s unborn child, Rhonda gets pushed down the stairs of her mansion.  Earlier in the episode it was clear that Anika was jealous over Rhonda’s bragging Lucious’ support and their new home.  Rhonda’s fall was horrifying and we are concerned for her and her unborn baby’s health.  Trailers from the show’s upcoming episodes show Andre in the nursery room screaming which could mean the worst may have occurred.

3. Lucious and Cookie Hug Despite Their Differences. Season 2, “Et Tu, Brute?”


Lucious and Cookie
Lucious and Cookie

Hakeem’s ex-bae Camilla returns in Empire’s “Et Tu, Brute?” episode, informing Hakeem that she is married to Mimi Whiteman.  Camilla explains that she married Mimi to remove Lucious from Empire and assures Hakeem that she can take him to the next level.  Mimi makes a play to have Lucious removed from Empire by showing the board a video of Lucious throwing shade at them so they agree to an emergency board meeting to decide Lucious’ fate.  Hakeem votes against Lucious, causing him to be removed from his position at Empire Entertainment.  Lucious is devastated, shooting his gun inside his mansion and Cookie has to calm him down.  The two have a heart-to-heart that ends with an emotional hug proving the strength of the bond.

2. Cookie Begging To Die So She Could End Her Suffering In Jail. Season 2, “Poor Yorick”


Cookie Lyon
Cookie Lyon

When Porsha (Ta’Rhonda Jones) gets caught jumping a subway turnstile she gives Cookie’s name leading Cookie to get arrested in Empire’s “Poor Yorick” episode.  Roxanne Ford threatens to go after Cookie’s sons if she doesn’t deliver information on Lucious.  It is very rare to see Cookie in a vulnerable position yet Roxanne’s threats along with memories of those 17 long years put Cookie in a very uncomfortable position.  Cookie has a chilling flashback where we see her crying in jail begging to die so she could end her suffering in jail.  Luckily Roxanne believed a story Cookie made up about Bunkie attempting to stop Lucious from buying a radio station.  As a result, Roxanne terminated the deal, allowing Lyon Dynasty’s tracks to be played on the radio again.  Water to wine!

1. Lucious Puts Jamal In A Garbage Can. Season 1, “Pilot”


Lucious Shoves Jamal Into Trash Can
Lucious Shoves Jamal Into Trash Can

Empire’s pilot episode featured a flashback inspired by Lee Daniels’ own childhood.  The scene shows Jamal Lyon when he is 4-years-old.  Jamal dresses up in Cookie’s heels and a scarf and walks into the living room of his parent’s home.  When Lucious sees Jamal he goes into a rage.  Lucious picks up Jamal, takes him outside and stuffs him in a garbage can.  Lucious then put the lid on as though he was not planning to take Jamal out.  Cookie rushes outside, punches, shoves and wishes Lucious would before retrieving Jamal.

By Jason John

Jason John is based in Maryland and covers Empire BBK’s News and Entertainment. He was previously a producer for the mobile site, helping to present Empire BBK’s news report to readers. More