‘Empire’ Season 3 Recap: “Unkindest Cut”

The episode begins with Tiana singing. Cookie gives Angelo and his mother a tour of Empire’s latest event, a Victoria’s Secret-like fashion special. Angelo’s mother asks if Jamal could write and sing a song for Angelo’s campaign to sing at the Captain’s Ball. Cookie tries to offer another artist, but Jamal is up for the challenge, saying it’s now or never.

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Jamal learns that Lucious is his PTSD trigger, since he jumped in front of the bullet for his father.

Empire Unkindest Cut
Empire Unkindest Cut

Andre still talks to Ghost Rhonda about Nessa in his sleep. He advises Nessa on her career and what she should ask Cookie for. As she watches Tiana performing, Nessa tells Andre that she wants what Tiana has. Andre asks Cookie if Nessa can shadow Tiana for the performance, which is all a set up. Nessa burns Tiana’s dress, then records a tirade from Tiana about how Nessa messed everything up and how the fashion show head is a racist. The speech goes viral and Tiana is tarnished on TMZ.

Through some maneuvering (and the Godfather-like surprise haircut of a child), Andre gets Nessa the gig and pushes Tiana out, but Hakeem declares they’ll get them back, since they’re Empire’s original “power couple.”

Lucious is getting a manicure in his mansion, but Thirsty drops by with no news about Tariq, who “lives like a monk.” Lucious orders him to find Tariq’s vices. Lucious has a tense lunch with Leah and Anika, ending with Lucious sending Leah to the doctor, where Tariq busts her out.

Anika struts into the mansion in crazy lingerie and starts trashing the room, telling Lucious that she wanted the job, but he gave it to someone else. They start having hate-sex, but Leah walks in and calls them evil. When Lucious and Leah are alone, they discuss it was their plan and he gets the info he needs: Tariq doesn’t like Lucious because of Joe, their father.

Jamal plays his new song, and it’s a song about Lucious. “He’s a cold, cold man.” He reveals that his album concept will be called “When Cookie Met Lucious.” The family argues about it and Lucious reveals Cookie’s role in Frank Gathers’ death. Uh-oh…

Don’t miss the next episode of Empire!