"Absent Child" opens with the Lyon's meeting with the Dubois family. After a pregnant pause Cookie accuses Diana of having Bella taken away. Diana and the rest of the family insist that they had nothing to do with Bella's disappearance and after yet another shouting match, Anika tearfully pleads with Diana to help her find her baby.
After trying to go to authorities to find Bella, Lucious sits the family down and tells them that they all must keep their noses clean so that Bella can come home to a cohesive family.
The Lyons attempt to return to business as usual as they try to find Bella. Jamal and Lucious continue working on their track for Inferno but Lucious blindsides Jamal by trying to remix their track and add a rapper (who left the hospital after being shot four times to record in the studio) to the track. Lucious tries to tell Jamal that he doesn't have a high understanding of music because he stopped making music after getting shot only once. Jamal reminds Lucious that he's never been shot and has Lucious listen to his own arrangement of the track, which everyone in the studio agrees is superior. Lucious, of course, goes to a corner and sulks but finds unlikely inspiration for his track with Jamal from his mother, Leah. Leah says that although Lucious has done a great deal of wrong in his life, he got one thing right with Jamal. Lucious realizes that Jamal's music is the natural development of his legacy and concedes to using Jamal's track.
Cookie, Andre and Shine attempt to rework their Vegas plan by meeting with the promoter and pitching a show centered around Jamal's album When Cookie Met Lucious with the whole Lyon family on board. Shine wonders how he factors into the deal and Andre, bent on punishing Lucious, loses his cool further indicating to Cookie that he's off his meds. Making good on his promise to Rhonda, Andre finds Anika and attempts to strangle her but instead leaves her alive to suffer as he does everyday with the loss of his wife and child (Author's Note: I can't imagine how hard that scene was for Grace and Trai Byers to do as they are married in real life).
Distraught over his daughter's disappearance, Hakeem livestreams from his house publicly accusing the DuBois of taking his baby. Team Keem (yes that's apparently as much of a thing in the Empire-verse as Coocious) protests the DuBois.
Cookie meets with Marcone to pitch the When Cookie Met Lucious show, but Andre's temper nearly derails the meeting. Andre further complicates matters by bringing Hakeem to the laundromat where all of Andre's dirty dealings have been taking place. Cookie shoos him away so he doesn't see that she's holding Angelo hostage trying to find information on Bella's whereabouts. Cookie is sure that Diana had something to do with Bella being taken but Angelo swears he knows nothing. Cookie begs Lucious to consider her Vegas deal but Lucious continues to side with Giuliana (who is back from Vegas—darn).
Nessa is furious with Andre for once again failing to defend her against his family. Andre's callousness causes her to conclude that he is "crazy" (her word not mine) and she angrily slaps him after he tries to kiss her. I was actually sort of rooting for them.
After Angelo is beaten by Shine and his boys, Diana brings him home to take care of him. Angelo vows to put the entire Lyon family in jail but Diana does him one better, revealing that she actually did in fact take baby Bella.
Other things we learned during this episode:
- Even Cookie recognizes the fierceness that is Lemonade.
- Hakeem really needs to find another coping mechanism besides strippers.
- Cookie's backhand might actually be worse than her skill with a baseball bat or a broom.
We are down to the last two episodes of the season ... Will Bella be returned? Will Andre exact his revenge on Lucious? Will Giuliana disappear so we can finally get the Coocious (bleh) reunion we've all been waiting for? Tune in tonight.