'Empire' S3 episode 14: 'Love is a Smoke'

Cookie Lyon, Mrs. DuBois to be?

Cookie tells Lucious and his mini man bun that Angelo had hinted to her that if he won the mayoral primaries, he intended to propose to her. Lucious promises Cookie he will back off if Angelo does pop the question. No word from his man bun yet.

Angelo gets some advice from Jamal about proposing to Cookie. Jamal tells him to put on a show for her, because how could that possibly go wrong?

Cookie thinks Angelo is going to propose to her at dinner at his apartment that night but instead he asks her to appear on a talk show with him. You guys all know where this is going right? Right?

Angelo pops the question on the talk show and although it seems like Cookie tentatively accepts, backstage it is clear that Angelo doesn't have her heart. Angelo demands to know why Cookie won't commit to him and she finally confesses to kissing Lucious and still having feelings for him. Angelo is furious and yells about all of the things he's done for Cookie including committing fraud, helping Cookie avoid being arrested for violating her probation and other illegal things. His mother Diana rushes in to tell him that his mic is still on and everyone in the studio heard his confession. Cookie leaves Angelo to go try to patch things up with Lucious only to see him cozying up to Giuliana (more on that in a minute). At this point my heart genuinely breaks for Cookie. She truly loves Lucious and keeps uprooting her life for him only to be disrespected and humiliated by him later.

The (Other) Love of Lucioius' Life

We get some back story about Lucious and Giuliana. After divorcing Cookie in prison, a cornrow-clad Lucious meets Giuliana in Las Vegas where he is looking to expand his business. Lucious falls in love with Giuliana but learns he was set up by Giuliana and her now-deceased husband, Rafael. Lucious is robbed of $10 million and forever soured on the idea of working in Vegas.

Fast forward to now and Lucious is still refusing to work with Andre on the Vegas deal. After Shine slips up and tells Lucious that Rafael is dead, Lucious asks him to find out what happened. Shine sets Lucious up and has Giuliana meet Lucious in his office with a gun. Giuliana reveals that she doesn't plan to shoot him and urges Lucious to accept Andre's Vegas deal since that's the only way she'll be able to pay him back. Lucious and Giuliana seem to reconcile and rekindle their relationship, with Tori even performing the song Lucious wrote for Giuliana for the gaming commissioner, much to Cookie's despair. Again, poor Cookie, but I have a feeling something else is at work here.


Tariq Gets Some Lovin' from Boo Boo Kitty

Anika finally makes good on her promise to wear a wire and trap Tariq trying to illegally arrest Lucious. Anika tries to cozy up to Tariq without sleeping with him and frankly I don't blame her. Tariq may technically be one of the good guys as a member of the FBI, but he gives me the willies. Tariq finally gives Anika what she needs when he admits that he is suspended but still working on Lucious' case. Now with enough ammo to get rid of Tariq (seemingly—you know how this goes) for good, Lucious gives Tariq one last out—leave town with the duffel bag of money he's offering him. Tariq takes the money and runs. You know, Lucious' idea of familial loyalty and love may be twisted, but it's still definitely there.


Will Nessa Ever Get to Shine

Andre is planning to win the gaming commissioner (Eva Longoria) over by having Nessa perform a show for her. He enlists Tori Ash to write a song for Nessa to sing at her show but after Becky gets an earful of her singing and alerts Lucious, the plan changes. Instead, Hakeem and Tiana host a live stream of Tori singing the song intended for Nessa. During the livestream, things between Tiana and Tori get intimate (which I actually appreciated because, continuity). Jamal walks in on the session and scolds Tori for being around alcohol, which can interfere with her sobriety. Tori blows him off and leaves with another girl.


Other things we learned during this episode:

  • Becky with the bad luck is now Becky with the good ear.
  • Almost every era in Lucious' life is marked by a different hairstyle.
  • I forgot how intimidating Phylicia Rashad is when she's playing angry.
  • Cookie’s reaction to Angelo is exactly why I—a dancer who loves performing in front of people—am so AGAINST public proposals.
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