If there is one thing we have learned from FOX’s scintillating hip-hop drama, it’s that there is only room for one queen of the Empire. Tensions continued to build in this week’s episode, as Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Anika (Grace Gealey) got down and dirty in their battles for the Empire throne and for the heart of Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard). Things took a turn for the worse when Lucious takes Cookie’s advice to open Empire’s upcoming investor showcase with a performance by the newly sober Elle Dallas (Courtney Love), despite Anika’s opposition. When Elle arrived to the showcase glammed up and on her “A” game, Anika’s jealousy and insecurity brought out her malicious and evil nature. She sabotaged Cookie and Elle’s comeback by drugging Elle’s tea, leaving her incoherent and unable to perform.
Anika’s bright red Ted Baker dress (above) not only foreshadows her devilish deed, but also reflects her readiness to fight and to go to war. “Red is the devil, red is evil, red is the blood of a fighter, and red is for her love of both Lucious and power,” explains costume designer Rita McGhee. “Red is Anika’s signature color and it represents her strength and the fighter within her...she ain’t going down without a fight!”
Cookie’s Caché leopard-print dress (above) also reflects her ferocious and predatory nature as a fighter. “All the animal prints that [Cookie] wears are predatory animals because they are regal and fierce, just like Cookie Lyon,” McGhee reveals to InStyle. “[Predatory animals] wait until it’s time to dominate and then pounce on their prey…but sometimes they don’t wait, so you always better be ready for an attack.”
In the end, Anika’s scheme did not pan out as she had planned. Lucious not only chose Cookie as the speaker at the investors’ showcase, but also finally gave in to carnal temptation and got a taste of the cookie! Cookie won the battle this week, but who will win the war?
We’ll be catching up with Rita McGhee in between scenes of Empire, airing every Wednesday on FOX at 9 p.m. ET, to chat about our favorite looks from the episode so be sure to check back in next week!