Despite the fierce tension surrounding the Lyon family's members, last night's episode of Empire kicked off on a rather scintillating note with Tiana (Serayah) posing for a promotional photo shoot in a barely there neon Agent Provocateur swimsuit with matching yellow Aldo pumps. Cookie (Taraji. P Henson) celebrates her own ability to kick-start a new record label, but the tables later turn when we learn that Lucious's (Terrence Howard) new lawyer, Thirsty Rawlings (Andre Royo), has hired thieves to mug Tiana outside the Dynasty headquarters.
For Lucious, family disputes and failing relationships once again come his company's success on his to-do list. The formerly imprisoned head honcho introduces Andre as president of Gutter Life Records, a label Lucious has chosen to revive, meaning any trace of the late Vernon's life now officially has to be swept under the rug. While the eldest Lyon son gets what he wants, Jamal's romantic life is in upheaval: he not only struggles with the decision of whether or not to bring Michael on his upcoming tour with Ne-Yo, but he also finds his boyfriend engaged in sexual misconduct with the artist who painted his Rolling Stone cover.
As more clues help Cookie and her team uncover who was responsible for Tiana's stolen purse, Adam Rodriguez makes a guest appearance as a promoter determined to bring new light to Dynasty and, thanks to previews of next week's episode, Cookie's new love interest. Moments later, after Cookie decides to give Porsha another chance as her assistant, armed culprits barge into her office and attempt to take home all of their newly recorded music.
Ultimately, Cookie and Lucious face off and disagree over Vernon's livelihood and the recent burglaries. Hakeem struggles in the studio with the girls from Mirage à Trois, his new girl group, and deeper, darker family secrets of betrayal come to light. And while we thought things looked momentarily optimistic as the Lyons come together for Andre's baptism, it only results in more arguing.
Lucious disapproves of his son's religious beliefs and walks out on the celebration midway through. The reason? Another flashback of his childhood shows Kelly Rowland, who portrays his mother, forcibly dunking him into a bathtub for an at-home baptism that traumatized him. Sure, it's not surprising that Lucious walks out, but the episode wraps in a horrid way. Hakeem is seen running through a park when, in a matter of seconds, a group of men kidnap and take him away in an unmarked van. So do we know where he's headed? The search for the youngest Lyon will continue next week.
Empire airs on Fox, Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.