The Lyon family's musical differences reach a level so dramatic they're worthy of any Sopranos episode, but death and behind-the-scenes mafia deals didn't exactly strike on last night's episode of Empire. Instead, Lucious (Terrence Howard) kicks things off in a sharply stylish way, wearing a navy suit just minutes after stepping out of jail as a free man. And while the blood-tied crew momentarily reunites for a smorgasbord dinner, Cookie (dressed in Dolce & Gabbana, of course) immediately draws the line and once again proclaims her passion for taking on Lyon Dynasty, her new grassroots label.
Tensions rise as Hakeem tries to build a new girl group starring Valentina (Becky G) while Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Anika (Grace Gealey) try to momentarily join forces. To rebuke Cookie's new label and reclaim his name in the spotlight, Lucious throws a star-studded, glamorous party for Empire where Jamal takes the stage and Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull, also joins. Strikingly, Cookie makes a grand arrival in a Janet Jackson–like hardware look from The Blonds and interrupts the performance to introduce Hakeem, his new jams, and Timbaland.
Though Lucious is free, prosecutor Roxanne Ford hunts him down in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood where the record label's ring leader visits in order to aggressively attempt to sign a new, promising young rapper. And Lucious deems Andre's betrayal unacceptable, despite the fact that his son revealed his wife is pregnant, and later also tries to bring Jamal back into his gilded inner circle. Just when we think Lyon Dynasty's newly formed girl group has a solid chance at slaying the radio waves, Valentina announces she's no longer with Dynasty and has signed with Lucious. Cookie furiously reminds Lucious of her unbreakable spirit, and the rest, as usual, is yet to be revealed.