Season 4 of Empire is winding down with Lucious possibly facing one of his most formidable foes. Tonight’s second to last episode of the season starts with Cookie meeting up with her mother (Alfre Woodard). They have a lot of healing to do. Meanwhile, Thirsty is instructing his goons on how to get rid of Shyne’s body. They have to cut it up and spread around the five boroughs for good measure.
Later on, Andre informs Lucious that Anika has been convincing the board members to reject Eddie’s resignation and the board is listening. Thirsty brings up the fact that Eddie sticking around means he’ll push the Patel deal and steal Empire, duh! Then Andre says they should be safe as long as they have Shyne’s backing, but Lucious informs Dre that Shyne took a permanent vacation. Now Dre is like, wtf!
Anyway, Dre is frustrated and tells Lucious that he set Shyne up to be loyal to the company. But Lucious disagrees because his philosophy is that street dudes need to be put to bed for good. But here’s the new problem, Shyne’s replacement will control the swing vote. They can’t make any moves with finding a replacement until Shyne is declared dead. Lucious asks Thirsty if there’s any way to “put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”
You know what that means. You also know that Thirsty will delivers because now we’re sitting at an Empire memorial for Shyne. Nessa is singing and Lucious has the nerve to be sitting next to Shyne’s girlfriend giving condolences. They’re also across from several of his babymamas who all expect to be taken care of now that Shyne is gone. Lucious is on top if it for now, but there’s something that doesn’t feel right about this, meaning, you get the feeling that someone is going to find out that Lucious killed Shyne. At the very least, if they don’t get caught, Shyne’s absence is going to cost them Empire Records when it comes to the re-vote. Speaking of, Shyne’s girlfriend informs Lucious that Shyne always wanted Nessa to take his spot on the board if anything ever happened to him.
Anika gets in Nessa’s head first. Nessa hates the Lyons so it’s easy. Andre broke her heart, Cookie smacked fire out of her, and Lucious pretty much ignored her. However, the aforementioned Lyons swallow at heir pride and apologize. Nessa is a tough sell, but eventually, she agrees to forgive them. Especially after Lucious offers to extend her contract for two more albums and give her a feature spot at the upcoming 20 for 20-anniversary showcase. Nessa asks Lucious if he knows who killed Shyne and Lucious lays it on thick about how he’s going to find out who did it and making them pay yatta yatta, we’ve seen this before with Freda Gatz. Anyway, it works and they get Nessa on their side.
Anika and Eddie meet up because they’re screwed without Nessa so Eddie steps his evil mastermind game up. Digging up dirt on the Lyons won’t be effective because it’s common knowledge that they’re grimy. The next thing they can try to do to undermine Empire is find something on the artists, and they hit the jackpot.
Cue the 20 For 20 showcase! There’s a moment when the screen gets hacked and an image of Blake (Shyne’s white rapper) as a kid sitting in front of a confederate flag and throwing up a Hitler salute.
Becky and Hakeem confront Blake about it because they actually liked him. Blake admits that it’s him but that he’s not racist, and that his trash father made him pose for the picture. They give him the colonizer treatment and get him out of there vowing to deal with it later, but it’s too late.
Tiana has a meltdown because word is out that Empire is affiliated with a racist artist and she doesn’t want to associate with Empire if that’s how they’re rolling. Then Eddie appears and offers to help. Lucious tries to get him to leave, but one of the board members asks him to stay. So Eddie then really really crosses the line by taking the mic like he runs things and announcing that he’s banning Blake from Empire and that he’s thankful that the board is granting him the power to make sure this never happens again. That’s when Lucious steps up on the stage and roughly grabs Eddie by the color. He wants to fight him at first but then Eddie whispers in his ear, “This is who you are, this is all you’ll ever be.” That’s enough to calm Lucious down and then Eddie eggs it on even more by slow clapping as Lucious walks away.
Lucious has met his match and there’s only one episode left until the season ends. Hopefully, Lucious figures out how to pin Shyne’s murder on Eddie because things aren’t looking too good right now.