Empire review: Is the Cookie/Lucious saga over for good?


The latest episode of Empire places our favorite toxic couple, Lucious and Cookie, on the rocks once again. But this time, Cookie is the one crossing the line.

If you were at all surprised by the turn of events in Wednesday’s episode of Empire, you haven’t been paying very close attention. Cookie’s taken a lot of crap from Lucious, and pretty much everyone else, over the years. Last night, at the end of “Hot Blood, Hot Thoughts, Hot Deeds,” the Lyon family matriarch has finally had enough.

Hot Blood

As I mentioned before, the title “Hot Blood, Hot Thoughts, Hot Deeds,” is a spot-on description of how Cookie’s emotions develop through the episode.  We see Lucious get Cookie’s blood boiling early on when he confesses to putting money from the Panama account in a non-profit to throw off the feds. Cookie is furious since the charity was created in her name, presumably as part of Lucious’ attempts to rewrite their story. Lucious assures her that his money laundering is temporary but Cookie is skeptical. “It’s always a one-time thing with you for the first time.”

Hot Thoughts

As Coocious gets flamed by a snarky vlogger, Cookie temporarily escapes her business and marital frustrations with memories of her time with Damon. Later,  Cookie catches Lucious in a compromising position with Treasure.  Her questioning, “How could you do this again?” makes it clear that Cookie’s fuse, which burned through a 17-year prison sentence and countless reminders that Lucious will always love himself more than he loves her, has blown.  We hear the hurt, anger and exhaustion spill out as Cookie sees that the man she’s become a punchline for loving hasn’t changed – and possibly never will.

Hot Deeds

Cookie’s break from Lucious was a long time coming. Despite her efforts to remain committed as they fought for Empire, her confidence in Lucious has been dwindling for a while. Throughout season 5, Cookie took small steps to protect herself and her energy from Lucious. We saw it last fall when she hid her real estate property from Lucious (though she did eventually sell it to generate cash for Lyon Family Management’s showcase), and again this spring when she weighed the agent’s offer to make her a TV star. After decades of sacrificing for Lucious, Cookie seems to be testing the waters and seeing what she can accomplish outside the Empire mantle.

As Cookie rushes through the hotel hallway distraught and in tears, viewers know Lucious has humiliated her for the last time. Her feelings for other men, which she’s cast aside for years out of loyalty to her family, become actions when she rejects her vow of fidelity to Lucious and drops trou for Damon—fulfilling his prediction that Cookie would come to him.

It’s obvious from the get-go that Treasure is the aggressor and Lucious is simply an innocent victim of circumstance – this time. Unfortunately, he’s done so much wrong that Cookie can’t even hear him as he pleads with her to let him explain. It’s ironic that as Empire pleads for the public’s trust, Lucious loses Cookie’s, and her dalliance with Damon may cost her Lucious faith as well.

In the midseason finale, Cookie told Tiana “‘Ride or Die’ is a lie.” Now, faced with supposed evidence of Lucious’ unfaithfulness, Mrs. Lyon might be ready to believe her own advice. What remains to be seen after the end of the episode is whether or not Cookie will stick to being done with Lucious and become Damon’s new leading lady, return to her family, or finally put her desires first and choose herself.

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What did you think of “Hot Blood, Hot Thoughts, Hot Deeds?” Let us know in the comments.