‘Empire’ Recap, Episode 5: ‘Dangerous Bonds’


Jamal (Jussie Smollett) records at a studio in the “Dangerous Bonds” episode of Empire airing  Feb. 4, 2015.

Chuck Hodes/FOX

Another week, another episode of Empire. Drama has escalated and for the first time, we finally see Lucious (played by Terrence Howard) and Cookie (played by Taraji P. Henson) rule over their sides of the kingdom in interesting ways. Most of this week’s questions come from Lucious’ decision-making, but there are also some surprises from Tiana and Dre.

‘Empire’ Recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4

Who is Tiana’s side chick? How does Hakeem not know about her?
Exhausted from a premier event, Tiana turns down Hakeem’s invitation to sleep over. She chooses to instead rest at her place. When Tiana walks in, a woman we have never seen before is waiting for her. Is she Tiana’s roommate? Of course not; this is Empire. That would be too normal. It turns out this woman is Tiana’s girlfriend, or at least, a girl she is comfortable making out with because that’s exactly what happens when they see each other. Up until now, she’s been Tiana’s little secret. In a later scene though, Tiana’s caught on camera, by Andre’s wife, making out with the same woman at a photo shoot.

How much does Anthony Hamilton charge for proposals?
Lucious hired Hamilton to perform his single, “The Point of It All,” when proposing to Anika. If the proposal seems random, trust it isn’t. This is, after all, Lucious Lyon, and we later find out why he’s putting an 18-karat ring on it.

Why can’t Jamal find a nicer studio?
Jamal continues his quest to be inspired by urban decay. He has decided to record his new music in a makeshift studio somewhere in the Bronx (1520 Sedgwick Avenue, maybe?). Even Cookie — a woman who’s spent 17 years in prison, and years before that living in the hoods of Philadelphia — is concerned, as she should be. There’s no excuse for bullet holes if the place is the hit factory Jamal says it is.

Since when is a video a game changer?
Hakeem is ready to take things to the next level and get rid of the label of being Lucious Lyon’s son. For him, winning the game is not enough. He, in his own words, wants to change the game like 50 Cent did with Vitamin Water, like Dr. Dre did with Beats by Dre headphones. What are his plan to do so? A music video. That’s right, a video. In 2015, a year when BET’s 106 & Park and MTV’s TRL no longer exist.

Can we talk about “Drip Drop”?
“Drip Drop” — the song Hakeem wants to make a music video for — is absolute trash. But don’t tell Hakeem, Lucious or Anika that because they all seem to think it’s a hit. Them thinking so is the reason Lucious instructs Dre to find room in the budget for Hakeem to make the video he wants, even though it’s $1,000,000 over.

Why does Cookie have a gun?
After Cookie testifies in court on behalf of the feds, resulting in a notorious crime boss getting locked up, she now has her head on a swivel. When she leaves her apartment, she finds a single rose on her doorstep. Cookie begins to panic because a rose was the symbol of the gang she played a role in taking down. She goes to a drawer to load a handgun.

Why Perez Hilton?
Rhonda, Dre’s wife, has taken photos of Tiana making out with her girlfriend. This is all part of a carefully orchestrated plan by the eldest Lyon brother to sabotage his brothers’ career. He wants to hit Hakeem where it hurts, which is why he tells Rhonda to send the photos to Perez Hilton. Considering this show aims to maintain authenticity, it would have been nice to see them honor hip-hop blog culture or at least celebrity blog culture, say Bossip or MediaTakeOut. Meanwhile, he also needs to keep Jamal’s potential star power to a minimum. Shortly after he gets off the phone with Rhonda, Dre strategically stands near a couple of goons Hakeem has in his crew. Dre speaks loudly about the studio where Jamal is recording and the nice watch he owns. His plan works and the goons head up to the studio in an attempt to rob Jamal and everyone with him. But the owner of the studio has a different plan that involves a shotgun.

How does Lucious let his future father-in-law get away with calling him a “thug” in his own home?
Though he already proposed, Lucious had to put on a traditional front for Anika’s parents. This involves Lucious inviting them over to his house for dinner and him formally getting the blessing of Anika’s father, Dr. Calhoun, who doesn’t really care for Lucious. He calls him by his first name, Steve. With some reluctance, Calhoun gives Lucious his blessing, but that’s not enough. Lucious needs Calhoun to know that he has ALS. This is important for Calhoun to know because in order for Empire Entertainment to go public, Lucious needs a key man policy, which means he needs a doctor to certify he is in good health. Lucious shoots his shot, and asks if Calhoun would be willing to fib on his behalf. Calhoun doesn’t approve, and calls Lucious a “thug.” That’s when Lucious reminds Calhoun that if he does this for him, it can mean billions of dollars for his daughter when he dies from the incurable disease.

Is Lucious not the coolest dad?
With Hakeem hot over finding out Tiana is messing around with another woman, he’s lost focus on what’s best for business. He doesn’t want Tiana in the “Drip Drop” music video anymore. Lucious intervenes and tells his son to look at the bright side of his situation. “Let’s look at it from a mathematical perspective,” says Lucious. “Your girlfriend has a girlfriend. Add that up: Two. That’s a mathematician’s dream.”

Why is Lucious continuing to sleep on his son Jamal?
For whatever reason, Lucious insists Hakeem’s song “Drip Drop” is a smash hit. And, it probably will be because it’s ratchet rap most kids these days like. But there’s no denying Jamal has hits too. Too bad they’re currently not on talking terms. Thankfully Cookie sees the light, and with her encouragement Jamal’s time in that run down studio birthed a hit record, “Keep Your Money.”

Will Jamal and Hakeem squash their beef?
Jamal still hasn’t forgotten about Hakeem’s boys trying to rob him in the studio, so he confronts his younger brother at his place. Neither one of them know the incident was orchestrated by Dre. Dre doesn’t really seem to be either of their concern. For now, Jamal is convinced it was Hakeem who tried to ruin his studio session. Hakeem is offended, and tells Jamal, “You’re still worrying about singles when I’m about to be iconic.” A scuffle ensues, before Jamal doles out a physical one-hitter quitter with a punch to Hakeem’s gut that takes him to the ground. And a verbal one: “I’m gonna give you some advice,” Jamal says as he’s standing over Hakeem. “Don’t ever underestimate me, little brother.”