‘Empire’ Recap, Episode 6: ‘Out, Damned Spot’


Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) in the “Out Damned Spot” episode of Empire on Feb. 11, 2015 on FOX.

Chuck Hodes/FOX

With the first season of Empire halfway through, episode six of the Fox show serves as a place-setter of what’s to come. The big news? Lucious finally comes clean to one of his confidantes about Bunky’s murder (more on this later), and finds a way to cool down the heat the police were bringing up on him. Cookie takes on another artist, and Hakeem and Jamal both create follow-up singles that are repeat-worthy. While there’s development, there’s still a lot of questions that arise from this episode, so here they are.

Did Cookie look like a bag of money or what?
The episode begins with a family dinner at a high-end restaurant. Lucious is to announce his engagement to Anika, but Cookie arrives thinking Lucious wants to reconcile with her. When she finds out the real reason Lucious has told everyone to gather at the restaurant, she reveals a very impressive lingerie set. Turns out Cookie is holding an eye-popping display of body. The scene is made all the more audacious by the fact that she wasn’t afraid to show it off in front of Anika and all three of the Lyons boys.

‘Empire’ Recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5

What’s wrong with being a chef?
Jamal’s boyfriend Michael is growing concerned with Jamal’s pending stardom, so Michael asks Cookie if he should be concerned. Cookie confirms he should because “fame changes people.” She encourages Michael to pursue other interests, outside of Jamal, to which Michael says he’s studying to be a chef. Cookie makes a disgruntled face. She thinks that’s “cute,” but not enough for her son. Later, when Jamal confronts his mother to tell her not to meddle in his personal life, Cookie says he just wants someone who can do more than just put food on the table, literally, which is weird because having a private chef is one of those expenses famous people like Jamal keep on their budget. It’s highly possible Jamal and Michael have always had this elaborate plan in which Jamal blows up and Michael gets to cook him breakfast.

How did Elle Dallas ever blow up?
In this episode, we are introduced to Elle Dallas — played by Courtney Love. She was the first successful artist on Empire, but is now officially washed up. Still, where Andre and Anika see a waste of money, Cookie sees an opportunity to show she has the Midas touch by making Elle Dallas her second client. It’s not going to be easy. Dallas cares more about getting high than making music and Cookie realizes she’s going to have her hands full trying to keep her clean. Not only that, she also has to make Dallas relevant the way she once was, and judging from the recording session they have, that’s not going to be easy either. Cookie tells Dallas she won’t stop until Dallas is back on the charts.

Is it written in Sway’s contract that he must always play himself?
Sway is another special guest star in this episode, and like most Sway cameos he is playing himself as the host of his own show. Jamal, who is riding high off the diss track aimed at his father, “Keep Your Money,” is Sway’s special guest. Very uncharacteristically, Sway gets right into all of Jamal’s personal business by asking him how he makes time for a special lady in his life while recording constantly. Jamal says he’s in love with the music (which is standard industry speak when an artist doesn’t want to gossip about their personal life), and denies having a girl in his life, which is true. But Michael, who is watching the interview via livestream (how 2015 of the show writers), is hurt by Jamal’s response.

Will Jamal’s follow-up single “I Wanna Love You” be a smash too?
During his appearance on Sway’s show, Jamal performs a new song, “I Wanna Love You.” It sounds like something Maxwell should record and release in real life, but for now, it remains one of the best songs the show has premiered.

Does Cookie have the hots for Lucious’ head of security?
Lucious decides he has to invest in a new team for security, and he settles on a man named Malcolm DeVeaux (played by Derek Luke). Later, when Cookie tries to get into Empire’s headquarters, the security team tells her she must have valid ID. That’s when she meets DeVeaux and if you were watching, you could see it in their eyes. Cookie is ready for that pat down from “Mr. DeVeaux.”

Who would win in a fight between Andre and Vernon?
The investigation for Bunky’s murder is heating up and Vernon realizes the police have pinned Lucious as a suspect. This causes Vernon to confront Lucious and ask him if he was the one who indeed killed Bunky. Knowing he needs Vernon’s help, Lucious cops to the murder. Vernon is livid not only at Lucious, but also Andre for the phony alibi he gave to cops about Lucious’ whereabouts at the time of Bunky’s murder. Knowing Lucious acted alone, Vernon goes into Andre’s office and chokes him out from behind, telling him his lie to the cops has the potential to do more harm than good for Lucious’ case. Throughout the episode, Vernon has to clean up the mess Lucious and Andre made, which he does by paying off a lawyer and an associate who will cop to killing Bunky. Near the end of the episode, Vernon and Andre run into each other in the bathroom. They clear the air, but as Andre walks out he tells Vernon, “you ever put your hands on me again, I will slit your throat.” Vernon shrugs it off and as he walks away he tells Andre, “you just make sure you stay on them meds, boy.”

Does Hakeem have a second hit too?
Last week’s “Drip Drop” turned out to be quite the earworm, but in this episode we hear a new track from Hakeem called “Can’t Truss ‘Em.” It could very well be the hit he needs to make himself the iconic artist he swears he is. Hakeem wants it to be known he’s not “doing no soccer mom clean version, I’m going straight hard core with this one.” Anika doesn’t have a problem with that, nor does Lucious, but Jamal, who overheard the song while walking in the office hallway, let’s Hakeem know why the song could fail. “You write a song about how you hate women,” Jamal says, “And it makes you look like a little bitch.” Jamal forgets that in 2015 unfortunately offensive songs about women still make women dance. He may need to watch his back now because Hakeem is starting to understand the industry.

Olivia, really?
Raven Symone is the episode’s final big name guest star. She plays Olivia, which, wow, could there be a more unoriginal name? Raven played a young girl named Olivia on The Cosby Show. You would think people would spend some more time on this little detail, but I digress. The real intrigue of Olivia is she is at Empire headquarters trying to see Jamal, the man she claims is the father of her daughter who she’s brought along with her. Of course, Jamal along with the whole family who is with him at the time is shocked. What happens with him and Olivia is going to make the second-half of the first season of Empire very interesting.