‘Empire’ Recap, Episode 7: ‘Our Dancing Days’


Lucious (Terrence Howard) hosts a showcase for investors in the “Our Dancing Days” episode of Empire on Feb. 18, 2015 on FOX.

Chuck Hodes/FOX

After this week’s episode of Empire, things are about to get very real for Lucious, his fiance Anika, and his ex-wife Cookie. It was naive to think he would be able to handle two different relationships with both, but last night we discovered that it’s now a dream deferred.

Below are questions that have arisen after the seventh episode of season one of Empire.

‘Empire’ Recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6

Is someone going to call Maury Povich?
In last week’s episode, we learned Jamal is the alleged father of a little girl. He was married to the baby’s mother Olivia when he was 18-years old; it was some sort of arranged-marriage supposedly executed by Lucious. One can only assume the arrangement was one of Lucioius’ elaborate schemes to make it seem as if his son was living a heterosexual lifestyle.

Cookie, of course, doesn’t believe Olivia is telling the truth and presses Lucious to get to the bottom of it. Lucious refuses. Meanwhile, this little girl is the nail in the coffin for Michael and Jamal’s relationship. Michael can no longer watch from the sidelines as everyone tries to keep his and Jamal’s relationship a secret. With a daughter in the picture, Michael packs his things and is gone for good. He firmly believes the little girl is Jamal’s because he admits Olivia and him did consummate their marriage once.

Yet, we still don’t know if Jamal is indeed the father.

How long can Lucious keep up the juggling act between Anika and Cookie?
You have to respect Lucious’ determination to keep his family intact, but in this week’s episode we begin to see all types of unraveling from his blended family.

The first moment occurs when Lucious collapses in his office and has to be rushed in an ambulance to the hospital. Anika and Cookie are both there to witness it and follow him to the ambulance where he’s about to be loaded in on a stretcher. Only one person can ride with him to the hospital, and while trembling and mummified in blankets, Anika and Cookie demand he choose which one of them is going to escort him. Lucious looks at both and chooses Anika.

Get your scorecards out and put down one point for Anika; no points for Cookie.

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Did Hakeem inherit his father’s player gene?
It sure seems like it. Over a romantic dinner cooked by celebrity chef Roble´, Hakeem tells his older sugar mama Camilla that she’s the only one he really wants. He continues to say that his relationship with Tiana is strictly for the fans and the tabloids. But, that’s not enough for Camilla. She also wants to be invited to one of Hakeem’s performances. Hakeem obliges, forges her credentials and puts her on the showcase’s list of attendees.

How petty is Anika?
Everyone is worried about Elle Dallas leading up to the showcase. Will she be high or healthy? The answer is clear when she shows up to rehearse. She looks clean, a fact that impresses everyone who witnesses her graceful entrance. Even Anika is in awe, but she is also jealous. After all, it was Cookie who was put in charge of getting Dallas back on her feet. To see Dallas stunting on everyone, Cookie proves she does indeed have the Midas touch and is important to Empire. 

But nobody at Empire has time for happy endings, especially Anika. Shortly before Dallas has to step on stage, Anika pulls Dallas aside and congratulates her on her progress. When Dallas steps away for a second, Anika slides a roofie in her drink. A few minutes later, Dallas is in the bathroom high as a kite and unfit to perform.

Get out your scorecards again: Anika, 2 – Cookie, 0.

Should Cookie be a front-runner to take over Empire?
With Dallas no longer performing, Jamal and Hakeem step up to the plate and charm all the investors in attendance. They end up tearing the roof off the place with ease. As Lucious watches from backstage, his ALS begins to act up once again. This time, the tremors are affecting his throat and he loses his voice. He can no longer go on stage and give the speech he planned to deliver.

Andre, who did all the heavy lifting in gathering the investors at the showcase, thinks he should go in place of Lucious. Anika, who apparently wrote Lucious’ speech, thinks she should. Lucious thinks neither of them are fit for the job. Instead, he chooses Cookie in an acknowledgement that no one knows the history of the company better than her. The choice is not only a sentimental gesture, it also proves to be a cunning one.

On stage, Cookie delivers a hell of a speech. She identifies herself as Lucious’ ex-wife and mother of their three sons, but she does so in a way that charms the pants off everyone in attendance. The speech garners a roaring ovation from the crowd. Backstage, Andre and Anika are in stunned silent. Lucious clap his hands and in front of Anika says, “I love you Cookie.”

Your scorecards should now read: Anika, 2 – Cookie, 1.

Why did Cookie and Lucious have to go there?
During the time Anika is in Chicago on business, Lucious’ gathers his original family to disclose his condition. Naturally everyone is in shock.

Andre’s first concern is IPO, prompting Hakeem to want to fight him. Things cool down when Andre leaves, and Lucious tells Hakeem and Jamal that they need to be strong.

They leave, and Cookie and Lucious are the only two left in the living room. The sexual tension between the two is palpable and felt as if it was jumping off the screen. They’re both vulnerable and emotional after Lucious’ news, which is a perfect recipe for what happens next: they end up in bed together back at it like their younger days. It’s a bittersweet moment because if there was one thing Cookie had going for herself it’s that, as much as she hated Anika, she had, until now, abided by a code that she wouldn’t ruin hers and Lucious’ relationship. Now the line has been crossed, and to make it worse, Anika came back from her business trip early enough to see them in bed together.

Final score: Anika, 2 – Cookie, 2