‘Empire’ Boss Promises Lucious and Mimi’s Partnership Will Be Consequential

Empire season 2 episode 7
Courtesy of Fox

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not seen season two, episode seven of “Empire,” titled “True Love Never,” which aired on Nov. 11. Plus, watch an exclusive sneak peek of next week’s episode in the video down below.

A girl-fight broke out on “Empire” Wednesday night when Hakeem’s (Bryshere Gray) crush Laura (Jamila Velazquez) was pushed aside in Ménage a Trois, the girl group under Lyon Dynasty. Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) urged Hakeem to move her from the lead position in the band, but the younger Lyon brother worked hard to get his girl back to the top — including enlisting Tiana (Serayah) to train Laura — and by episode’s end, Laura turned into a star.

“We see Hakeem growing in a relationship, caring for someone and being willing to change and grow in order to be worthy of that relationship,” showrunner Ilene Chaiken tells Variety. “We see him being a mentor for the first time and a leader. He’s growing into adulthood.”

On the topic of mixing business with pleasure, romance was also in the air for Cookie, who is — in a way — sleeping with the enemy, Laz (Adam Rodriguez). She trusts him, though, despite his shady dealings. Cookie also got involved again with her son Jamal (Jussie Smollett) on the business front — which Chaiken promises will not make Lucious (Terrence Howard) happy.

Viewers got more insight into Lucious’ past, as more flashbacks with his bipolar mother (guest star Kelly Rowland) revealed that she killed herself, and he tried to stop her as a young child.

The Lyon patriarch also had a steamy scene with none other than Mimi Whiteman (guest star Marisa Tomei). The two business powerhouses engaged in a drunken threesome together, in which Mimi mysteriously made a secret call. But who was on the other end of the call? “All I’m going to say is it’s significant,” Chaiken teases. “We’re looking forward to finding out who she was talking to on the phone. It’s going to be consequential.”

Here, Chaiken talks us through the episode, which saw new alliances form not only between Lucious and Mimi but also Jamal and Cookie.

What does that hook-up between Lucious and Mimi mean?
What it means is that Mimi and Lucious are two of a kind. They’re so like one another and they’re finding a partnership. They both clearly have some dark corners that they play in and they are making big things happen and going to those places together and forming a trust and a bond together that gets kind of consummated in this twisted scene. There’s nothing from that hookup other than Mimi knows exactly what she’s doing.

This was a big episode for Lucious. We’re learning more and more about him through his flashbacks with his mother.
These flashbacks are the story of Lucious’ childhood, and his mother’s suicide is really integral to not only his past and the light that it shines on who Lucious Lyon is, but also a story that comes forward into the present and plays in our current-day drama. The flashbacks will continue and they’ll also become another story that we’re telling.

Kelly Rowland is so great in that role. How did she approach the storyline of mental illness?
We brought Kelly in to meet with the writers. We came up with the idea of having her play Lucious’s mother in the flashbacks and what happened in our room in the meetings is that Lucious’s mother was bipolar. Andre’s bipolar illness is a genetic illness and Lucious’s mother was bipolar. Kelly was excited to play this character.

Speaking of Andre, he finally got his mojo back! He’s turning a corner, isn’t he?
He is working very hard to fight his demons and as he said in the episode, it’s the combination of his medicine and faith that’s really giving him a new grip on how to conquer the challenges of being Andre Lyon. His father constantly pushes him and tests him and tasks him and it’s almost as if Lucious wants to see if he can tick him over the edge — maybe because it enables him to have more control.

Lucious is about to lose control of Jamal. I’d imagine he won’t be happy to find out that his son is back working with Cookie over at Lyon Dynasty.
Cookie and Jamal are having, in a sense, a love affair — I don’t mean that in a creepy way, just as mother and son. We talked about them as America’s favorite couple. We love them together. They have such a deep bond together and it was heartbreaking when this rift occurred between them. And now, each of them has a different loyalty that he and she is betraying by coming back together, but they can’t resist because they love each other so much as mother and son. And when they work together, magic happens. It’s definitely going to be a conflict.

How will Hakeem react to his mother being back invested in Jamal?
We’ve already seen that Hakeem is a little bit hurt by it and Lucious is certainly not going to take kindly to it.

Cookie and Hakeem already butted heads in this episode — first over Laura in the girl group, and then over Laz. Should we be concerned about their relationship?
We have to be concerned. Cookie is not one to take advice or let her kids judge her and it would be easy to think that Hakeem is just jealous because he just got his mom back and he’s not sure that he wants some random guy coming in between them. Cookie is dismissing his concerns. As she said, she’s pretty enraptured by Laz.

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  1. Chinyere says:

    I still love the show and don’t care about the low ratings. People tend to over analyze and be too critical. Empire is so unpredictable, so good. Though what happened with Hakeem’s kidnapping was not too clear. l’m not giving up on the show because of a few minor lapses. Fans dont give up on football and their teams just because the players lose a match or two.

  2. Cambridge says:

    This show is becoming a disaster right before our eyes. Chalk up another big loss thanks to the gay-everywhere agenda. It’s getting unwatchable now, and the ratings are starting to prove that out.

    • So, I’m going to assume that you did not watch the first season when Jamal and his storyline was pretty much the main focus of the show? Jamal has not had a storyline this season, and the majority of his time is spent singing, so I don’t understand what you mean about gayness destroying the show.

  3. Emmanuella says:

    Empire as a movie… is a fascinating one….. that draws the mind of viewers to gather n watch over n over… i love the lyons cos they know what they want n they know how to get it…. lyons u are the best…. u guys try as much to come together
    … it would b great if u work together not discriminating each other… hakeem… i love what u do… cookie b very careful.. andre good work at yr faith…

  4. Theresa says:

    Empire is starting to be all abt nothing. Too much is going on and definitely no need for all these guest spots. The fans are turning the channel. Yall over shot it this time, did too much. It was perfect the way it was. We need a banger every episode, a WOW moment but all we are getting is a carper being dragged around the floor. Not good Lee

    • Yesterday’s episode did not have any Wow moments, but I would hardly say that it wasn’t about anything. The reveal about what happened to Lucious’ mother was very sad, and several storylines developed. Empire is a continuing story, so they are not going to have a “banger” every episode. It is not a procedural drama.

  5. ami says:

    Another example of “lesbian with a man” extremely overused and damaging trope. TV executives apparently can’t fathom the idea that lesbians don’t desire men.

  6. Another great episode, but it’s starting to feel more and more soapy. Needs tighter writing

  7. The episode was slow, but it did open up some interesting storylines. I’m glad that they are finally doing something with Mimi character, and I like the idea that she is going to do something to hurt Lucious and Empire. It’s about time that someone took him down.

    The arc of Lucious being jealous of Jamal is also good, but not the storyline about Jamal and Cookie hiding their relationships. It just does not make sense to me, and seems silly. I’m glad that Hakeem is growing up, but it seems like the writers are doing it at the expense of Jamal, who has regressed, and is nothing like the season one fan favorite. This change makes it hard to enjoy the Cookie and Jamal scenes. I hope that he gets a strong storyline soon. I also hope that he tells his parents to growup, and that he should be able to have a relationship with both of them.

    It may be wrong, but I like Andre being manipulative, and doing anything that he can to get what he wants. I’m excited by the thought that season one Andre will return, even if he is religious.

  8. Johni says:

    I have watched Emp since it first aired. I ejoyed season one emormously. Season two well not so much. However, tonight was the first time that I ever turned off the show. Aprox. midway throught the show I felt terribly betrayed as an American female person of color by an African American black male. This was not this first time this season for such action but it was for sure the last time this season I will be present. I am sorry to see the show take this approach. But, I am even more sorry for any African American Black people who continue to support this to behavior towards the community. Like other peoples we must demand respect by ALL for our comminity. Farewll Ms. Cookie

    • Carlos says:

      Wow! LMAO! Get a grip, lady! Oh and “African American Black people” is hilarious. You people!

    • This is a strong reaction. I wish that you had been specific about what happened in the episode that upset you. I watched the whole thing, and I didn’t see anything that I haven’t seen on countless other shows. But, I don’t internalize everything that happens on a show, or believe that a show needs to represent me. I find the Lyon family to be entertaining, but they are nothing like me or the people who I know. I don’t have an issue with that.

  9. LEWIS says:

    I apologize for using the word Hiroshima. I just got carried away with excitement.

  10. LEWIS says:


  11. Yippee Skippee says:

    Tonight’s ep was one of the best eps so far this season. That song Jamal sang in the Livingroom session was the BEST song I’ve heard since s2 started. That song is fire! A lot of people jumping off the Empire wagon, but I’m still hanging on for the ride.

  12. Brandon says:

    This show is seriously starting to sink.

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