First of all, I’d like to begin this recap by acknowledging that Empire is F--ING INSANE. Okay. There.

Episode 2, after the midseason finale, begins with Hakeem introducing himself as the newly minted CEO of Empire Records. He is shrouded by the remnants of his family, sans Lucius, who is the only one who doesn’t have a new position at Empire. He is said to be “working on his music," which is a fun way of saying "offering his son a gun to shoot him with."

Cut to Lucius sitting in a quasi-iron throne as he is interviewed by a woman named Harper for an article she is writing that has something to do with Richard II. The Shakespearean undertones of this show have always been potent, and now they’re actually talking about it. She finds a way to get under his skin, and he beats something with a stick. #Empire

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Back at Empire Records, Hakeem not only performs a new song about being in charge, but also has the logo redone as a portrait of his face. Andre tells Rhonda he had a vision about her fall, and that God is guiding him to discover what OR WHO (wink) caused Rhonda’s fall. Cookie visits Lucius at Lyon Dynasty to help him develop his storyboard for the “Boom Boom Boom Boom” music video. Cookie once again proves to us why she is the No. 1 best part of this show with her epic line readings.

News breaks that Camilla has cut Lucius’s video budget, which sends Lucius into another one of his rage fits. Outside of Empire Records, something happens that I truly do not know how to process or explain, but I will do my best.

Jamal is presented with a pair flip-flops for an autograph, and is then assailed by a group of gays? Or normal people? All of whom are holding literal flip-flops and using them to figuratively call Jamal out for sleeping with a woman. I’m confused. This was weird. Who thought of doing this?

Camilla tells Hakeem he *has* to get rid of his “Mexican girlfriend” before her wife dies, so she and Hakeem can be together and dismantle Empire from the top down. Hakeem says he doesn’t want to do that, but he doesn’t think for himself, so it’s probably what’s going to happen.

Tiana’s tour is in trouble because of H.R.H. Camilla, and instead of Tiana backing out (which she SHOULD DO! RUN AWAY, GIRL. RUN. AWAY.), Cookie orchestrates for Menage a Trois to join the tour in order to salvage whatever business Empire Records has after the leadership debacle. SPEAKING OF DEBACLE, Jamal hosts a concert at Leviticus where he sings a song about how he is nothing like Lucius after he finds out Lucius was championing his fling with Skye.

Andre and Rhonda go to the reverend for therapy, where Rhonda flaunts her brain as one of the more sane members of the Lyon family. His bipolar disorder is discarded by the reverend, claiming that God speaks to people in many different ways. Rhonda doesn’t know what to about the situation, but her bangs look great.

Hakeem lures Camilla into his lair (read: apartment) and video tapes them having sex in order to attempt to prove she manipulated the board into ousting Lucius. His plan is iffy at best, since she never actually admits to anything, but Cookie is pleased to know he’s putting the family first!

OKAY THE END OF THE EPISODE IS AMAZING.

Camilla kills Mimi by poisoning her drink, and Lucius (somehow?) gets it all on tape! He tells her that not only is he going to send the video to the police, but that he’s doing to send the tape of her having sex with Hakeem to the police as well. When she tells him Hakeem will never forgive him for what he’s planning to do to her, he tells her Hakeem is the one who originally sent him the video and that she’s going to jail. Camilla drinks the rest of the poison and offs herself.

END OF EPISODE. WHAT IS EMPIRE?

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