Empire begins with Cookie and Lucious speaking with Derek, aka D-Major, the man in charge of the ASAs, telling him they need more time for their performance. Lucious agrees with Cookie about more time, but not using Jamal’s song. He insists they use one of his older ones since they are what “built” Empire. D-Major tires of their squabbling and begins to leave. Meanwhile, Hakeem and Jamal record a new song. In the lobby, D-Major meets Jamal and commends him on his ASA nominations. Jamal, however, becomes angry when he learns Cookie is sacrificing his song for a performance with his father and brother. At the group home, Andre plays bingo with his grandmother, Leah. She becomes angry when she loses and knocks the mat and chips off the table. Candice comes to see Cookie and Carol and tells them Carol’s children have to be back to her after winter break.
That night Jamal goes to see D-Major to prevent his song and solo from becoming a family performance. D-Major dismisses him and refuses to hear him out. When Jamal refuses to back down and steps to him, he dismisses everyone from his studio and walks up on him. He then kisses him! Jamal is shocked, and D-Major tells him he has wanted to do that since he first saw him in the lobby that morning. They end up having sex in the studio. Elsewhere, Tiana and Hakeem record a new song for a movie soundtrack. Afterwards Hakeem comments on how late it is getting and about how he needs to get to Laura. Tiana chides him about his new fiance and having a baby on the way. She tries to get him to come to the club with her, but when he turns her down she kisses him on the cheek. The next night, Lucious, Jamal, and Hakeem gather to rehearse. They still cannot agree on the song and how everyone’s verses will fit in. Andre arrives with Leah and introduces his family to her. Lucious becomes fearful and tells him he has no idea what he has done. He quickly leaves.
Hakeem and Jamal are taken aback by the revelation their grandmother is still alive. Jamal runs into D-Major as they are leaving and tries to talk to him, however, he is dismissed again. Cookie confronts Lucious about hiding his mother. He tells her he never lied to anyone about her being dead; and only did to Andre so he would not keep pushing the issue. He recounts her pulling the trigger on the gun and it not going off and then telling him she was the cause of her problems. He ran away and stumbled across her years later when the federal government released thousands of mentally ill people onto the streets. At the time, he and Cookie were struggling and could not care for her and their children too. Andre tries to get Leah to come and live with him and Rhonda, but she decides to live with Lucious. At the house, Lucious has his maid watch over her and confine her to her room.
Elsewhere, Laura argues with Hakeem about recording a song with Tiana, feeling he did not fight for her to do the duet with him. He assures her he did, but the client wanted Tiana. She fears the latter wants him back. D-Major visits Jamal at his home and apologizes for earlier, but tells him he was at work and had to be about business. Jamal sees he is not ready to come out, and cuts things off with him, preferring to walk in his truth. Carol meets with Candice for lunch and tells her she needs her children to remain with her a while longer. She also tells her she is ready to tell Cookie the truth about her helping Lucious set up people to kill. Candice advises her against it, while a man overhears their conversation. The man is later revealed to be Tarik, an undercover FBI agent. He catches up with Carol over a drink. Rhonda visits with Anika and gives her all the baby stuff she had bought for her own child. When she is shoved out of the way of a box her mind flashes back. At the rehearsal, Lucious plays a melody for his sons and Cookie. They all like it and perform to it. D-Major likes it so much he gives them their time slot. That night, he meets with Jamal again, and the latter tells him they can keep their relationship on the low. Rhonda notices Anika’s shoes are the same as her attacker, while Lucious deals with his mother’s insanity.