Empire began on what seemed to be a hopeful note–for Cookie at least–as she tried on a ton of outfits trying to find the right look to impress Lucious, believing his rose was a symbol of his lasting love for her. She arrives at the restaurant he has invited her to for dinner in an over-sized fur coat. There she finds the rest of her family and Anika waiting for them in a private room. Lucious announces to his family that he has proposed to Anika. She shows off the giant diamond on her ring, infuriating Cookie. She explodes, admonishing him for bringing her a rose on their anniversary after he proposed to Anika. He tries to save face by claiming it was in memory of their shared past. She storms out, but not before revealing she was wearing nothing but lingerie underneath her coat and shows Anika what a “real ass” looks like!
Lucious watches Hakeem’s new video, but begins to experience ALS symptoms, collapsing onto the table. He sees the detective checking his trash for evidence on one of his security cameras. He goes to Vernon to weigh his options about what he can do to get him fired. Vernon demands to know if he killed Bunkie. Lucious, surprisingly, reveals he did due to Bunkie’s betrayal. Vernon immediately goes to see Andre and puts him in a choke hold! He demands to know why he did not tell him Lucious kills Bunkie. He reveals he provides alibis for his father as he always has. Andre informs Rhonda he was right about his father being a murderer. Cookie hears the completed version of Jamal’s new single and loves it. She makes plans for them to release it despite what Lucious thinks. Michael worries about his relationship with Jamal, feeling he has changed since in his pursuit to take over Empire. Cookie warns him to find something of his own to commit to now that Jamal will only become busier with his music. Hakeem continues to unravel from Tianna’s betrayal, calling Camilla for comfort.
Vernon beefs up security around Empire, while Lucious hires, Malcolm, a former soldier who pinpoints weaknesses in his security. Michael voices his concerns to Jamal. The latter promises the two of them are rock solid and to ignore Cookie’s advice. They even plan to go away to Fire Island for the weekend with friends. At Empire, Anika places Elle Dallas, formerly Empire’s premiere artist, on a drop list. Cookie refuses to allow her and has Lucious arrange a meeting for her to salvage her career. Cookie reveals Elle’s music got her through her prison time, but she is not interested in being managed by an ex-convict. Cookie finds her the next day in a seedy motel with a junkie getting high. She dumps her drugs and then comforts her, determined to get her back to her former glory. Later, she meets with Jamal at Leviticus and convinces a popular NFL player to tweet about how good his single is. Almost immediately, the buzz from the tweet garners much media attention. Hakeem begs Jamal to help him with his hook, but he rejects him not feeling his disrespect of their mother and his immaturity. Jamal cancels his plans with Michael and performs one of his new songs on television followed by an interview with Sway. There, he denies being in a relationship and does not come out. Cookie manages to get Elle back on track by getting her back to her true self, inside and out!
Vernon pays a criminal to take the fall for Lucious by paying him a hefty sum of money. Lucious thanks Vernon for his help, but they are far from even. He apologizes to Andre for choking him, who in turn warns him if he ever puts his hands on him again he will slit his throat. Lucious hites a personal doctor who recommends a foreign treatment for his ALS. Cookie meets Malcolm and seems to like him. As the Lyons leave Empire for the day, Jamal’s ex-girlfriend, Olivia, arrives with her daughter in tow. She reveals that her daughter is Jamal’s!