In the beginning of the episode, Lucious is nervous about the streaming situation for Empire. He could lose $50 million if the streaming service doesn’t reach 10 million subscribers in a few days, so he tried to get Cookie to deliver a few new songs before the week is out, a.k.a. before he has to deliver those numbers. Cookie reluctantly said she’ll work on it, but she has also been busy working with that councilman Angelo Dubois (Taye Diggs) who is being set up as her new love interest, much to Lucious chagrin—so Lucious may or may not get that music.
Remember how Dre got yoked up by the police last week? Well, we picked up from that incident and it’s as frustrating as you’d imagine. Lucious threatened to sick Thirsty on those cops, and Cookie wants to go to war too, but Dre swears he can take care of it “the right way” and doesn’t want them trying to handle things. The problem is, it wasn’t caught on video so until Dre stops being naïve, he’s going to be in major trouble.
Mariah Carey guest starred as a fabulous singer named Kitty (imagine that she’s still at Mariah Carey level, but in Empire world). Cookie is working hard to set up a collabo between Kitty and Jamal. This is Cookie’s way of trying to get Jamal back into performing again. Jamal is hesitant, but it looks promising that he might.
Cut to Dre’s court case. He was faced with trumped up charges from criminal trespassing to assaulting an officer, which is federal battery. We know dang well it was the cops that beat him, but they get away with stuff like that all the time, nothing new. Now Dre is facing a trial and serious jail time if they railroad him the way they’re trying to. Dre’s corny lawyer thinks he should cut a deal, yatta yatta, but Dre isn’t about to claim he’s guilty when he didn’t do anything.
Lucious is so pissed at the way Dre is handling this situation that he picked Dre and his brothers up after court and took them to the hood, where they used to live before Lucious blew up. Lucious did so because he felt like coddling his boys made them soft, and he regrets not really letting them get a taste of the street life (basically, he’s tight that Dre didn’t let Thirsty handle the situation) and is tired of them being too privileged. Deeper beyond Lucious’ shallow outrage is a tribute to Trayvon Martin, Philando Castro, and the other Black lives taken by excess and impulsive police force. It’s symbolic of overcoming the struggle and fighting for what’s right. Dre got so annoyed by Lucious talking down to him that he stepped out of the luxury vehicle they were in, and Jamal followed him to make sure he was okay. Meanwhile, Hakeem wasn’t about that life, he decided to go to the studio to record his dis track for Gram, who has been getting too cozy with Tiana.
It seems like Jamal and Dre made it out of their hood excursion just fine because Jamal found time to visit Freda Gatz in the bing. That wasn’t a good idea because he started having episodes of when she shot him and freaked out again. Before he spazzed, Freda managed to tell him that she didn’t mean to hurt him—which he knew, but that doesn’t erase the trauma of getting shot—and that she wants him to start recording again. That must have kinda-sorta worked because in the next scene, we spot Jamal in the studio with Kitty. The session went well, and we even got those signature Mariah Carey high notes.
Lucious reached his 10 million subscribers goal by episode’s end. Jamal’s album got finalized, but Lucious added touches to it like changing the title and cover, and removing the songs Cookie produced. Lucious did the latter because he’s jealous of Cookie’s budding relationship with Angelo Dubois and #PettyWap dinamug. Cookie reminded Lucious that she owns half of the company, and the board is on her side so if he’s declaring war, then he better come with it. He’s ready to spar, but you know he always ends up needing Cookie in the end.
The final conclusion featured Tariq confronting Dre about the incident. He told Dre that he knows about the trumped up charges against him and that he’s going to do some hard time. You know Tariq wanted Dre to rat out his dad in exchange for dropping charges. Dre declined. He might be a square, but he ain’t no snitch—at least, for now.