In Empire‘s “Full Circle” episode, Lucious struggles mightily, a shadow of the man he once was but battling to claw his way back to the light. Washing his amputated leg for the first time by himself, proves traumatic as Leah tries to choke the evil out of her son.

When Claudia takes Lucious back to his old stomping grounds in Philly, Lucious is led to Eddie Barker (Forest Whitaker), a music composer he apparently used to kick around with. But Lucious finds it difficult to remember or to keep up with Eddie until a story retold of a young Lucious’ violent past result in traumatic flashbacks for the former CEO.

Cookie and Eddie have a meeting of the minds when he visits. Lucious doesn’t remember him and Cookie knows why. She shares that Lucious suffered a traumatic brain injury.

As if she doesn’t have enough on her plate, Cookie has Empire’s financial woes to deal with. She comes up with a bold plan – to put out 20 albums for their 20th anniversary, with Andre tasked with coming up with the money however he has to do it. Cookie just wants it done.


Elsewhere, Jamal works on a song for a new movie that could be a game changer for him, but when he is asked by producers to make changes, he is not willing to cave to their demands. And when Becky replaces Jamal’s vocals with Tory’s to meet the producers desires, Jamal is devastated by the betrayal. Instead of being given the boot, Becky is rewarded by Cookie with a pay raise and a promotion. She chooses money over family…Empire over her son.

Meanwhile, Anika is on trial for Tariq’s murder…and losing. She blurts out a date in Hakeem’s direction and when Thirsty and Cookie come to visit her is jail, Cookie tells Anika that she knows the date was a reference to Bunky’s death. Anika wants out of the slammer and her manipulation works as Thirsty doctors evidence to get her out.

Leah later confesses to Cookie that she killed Tariq in order to implicate Anika. Commitment to a mental institution awaits Leah, thanks to Lucious, Cookie and Claudia.

The episode closes with a vulnerable Lucious begging Claudia to stay when she threatens to leave him. He pleads, telling her that he needs her to feel safe, as he is surrounded by scheming characters that will pull him down into the darkness.

Where Lucious goes from here will be interesting to see as he fights to regain his footing. Just as interesting will be to see where Empire goes and whether Cookie’s plans can get the label back on track.


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