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'Empire' recap: It's life or death for a beloved character

Freda has finally lost her damn mind. Or failed to achieve some deserved, but mangled revenge, depending on how you look at it. 

At the ASA Awards, she finds out that Lucious was essentially responsible for her dad's death. So, she steals a gun from a police officer, aims at Lucious and shoots. Only, she doesn't hit her target. 

She hits Jamal. The end of the episode sees him in the hospital, struggling to survive. 

This episode opens with Lucious preparing for the ASAs. Cookie rolls in, wearing the most incredible sunglasses that can only be described as a haute couture version of Dwayne Wayne's. She tells him he needs some rest, but he admits he can't trust his mom and refuses to stay in the house

At the house, his mother is tormenting the maid (who apparently doesn't season her food). As she flips through the TV, she sees a news clip about Lucious' music video. Later, Andre visits and she admits she wants to go to the ASAs. She's never even seen Lucious perform. Andre wants to take her, but, you know, it might be complicated because she’s supposed to be dead and all.

Cookie and Carol are at the Empire office, talking about dresses for the ASAs. Then they start talking about Tariq, the guy she ran into in the previous episode. They have plans to meet at Leviticus later, but Cookie is wary because of Tariq's police past.

Meanwhile, Jamal and Freda are performing a new song for hottie D-Major. He loves it and he wants to produce Jamal’s next album. Hawt. 

At Empire, Anika and Rhonda are chatting. Rhonda casually asks about the Louboutins, asking if she was wearing them on the same day that happened to be when she got pushed. Anika seems confused, then catches on. It's clear she knows Rhonda is suspicious of her for something, but we still don't know if she's guilty of being the stair shover. 

Meanwhile, Hakeem and Laura are planning a predictably tacky wedding. She also wants to give Us Weekly an exclusive, because they might highlight her music. Her career really isn't going that well. Hakeem encourages her, promising her that she'll get to refocus on her dream. 

“My dream is marrying you,” she says in the most lackluster tone, because this relationship is a sham and I despise it. 

Cookie later chats with Lucious about Tariq. They're both suspicious. Why does he suddenly want to be with Carol? What’s he planning?

Well, Cookie decides to find out, meeting up with Tariq at Leviticus. They make safe chit chat, until he brings up Bunkie. Cookie plays it cool, but doesn't leave without saying something petty. 

“Watch out — my sister has herpes,” she grins. 

Of course, Carol confronts Cookie at Empire after her date with Tariq. They get into it, then Cookie goes off, screaming at Carol to move out of her apartment. Also, she's uninvited to the ASAs.

Jamal is still in the studio with D-Major and the two are getting super close and flirty, until the door opens. It's Lucious, and D-Major jumps about a hundred feet back, insulting Jamal and pretending like they both weren't about to get hot and heavy. He barges out, but his little homophobic act doesn't trick Lucious. 

“A real dog can always tell a fake bitch,” Lucious snipes.

He sees right through D-Major. He’s mostly just mad that Jamal is hooking up with him in the studio, but of course, he takes it too far, going on a homophobic rant. Jamal throws it right back, bringing up his mommy issues. That's when Lucious also loses his damn mind, telling Jamal he can't wait to celebrate "the day you die from AIDS."

Jamal brings it up later with Cookie, but she's pissed that he’s still working with Freda. Then she reveals that she snitched on Frank and that Lucious had something to do with Frank’s death.

Finally, it's ASAs night. Andre and his grandma get ready to sneak out, but guess who's there to stop them? Thirsty and his cronies, who lock up Andre and grandma in an extremely fancy, unnecessary vault Lucious has in his house. 

Cookie preps for the ASAs herself, absolutely stunning in a gold dress and veil. Lucious asks her if they can go together and brings her a little gift — a diamond bracelet he says costs more than a Ferrari, less than a Lamborghini, which is probably a reasonable unit of measurement if you’re disgustingly rich and know how much those things cost off the top of your head.

At the ASAs, a girl group (winners of Empire's competition to feature an up-and-coming music group or artist) named DMK performs.

Hakeem and Laura walk the carpet together, but then a photographer does that obnoxious ego-busting thing where they ask the less famous partner to move. Sorry, Laura. Move it. 

In a red carpet interview, Jamal reveals he’s shelving the Black and White album and that this'll be the last time he’s on stage with his family. He then meets up with Freda, telling her he wants her to leave Empire. 

Then Carol shows up, either high or drunk as hell. Cookie grabs her and tells her to leave, but of course Carol can't do that without drama. She sees Freda and lets it slip that Lucious was somehow involved in Frank’s death.

Freda snaps. She runs toward Lucious and grabs a police officer’s gun. She shoots, but Jamal gets in the way, shot in the torso. 

The family heads to the hospital, where Jamal is fighting for his life. Since the show must go on, the ASAs are still happening, so they watch it on the waiting room TV to see who won the godforsaken Song of the Year Award. Drumroll, please....

It wasn't Lucious. OR Jamal! It was some random third person with the song "Dreaming." 

Outside the hospital, Lucious' mother starts to walk in, but she gets ambushed by press. As she opens her mouth to explain how she's related to Lucious, the episode ends. Darn you, Lee Daniels. Will she reveal she's his mom?! Who knows. 

Oh, also it's revealed that Tariq is a federal agent of some sort! Cookie was right! And he's about to do an interview with ....

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