On Wednesday (Nov. 4), Empire returned to its regularly scheduled time and this week's episode certainly made up for lost time. In episode 6, Hakeem, who was kidnapped before the brief hiatus, comes home and it is revealed that Cookie's new man has a deep, dark secret.
Things kick off with the introduction of a new character by way of Lucious’ assistant Becky. She’s seen booed up with J Poppa, a Gutter Life rapper, but she insists that she can’t stay out all night as she has to get ready for her first day in her new position under Andre at Gutter Life Records. During a company meeting, Andre pretty much unravels everything Lucious put together and introduces a new policy of signing talent.
Meanwhile, Cookie is running rehearsal for Hakeem’s girl group, Mirage A Trois, who she hilariously refers to as “Destiny’s Problem Child.” Oddly, Hakeem is nowhere to be found and Cookie tries to reach him several times. As Cookie chastises her assistant Porsha, she gets a Snapchat of her son bound with duct tape across his mouth. Considering his previous antics, Cookie’s first mind is that Lucious was involved.
Lucious and Jamal happen to be in the studio working on new music, a ballad over piano, as all of this is going down. Cookie storms into the studio and Lucious denies having any thing to do with having his son snatched. Jamal is eager to help find his little brother but his parents advise him to stay away from the situation.
Things shift back to Hakeem, who is still being held captive, and he manages to get a glimpse of his abductors. They all have longhorn tattoos in between their shoulder blades, which prompts Hakeem to ask, “What? Y'all a bunch of punk ass cowboys?” Apparently, they didn’t take his commentary lightly and one of the guys proceeds to pistol whip Lucious’ youngest son in the eye. The effects from the blow stick with him for some time.
Lucious and Cookie are desperate to get their son back and Cookie fears for the worst. They head over to a sketchy location, Lucious asks for “proof of life” and puts $40,000 in a trash can near a welder under some train tracks for the kidnappers. A van pulls up and Cookie charges towards it only to find the backseat empty. The driver reveals that Hakeem asked to be let out before the drop zone. Hakeem is shown wandering around, getting all kinds of crazy looks because of his bloodied eye and Anika appears. She’d just got off the phone with her mother after telling her how Lucious left her with nothing when she discovers Hakeem hiding behind a column on her doorstep.
Unexpectedly, Hakeem decides to go for the gusto, tonguing Boo Boo Kitty down and giving her a hickey.
Back at Gutter Life, Andre takes matters into his own hands and holds interviews with each of the artists. He crosses paths with Becky’s new boo, J Poppa, and things get quite interesting. After revealing the meaning behind his name, Andre tells him that his place at Gutter Life is secure if he puts more Jesus in his songs.
Jamal, on the other hand, is frustrated with the way he’s being marketed by his label and disappointed because the Staples Center didn’t want to book him, presumably because he’s gay. Jamal is determined to break away from being defined solely as a niche artist and seeks out the help of Jameson, a guy who almost managed Lucious’ career until Lucious found out he was gay.
All the while, Hakeem is struggling to get back to his usual self. He suffers from violent outburst, headaches, double vision, hearing women’s voices as static and loss of flow. Lucious attempts to get Hakeem back to Empire, sharing a track called “Boom Boom Bang Bang” as a peace offering, but Hakeem declines.
Cookie and Lucious clash over the best way to protect the boys after Hakeem’s kidnapping. They ultimately decide to hire the abductors as security. After a meeting with Laz, a smooth concert promoter, and a brief lip lock, Cookie sets up a meeting for protection. She takes Hakeem back to the place where he was kept. He has a post traumatic break and pulls a gun on his attackers. In a swift turn of events, Cookie takes the gun from him and points it at his attackers and then hires them.
“Welcome to my streets, b*tch,” she said with the gun pointed right in the middle of a guy’s forehead.
Lucious hosts the Apple Jam and J Poppa takes the stage. It is then that Lucious gets wind of his religious raps and promptly shuts down any hidden agenda Andre may have concocted. Freda Gatz also attempts to perform but gets distracted by a heckler, who she kicks in the face.
After a pep talk with his brothers, Hakeem nearly blows it at Apple Jam with one look at Lucious. Luckily, his Latina muse, Laura, is able to snap him out of it. Lucious seems disappointed in his son’s regain of confidence and later meets up with Freda Gatz. He lets her hear the beat he tried to give Hakeem and they rap together in his car.
After a hectic week, Cookie shows up at Laz’s door and asks him to make her forget about everything that’s recently happened. While things are getting hot and heavy, Laz removes his shirt and unveils a shocking secret: he has the same longhorn tattoo as Hakeem’s kidnappers.