Warning: This recap of the “What Remains Is Bestial” episode of Empire contains spoilers.
Almost nobody screams as beautifully as Mariah Carey, and it is for this reason that she has risen to international stardom if not all-time musical sainthood. Her famously multi-octave scream has graced the ears and touched the hearts of roughly 100 percent of the people, and she has accomplished this with more elegance than a graceful butterfly carrying a luxurious tiara in its beak. (Do butterflies have beaks? Don’t answer that.) In other words, Mariah Carey is a national treasure. But do you know what else is? Empire the TV show.
I have some news for you: Mariah Carey was on this week’s episode of Empire finally! How exactly did it take three seasons for this to happen? Isn’t Mariah Carey a close personal bestie of Lee Daniels ever since the time he drew a beard on her in Sharpie and it almost won her an Oscar for Precious? Why did this heavenly matchup take so long to happen? Perhaps this is not for us to question, only to appreciate. Mariah Carey was on Empire! Anyway, it was a pretty good episode, let’s talk about it.
We began with a series of mysterious moans coming from Lucious’s home office. Upon further investigation, a curious Anika merely found him sitting at his desk enjoying some paperwork!
Also there was a woman under his desk for some reason.
Honestly it was hard to know EXACTLY what was going on down there in that dark recess beneath Lucious’s desk, a shadowy realm that God himself had long forsaken, especially because I was so distracted by the 10,000 flat-screen televisions spread throughout the room. Truly no home office is complete without that many flat screens all tuned to the same channel. Anyway, Anika was not very thrilled to see how Lucious was spending his free time. Married life!
In the aftermath of Andre’s run-in with a bunch of corrupt and possibly racist cops, he was released from jail and reporters barked racially motivated questions at him. At first he turned all of his cheeks like Gandhi at a cheek-turning contest, but then he was distracted when a ghost with an umbrella started waving at him like crazy.
Ghost Rhonda — who in this moment proved that even ghosts can get rained upon, and there is nothing worse than a wet ghost, they smell like wet dogs — told Andre that he would have never been beaten up by cops if she had been still alive. It was airtight logic from a ghost with an umbrella, really something for Andre to think about.
Jamal decided to deal with his PTSD from being shot on a red carpet by attending a support group populated only by hotties and hardbodies. The main group leader was a bodacious hunk who had once been a soldier and he reached out to Jamal to not be discouraged by the fact that everyone in the group was starstruck by Jamal’s fame. Of course, Jamal HAD brought bodyguards to the meeting, so it’s not like he was exactly low-profile. But I think Jamal was feeling sheepish because almost everyone in the room was a WAR HERO and he had been accidentally shot by a teen on a red carpet.
Later, at some concert, Tiana and a new guy started performing together and the new guy spat mad flow about Hakeem being a chump or whatever, then they MADE OUT on stage. Hakeem was like…
Oooh he was steamed. Oooh, ooooooooh he was steamed. Hakeem was going to have to take this new guy DOWN.
I truly did not understand Cookie’s glasses in this scene, but if you did understand Cookie’s glasses in this scene, feel free to explain them to me in the comments below. First question: What are they? Second question: Why are they? Third question: What was going on with those glasses?!
So then Mariah Carey showed up, and even though everyone was calling her “Kitty,” this was absolutely just regular Mariah Carey, being a total Mariah Carey about everything. In this case, Cookie had arranged for “Kitty” to record a duet with Jamal to help him get over his aversion to singing and also put him back on the map because his career was currently doing a backstroke through the gutter. In a classic Jamal move, he suddenly ran out of the room to, like, frown, and Mariah Carey just sort of looked confused. Oh, Jamal.
Things weren’t less weird for Hakeem, who was attempting to record a diss track against the guy who had kissed Tiana in concert, but he kept getting distracted by little things, like for example when Shyne started beating up his own sister. Hakeem has a crush on her, so this ticked him off. But when he complained to Lucious about it, Lucious told him to be more of a monster and relax, it was fine. Great family.
Anika had nothing to do but stay home all day being horny, and this UPS delivery guy was NOT helping matters. I loved that Grandma Lyon was just standing around disapproving of Anika’s horniness as though Grandma Lyon herself wasn’t totally horny for this UPS guy. Sure, grandma, you’re crazy but not THAT crazy.
Cookie went to go hang out with Taye Diggs, but he was superupset because Lucious had offered to sign a local student to Empire and Taye Diggs wanted this boy to continue his schooling and also to teach the community how to code (?) so he shouted at Cookie to undo Lucious’s deal. She was annoyed that Taye Diggs had come for her like that, but deep down she was into it. Taye Diggs could do no wrong basically.
Andre had a rough day at court when he discovered that the prosecutors were charging him with, like, a thousand crimes. Obviously it was all unjust and there was no way for him to prove his innocence, so it was our first ever glimpse at the American criminal justice system’s imperfections. FINALLY a TV series was going to shed some light on this subject. Then Lucious picked up his sons in a van limo and took them to the ghetto where he yelled at them for forgetting that they were black. This made Andre mad so he ran out of the van and called a Lyft. Lesson learned!
Grandma Lyon summoned Lucious home with urgent news: Something was going DOWN in Lucious’s home office!
Man, that chair was going to need a major Febrezing soon. Anyway, the UPS guy had found a part-time job under Lucious’s desk, and Lucious reacted to this by getting out his GUN. The scene ended in a stand-off between Anika and Lucious getting in each other’s faces and vowing to be jerks forever. All in all, a pretty normal marriage.
Jamal went and visited Freda Gatz in jail, and even though he seemed happy to see her, he immediately started freaking out when she reached her hand out a little and he remembered the time that she shot him.
I don’t know, guys. I have not been shot on a red carpet (YET) but I think that maybe Jamal has taken this too far. So much crying and running away all the time. Get over it! (Please nobody shoot me on a red carpet.)
Jamal and Mariah Carey then successfully recorded their duet after Jamal took SO MANY pills (which, uh, caught him up with Kitty?) and I loved that it concluded with that trademark Mariah Carey high-pitched squeak that she used to do all the time, but this time it was almost definitely computer generated. Didn’t matter! All that mattered was that Mariah Carey was in the recording booth wearing a long-sleeved one-piece bathing suit with a belt. Truly stunning.
Cookie tore up the contract that Lucious had offered to the inner city teen, and he responded by secretly releasing Jamal’s album that he didn’t want released. Imagine if THAT was your biggest problem: A major record label released your album! The nerve! Jamal was trying to pull a Fiona Apple apparently, but Lucious didn’t care. The worst part was Lucious informed Cookie that he didn’t want to be co-CEOs with her anymore, and he was going to take full control of Empire AGAIN. Like always. Season 3 and this power struggle is still supposed to be interesting I guess. THIS MEANS WAR, everybody.
The episode ended with Tariq admitting to Andre that he’d personally gotten the book thrown at Andre so that Andre would be forced to work with him and against Lucious. This did not seem very aboveboard and definitely did seem very shady, which I guess means it was a realistic portrayal of how the authorities work sometimes. But it also verified that Tariq is a genuine d*ck and will be getting his comeuppance soon. Fingers crossed!
“What Remains Is Bestial” did not exactly provide the biting, hard-hitting exploration of police injustice we may have expected after last week’s cliffhanger, and maybe it was silly for us to have ever hoped for that. But it did use a widespread societal pandemic as a plot point, so that’s an interesting choice. I can’t say I’m superinterested in another Lucious vs. Cookie power struggle, but something tells me Empire will unveil a brand new spice for that recipe. Will it be delicious or burn our mouths? Tongues out, eyes closed, let’s do this.
What did YOU think of “What Remains Is Bestial”?
Empire airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox