The BEST Episodes of Empire

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2021

Network: FOX

Lucious Lyon is the king of hip-hop. An immensely talented artist, the CEO of Empire Entertainment and a former street thug, his reign has been unchallenged for years. But all that changes, when he learns he has a disease that is going to render him crippled and incapacitated in a matter of three years. The clock is ticking, and he must groom one of his three sons to take over his crowning achievement, without destroying his already fractured family.

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Toil and Trouble (2)

#1 - Toil and Trouble (2)

Season 3 - Episode 18 - Aired May 24, 2017

As Lucious gets ready to launch EMPIRE Las Vegas with Giuliana at his side, Cookie pulls together her own team of allies to wreak havoc on the opening. The final five minutes will leave viewers speechless.

star 8.21
1,555 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Ilene Chaiken, Joshua Allen
Rise by Sin

#2 - Rise by Sin

Season 2 - Episode 17 - Aired May 11, 2016

Hakeem feels the pressure of his underwhelming fiancé, Laura, as he struggles to find a place for her both in his family and his career. Cookie finally reveals to Jamal the truth behind what happened to Freda’s father, prompting Jamal to warn Freda of his family’s ulterior motives. Meanwhile, despite his frustration with the family, Jamal makes a sacrifice for Lucious from which it will be hard to recover.

star 8.17
1,548 votes
Directors: Paul McCrane
Writers: Ayanna Floyd Davis, Jamie Rosengard
Past is Prologue

#3 - Past is Prologue

Season 2 - Episode 18 - Aired May 18, 2016

After a life-changing experience, Jamal refuses to make music until his family ends its seemingly endless cycle of violence and fighting. Meanwhile, the Feds are tailing Anika because they want to force her to testify against Lucious. In order to protect her family, Cookie organizes a meeting at Hakeem and Laura’s wedding with various people from her and Lucious’ past.

star 8.17
1,600 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Ilene Chaiken, Lee Daniels
Master of What is Mine Own

#4 - Master of What is Mine Own

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 28, 2018

The cost of running Lyon Family Management starts to put pressure on Cookie and Lucious’ relationship. When Kingsley pulls a power move of his own that has major financial repercussions for Lucious, Cookie thinks back to their early struggles. Kai becomes upset when Jamal announces their engagement on live TV and Tiana hits a crossroad with Hakeem, who refuses to set aside his beef with Blake. Meanwhile, Candace becomes vindictive after feeling betrayed by Cookie and Giselle uncovers a key to her future.

star 8.15
288 votes
Directors: Dianne Houston
Writers: Matt Pyken, Yolonda Lawrence
Et Tu, Brute?

#5 - Et Tu, Brute?

Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired Dec 2, 2015

Lucious makes a reckless play for the streaming service that he believes will make him the most powerful man in music, only to learn that the entire business strategy was part of a scheme that might bring Hakeem’s ex, Camilla, back into the picture. Meanwhile, Cookie decides to plan a concert at the prison where she spent 17 years locked away from her family and a tragic “accident” leaves Rhonda in a scary state.

star 8.08
1,106 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Radha Blank
Who I Am

#6 - Who I Am

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Mar 18, 2015

Jamal and Lucious are on their way to forming a music-centered relationship, but once again, Lucious has a secret that’s about to change everything. Hakeem decides to flirt with the enemy, while trying to figure out what the best move is for his career. Meanwhile, Cookie is cooking up a plan of her own.

star 8.08
1,103 votes
Directors: Debbie Allen
Writers: Danny Strong
The Empire Unpossess'd

#7 - The Empire Unpossess'd

Season 4 - Episode 18 - Aired May 23, 2018

As the Empire ownership bid presentation nears, Lucious must make a difficult decision to save the future of the company and his family, while Eddie shows no signs of backing down. However, Cookie reveals a potential upper hand in the power play for Empire, after doing a little digging into her past. Meanwhile, Andre makes a power play of his own, Hakeem’s high spirits comes to a quick end due to a threat, Jamal and Tory struggle to cope with the success of their new music group, tension boils as the Lyons face Empire’s most existential threat yet and someone’s past mistakes leads to a deadly consequence. Season Finale.

star 8.06
467 votes
Directors: Craig Brewer
Writers: Brett Mahoney, Joshua Allen
Had It From My Father

#8 - Had It From My Father

Season 5 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 5, 2018

The financial security of the Lyon family is on the line as their LFM showcase quickly approaches. Kai’s research for an expose on Empire uncovers some dirty activity within the company and causes conflict with Jamal. Meanwhile, Hakeem and Tiana finally reach an agreement on how best to move forward with their relationship, Andre struggles with his decision to let a new love interest in and Kingsley strikes a deal with Giselle.

star 8.04
294 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Carlito Rodriguez, Diane Ademu-John
A Rose by Any Other Name

#9 - A Rose by Any Other Name

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Apr 6, 2016

With Hakeem acting as Empire’s CEO, Camilla sinks her claws further and further into him. The rest of the Lyon family tries to get him to rejoin their side, but Hakeem has his own plan. Meanwhile, Jamal receives backlash from his fans and Andre and Rhonda’s marriage is tested.

star 8.04
1,457 votes
Directors: Michael Engler
Writers: Ilene Chaiken
Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils

#10 - Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils

Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 14, 2018

In an effort to bridge the gap between Lyon Family Management and Empire, Lucious must play nice with Jeff Kingsley, so that the two companies can get girl group TBD back on the map. Meanwhile, Jamal grows frustrated with Cookie when she tries to steal his London artist, Wynter, out from under him, Andre works with the mother of one of his old inmates to help free her innocent son and Cookie realizes her sister is in danger.

star 8.03
307 votes
Directors: Tamra Davis
Writers: Dianne Houston, Joshua Allen
Slave To Memory

#11 - Slave To Memory

Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 13, 2017

Cookie and Lucious devise an elaborate plan to take down Diana Dubois and her family once and for all. Andre recovers from his mental breakdown in the hospital, Shine tries desperately to protect his secret and Eddie Barker is concluding his tenure at Empire. Amidst the chaos, someone’s life hangs in the balance.

star 8.03
682 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Dianne Houston, Joshua Allen
Our Dancing Days

#12 - Our Dancing Days

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 18, 2015

Tension mounts between Hakeem and Jamal, as Lucious attempts to brand Empire Entertainment as a tight-knit, “family-run” company. Meanwhile, Cookie and Anika don’t hold anything back when it comes to taking over the company.

star 8.01
1,042 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Attica Locke

#13 - Pride

Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 10, 2018

Cookie and Lucious push to get back in the music game, but they’ll need the whole family and some old allies to make serious sacrifices in order to do so. Meanwhile, Andre finds a risky way to make a name for himself among his fellow inmates.

star 7.99
315 votes
Directors: Clement Virgo
Writers: Diane Ademu-John, Joshua Allen
Pay for Their Presumptions

#14 - Pay for Their Presumptions

Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 3, 2018

Cookie and Lucious learn the difficulties of launching an artist without Empire Entertainment’s resources, and their future with new artist Treasure is jeopardized. So when they receive two interesting offers that will launch them back into power in the music industry, they make a surprising decision. Meanwhile, Jamal decides to put his family first and move back to New York, leaving Kai with some tough decisions.

star 7.98
324 votes
Directors: John Krokidas
Writers: Carlito Rodriguez, Yolonda Lawrence
Die But Once

#15 - Die But Once

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired Mar 18, 2015

Jamal and Lucious are on their way to forming a music-centered relationship, but once again, Lucious has a secret that’s about to change everything. Hakeem decides to flirt with the enemy, while trying to figure out what the best move is for his career. Meanwhile, Cookie is cooking up a plan of her own.

star 7.98
1,137 votes
Writers: Ilene Chaiken
The Devils Are Here

#16 - The Devils Are Here

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 23, 2015

Three months after the shocking arrest and incarceration of Empire Entertainment head Lucious Lyon. Still in federal lockup, Lucious is trying to run Empire from inside, while a headline-grabbing state prosecutor hangs her political ambitions on bringing him down – no matter what it takes. Meanwhile, Cookie stages a star-studded #FreeLucious concert in his support, while scheming with Andre, Hakeem, Anika and the business savvy Mimi Whiteman to finalize the hostile takeover of Empire.

star 7.98
1,381 votes
Directors: Lee Daniels
Writers: Danny Strong, Ilene Chaiken
The Lyon's Roar

#17 - The Lyon's Roar

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Feb 25, 2015

It’s time for the Lyon family to come together and record a legacy album with Lucious, Hakeem and Jamal. Cookie and Camilla finally come face-to-face, Andre struggles with some inner demons and Jamal steps into the spotlight with news that surprises everyone.

star 7.98
1,049 votes
Directors: Danny Strong
Writers: Danny Strong
The Lyon Who Cried Wolf

#18 - The Lyon Who Cried Wolf

Season 2 - Episode 16 - Aired May 4, 2016

A wrench is thrown into Lucious’ deeply personal music video about his mother, when Andre discovers a dark secret. Meanwhile, Hakeem and Jamal are compromised after tempting themselves with new or rekindling, but secretive affairs. Then, Rhonda starts to suspect who her attacker was.

star 7.98
1,451 votes
Writers: Joshua Allen
Toil and Trouble (1)

#19 - Toil and Trouble (1)

Season 3 - Episode 17 - Aired May 17, 2017

When Cookie is banned from Leviticus Vegas, she pulls together a team of her own allies to seek revenge on Giuliana and steal her secret weapon. Meanwhile, Jamal is encouraged to put his album on hold, so as not to compete with Lucious’ “Inferno.”

star 7.96
1,482 votes
Directors: Craig Brewer
Writers: Diane Ademu-John, Eric Haywood
Out, Damned Spot

#20 - Out, Damned Spot

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Feb 11, 2015

Vernon is caught in the middle of a very sticky situation. Meanwhile, Jamal is rising to stardom, but his newfound drive and ambition might stir up trouble in his relationships. To make matters worse, a mystery woman from the family’s past shows up with a huge surprise.

star 7.95
1,064 votes
Directors: Michael Engler
Writers: Eric Haywood
Sound and Fury

#21 - Sound and Fury

Season 3 - Episode 10 - Aired Mar 22, 2017

After launching a deadly missile at Angelo, Lucious announces his new music project, Inferno, and puts everyone on notice – especially Cookie, who then vows to knock him off his throne for good. The two engage in an epic clash – fueled by a history of love, loyalty and betrayal. Meanwhile, Jamal befriends musician Tory Ash during his stay in rehab, Andre continues with his plan to take over EMPIRE, and Hakeem and Tiana battle Nessa for a spot in the music showcase.

star 7.94
1,740 votes
Directors: Craig Brewer
Writers: Carlito Rodriguez, Eric Haywood
The Tameness of a Wolf

#22 - The Tameness of a Wolf

Season 2 - Episode 13 - Aired Apr 13, 2016

Tensions between Lucious and his sons continue to rise. Back at Lyon Dynasty, Lucious aims to direct his most emotional and honest music video yet and recreates a traumatic interaction with his mother for the new single. Meanwhile, on the Mirage a Trois tour, Tiana and Laura begin viciously fighting over the spotlight, forcing Hakeem to mediate between the two divas.

star 7.94
1,460 votes
Directors: Paris Barclay
Writers: Attica Locke, Joshua Allen
Cupid Painted Blind

#23 - Cupid Painted Blind

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 6, 2017

Cookie and Lucious take matters into their own hands as they watch Diana DuBois’ master scheme unfold. Meanwhile, Andre begins to spiral out of control, wondering what she could have in store for him. Also, Jamal’s sobriety is put to the test and Shine gives Hakeem advice on how to maintain a balance between his work and personal life.

star 7.94
680 votes
Writers: Carlito Rodriguez, Diane Ademu-John
Sinned Against

#24 - Sinned Against

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 25, 2015

Cookie and her sister, Candace, team up with a former prison mate to rescue their sister, Carol. Back at Empire, Jamal and critically acclaimed pop star Skye Summers begin collaborating and soon share a deep connection. Meanwhile, Laz has truly fallen for Cookie, but things get complicated when she finds out the truth about him.

star 7.94
1,113 votes
Directors: Paul McCrane
Writers: Eric Haywood
Civil Hands Unclean

#25 - Civil Hands Unclean

Season 3 - Episode 15 - Aired May 3, 2017

Angelo’s relationship with Cookie turns toxic and leaves her questioning her decisions. Hakeem makes a public plea for Lucious to give him paternity of Bella during his return to Empire Xstream. Meanwhile, Cookie becomes increasingly more suspicious of Lucious’ intentions with Giuliana and Empire’s future in Vegas, and Lucious and Jamal work overtime to finish their albums.

star 7.94
1,528 votes
Directors: Howard Deutch
Writers: Carlito Rodriguez, Ilene Chaiken