The Best Episodes of Empire (2015)

Last Updated: May 18, 2019

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.

Master of What is Mine Own

#1 - Master of What is Mine Own

Season 5 - Episode 8

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 8.25
248 votes
Directors: Dianne Houston
Writers: Matt Pyken, Yolonda E. Lawrence
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Toil and Trouble (2)

#2 - Toil and Trouble (2)

Season 3 - Episode 18

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 8.20
1,513 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Ilene Chaiken, Joshua Allen
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Rise by Sin

#3 - Rise by Sin

Season 2 - Episode 17

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 8.15
1,476 votes
Directors: Paul McCrane
Writers: Ayanna Floyd Davis, Jamie Rosengard
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Past is Prologue

#4 - Past is Prologue

Season 2 - Episode 18

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 8.14
1,530 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Lee Daniels, Ilene Chaiken
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Had It From My Father

#5 - Had It From My Father

Season 5 - Episode 9

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 8.13
257 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Diane Ademu-John, Carlito Rodriguez
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Who I Am

#6 - Who I Am

Season 1 - Episode 12

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 8.12
956 votes
Directors: Debbie Allen
Writers: Danny Strong
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Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils

#7 - Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils

Season 5 - Episode 7

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 8.08
271 votes
Directors: Tamra Davis
Writers: Joshua Allen, Dianne Houston
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The Empire Unpossess'd

#8 - The Empire Unpossess'd

Season 4 - Episode 18

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 8.08
442 votes
Directors: Craig Brewer
Writers: Brett Mahoney, Joshua Allen
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Pay for Their Presumptions

#9 - Pay for Their Presumptions

Season 5 - Episode 2

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 8.08
286 votes
Directors: John Krokidas
Writers: Yolonda E. Lawrence, Carlito Rodriguez
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Pride

#10 - Pride

Season 5 - Episode 3

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 8.05
275 votes
Directors: Clement Virgo
Writers: Diane Ademu-John, Joshua Allen
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Slave To Memory

#11 - Slave To Memory

Season 4 - Episode 9

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 8.04
664 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Joshua Allen, Dianne Houston
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My Fate Cries Out

#12 - My Fate Cries Out

Season 5 - Episode 17

Cookie gets picked up by AUSA Conway, while Lucious is visited by his past. Becky, Hakeem and Andre devise a plan to save Empire by putting on a show with special guests Sevyn Streeter and Ty Dolla $ign. Meanwhile, Andre helps Empire by getting help from the last person the Lyons expect, and Cookie may never forgive Lucious for what he’s done.

star 8.00
207 votes
Directors: Paul McCrane
Writers: Janeika James, Jasheika James, Cameron Johnson
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Et Tu, Brute?

#13 - Et Tu, Brute?

Season 2 - Episode 10

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 8.00
976 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Radha Blank
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A Rose by Any Other Name

#14 - A Rose by Any Other Name

Season 2 - Episode 12

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 8.00
1,356 votes
Directors: Michael Engler
Writers: Ilene Chaiken
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Fortune Be Not Crost

#15 - Fortune Be Not Crost

Season 4 - Episode 6

The Lyon family stands together as Anika and Hakeem begin a custody battle for Bella. Although they’re confident in Hakeem’s ability as a father, no one is prepared for the revelations her team brings to the trial. Meanwhile, Claudia grows more possessive over Lucious, who has unlocked a new way to understand music through his paintings. Also, Jamal introduces Warren to Lucious, Andre begins seeing a new therapist, and one of Becky’s old flames returns.

star 7.97
741 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Joshua Allen, Dianne Houston
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Sound and Fury

#16 - Sound and Fury

Season 3 - Episode 10

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 7.97
1,672 votes
Directors: Craig Brewer
Writers: Eric Haywood, Carlito Rodriguez
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The Tameness of a Wolf

#17 - The Tameness of a Wolf

Season 2 - Episode 13

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 7.97
1,361 votes
Directors: Paris Barclay
Writers: Attica Locke, Joshua Allen
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Toil and Trouble (1)

#18 - Toil and Trouble (1)

Season 3 - Episode 17

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
1,446 votes
Directors: Craig Brewer
Writers: Diane Ademu-John, Eric Haywood
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Die But Once

#19 - Die But Once

Season 1 - Episode 11

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 7.96
960 votes
Writers: Ilene Chaiken
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Our Dancing Days

#20 - Our Dancing Days

Season 1 - Episode 7

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 7.95
865 votes
Directors: Sanaa Hamri
Writers: Attica Locke
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Absent Child

#21 - Absent Child

Season 3 - Episode 16

The Lyons fear that the Dubois family is to blame for their latest family crisis, so when no one is willing to give up any information, Cookie takes matters into her own hands. Jamal and Lucious reach a breakthrough in a song on which they have been working, and Andre lashes out. Meanwhile, Cookie sets her eyes on a new plan for Empire in Vegas.

star 7.94
1,421 votes
Writers: Attica Locke, Malcolm Spellman
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Unto the Breach

#22 - Unto the Breach

Season 1 - Episode 9

It’s an all-out war when Cookie uncovers Anika’s big backstabbing secret, and Lucious must come face-to-face with his longtime rival, Billy Beretti. As the Lyon family rallies to save Empire Entertainment, all three sons take drastic measures: Jamal gets close with famous artist Delphine, Hakeem works hand-in-hand with Cookie and Andre is pushed way beyond his limits.

star 7.94
888 votes
Writers: David Rambo
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Hot Blood, Hot Thoughts, Hot Deeds

#23 - Hot Blood, Hot Thoughts, Hot Deeds

Season 5 - Episode 13

When Empire launches its national tour in Philly, things heat up and egos clash. Jamal and Kai’s relationships gets complicated and Treasure has an embarrassing mishap on stage. Cookie tries to grapple with her feelings for Damon, while the Feds start investigating Empire.

star 7.94
231 votes
Directors: Gabourey Sidibe
Writers: Diane Ademu-John, Evan Price
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Cupid Painted Blind

#24 - Cupid Painted Blind

Season 4 - Episode 8

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 7.93
661 votes
Writers: Diane Ademu-John, Carlito Rodriguez
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Love All, Trust a Few

#25 - Love All, Trust a Few

Season 5 - Episode 4

The Lyon family works to get back in their groove with a brand-new project underway. As Cookie and Portia attempt to sign Devon, who has just the sound they’re looking for, Andre tries to prove himself useful to Lucious on the business side of things. Not having heard from Kai, Jamal panics and looks back at their history together. At Empire, the new management entangles itself with a dangerous tie from the Lyon family’s past.

star 7.93
315 votes
Writers: Matt Pyken, Cameron Johnson
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