Empire finally returned to our TV screens last Wednesday after a lengthy mid-season hiatus (hooray!). There have already been so many twists, turns and betrayals this season, it’s exhausting to keep up!
One of the most interesting storylines so far has been Anika’s sinister character progression. She used to be Lucious's fiance and head of A&R for Empire but after a series of devastating setbacks, she's morphed into a desperate, broken woman who will stop at nothing to rise back to the top (including pushing a pregnant woman down some stairs ... but we'll get to that later). Let's revisit the chain of events that led Anika down this dark path in the first place.
Hell Hath No Fury Like Anika ScornedGiphy
Anika started out season 2 mad as hell. She was deeply hurt after she caught Lucious getting hot and heavy with Cookie (in their own bed, might I add) last season. Bent on revenge, she attempted a hostile takeover of Empire Entertainment with, of all people, her archnemesis Cookie. She even slept with key investor Mimi Whiteman to secure the deal. Unfortunately for Anika, the deed wasn’t enough and the takeover blew up in her face.
If You Can't Beat Him, Join ThemGiphy
Anika’s pride is at an all-time low when she practically begs Cookie for work at her new start-up label, Lyon Dynasty (original, I know). Cookie wanted nothing to do with Boo Boo Kitty, however, which she makes very clear. With no other work coming in, Anika literally bends over backwards to prove her worth to Cookie.
No New FriendsGiphy
Cookie shuts Anika out of Lyon Dynasty for good due to *ahem* personal reasons. Cookie’s start-up label was Anika's last stake in the music industry and now she's run out of options. At this point, the Lyons have robbed her of her career, her sense of purpose and her overall identity.
Misery Loves CompanyTumblr
Things take a turn for the worse after Anika is ousted from Lyon Dynasty. She finds herself alone with zero job prospects and is in a very vulnerable state. Simultaneously, Hakeem was kidnapped by a group of thugs trying to extort his family for money. When he's finally released, the first place he goes is Anika's house in search of comfort. Unfortunately, their moment of misguided passion came back to haunt them.
Little Orphan AnikaTumblr/FOX
If things couldn’t get any more complicated for Anika, she finds out she’s pregnant. When she makes attempts to tell Hakeem the big news, he makes it clear he doesn’t want much else to do with her.
When Hakeem dismisses Anika, it sends her on a rampage. She's officially done with being screwed over by the Lyon family. Using her unborn child as a means to win Hakeem over, she begins stalking him and harassing his new girlfriend, Laura. She even poses as a chauffeur to find out where Laura lives. #Creepy.
Battle of the BulgeTumblr/FOX
While making Hakeem's life a living hell, Anika develops a friendship with a very pregnant Rhonda Lyon and learns about the perks of carrying a Lyon cub. When Rhonda discloses that Lucious calls her unborn son the “heir,” Anika gets the twisted idea that her own budding seed deserves the title instead. Not too long after, a "mysterious" intruder breaks into Rhonda and Andre’s mansion and pushes Rhonda down the winding staircase.Tumblr/FOX
Did I do that??Giphy/FOX
When Empire returned last week, Anika gave Rhonda a chilling visit at the hospital. While a heartbroken Rhonda is in her bed nursing the wounds of a bad fall and lost child, there doesn't even seem to be an iota of guilt, remorse, or shame coming from Anika for what she (most likely) did to this poor woman. Instead, she offers Rhonda her condolences, saying that “everything happens for a reason” and that “there will be an another heir.” Little does Rhonda know, Anika is talking about her very own bun in the oven.
It's hard not to wonder where Anika would be if she'd never decided to embark on this vengeful journey in the first place. However, we're now at a new stage in her development. It will be interesting to see how long she can get away with this treachery and what new lengths she'll go to cover her tracks. Hopefully, the madness will end and she'll focus all her excess energy on her pregnancy because, well, that's kind of important.