Last week on Charlie's Angels, Hakeem and Camilla took control of Empire with the help of their offscreen white mentor. Meanwhile, Rhonda lost her baby, Andre lost his faith and his prescription pills, and Lucious has been watching way too much New Jack City.
1. SHAKESPEARE (last week: not ranked)
Did you know this show is based on King Lear? Yeah, fam, we got hit over the head with that folio enough times during its first season. But now, the show is based on Richard II. Lucious is even shooting a music video where he plays Richard II. And the fashion line Camilla is running? It's called Antony and Cleopatra. But that's not all! The episode is called "A Rose by Any Other Name," which references Romeo and Juliet. And then Mimi and Camilla are both killed at the end, kind of like Romeo and Juliet. But maybe also like Antony and Cleopatra! At any rate, Shakespeare is basically running a train on this whole episode.
2. LUCIOUS LYON (last week: 1)
Does this fool think he's in Game of Thrones? Sitting on an actual throne and holding an axe in his new music video is a really messy move. Plus, he was busy getting collected by not only Jamal when he outs his father's real name (Dwight Walker, in case you've forgotten the entire "Boom Boom Boom" saga) but also by a "sexy" reporter he will clearly sleep with next week, so he very nearly lost his power position at the top. It was enough for Shek'spere to best him, but not for anyone else in his family. Lucious is out here blackmailing people into killing themselves, so clearly he's the only one on top.
I'd question when Lucious ever had time to read Richard II, but I guess he could've just had Thirsty use Wikipedia.
3. COOKIE LYON (last week: 3)
Cookie da real MVP this week, regardless of where she falls on the list. This is the Alexis Carrington–inspired Cookie I've always dreamt of, running from location to location and fixing people's lives like she's Iyanla Vanzant. Lucious might be the one with all the power, but Cookie's the plug. She keeps Hakeem from being a petulant child at his press conference, connects with Rhonda, and tries to help Andre heal. Plus, she manages to get Camilla to fund Tiana's tour by sweetening the pot and adding Mirage a Trois to the tour, keeping Laura out of Camilla's way. She's still dealing with a fractured family, however, and she needs to get her sister and assistant in check … but, on the plus side, her gold pants looked great this week.
4. JAMAL LYON (last week: 7)
Is this a safe space to admit that Jamal is an idiot? He's absolutely shocked that the man who threw him in a trash can like he was Oscar the Grouch would lie to people about him not being gay anymore. Jamal's utter devotion to his father never made any damn sense before, but at least he hates him again and made a fire song out of his turmoil. Which, duh. Jamal chronicles every single one of his emotions in song form. His Snapchat must be fucking unbearable. Does he make a song every time it's his turn to bottom? Maybe he should, because then he wouldn't have gay flash mobs of Jack'd users throwing rainbow-colored flip-flops at him and singing "Flip Flop" to the tune of "Drip Drop." Yes. You heard that right. And the extras were awful. They couldn't book the Prancing Elites?
It was a good power move announcing Lucious's real name in public, even though the irony of calling out his father's authenticity while rapping a song ("Like My Daddy") as if he grew up in a trap house was clearly lost on him. Maybe his biggest fumble is thinking he can solve Andre's mental health crisis by singing a song he wrote with his brother. First of all, when did he have time to write this damn song? Second, if I'm depressed, can you play "Drip Drop" for me or something?
5. TIANA BROWN (last week: not ranked)
I started liking Tiana the minute she broke things off with Hakeem and grew a backbone. When she told Cookie she was gonna bounce from Empire if Hakeem kept fucking with her, that was too real. She's still out here doing low-budget Fifth Harmony songs (I guess that makes them Little Mix songs), but at least she's tired of Hakeem's shit, so I'm here for her. It's Tiana sticking to her guns that gets Cookie to cook up a scheme to placate Camilla, so congrats on finally being a power player on Empire.
6. THE MUSIC (last week: 11)
As I said, "Look but Don't Touch" is a B-side girl group jam. But "Like My Daddy" is genuinely Jamal's best song in a good long while. It has all the energy of "Good Enough" and "Keep Your Money," the Jamal jams that came with the series's debut, but it also propels Jamal's character (and the plot) forward. I can't even remember the last time this show attempted to do both at the same time, so maybe he's finally got his mojo back, and his character and his songs are back to the Season 1 Jamal we loved so much. The other song that Hakeem and Jamal sing to Andre is fine, but there's still the fact that what Andre needs in the wake of losing his child is MENTAL HEALTH-CARE and not some second act song from Dreamgirls.
7. HARPER SCOTT (last week: not ranked)
Oh, look, a sexy reporter who has sexual chemistry with the man she's interviewing! This Black Brenda Starr is basically a plot device, but at least she keeps Hakeem and Lucious at each other's throats and manages to keep the plot hurtling forward. I'm praying she doesn't sleep with Lucious, but seeing as she routinely interviews people in this episode without even recording their conversations, I'm not holding my breath.
8. HAKEEM LYON (last week: 2)
Holding a scepter with a lion's head isn't powerful, Hakeem, it's tacky. You know what else is tacky? Changing the logo of your company to your face. I honestly hope this becomes a running gag, for what it's worth, and whoever is in control of the company at any given time changes the logo to their own face. Aside from his usual Laguna Beach Season 3 antics, Hakeem also manages to record a sex tape of himself and Camilla so he can send it to Mimi and neutralize her. It's shortsighted not to realize that his father would intercept it (also, does that mean Lucious looked at the tape and WATCHED HIS SON HAVE SEX?), but at least Hakeem finally seems to be in possession of a brain.
9. LAURA CALLEROS (last week: 10)
I knew those other Mirage a Trois heffas didn't actually quit, even though they did on-screen last week. They're offscreen somewhere rehearsing and Laura is eager to go on tour because it's good for her career, but because she also doesn't want Naomi Campbell throwing her ass out a window. I feel you, girl.
10. "JESUS" (last week: not ranked)
Girl, I know Jesus saves, but he is not about to fix the medication re-up that Andre needs. His pastor seems insane. Is he going to put Andre in a cult? Will the real Jesus please stand up and tell Andre he is not having visions and that he needs to see a damn doctor?
11. ANDRE LYON (last week: 9)
Andre is merely in "power" by virtue of the fact that he has a high-ranking position at Empire. Plus, he's brandishing Jesus as a weapon to terrorize Rhonda and accuse her of infidelity. In the midst of this, he's doing some actual deductive reasoning (he thinks Rhonda was pushed, and she was!), but he also thinks God gave him that vision. It's actually utterly heartbreaking to see Andre's mental health deteriorate while his family stands by and does nothing, but it feels very powerful and real. It's the first time his storyline ever has.
12. RHONDA LYON (last week: 8)
Girl, didn't you have a flashback about being pushed down the stairs last week? Now you're hobbling around trying to run Empire's fashion division? Kindly sit your ass at home and work on getting your husband back on his medication.
13. JAMES HENTHROP (last week: 6)
Last week, I thought this white power gay (meaning gay with a lot of power, not the kind that attacks Mykki Blanco on Twitter) actually had some sense. But he couldn't figure out that Lucious was playing him while bragging about Jamal being supposedly "straight" for having sex with Sky, so I'm starting to question his decision-making skills. I'm also questioning why he's even on this damn show. How do you cast William Fichtner on your show and have him be so dreadfully boring?
14. PORSHA TAYLOR VS. CAROL HOLLOWAY (last week: not ranked)
Porsha, Cookie's assistant, is finally back! But she's merely squabbling with Carol, Cookie's sister, in some stupid comic relief subplot that lasts one scene. At least these black women earned a paycheck this week, so let me thank God for small favors.
15. CAMILLA MARKS-WHITEMAN (last week: 4)
Last week, it seemed like Camilla had a ton of power. She was finally about to come into her own as Cookie's rival and sparring partner. They could trade witty barbs every week like Alexis and Dominique on Dynasty. Turns out, the writers had other plans for her — she's really just thirsty as fuck. Camilla begs Hakeem to call her "mama" while they bang, then manages to get filmed by his hidden camera. Even if that hadn't happened, she was still having loud conversations on the phone with a woman she planned to kill … AT WORK. Where everyone could overhear her. How do you manage to be such a colossal flop as a villainess? By the time she kills Mimi by poison and tries to make it look like a suicide, you know she's about to meet a bitter end. I thought that Lucious might defenestrate her since they were on one of the top floors of a high rise, but no, I forget that Shakespeare is the one with all the power this week.
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavory guide!
You desperate plot device, let's cut Naomi Campbell from the cast and stop paying her checks.
16. MIMI WHITEMAN (last week: not ranked)
Academy Award-winner Marisa Tomei is not in this episode, so she's murdered in a bathtub offscreen. This show is so extra.