This show has always been about Shakespeare and now this episode isn't even titled after some heavy-handed dialogue from a Shakespeare play. What a letdown.
1. LEAH WALKER (last week: not ranked)
Lucious's mother is fresh out the nursing home and not dead, like Lucious had everyone believing she was. Lucious's face when she walks into the room tells you everything you need to know about Ms. Walker — she's the most powerful person in the Lyon family right now. She's able to gently express love for her son, then cruelly force him to eat cake in the middle of the night while she holds a knife at him. She quite literally pulls an "eat the cake, Anna Mae" on him and it's probably the most batshit crazy and terrifying thing to ever happen on this show. She's living in his mansion now, so Lucious, you in danger, girl.
2. ANDRE LYON (last week: 6)
For once, Andre has gotten the upper hand on his father. Pulling his grandmother out of the nursing home and thrusting her back into Lucious's life sent his father into a tailspin. But don't worry, it's Andre, and he loses the hold he has with Ms. Walker before the episode is even over once she moves into Lucious's mansion.
3. LUCIOUS LYON (last week: 1)
Once again, Lucious has toppled from the head of the pack due to his issues with his mother. This time, it might turn out even worse now that he's not merely revisiting the past, but the past is actually here to confront him. He's not completely shaken up, however — he manages to take care of that busybody blogger that outed his secret about his mother to Andre.
4. THIRSTY RAWLINGS (last week: 14)
And speaking of taking care of that blogger, Thirsty finally made himself useful this week. Instead of wandering around in a cheap suit and making you wonder why Bubbles from The Wire doesn't have a better role on this show, he went ahead and took care of Harper Scott for telling Andre that his grandmother was still alive. Driving her underneath an overpass and letting two men kidnap and (presumably) kill her, we finally see the dark, enforcer side of Thirsty.
5. COOKIE LYON (last week: 2)
Cookie doesn't do much (ugggghhhh) but squabble with her sisters and her kids this week, but she's still co-CEO of Empire, so her spot in the top five is pretty secure.
6. RHONDA LYON (last week: 10)
Finally, girl! Rhonda now knows she was shoved down the stairs and she's pretty sure it's Boo Boo Kitty who did it. Know how she knows? Anika is still running around wearing the shoes from the night of the crime. This dumb ass heffa ...
7. ANIKA CALHOUN (last week: 3)
MAYBE GET RID OF THE SHOES YOU WORE THE NIGHT YOU SHOVED A PREGNANT WOMAN DOWN THE STAIRS, SIS.
8. DEREK MAJOR (last week: not ranked)
I'm not sure I needed Empire to address down-low brothers, but whatever, come thru Derek Major. Derek is fine as hell and he's into some rough, Tariq-from-The-L.A.-Complex kind of shit. I was afraid he was going to beat up Jamal, but he really just beat up those cakes … let me stop.
9. TIANA BROWN (last week: not ranked)
Homegirl knows what she's doing. Kissing Hakeem on the cheek and jumping onto the song he's recording for Ryan Coogler's new film (LMAO as if, but OK). She clearly still wants Hakeem back, but she's playing it cool since he has a baby on the way and is engaged to that unmemorable girl who's still in high school or whatever.
10. JAMAL LYON (last week: 8)
Jamal is still whining about music choices on his album and what he's performing at the ASAs. At least he finally has a man to sleep with again that's not goddamn Michael. But also, giving yourself to someone in the closet is probably not a good move, boo.
11. THE MUSIC (last week: 12)
The music notched back up this week, thanks to "Chasing the Sky" featuring the entire Lyon family. I always love these songs (except when you hear them 500 times a season like "You're So Beautiful"), because they remind you that this is still a soap about a family even when the show forgets it. But it's not as good as the better songs we heard a few weeks ago, and it's sort of like a low-rent Usher jam.
12. HAKEEM LYON (last week: 4)
Hakeem is still juggling all three of his women, but he's mostly interested in Tiana at this point and basically ignoring his child-to-be and his current fiancée. His story is sort of in a boring holding pattern right now, so he's tumbled all the way down on this list.
13. BECKY (last week: 15)
Becky is training Porsha this week, now that Cookie is a CEO. Which, um, OK. Why are we pretending that Becky is this stellar assistant who keeps Empire together? Shouldn't everyone else's lives be less messy if that were the case?
14. LAURA CALLEROS (last week: 13)
15. PORSHA TAYLOR (last week: not ranked)
I miss Porsha fighting with Cookie and having to pick up shoes that get thrown at Lucious. She's barely operating as comic relief at this point.
16. CANDACE (last week: not ranked)
Candace's uppity ass is back to get rid of Carol's kids that she's been watching, I guess, but it's really just we can push another plot point forward. Candace wanted to watch the kids so none of this actually makes sense, but now we know the FBI is still after the Lyons!
17. CAROL HARDAWAY (last week: not ranked)
Carol is being targeted by the FBI, because her big secret isn't that she had sex with Lucious — it's that she helped him kill a bunch of people while Cookie was in prison. The FBI is going after this family again? Can we get a new story line?
18. HARPER SCOTT (last week: 5)