Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) has been dealing with Lyon family drama ever since she first appeared on "Empire." While she may have thought she had "99 problems" and Laz (Adam Rodriguez) wasn't one of them, she discovered her new lover was betraying her all along on episode 9, titled "Sinned Against."
Candace (Vivica A. Fox) and Cookie begin the episode in Philadelphia looking for Carol, while arguing with each other most the time. As they searches throughout the city for her sister, who’s been known to go on drug benders, Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) practices for Cookie’s major concert event “Cookie’s Cookout,” and wants to add a second show.
At Empire, Lucious introduces Skye Summers (Alicia Keys) at a press conference and announces Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is getting ready to work on a new album he’s calling “The Black and White Album.” Skye will record a song with Jamal which will be the first song on the record.
Laz gets a visit from his gang, the 125th street bulls, at Lyon Dynasty. They’re getting impatient about the money and Laz decides to call off the deal to extort money from Lyon Dynasty to truly start being loyal to the company and Cookie.
After searching for two days, Cookie wants to head back to New York to get back to work on her concert event. Candace fights her to stay and blames Cookie for the trouble Carol is in. After this argument, Cookie takes off from her “bougie” older sister, to find Carol on her own.
Lucious (Terrence Howard) gets Andre (Trai Byers) and Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) a house, perfect the child they’re expecting. He reveals to Andre that he’s done testing him and is starting to look towards the next generation. Lucious tells Andre he wants to be big in the streaming music business
Cookie reaches out to her old inmate friend Pepper (Rosie O’Donnell) for help finding Carol. Pepper, who is now a baker, says Carol is hanging out with a bad group of people. Pepper tells Cookie she’ll go with her to see him.
Pepper, Cookie and Candace find Carol, who looks strung out and throws up on Candace’s shoes. Afterwards, the three sisters go out to eat and Candace and Cookie tell Carol she should come home with one of them. Carol chooses to go with Cookie to New York, while Candace looks after her kids. When Cookie leaves the table and it is revealed that Carol is hiding a secret from Cookie, which is about something she did while Cookie was in jail.
Jamal shows Skye a song he’s been working on and she’s not happy with it because she expected something more hard while working with Lucious Lyon. She wants to go in a different direction with her music and Jamal agrees to hear what ideas she has bouncing around her head.
In the studio, Jamal walks in on Skye singing a really deep song, “Powerful.” Skye says she can’t ever play the song because it’s not the kind of song she’d normally make and feels her fans would turn on her., but Jamal convinces her to go with it.
When Cookie gets back to New York, she finds Lucious in her office because he wants her to sign over the rights to his early songs so he can use it to get more capital out of his streaming deal. Cookie says no and Laz walks in, who kisses Cookie. This makes Lucious mad and he spills their bottle of wine before leaving her office.
Lucious makes another appearance at Lyon Dynasty, only this time he reveals to Cookie who Laz really is. He says he’s a part of a gang that shakes down rap artists for money, while Hakeem confirms Laz is in the gang when Cookie shows him the bull tattoo on his back. Cookie takes away Laz’s gun and hands it over to Lucious before walking out of the room, leaving Laz’s fate in her ex-husband’s hands.
Cookie has a meltdown in her office after being heart broken by Laz and Carol walks in. Cookie finally tells Carol she needs to go to rehab to deal with her drug problem or she can’t stay with her.
Jamal and Sky perform “Powerful” in the final moments of the episode. The two have connected on a deep level by playing the song, a level so deep that the two decide to share that feeling with a hug. The hug then leads to a shocking kiss between the two artists.
Other Major Moments From Episode 9:
- Anika (Grace Gealey) is starting to go crazy as she obsesses over Hakeem. Not only does she try to get in Laura’s (Jamila Velazquez) head when she crashes one of Hakeem’s parties, Anika tries to convince Hakeem he’s in love with her. He tells her he’s not in love with her and she’ll never be a Lyon, but little does he know, she’s carrying his child.
- Lucious wants Andre to get the Swiftstream deal done faster so they can be a force in the music streaming business. Andre gets the idea to use Lucius’s songs as collateral, but Cookie has the rights to the songs with the most value. After Cookie says no, Lucious and Andre have no choice but to sell off some of Empire’s assets to get the deal done.
- Show runner Lee Daniels made a cameo in episode 9 as a music video director. He tells Lucious that Jamal is the future, while he is the past, after Lucious kept trying to get in the video with Jamal.
- Hakeem turns down Lucious’s offer to return to Empire once again. The youngest Lyon says he can’t be bought and refuses to take his father’s last name back.