Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) is a man of opportunity on Fox’s hip-hop drama, “Empire.” When he was taken to jail in the Season 1 finale, everyone knew it would be only a matter of time before he got out. In Season 2, episode 2, “Without a Country,” Lucious’ time behind bars is about to strike midnight.
Jamal (Jussie Smollett) threw his family out of the house in the season premiere, and now Andre (Trai Byers), Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), forced to leave Empire, pack up their things. Cookie decides they should start their own company, which Hakeem is on board with. Andre is thinking about it and Anika (Grace Gealey) is in, despite Cookie not wanting her to be. Cookie picks the old studio Jamal recorded in from Season 1 as their base of operations.
Jamal performs a new song and does a TV interview, but as he’s talking to the reporter, Cookie barges in and pulls Jamal outside. She asks him for Hakeem’s album and to remember what it’s like to be hurt by Lucious. As she goes to leave, she breaks the news to him that they’re starting their own company.
While out in the yard at prison, Lucious spits some rhymes for his fellow inmates but soon has to stop because he can’t stop coughing. He needs his medicine, but prison officials won’t give it to him because his authorization form went missing. Officer McKnight (Ludacris) comes over and provokes Lucious’ crew. McKnight knows everyone kisses up to Lucious, but he won’t do it.
Hakeem holds tryouts for an all-girl pop group he wants to put together. A Latina singer, Valentina (Becky G), impresses him, but she says she won’t be part of a group. Hakeem wants to have a girl group called Rainbow Sensation made up of one white woman, one black woman and a Latina woman. He later realizes if they start their own company, Valentina could play a big part in growing it.
Jamal stops by the prison to visit Lucious. Lucious tells Jamal he wants to drop a new song from inside the jail and says Hakeem needs to come back to Empire because that’s where he belongs. While they’re talking, a lawyer named Thirsty Rawlings (Andre Royo) interrupts their conversation to say he can get Lucious a bail hearing and help him against prosecutor Roxanne Ford (Tyra Ferrell) because she’s responsible for him not getting his meds. Lucious decides to hire Thirsty.
Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) visits Jamal to tell him she’s worried about Jamal and begs him to take Andre back. She also breaks the news that she and Andre are having a baby. Jamal is forgiving and is thrilled at the idea of being an uncle, so he says he’ll talk to Lucious.
Lucious gets medication sneaked to him by a guard who's friends with Thirsty. After that the guard takes him to a room where the crew is waiting for him and they cut a song about snitches. When they’re done Officer McKnight bursts in and break up their music session and takes Lucious to the hole. When McKnight heads for home later in the day, Thirsty has some of his people beat him up and take back Lucious’ music.
Hakeem decides he’s not going back to Empire. He wants to build his own legacy, and he leaks his unreleased album online. This is the last straw for Andre, who says none of them care enough. He asks Cookie to let him go because he’s not into what they’re doing and it’s not what he has been working towards.
Andre goes to see Lucious in jail to apologize and ask for forgiveness, but Lucious refuses to forgive. Andre stands up and asks Lucious why he hates him, since he was able to get over his dislike for Jamal and forgave Hakeem for sleeping with Anika. Lucious says he doesn’t hate Andre, but walks away without forgiving him.
Jamal thinks Hakeem is coming back to Empire, and he’s excited they’ll get to make music together again. Hakeem breaks it to Jamal he’s not coming back and that he leaked his album online. Jamal says he’ll sue him, but Hakeem doesn’t care and says he’ll be sure to save Jamal and Lucious tickets when he sells out the Garden.
Cookie and Hakeem sweep up the new spot and hear the new track Lucious recorded in jail. She says they need to get the company together before he gets out of jail. Unfortunately for them, Lucious gets his bail hearing. Thirsty, who is a corrupt lawyer, presents new evidence to the judge in a folder -- compromising pictures of the judge. The judge grants Lucious his bail, and the Lyon King is released from prison.
Other Major Moments From Episode 2
- Lucious Flashbacks: During his visit with Andre, a flashback of a young Lucious shows his mother, Leah (Kelly Rowland), singing to him. It appears there will be more flashbacks in the future, which could explain why Lucious views Andre the way he does.
- Cookie’s Dynasty: Cookie finds a bigger space by the old studio where they can start to build their own label. She comes up with the idea of Dynasty as the name, so expect Dynasty and Empire to go head to head in the near future.