Empire is one of those unique TV shows that constantly blur the line between who is the protagonist and antagonist. Yes, the members of the Lyon family are the main characters, but quite often I find myself rooting for their enemies to win. This episode, “Fortune Be Not Crost,” is a prime example of that.

We begin the episode by being dropped in the middle of a studio session with Jamal Lyon. Surprisingly, he’s not behind the glass laying down his lamb-like vocals — it’s Warren, who is sounding amazing recording scratch vocals for the song that earned Jamal the top spot in Empire’s 20 for 20, “Love is a Drug.” He’s demoing the song to later be replaced by another singer. Even though he’s out-singing every character that has ever been on Empire, he explains that he’s not an artist. Clearly it’s a cop-out. If the song is a hit and he’s on it, his cover would certainly be blown, and Jamal would discover he’s a DuBois!

Elsewhere in NYC, Andre is at a therapy session and is spilling his heart out to a Dr. Lambert about how Detective Pamela is always on his mind. The doc prescribes him more meds. I would too. The man is crazy for falling in love with a cop who has been very transparent about putting him and his family behind bars.

The core of this episode is the custody hearing for Hakeem and Anika’s daughter, Bella, and it is a mess. Where do I even start?!

Well, first of all, there are a gazillion conflicts of interest going on with this case. Let’s run them all down:

  • Angelo, who is representing Anika, wants to get back at Cookie for turning down his proposal and embarrassing him on live TV.
  • Anika is still mad at the Lyons for letting her go to prison to rot.
  • Hakeem is really the only one solely focused on fighting for Bella, but I’m sure if we dig enough, there’s another motive underneath it all. I mean, he’s a Lyon!
  • And the cherry on the top is that the judge presiding over the custody hearing is apparently friends with the DuBois family.

Despite the judge seemingly showing favoritism towards Angelo, she actually proves to be very leveled. She calls out foolishness on both sides — and it’s a lot of it. Angelo makes our favorite diva, Tianna, cry, Anika is called a “hoe” by Cookie and Lucious lies on the stand. Hakeem is tired of the BS and takes matters into his own hands, firing his lawyer and deciding to represent himself.

And he is terrible.

When Anika takes the stand, Hakeem is painted as a heartfelt father, questioning her about Bella’s favorite color, stuff animal, book, blah, blah, blah. Obviously, the woman doesn’t know the answers to any of these things because she’s been in jail for over half of young Bella’s life. It’s a very stupid approach that doesn’t work. Anika is awarded sole custody, and cheers are heard all around the world.

The big game changer to the entire case was when Lady DuBois took the stand. She wasted zero time presenting videos of Hakeem calling his dad a monster, saying Jamal is on drugs and calling Andre crazy. Those videos were secretly recording during the covert meetings Hakeem had with her for the past five months. After that evidence was shown, the case was a slam dunk for Anika. Hakeem basically admitted in the videos that his family was a ridiculous bunch to raise a child, and honestly, there were no lies told.

While the court mess was playing out, a cute subplot, featuring A&R boss bitch Becky, was steaming up over at the Empire offices. Her love interest from season two, Christian rapper J Poppa, returned. Since we last saw him, he’s become a fictional version of LeCrae. The Lord has blessed him with a platinum album and successful tour. Becky is assigned to him by Andre to help prepare a hot album for the Empire 20 for 20 collection.

Initially, Becky is power tripping, telling him his song is whack, attempting to control his recording session, but seconds later, unable to resist her connection to the rapper, she’s busting it wide open for J Poppa on the damn mixing board. Lecrae would never.

Becky’s story ends with her telling J Poppa that her job is important, and their relationship would continue on a purely professional basis. She’s a fool. J Poppa is fine, God-fearing and successful. They will definitely be back together.

Going back to the Bella custody saga, after Anika won, she went to celebrate with the Dubois family over dinner … and EVERYONE was there, including Warren. Dr. Lambert even made an appearance, revealing to us that even he is in with the Lyon takedown by overmedicating Andre. The Lyons have definitely met their match. The DuBois family is not missing a beat.

It’s interesting to note that Anika clearly knows the deets on the DuBois family’s plans. Warren is at the table, and that is a huge revelation. Will she switch sides and spill the beans to Hakeem about what’s happening? I think so.

Before I hit the door, how funny was Cookie’s classy court hairdo? It actually made me realize that her hair hasn’t been my cup of tea all season. She’s been looking very grandma-ish, and I’m not here for it.

There’s no show next week due to Thanksgiving. Eat well, and I’ll see you in two weeks. Hopefully you won’t still be chowing down on leftover Turkey. But if you are, I’m not judging.