Phylicia Rashad, Taraji P. Henson, Taye Diggs (Photo: Chuck Hodes/Fox Network)

Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Cookie’s father died of a (broken) heart attack after kicking her out of the house. This drove a wedge between her and her sisters, leaving her that much more vulnerable to Lucious. The reveal was made all the more significant when Cookie explained how the death and subsequent rift meant that she and Lucious were all they had. Taraji P. Henson was on point tonight, breaking down at what was probably the first footage she’d seen of her father before attempting to make herself over to meet Angelo’s mother’s approval. The “cold duck to wash it down” was the cherry on top.
  • This was Phylicia Rashad’s much touted appearance. Not sure how long she’ll be around, but I appreciate the depth she brought to what could easily have been a one-note, bougie character. When Diana admits to having skeletons in her own closet, the disapproval melts away, but she’s still wary of how Cookie could hurt Angelo.
  • I was glad to see Cookie get it together this episode. She was starting to look deflated (I’m not referencing her cleavage, which is spectacular—so shut up, Shyne and Diana). She seems intent on changing her life, which is great; I just wish it didn’t involve finding the right man. Despite all those flashes of fierce independence, Cookie’s done a lot of vacillating between men. But to Empire’s credit, the show has made the case for the strength of her ties to Lucious. It wasn’t just young love; it was their only love for a long time.
  • Having said that, it’s time to cut those ties. Lucious went out of his way to spoil her evening, happily making his sons collateral damage. Seriously, who talks about their children that way—and just for the sake of keeping his ex-wife from finding someone else?
  • The Empire Exstream talk will never not bore me. Even Terrence Howard looks like he’s over that particular plot point. But since it’s Andre’s little fiefdom, it’ll probably be around for a while.
  • Candace expertly plays off confusing Beyoncé lyrics for a Maya Angelou quote.
  • “Does this mean you’re in?” “I think this means you’re in.” COOKIE.