When Cookie is denied a line of credit, she flashes back to her years in prison and compares her past struggles to her life now. Lucious continues to struggle with demons of his own and begs his family to tell him about the ways he’s wronged them, but they are reluctant to tell him the truth. Meanwhile, the NYPD is still on Andre’s case about the events that transpired in Vegas and one officer in particular catches his eye.
With Leah still insisting that he is a monster, Lucious sneaks away in hopes of finding out what type of person he was before the explosion. Cookie panics that Lucious has gone missing on Claudia’s watch, until she realizes he found his way to Uncle Eddie, a music icon who has since become family to the Lyons. Meanwhile, with Anika still behind bars, Hakeem and Tiana grow more comfortable as a family, and Becky makes a rash decision regarding Jamal’s new song.
In celebration of Empire’s 20th Anniversary, Lucious makes his first public appearance since the explosion in Las Vegas, but still has no memory of his family, Empire or his life before the accident. A devastated Cookie struggles to rebuild her relationship with him, while keeping a close eye on his nurse, Claudia. Meanwhile, Andre is faced with an investigation by the LAPD surrounding the night of the explosion, Diana DuBois continues her war against the Lyons.
As Lucious gets ready to launch Empire Las Vegas with Giuliana at his side, Cookie pulls together her own team of allies to wreak havoc on the opening.
When Cookie is banned from Leviticus Vegas, she pulls together a team of her own allies to seek revenge on Giuliana and steal her secret weapon. Meanwhile, Jamal is encouraged to put his album on hold, so as not to compete with Lucious’ “Inferno”.
The Lyons fear that the Dubois family is to blame for their latest family crisis, so when no one is willing to give up any information, Cookie takes matters into her own hands. Jamal and Lucious reach a breakthrough in a song on which they have been working, and Andre lashes out. Meanwhile, Cookie sets her eyes on a new plan for Empire in Vegas.
Angelo’s relationship with Cookie turns toxic and leaves her questioning her decisions. Hakeem makes a public plea for Lucious to give him paternity of Bella during his return to Empire Xstream. Meanwhile, Cookie becomes increasingly more suspicious of Lucious’ intentions with Giuliana and Empire’s future in Vegas, and Lucious and Jamal work overtime to finish their albums.
Cookie gives Lucious unexpected news that makes him feel uneasy about the future. Hoping to make Cookie jealous, Giuliana moves in on Lucious and persuades him to comply with her new plans. Meanwhile, Anika and Tariq devise a new plan and Charlotte Frost holds the Empire Las Vegas dream in her hands.
Hakeem throws an epic 21st birthday party and live-streams it all on Empire Xstream. Meanwhile, suspicions surrounding Anika’s motives put the Lyons on high alert and the arrival of Giuliana gives Cookie a run for her money.
Angelo makes an unsettling discovery and is concerned that Cookie’s past isn’t in the past and will hurt his chances of becoming the Mayor. Anika is faced with a life-changing decision after Tariq reveals what he is really after. Meanwhile, Hakeem’s 21st birthday party takes an unexpected turn.
Cookie tries to move forward with Angelo, while struggling with guilt over her run-in with Lucious. Meanwhile, Leah seeks out Tariq’s help in taking down Anika, and Jamal and Tory team up in the studio.
After launching a deadly missile at Angelo, Lucious announces his new music project, Inferno, and puts everyone on notice – especially Cookie, who then vows to knock him off his throne for good. Meanwhile, Jamal befriends musician Tory Ash during his stay in rehab, Andre continues with his plan to take over EMPIRE, and Hakeem and Tiana battle Nessa for a spot in the music showcase.
Cookie attempts to help Angelo appeal to the masses and win the mayoral bid, by hosting a free park concert. Meanwhile, the FBI continues to investigate Lucious and freezes all of Empire’s assets, which has major repercussions.
Andre sabotages Tiana’s big appearance at a fashion edvent in an attempt to get Nessa into the spotlight. Meanwhile, Tariq works with Leah to try to bring down Lucious, and Jamal works with Philip to get over his PTSD.
Cookie looks to Candace for tips on how to plan an elaborate family dinner that will impress Angelo’s mother, Diane. Meanwhile, old home videos cause Cookie to face secrets about her relationship with her father that she had tried to hide from her kids, and Andre organizes an unlikely duet
Empire is hacked and the leak creates feuds between artists and among the Lyon family. Andre takes advantage of the leak to step up and prove his worth to the company. Meanwhile, Lucious continues to try and drive a wedge between Cookie and Angelo, and Jamal finds himself in a love triangle.
Lucious and Andre are on high alert as they wait for Shine to retaliate after their latest business encounter went south. Jamal, who has yet to perform in front of his fans, teams up with Hakeem for a performance that he thinks could help him face his fears. Meanwhile, Cookie is caught off-guard during a routine meeting with her probation officer
Things heat up between Cookie and Angelo, so Lucious finally recognizes Angelo as a formidable rival and prepares to take him on. Meanwhile, Jamal is finally able to face Freda Gatz, a big first step on his journey to recovery. Also, Anika goes back to work at Empire and instantly causes turmoil, while Hakeem starts falling for Nessa, even though she might be into a different Lyon.
Cookie calls in a favor with mega-superstar Kitty to record a new song with Jamal, hoping he will overcome his inability to perform. Meanwhile, Andre runs into some trouble and things don’t go as planned. Cookie and Lucious are at odds, Hakeem and Gram fight for Tiana’s attention, and things heat up between Cookie and Angelo Dubois
In an attempt to cope with life after being shot, Jamal teams up with businessman Angelo Dubois, to talk about gun violence and host a summit for awareness. When he tries to perform again, things don’t go as planned. Meanwhile, Lucious attempts to win over Cookie, Hakeem starts to record new songs with Shine, and Andre runs into some trouble with the police.
Lucious pursues his music legacy with his streaming service, while clashing with his half-brother, Tariq, who is leading a federal task force investigating him.
After a life-changing experience, Jamal refuses to make music until his family ends its seemingly endless cycle of violence and fighting. Meanwhile, the Feds are tailing Anika because they want to force her to testify against Lucious. In order to protect her family, Cookie organizes a meeting at Hakeem and Laura’s wedding with various people from her and Lucious’ past.
Hakeem feels the pressure of his underwhelming fiancé, Laura, as he struggles to find a place for her both in his family and his career. Cookie finally reveals to Jamal the truth behind what happened to Freda’s father, prompting Jamal to warn Freda of his family’s ulterior motives. Meanwhile, despite his frustration with the family, Jamal makes a sacrifice for Lucious from which it will be hard to recover.
A wrench is thrown into Lucious’ deeply personal music video about his mother, when Andre discovers a dark secret. Meanwhile, Hakeem and Jamal are compromised after tempting themselves with new or rekindling, but secretive affairs. Then, Rhonda starts to suspect who her attacker was.
With help from Andre, Lucious hosts a fundraiser, as part of his campaign to prove to the board that he should return as Empire’s CEO. Meanwhile, Hakeem must decide whether he wants to be a father to his and Anika’s child.
Lucious releases his new music video, as he manipulates and sabotages those around him to regain his CEO position at Empire. Meanwhile, Andre learns more about his grandmother’s mental illness in order to understand his own struggle with bipolar disorder, Anika reveals a big secret to the family and Hakeem leads the big shareholder meeting.
Tensions between Lucious and his sons continue to rise. Back at Lyon Dynasty, Lucious aims to direct his most emotional and honest music video yet and recreates a traumatic interaction with his mother for the new single. Meanwhile, on the Mirage a Trois tour, Tiana and Laura begin viciously fighting over the spotlight, forcing Hakeem to mediate between the two divas.
With Hakeem acting as Empire’s CEO, Camilla sinks her claws further and further into him. The rest of the Lyon family tries to get him to rejoin their side, but Hakeem has his own plan. Meanwhile, Jamal receives backlash from his fans and Andre and Rhonda’s marriage is tested.
After losing the company he built, Lucious announces he will stop at nothing to regain his power, but Cookie has her own way of handling things. Meanwhile, Rhonda, Andre and the rest of the Lyon family come to terms with a horrific, life-changing tragedy that changes their lives as they know it.
Lucious makes a reckless play for the streaming service that he believes will make him the most powerful man in music, only to learn that the entire business strategy was part of a scheme that might bring Hakeem’s ex, Camilla, back into the picture. Meanwhile, Cookie decides to plan a concert at the prison where she spent 17 years locked away from her family and a tragic “accident” leaves Rhonda in a scary state.
Cookie and her sister, Candace, team up with a former prison mate to rescue their sister, Carol. Back at Empire, Jamal and critically acclaimed pop star Skye Summers begin collaborating and soon share a deep connection. Meanwhile, Laz has truly fallen for Cookie, but things get complicated when she finds out the truth about him.
Lucious, eager to assert his power, releases a rap by Freda challenging Hakeem as his heir. Not to be outdone in Lucious’ eyes, Hakeem fires back at Freda with a rap battle challenge that could put Lyon Dynasty’s future in danger. Meanwhile, Cookie gets a special visit from her spitfire sister, Candace, Jamal is working on landing a major sponsorship deal and Anika receives some life changing news
Lucious begins to strategize the ascension of Empire from record label into global music monolith, so he looks into starting a partnership with Jago, the founder of a music streaming company. Meanwhile, Andre has to twist his newfound values to achieve a delicate balance between his faith and his career, Hakeem begins to work with Laura to turn her into a star and Cookie sets her sights on having Lyon Dynasty be a part of an epic televised charity music event.
Lucious and Cookie must put aside their differences and work together as parents to protect their family and keep them out of danger. Jamal does his best to get back in the studio and break away from being defined solely as a gay artist, while Hakeem struggles with how to feel and act like a man. Meanwhile, Andre works to shut down a division at Empire, until he discovers a disciple in the midst of Lucious’ Gutter Life records.
Over at Lyon Dynasty, Cookie and Anika work together with Laz to throw “Cookie Lyon’s Block Party,” a big event to launch their company, showcase their artists and premiere a signature Dynasty anthem written by Hakeem. Meanwhile, Jamal gets busy working on his music with Ne-Yo. Also, Hakeem begins a tender romance with the lead singer of his girl group, and Andre takes steps to rid his soul of past sins.
The Lyons are still split into warring factions, but they all decide to shoot a music video that will capitalize on Hakeem and Jamal’s duet from Hakeem’s leaked album, a collaboration that will benefit both companies. Meanwhile, Lucious trades his real handcuffs for virtual ones. However, knowing he can’t fully control his company with a federal murder case hanging over his head, he sets out to find Vernon and make him permanently disappear.
Anika secretly work together behind Lucious’ back to pull off a surprise performance that catches the eye of Pitbull. Meanwhile, Lucious tracks down Frank Gathers’ daughter, Young Ma, to try to convince her to sign with him at Empire, while Hakeem is hard at work on his girl group, Ménage a Trois. Also, Andre and Rhonda hope their baby-on-the-way will be the key that unlocks Lucious’ cold heart and opens the door for Andre to return to the Empire fold.
Cookie and her cohorts decide to start their own small record label, but it’s off to a bumpy start as everyone has different visions for the new label. As his first project for the new company, Hakeem decides to form a girl group and woos a hot Latina lead singer, proving that he can be more than just an artist. Meanwhile, Lucious, feeling extra pressure from a bloodthirsty prosecutor, hires a new lawyer and records an epic track from inside jail. In Lucious’ absence, Jamal neglects his music and makes business moves that further his journey toward becoming every bit as ruthless as his father.
Still in federal lockup, Lucious is trying to run Empire from inside, while a headline-grabbing state prosecutor hangs her political ambitions on bringing him down – no matter what it takes. Meanwhile, Cookie stages a star-studded #FreeLucious concert in his support, while scheming with Andre, Hakeem, Anika and the business savvy Mimi Whiteman to finalize the hostile takeover of Empire.
Hakeem decides to flirt with the enemy, while trying to figure out what the best move is for his career. Meanwhile, Cookie is cooking up a plan of her own.