Cookie my Cookie. That line may sound familiar to Taraji P. Henson fans. She delivered something like it in one of her earlier films, John Singleton's Baby Boy (2001), playing a character who loves her lying, cheating boyfriend so much that all she can say to him is “Jody my Jody.” I understand that sentiment. The love that fans, myself included, have for Cookie Lyon is so real that she can almost do no wrong. Cookie sashayed through tonight’s episode of Empire flaunting pin-up girl style wigs and a hot red leather ensemble like a blazing flame. But it was during her quieter moments, when we watch her process of figuring things out and plotting her next move that we’re treated to a real truth. Henson recently shared, via Facebook, some incredible insight on who Cookie truly is. “Cookie is the walking, breathing truth. She says it, however embarrassing it may be for you, she says it without blinking.” Henson wrote. “She has an innocence. If you took a child and you never made them afraid, in a society that never tainted children, it would grow up to be Cookie. Society teaches us to be PC. If I ask you a question the first thing that comes to your mind is the truth. But we have been trained to stop, breathe, listen, and manipulate our answers. Cookie does none of that because of what she’s been through. She survived 17 years in a cage and she came out of there with her soul intact. They didn’t break her. That’s the superwoman power that she has. When you have that, when you understand the truth of your strength and your power, nothing can stop you.”
This is the woman we saw tonight. Even when she called Empire investor Mimi “white bitch” instead of Whiteman, I loved her. Even when we watched her tell evil prosecutor Roxanne Ford a bald-faced lie about Bunkie and Lucious arguing over APEX Radio, I applauded her. And especially when she screamed “I did not commit suicide in police custody” through the rolled up window of a squad car, acknowledging the real-life tragedy behind Sandra Bland, I exalted her. Cookie is the walking, breathing truth. And truth is what Empire specialized in tonight. Andre, who’s been racked with guilt over covering up his pregnant wife Rhonda's hand in Vernon’s murder, finally finds a way to wriggle his way back into Empire: by digging up Vernon’s corpse and (I assume) planting the body somewhere in the hope that it can’t be traced back to either one of them. Problem is, he and Rhonda can’t find the body. That’s when Lucious and his shady-ass lawyer Thirsty show up. Andre tells the truth about what happened to old Uncle Vernon, and with Thirsty’s trusty little “corpse-detection system” — apparently this is a real thing! — they find the body! Jamal gets the cover of Rolling Stone and an amazing portrait created by a Warhol type, who clearly has a thing for him, especially after he tells him he wanted to be “inside” of him. But in one very truthful moment, jealousy again rears its ugly little head between brothers when Hakeem, after seeing the fly piece of art, stabs it with a knife.
Prosecutor Ford gets to experience truth in the most gruesome way when Uncle Vernon’s rotting corpse is placed in her passenger seat, and she discovers it right as she is sealing the deal to shut down Lucious’ purchase of APEX. Without a knowledgeable living witness, she has no case against Lucious. And that brings us back to Cookie. Poor Anika has more than proved she’d be a loyal addition to the Lyon dynasty, but Cookie cuts her down to the bone. With every evil thing that Lucious has pulled, and even though he might still plot some devious shit against her right now, Cookie tells a bold truth to Boo Boo kitty: “I still don’t trust YOU.” And with that, she essentially chooses lying, cheating Lucious snarling Lyon over the seemingly humbled kitten that is Boo Boo. Ooh, Cookie my Cookie.