The Best Episodes of 'Empire'  

Ranker TV
106 votes 7 voters 96 items

There are so many good episodes of Empire, but which ones really stand out? Do you like "Rise By Sin" the best, or is "Noble Memory" your favorite episode of Empire? To determine once and for all what the best episodes of Empire are, let's rank every Empire episode from best to worst.


The musical drama series Empire on Fox tells the story of the power struggle within Empire Entertainment, a New York hip-hop music and entertainment company. Empire stars Terrence Howard as Empire Entertainment founder Lucious Lyon, Taraji P. Henson as Lucious's ex-wife Cookie Lyon, and Bryshere Y. Gray as Hakeem. Empire, which premiered on January 7, 2015, has been nominated at the Critics' Choice Television Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, and Teen Choice Awards. The sixth and final season began in September 2019. The show continued its practice of releasing each episode's music by releasing four songs from the first episode before the season began.


Vote up your favorite episodes of Empire, and downvote any bad episodes that you really didn't enjoy, despite how much you love the series as a whole. It can be painful to put one Empire episode over the other when there are so many good ones, which is why you can vote on however many episodes you like.

list ordered by
Our Dancing Days is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
February 18, 2015

Season 1 Episode 7

Tension mounts between Hakeem and Jamal, as Lucious attempts to brand Empire Entertainment as a tight-knit, “family-run” company. Meanwhile, Cookie and Anika don’t hold anything back when it comes to taking over the company.

The Lyon Who Cried Wolf is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
May 4, 2016

Season 2 Episode 16

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.


Time Shall Unfold is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
April 20, 2016

Season 2 Episode 14

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.

Et Tu, Brute? is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
December 2, 2015

Season 2 Episode 10

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.

Dangerous Bonds is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
February 4, 2015

Season 1 Episode 5

Cookie receives an anonymous gift from an admirer that she believes might be a veiled threat from a person from her prison past. Meanwhile, Lucious takes charge of Hakeem's first video shoot.

Chimes at Midnight is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
November 16, 2016

Season 3 Episode 6

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.

Die but Once is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
March 18, 2015

Season 1 Episode 11

Jamal and Lucious are on their way to forming a music-centered relationship, but once again, Lucious has a secret that's about to change everything.

Who I Am is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
March 18, 2015

Season 1 Episode 12

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.

Fires of Heaven is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
October 7, 2015

Season 2 Episode 3

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.

Fortune Be Not Crost is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
November 15, 2017

Season 4 Episode 6

The Lyon family stands together as Anika and Hakeem begin a custody battle for Bella. Although they're confident in Hakeem's ability as a father, no one is prepared for the revelations her team brings to the trial. Meanwhile, Claudia grows more possessive over Lucious, who has unlocked a new way to understand music through his paintings. Also, Jamal introduces Warren to Lucious, Andre begins seeing a new therapist, and one of Becky's old flames returns.

The Devil Quotes Scripture is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
January 21, 2015

Season 1 Episode 3

The Lyons head to Philadelphia and get a taste of what their life could have been if Lucious hadn't made it big. Lucious promotes Hakeem's new relationship with hip-hop star Tianna, but tensions rise when another woman tries to catch Hakeem's eye.

Noble Memory is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
September 27, 2017

Season 4 Episode 1

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.

Pilot is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
January 7, 2015

Season 1 Episode 1

Lucious Lyon is the head of a music empire whose reign has been unchallenged for years. But all that changes when he learns he has a disease and must choose one of his three sons to take over: Andre, Jamal or Hakeem. Complicating matters is their mother and Lucious’ ex-wife, Cookie, who emerges from prison to claim her share.

Rise By Sin is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
May 4, 2016

Season 2 Episode 17

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.

My Naked Villainy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
April 12, 2017

Season 3 Episode 13

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.

The Tameness of a Wolf is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'

Season 2 Episode 13

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.

Got on my Knees to Pray is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
Got on my Knees to Pray October 1, 2019

Season 6, Episode 2

While Lucious is still on the run, Cookie confronts Damon about why he lied to her. Andre, who is dealing with his own personal trauma, is suddenly forced to grapple with an unforeseen family complication. Meanwhile, Becky and Giselle try to get the star power they need out of their first Bossy Media artist and Tiana tries to help Devon find his sound.

What Is Love is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
What Is Love September 24, 2019

Season 6, Episode 1

Lucious, who is now a wanted fugitive, is on the run from the Feds. Cookie keeps busy by focusing on her brand outside of Empire, which now includes a daytime talk show and a community center. Andre, currently sitting on the Empire throne, is confronted by several people who now want to get in on the company and Hakeem sets his sights on the lead role in the first EMPIRE movie. Meanwhile, Becky and Giselle search for their first Bossy Media artist.

Toil and Trouble (2) is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
Toil and Trouble (2) May 24, 2017

Season 3, Episode 18

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.

Sins of the Father is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
March 11, 2015

Season 1 Episode 10

Andre forms a new musical relationship with Michelle, and a woman from Lucious' past, Angie, comes into the picture. Meanwhile, Lucious invites the whole family over to his home. However, everyone arrives with their own agendas. Hakeem, under the influence of Camilla, sets out to show his father that he's a true artist and a good businessman. Then, Cookie prepares to state her own agenda for Empire and for her family, when Olivia arrives.

Never Doubt I Love is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
Never Doubt I Love April 24, 2019

Season 5, Episode 16

It's a special day for Jamal and Kai, but drama might ruin it when AUSA's Meghan Conway continues to pursue the Lyons by any means necessary. Meanwhile, Damon shows up, threatening to expose Cookie's secret; Teri confides in Cookie, sharing a big secret; and Andre asks Lucious for help with a life-altering task.

What Is Done is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
What Is Done November 7, 2018

Season 5, Episode 6

In an effort to sign more artists, Cookie and Lucious make a bet to see who can find someone first. While Lucious bets on the chance to meet an up and coming rapper in a high stakes poker game, Cookie takes to the streets to find untapped talent in a set of auditions. Meanwhile, Hakeem refuses to leave the studio when his rage inspires what he considers his best music yet and Jamal finds himself at a crossroads when Becky claims he's spending too much time with Kai.

Pride is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
Pride October 10, 2018

Season 5, Episode 3

Cookie and Lucious push to get back in the music game, but they'll need the whole family and some old allies to make serious sacrifices in order to do so. Meanwhile, Andre finds a risky way to make a name for himself among his fellow inmates.

Full Circle is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
October 4, 2017

Season 4 Episode 2

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.

Past Is Prologue is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Empire'
May 18, 2016

Season 2 Episode 18

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.