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The Best Episodes of 'Empire'

Updated April 21, 2020 170 votes 11 voters94 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.

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  • 1
    Pilot
    7
    0

    Pilot

    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.

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  • 2
    Our Dancing Days
    7
    0

    Our Dancing Days

    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.

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  • 3
    The Outspoken King
    4
    1

    The Outspoken King

    January 14, 2015

    Season 1 Episode 2

    Lucious has to defend Empire's IPO launch after one of his artists is involved in a shooting; Cookie hears about Lucious' plans for a huge performance for Hakeem, but not Jamal; Bunkie's murder is investigated.

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  • 4
    The Devil Quotes Scripture
    4
    0

    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.

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  • 5
    False Imposition
    1
    0

    False Imposition

    January 28, 2015

    Season 1 Episode 4

    Lucious attempts to steal a super-hot, chart-topping artist from his rival at Safe House Records. Meanwhile, Jamal struggles to compose original music and Cookie tries to forge a relationship with her estranged son, Hakeem.

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  • 6
    Dangerous Bonds
    5
    0

    Dangerous Bonds

    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.

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  • 7
    Out, Damned Spot
    4
    1

    Out, Damned Spot

    February 11, 2015

    Season 1 Episode 6

    Vernon is caught in the middle of a very sticky situation. Meanwhile, Jamal is rising to stardom, but his newfound drive and ambition might stir up trouble in his relationships. To make matters worse, a mystery woman (guest star Raven Symone) from the family's past shows up with a huge surprise.

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  • 8
    The Lyon's Roar
    1
    1

    The Lyon's Roar

    February 25, 2015

    Season 1 Episode 8

    It’s time for the Lyon family to come together and record a legacy album with Lucious, Hakeem and Jamal. Cookie and Camilla finally come face-to-face, Andre struggles with some inner demons and Jamal steps into the spotlight with news that surprises everyone.

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  • 9
    Unto the Breach
    2
    1

    Unto the Breach

    March 4, 2015

    Season 1 Episode 9

    It's an all-out war when Cookie uncovers Anika's big backstabbing secret, and Lucious must come face-to-face with his longtime rival, Billy Beretti. As the Lyon family rallies to save Empire Entertainment, all three sons take drastic measures: Jamal gets close with famous artist Delphine, Hakeem works hand-in-hand with Cookie and Andre is pushed way beyond his limits.

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  • 10
    Sins of the Father
    2
    0

    Sins of the Father

    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.

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  • 11
    Die but Once
    4
    0

    Die but Once

    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.

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  • 12
    Who I Am
    4
    0

    Who I Am

    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.

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  • 13
    The Devils Are Here
    1
    1

    The Devils Are Here

    September 23, 2015

    Season 2 Episode 1

    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.

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  • 14
    Without a Country
    4
    1

    Without a Country

    September 30, 2015

    Season 2 Episode 2

    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.

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  • 15
    Fires of Heaven
    4
    0

    Fires of Heaven

    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.

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  • 16
    Poor Yorick
    4
    1

    Poor Yorick

    October 14, 2015

    Season 2 Episode 4

    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.

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  • 17
    Be True
    2
    1

    Be True

    October 21, 2015

    Season 2 Episode 5

    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.

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  • 18
    A High Hope for a Low Heaven

    Season 2 Episode 6

    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.

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  • 19
    True Love Never
    1
    0

    True Love Never

    November 11, 2015

    Season 2 Episode 7

    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.

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  • 20
    My Bad Parts
    4
    1

    My Bad Parts

    November 18, 2015

    Season 2 Episode 8

    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

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  • 21
    Sinned Against
    2
    1

    Sinned Against

    November 25, 2015

    Season 2 Episode 9

    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.

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  • 22
    Et Tu, Brute?
    5
    0

    Et Tu, Brute?

    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.

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  • 23
    Death Will Have His Day
    4
    1

    Season 2 Episode 11

    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.

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  • 24
    A Rose By Any Other Name

    Season 2 Episode 12

    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.

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  • 25
    The Tameness of a Wolf

    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.

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