Taraji P. Henson has embodied the baddest bitch of primetime television for about five years and now she’s ready to show us she can also be a boss behind-the-scenes on Fox’s rollercoaster ride known as Empire.
Like many actors on a well-seasoned television show, Henson has taken over the reigns to helm an episode she also co-stars in. It’s a big deal for Henson’s personal career history because this marks her directorial debut.
Fox broke down the synopsis of the 13th episode of the season, “Come Undone” for us below:
Cookie continues to keep her secret from her sisters, but Lucious feels she needs to come clean in order to move forward. When Treasure is unable to perform at the upcoming showcase, Becky suggests that Yana take the spot, but Lucious feels she’s not ready. Meanwhile, Giselle struggles with keeping her family secret from Julian, Maya sets her sights on her own recording deal and Andre’s actions put Quincy in a very bad situation.
In an exclusive clip obtained by The Root, a troubled Cookie Lyon (Henson) confides in Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) about the secret she’s keeping from her sisters.
“Therapy is working,” Cookie confirms after some pushback from Lucious. “Because through therapy I’ve realized I don’t want to live with anymore secrets or lies. I want to live a clean life. And whatever I did wrong, I want to make right.”
Though the actual process may be challenging, it’s clear that therapy was necessary for Cookie’s growth. As Henson (a prominent mental health advocate, herself) told The Root back in November, Cookie had been long overdue for therapy, given all that she’s been through with her family.
Taraji P. Henson, around-the-way-girl extraordinaire, has embodied Cookie Lyon for six seasons and has been a staunch advocate of meaningful mental health solutions in the black community. She says it was the producers and writers who approached her about Cookie’s therapy storyline and said it’s been a long time coming for the iconic character.
“Cookie needed therapy when she first got out of prison, and so it’s finally catching up to her,” Henson told The Root. “I think it was absolutely important to show this woman who everybody deems so strong and who can do everything and who is always there for everybody—we need to show that she needs help, too. I like that we’re busting that myth of the strong black woman, with her sitting down on the sofa.”
“You’re only as sick as your secrets,” Cookie concludes in the clip from the episode.
On a lighter note, Henson’s directorial debut isn’t the only noteworthy thing of this upcoming episode. Iconic R&B group En Vogue will be making a special guest star appearance as well! Current members Terry Ellis, Rhona Bennett and Cindy Herron-Bragg will be making their first appearance on the Fox dramatic series. However, they’re certainly not new to the Empire canon.
“I don’t have one particular moment I can think of because there are so many,” Ellis told The Root. “The cast of actors and actresses are incredible, coupled with great music and fashion. We love to watch Cookie’s style.”
Don’t we all! We’ll never forget Cookie’s fabulous furs and lavish leopard prints.
“It was such a pleasure to work with Taraji!” Herron-Bragg told The Root. “We are huge fans of her work and proud and grateful to have be chosen to be a part of her directorial debut. We had so much fun performing “Never Gonna Get It (My Lovin)“ on the episode.”
Empire is in its sixth and final season, though the actual series finale date may not be the same as originally planned as it was recently listed in the group of shows that have halted production due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus strain.
The “Come Undone” episode of Empire airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.