Empire Episode 8 'The Unkindest Cut' Recap: Nessa Trumps Tiana In The Fashion Show From Hell

Serayah as Tiana on Empire
Chuck Hodes/FOX

Serayah as Tiana in the "The Unkindest Cut" episode of Empire on Fox. 

This week, the tables turned and Lyons finds new ways to backstab each other (who thought that was possible, right?).

In Episode 8, "The Unkindest Cut," which aired Wednesday (Dec. 8), Empire Records partnered with racist high-end designer Helen von Wyeth (played by Gina Gershon) to bring mainstream appeal to the label with a fashion show. As Empire’s resident female pop star, Tiana was set to headline but not without offensive restrictions, such as wearing straight hair. "I expect to be able to run a fine-tooth comb through her hair by show time," Helen demanded.

Elsewhere, the show’s newest power-tripping couple Andre and Nessa plotted to replace Tiana while Jamal finally uncovered the real source of his PTSD.

Check out how it all went down in this week's episode below.

Good Nessa goes bad

Ever since Nessa hooked up with Andre, her dark side has made one hell of a debut. With the help of her new beau, Nessa snatched the spotlight from Tiana when she "accidentally" set Tiana's show gown on fire and secretly recorded her subsequent meltdown about Helen's racist tactics. “Helen von Wyeth will destroy me for this,” Tiana yelled at Nessa. “That b---h didn’t even want me in her stupid white-washed show to begin with.”

When the clip leaked online (man, Tiana really can't catch a break), Andre performed damage control. Translation: He strong-armed Helen and cut off her daughter’s hair to ensure Nessa clinched the performance instead.

After Helen felt a Lyon's wrath, she allowed Nessa to perform a song about Black girl magic with huge, natural hair. That only infuriated Tiana and hipped other Lyons to Andre and Nessa’s game.

Hakeem goes good

The youngest Lyon brother realized Andre and Nessa sabotaged Tiana's entire performance, where he was supposed to make a cameo to resurrect his career after his failed live stream. "So you planned this whole thing right from the jump?," he confronted Andre. "You're not gonna get away with it, bro."

A clear departure from his typically selfish nature, Hakeem later comforted Tiana as Nessa's fashion show performance aired. Chemistry brewed again between the two, but no sparks just yet.

Grandma Lyon does Lucious' dirty work

During tea with Lucious and Anika, Grandma Lyon publicly accused Lucious of physical abuse. Overheard by Tariq (Lucious' half-brother and the federal agent viewers keep forgetting about), he tried to flip Grandma Lyon to help make his case against Lucious. By show's end, however, her crazy act was revealed as a plot planned by Lucious to find out why his half-brother hates him. The truth? "It's all 'cause of Joe," she told Lucious about his father. "He's jealous of everything you got, especially your memories of your daddy."

Now that Lucious knows Tariq’s Achilles heel, it’s only a matter of time before he uses his weakness to stay out of jail.

Lucious ain’t all bad

Fed up with his father's villainous ways, Jamal confronted Lucious with a new song about Lucious' "heartless" behavior towards the entire Lyon lot. Though Jamal thought the tune would turn the whole family against Lucious, Cookie caped for her ex while Hakeem and Andre silently affirmed they are more like their father than they let on. "You can't release that song Jamal," she said. "It's not black and white."

As he stood up to Lucious alone, Jamal learned some hard truths, including the fact that Cookie's the culprit behind Freda Gatz's father being killed. "You're standing there breathing because I'm willing to do the dirty work necessary to keep this family safe," Lucious said. "When your mama called in a hit to clean up a mess that she had made with Freda's father, who do you think answered that call?"

Lucious may be wrong about a lot of things, but not this time. There's a bunch of bad eggs in this bunch, but if there's blood on his hands, everyone else could use some soap and water.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.