True Love Never
Season Two, Episode Seven
EMP207 - True Love Never Promo Photo.jpg
Air date: November 11, 2015
Writers: Ingrid Escajeda
Director: Sylvain White
A High Hope for a Low Heaven
My Bad Parts

True Love Never is the seventh episode of the second season of Empire and the nineteenth episode overall. The episode aired on November 11, 2015.

Lucious begins to strategize the ascension of Empire from record label into global music monolith, so he looks into starting a partnership with Jago (guest star Patrick Mulvey), 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.


Continuing with the day after the previous episode ended, Cookie is in bed with Laz. Cookie wants to get up and leave so she can go to work, but Laz tells her that she's a mogul and that she can run Lyon Dynasty from the bed, provided she had a laptop. Cookie then has Porsha drop her laptop and some Chinese food at Laz's house and she spends the next three days with him, working and having sex. Laz gets a call from his boy Big Heavy, the one who kidnapped Hakeem, but ignores it. Laz then shows a gig he's promoting for a radio show. This gives Cookie the idea of having her own show, in the form of an old-school cookout.

At Empire, Lucious is trying to successfully record a song ("Boom Boom Boom Boom"), but Freda is unable to finish the song, due to the pain of her father's death. Lucious tells her to merge and become one with the pain, and use it the song, also telling her that they are going to be performing the song live for Huey Jarvis. This motivates Freda enough to successfully finish the song.

Jamal Lyon - Heavy.png

Jamal is also attempting to produce a song ("Heavy"), but finds himself faced with a lot of difficulty. He sends Cookie an audio message of his chorus and texts her for help. Cookie is not sure how or whether to respond, because Empire and Lyon Dynasty are in competition, and because both Lucious and Hakeem will be angry if she helps Jamal. Laz, however, tells him that Jamal is her son, and that fact alone trumps everything. This convinces Cookie to help Jamal. Lucious interrupts his session, but Jamal tells her that he's working on the song, and goes back to messaging Cookie. After helping Jamal, Laz tells Cookie he's stepping out to get a paper. In reality, he goes into the van of his friend, Big Heavy, who is angry at Laz for spending the last three days with Cookie, as well as the fact that they've yet to get paid. He is even more infuriated when he realizes Cookie is in his apartment as they speak, but Laz tells him that they're going to paid a lot more, since Cookie would have to pay him to promote her new cookout as well as pay for protection. Big Heavy then realizes that Hakeem is now roaming around without his mother to keep an eye on him, but Laz tells him not to touch Hakeem and to fall back, and let him (Laz) handle this. Laz then stops Cookie stepping out, and gets out the van to ask where she's going. She tells him that she's hungry, and asks where his paper is. He lies that the corner stand ran out of paper and takes her to a diner where they can eat, since all the food in the house is gone.

Huey's advice to Lucious

Lucious, on the other hand, is over at the house of Huey Jarvis, where he sees all of Huey's awards. Huey brings up the fact that despite Lucious having been nominated multiple times spanning his career, he's yet to win an award. Lucious tells him that that he wishes to change that fact by having a living room session with him, since every artist who had a living room session with him went on stage  to claim the award. Lucious also tells him that ever since he's been in jail, there's been a fire inside him that brings him back to his roots (the streets). At Huey's insistence, Lucious plays a demo of "Boom Boom Boom Boom". Huey asks who the girl is, and Lucious tells him that it is Freda, one of his newest additions. Huey, however, tells him that while he may have stumbled onto something with Freda, the song isn't ready yet, and tells him to dig deeper. This prompts a flashback where Lucious, as a child, is burying bullets in a sack in his backyard.

At Lyon Dynasty, Hakeem and Cookie are promoting Cookie's Cookout to a bunch of bloggers, where they have Mirage a Trois perform "Mimosa" for the crowd. Carmen, however, bumps Laura out of the way. Cookie tells Hakeem that Laura doesn't belong in the front as the main singer, and wants him to promote Carmen to that position. Hakeem, however, has a connection with Laura, and doesn't wish to do that to her.

Mimi suggests a merger

Lucious, Andre and Mimi are in an Empire Board of Directors meeting, where Mimi notifies them that Empire's stock price has dropped by 12% and the shareholders are pissed. Andre tells her that it's risen 12% after Lucious' release from prison, and tells Lucious he has a solution - music streaming. Andre tells him that they can create their own unique streaming platform and start beta testing within 4-6 months. Mimi, however, tells him that it's too long. She tells him that the number two streaming service, SwiftStream, is looking to merge, and asks Lucious why build when they can buy. Mimi sets up a meeting with Jago Locke, the founder and CEO of SwiftStream, while Lucious tells Andre to visit the deputy mayor to have Freda's gang injunction charge overturned.

Hakeem is attempting to coach Laura into being more of a superstar, with Tiana's help. Tiana tells her that she needs to walk and move with her hips, as if there's always someone watching her with a camera. Cookie, on the other hand, leaves to go meet up with Jamal secretly at a restaurant, where he tells her that Jamieson Hinthrop got him into Huey Jarvis' living room session. Cookie is ecstatic, and orders two bottles of their finest, most expensive champagne.

In Empire's recording studio, Andre sits there with his fingers to his head, where he recalls when he almost shot himself. He tells the reverend, L.C Pryce, who's also in the room, how he almost shot himself to punish Lucious. The reverend tells him that God chose him to be a warrior, and prevented him from committing the sin of suicide. Andre tells the reverend that Lucious wants him to go see Deputy Mayor Raquel Alvarez, who Andre used to have sex with in order for legal favors, and that Lucious wants him to return to his old ways. Reverend Pryce tells him that God chose Andre as his warrior, and that sometimes warrior must commit sins of atrocity on the battlefield. Andre, surprised, asks him whether he wants her to sleep with Raquel. Reverend Pryce tells him that sex should be restricted to just him and his wife, but reminds him that there are other ways to get things done.

Jamal visits the Dynasty

Jamal and Cookie, drunk on their champagne, discuss Jamal's song at the restaurant, Cookie recommending that the bass should be dropped. She then tells him that Lyon Dynasty is always around the corner if he wants to come in and make a song, but Jamal tells her that Lucious would be pissed; regardless, Jamal says he doesn't care about that and they demand the check and rush over to the studio, where Jamal is eager to perform. However, Hakeem walks in, at which point Jamal ducks and manages to sneaks out. Hakeem, who doesn't spot him, asks if anyone is here, but Cookie dismisses his suspicions.

Lucious knocks Jago out

Mimi brings Lucious in for a meeting with Jago Locke, who is in the boxing ring. She tells him to get in the ring with him, but to let him win. While in the ring, Jago asks if the merger would allow SwiftStream to have the rights to Lucious' works; Lucious tells him that it would be exclusive to them. This pleases Jago, who tells him that the kids go crazy for his music, adding that while the beats are good, the lyrics are shallow. This infuriates Lucious, and triggers a flashback where he examines one of his mother's bullet. He then knocks Jago out with one punch, calling him a punk ass.

Andre refusing Raquel.png

Andre goes to see Deputy Mayor Raquel Alvarez, asking her to overturn Freda's gang injunction charge overturned. She agrees, but begins to take her top off, and gets on her knees to unzip Andre's pants. Andre attempts to get her to stop, but she kisses him, telling him that she doesn't have time to play that game, where they pretend to be reluctant. Andre, however, gets up, telling her to stop, adding that she's married.

Raquel tells him that he is married as well, which has not stopped them before. Andre asks her bluntly if she'll overturn the charge or not, and she asks why she should. This prompts Andre to pull out his phone, where he reveals that in the past, he and Rhonda recorded their extramarital affairs, and plays a video of one their previous affairs. He tells her that if she does not overturn the charge, he will release the video to Bill DeBlasio and show him just how the deputy mayor conducts her government business. Andre then goes home, where Rhonda is exercising, and tells her that despite Lucious sending him to see Raquel, he prayed and managed to resist going back to his old ways. He then picks up and kisses Rhonda, who tells him that she's been praying for this (being intimate with him, since Andre has pulled back from her ever since she got pregnant and he found the Lord).

At Lyon Dynasty, Hakeem is trying to coach Laura into entering a superstar mode, taking photos of her and giving her tips, reminding what Tiana had taught her. However, Cookie walks in, and Laura is unable to continue. Cookie tells him to give up on Laura and to promote Carmen, and that he's too distracted by "the ass". Hakeem tells his mom that he hasn't even touched her, which surprises Cookie.

Lucious, on the other hand, is at Empire, playing the sitar & trying to dig deeper in order to finish the song. He has a flashback of his mother frantically ransacking their house, looking for bullets. Jamal walks in and shares with Lucious the good news - that he's been invited to perform at Huey Jarvis' Living Room session. Lucious is happy for him, but at the same time is presumably upset at the fact that Jamal got the chance while he did not. After Jamal leaves, Lucious sits there and ponders, deep in thought, while remaining upset.

Cookie and Laz, who are kissing, discuss about where they should host Cookie's Cookout. Cookie suggests somewhere in the hood, to which Laz suggests Central Park. Cookie tells him that she's already done an event at Central Park - the #FreeLucious event - and doesn't wish to repeat herself. Laz suggests doing it at Rock Steady Park, in the Upper West Side in Harlem, which Cookie finds perfect. However, it comes with a catch - the area is the territory of Big Heavy, the man who orchestrated Hakeem's kidnapping. Cookie shuts the idea down, but Laz tells her that they'll set up a meeting and it'll make it seem like Heavy won.

Laura sings at Hudson Plaza.png

Hakeem, who's in incognito, brings Laura to Hudson Plaza, where he tells her to stand there and sing without inhibition, the sole purpose of which to make strangers stop and notice her. With Hakeem's persuasion, she performs "Yo Vivire" and wows the crowd that surrounds her. After finishing the song, Hakeem congratulates her, and she thanks him by kissing him.

Lucious and Mimi go to see Jago at the hospital, where Jago almost calls the nurse on him. Lucious apologizes to Jago, telling him that his comments pisses him off, because they were true. He thanks Jago for pushing him to dig deeper into creating a song. Jago nonchalantly tells Lucious to send him the royalty checks; Lucious gives Mimi a look as she glances at the morphine, and while Lucious speaks to Jago, Mimi manages to subtly increase the morphine drip, inebriating Jago. Lucious then has Mimi call Jago's lawyer and convinces Jago, in his intoxicated state, to have his lawyer draft up a contract for a merger between Empire and SwiftStream.

Hakeem - An Equal Partner.png

Cookie and Laz are in a meeting at Lyon Dynasty with Big Heavy and his two boys. Hakeem barges in, asking what Big Heavy is doing here, prompting Heavy's boys to almost draw their guns. Big Heavy, however, deems Hakeem as weak and has his boys keep their guns away. Hakeem tells them that he is an equal partner in Lyon Dynasty, and therefore any negotiations also go through to him. Hakeem tells him that they're to give protection beginning around the perimeter. Big Heavy tells him that it's all or nothing, but Laz sticks up for Hakeem. Big Heavy then tells Hakeem that they will be taking 15% off vendor sales, and Cookie asks Hakeem if that's okay with him, prompting a nod and a thumbs up from Hakeem. As they leave, Cookie commends Hakeem on his behavior during the meeting. Hakeem hopes that it will make Cookie realize that he is a partner, and has some say in how the business is run, specifically his decision to keep Laura as a lead singer. Cookie, however, thinks that it's a bad idea, and that he needs to think with his head instead of his "you-know-what". Hakeem, however, gives her the same advice, telling her that he's aware that she's sleeping with Laz, and tells Cookie to be careful as he doesn't trust Laz.

Jamal performing for Huey Jarvis.png

At Huey Jarvis' house, Jamal is performing "Heavy". Huey tells Lucious that he is impressed with Jamal's song. Lucious proudly tells him that he has been working with Jamal, and Huey tells Lucious that he (Lucious) has managed to push Jamal to another level. This prompts a flashback again, where Leah manages to find one bullet that Dwight/Lucious had missed. This also causes a visible change in Lucious' facial expression, possibly because he has realized that Jamal has been secretly working with Cookie, whom Lucious is aware is the only person who has ever pushed Jamal to another level, or possibly because Lucious himself has not been able to push himself to another level.

Meanwhile, Hakeem is conducting a rehearsal at Lyon Dynasty, having Mirage a Trois perform "Mimosa". With Cookie watching, Laura performs successfully, ass bumping both Carmen out of the way and shining as the lead singer. Cookie gives Hakeem the thumbs up.

Lucious, on the other hand, is at Laviticus, where Mimi tells him that the merger with Empire and SwiftStream was completed successfully. She also tells him she got him a gift - a bunch of women, to which Lucious claims it's Christmas. Lucious and Mimi choose a girl dressed in green - named April - which causes Lucious to comment that spring has arrived. Lucious and Mimi bring April to his house. Mimi, however, is interrupted by a phone call and goes to another room. Mimi is crying on the phone, and Lucious, who wanders in, wonders whether she's arguing with her girlfriend or her wife. He grabs the phone from her and tells the person on the other end to treat her with respect and that Mimi is the best they'll ever get, letting the other person know that he is Lucious Lyon.

Lucious retrieves his mother's revolver

He then brings Mimi back to the room, where April is waiting, and the two kiss, before almost beginning a threesome. However, as Lucious opens her legs, he notices a tattoo of a revolver on her inner thigh. He runs out of the room, where he opens a dresser to reveal an old box. He opens the box, where an old gun is kept inside with a sack - the very gun his mother hand. Playing Russian roulette, she pulls the trigger and says "boom" until she reaches the bullet, revealing that the boom and the bang is the inspiration for the hook of Lucious' song (Boom boom boom boom, bang bang bang bang). He takes the gun and goes to the studio, having Freda bought in, despite it being 4am. Using the empty revolver, he invites Freda to share a part of his story, and delivers a verse on the song along with Freda as they both finish the song.


Song Title Performer(s)
Heavy Jamal Lyon
Mimosa Mirage a Trois
Yo Vivire Laura Calleros
Boom Boom Boom Boom* Lucious Lyon and Freda Gatz
  •  * denotes a song featured in a previous episode

Featured Songs

  • Good For You - Selena Gomez ft. A$AP Rocky


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

  • Sari Sanchez as Raquel Alvarez
  • Clarence Williams III as Huey Jarvis
  • Tiesheko Houston as April

Major/Highlighted Events

  • Raquel Alvarez, the Deputy Mayor with whom Andre had sex with (in order to find out the witness to Bunkie's murder) back in the first season, makes her reappearance.
  • Empire Entertainment forms a merger with SwiftStream, an online music streaming platform.
  • Mimi is revealed to have some secret that most likely involves Empire.
  • It is revealed that Lucious' mother, Leah, had killed herself with a revolver in front of him (he was just 9 years old).
  • As Lucious spends more time with Freda, Jamal begins to gravitate towards Cookie and Lyon Dynasty, despite them being fierce competitors.


  • This episode was initially scheduled to air on November 4, 2015. However, due to the previous episode being pushed back a week due to the World Series, this episode (and the rest that follow) were also pushed back a week from their initial air dates.
  • This episode has an alternate title on iTunes -- "What's Love Got To Do With It?".
  • For the seventh time in a row, at least one of the main cast is not present in an episode. In this episode, both Grace Gealey (Anika Calhoun) and Gabourey Sidibe (Becky Williams) are absent. Also, Kaitlin Doubleday (Rhonda Lyon), Serayah (Tiana Brown) and Ta'Rhonda Jones (Porsha Taylor) do appear in this episode, although their appearances are limited to less than a minute each, effectively giving them less screen time than the guest cast, despite them being a part of the main cast.
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