You better pray to God that he forgives you, cause I don't.

Lucious to Andre

Without a Country
Season Two, Episode Two
Empire S2E2 promo pic.jpg
Air date: September 30, 2015
Writers: Carlito Rodriguez
Director: Dee Rees
Premiere: 13.74 million
The Devils Are Here
Fires of Heaven

Without a Country is the second episode of the second season of Empire and the fourteenth episode overall. The episode first aired on September 30, 2015.

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 (guest star Becky G), proving that he can be more than just an artist. Meanwhile, Lucious, feeling extra pressure from a bloodthirsty prosecutor, hires a new lawyer (guest star Andre Royo) 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.


Andre, Cookie and Hakeem leaving Empire

The episode begins with Cookie, Andre and Hakeem packing up their belongings and leaving Empire, Cookie announcing that they're going to start their own company. Hakeem also invites Anika, who's managed to bring in Veronica. Cookie arranges for them all to meet at Ghetto Ass Studios, where she wants to make it their new base of operations for their new label.

At home, Jamal is performing a song for a live interview. After the song, Jamal is interviewed, where he reveals that as much as music is his everything, he's too busy running the Empire to release another album. Cookie crashes the interview to talk to Jamal, asking Jamal to give Hakeem his album. Jamal refuses, as he sees Hakeem as a traitor, but Cookie tells him that Hakeem didn't do anything to him. She also adds that Jamal won, as he now has Empire, and that all Hakeem has is his music. Cookie tells Jamal that as much as Lucious is trying to make Jamal more like him, she knows Jamal is still himself. Cookie and Jamal get back on good terms, but that doesn't last more than a few seconds, as Cookie tells Jamal that she, Andre and Hakeem are starting their own label.

Meanwhile, Lucious is in the jail clinic, where the doctor is unable to give Lucious his medication because the authorization form is no longer there. Lucious is forced to go without his treatment. While trying to perform a song he wrote with his boys ("Snitch Bitch"), his myesthenia gravis causes his voice to go raspy and unable to finish the song. Officer McKnight shows up and announces that the entire jail is his, and hauls away one of Lucious' guys.

Hakeem holding auditions

Hakeem is busy holding auditions for his girl group, where he meets Valentina, a Latin girl who shows that she can sing. However, she has no desire to be a part of a group. Andre crashes the auditions telling Hakeem off for holding auditions without asking them, but Hakeem states he doesn't have to ask permission. Andre tries to talk to it with Cookie, telling her that Hakeem needs to record music as his album is locked to Empire.

In jail, Lucious encounters Officer McKnight, who tells him to be more cooperative with the prosecutor, Ms. Roxanne Ford, or else his medications will continue to be held off. At Ghetto Ass Studios, Hakeem tries to sell his girl group as "Rainbow Sensation". Cookie calls it the dumbest name ever, while Anika praises the concept. Cookie calls Anika a ho, and tells her no one wants her here, and brings up the fact that she sleeps with Hakeem. Anika simply bids her good luck and leaves.

Jamal visiting Lucious in prison, with Thirsty eavesdropping in the background

Jamal goes to visit Lucious in jail. Empire's stock is plummeting, and if Jamal gives Hakeem his album, then it would send a message to the world, and the shareholders, about Cookie. Lucious tells him to get Hakeem back at Empire no matter what. Their meeting is interrupted by Thurston 'Thirsty' Rawlings, a lawyer who who tells Lucious and Jamal that he's aware of Roxanne withholding his meds, but that if he was Lucious' lawyer, he could get Lucious out, and get his meds. Lucious tells Jamal to make a meeting with him.

As Hakeem steps out of Ghetto Ass Studios, Jamal rolls up in Lucious' car and tells him to get inside. Jamal tells him that Hakeem is family, and tells him to remain at Empire. Hakeem agrees only if Jamal brings Andre and Cookie back, but Jamal wants to take baby steps. Cookie steps out and notices Jamal and Hakeem in the car, but Jamal rolls the window up and orders the driver to drive off.

Hakeem is in his bathtub with Valentina, where she tells him that she would be in his girl group if it was at Empire, since Empire is hip hop legendary. Rhonda, on the other hand, goes to meet Jamal secretly at his apartment. She tells Jamal to forgive Andre and bring him back, as Empire is what he's poured his life and energy into. Jamal tells her that he wishes he could just give the whole thing to Andre. Rhonda then decides to reveal to Jamal that she's pregnant, which instantly wins Jamal over, and he promises to talk to Lucious about bringing Andre back.

Lucious recording "Snitch Bitch"

Meanwhile, Lucious is lying in his prison clinic when a correctional officer gives Lucious his meds, courtesy of Thirsty Rawlings. He brings Lucious to a storage room where Lucious can record his music. After recording Snitch Bitch, the session is interrupted by Officer McKnight. McKnight throws Lucious into solitary confinement, telling him that he could kill Lucious right now. As McKnight heads home, he is ambushed in the parking lot by two men, who crack his ribs and take Lucious' laptop from him. It turns out the men were hired by Rawlings, who makes sure that the song is released.

At Ghetto Ass Studios, Hakeem reveals to Andre and Cookie that he leaked his album online. Cookie wonders if that is legal, but Hakeem adds that he doesn't care. Andre tells him that he's stupid, as Empire will sue them. Andre leaves. Cookie tries to get him to stay, but Andre tells her that he spent his life trying to be with Empire, not with some scrawny label. He pleads with his mother to let him go.

Andre goes to see Lucious in jail

Andre goes to see Lucious in jail, where he asks for forgiveness. Lucious asks if he still believes in God. When Andre says he does, Lucious tells him to be ask his God for forgiveness since he won't. Lucious gets up and leaves, and Andre yells at him to hold up. He brings up the fact that Lucious hated Jamal for his homosexuality, yet gave Empire to him. He adds that Hakeem slept with Anika, and yet Lucious wants him back as well. But Andre, who's remorseful, who is begging for forgiveness, is shafted aside. Andre asks his father why he hates him. This causes Lucious to remember a memory from when he was a little kid, with his mother singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to him. Lucious simply tells Andre that he doesn't hate him.

At Jamal's apartment, Jamal sings a song he dedicates to Hakeem. He asks Hakeem to come back to Empire, but Hakeem reveals that he doesn't want to. When Jamal inquires about the album, Hakeem tells him that he leaked it online, prompting Jamal to tell Hakeem that he will sue him. Hakeem doesn't care, telling Jamal that he's now at Lyon Dynasty, the label Cookie founded. He tells Jamal that one day he will perform and outsell Madison Square Garden, and when he does so, he will hook Lucious and Jamal up with tickets.

Cookie has managed to rent a bigger space from a Jewish company which will become the new headquarters and recording studio for Lyon Dynasty. As Hakeem joins her to clean up the place, they both hear Lucious' new song on the radio. Hakeem is surprised that his father was able to release a song from jail, and tells Cookie that Lucious will come for them.

Thirsty's last minute evidence

Meanwhile, Thirsty Rawlings has managed to get Lucious a bail hearing; however, he doesn't show up until the very last minute. He tells the judge that he is late because he just received new evidence, which he gives to the judge. However, the judge opens it to find incriminating photos of himself participating in BDSM. Embarrassed, he frees Lucious on $1,000,000 bail, much to Roxanne Ford's surprise.


Song Title Performer(s)
Born To Love U Jamal Lyon
Hourglass Veronica
Do It Valentina Galindo
Get No Better (2.0) Tiana Brown
Sorry Just Don't Cut It Jamal Lyon
Snitch Bitch Lucious Lyon feat. Clyde


Main Cast

Special Guest Star

Recurring Cast

Major/Highlighted Events

  • Cookie, Andre and Hakeem leave Empire Entertainment.
  • Cookie creates her own label, which she eventually names "Lyon Dynasty".
  • Andre leaves her label, telling her that he wants to be with Empire, not some small scrawny label.
  • Rhonda reveals to Jamal that she's pregnant.
  • Lucious refuses to bring Andre back to Empire.
  • Lucious is reminded of his mother, Leah, when he sees Andre, creating the possibility that perhaps his mother also suffered from bipolar disorder.
  • Lucious is freed from jail on a $1,000,000 bond.


  • Ever since Empire first premiered, the number of viewers tuning in has increased by each episode. However, that streak was ended with this episode, which premiered to under 14 million viewers, in comparison with the previous episode's 16 million
  • Kaitlyn Doubleday and Serayah McNeill, who portray Rhonda Lyon and Tiana Brown, have very few screentime in this episode, despite being part of the main cast.
  • Gabourey Sidibe and Ta'Rhonda Jones (Becky and Porsha) do not appear in this episode at all.
  • Hakeem's age is revealed to be 20, putting his birth year at 1994.
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