Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon — the ex-con turned music mogul whose wild antics have kept fans more than entertained — reminded everyone in Empire Season 4 exactly why she’s the boss-lady. With Lucious battling to regain his memory after last season’s explosion, Cookie fearlessly held the family together and kept the Lyon family dynasty afloat... and all while wearing six-inch stiletto heels. Unfortunately, Cookie and the rest of Lyon family are taking a temporary break from putting out hits — both musical and on people — following the midseason finale airing on Dec. 13. So, when does Empire return for the rest of Season 4?
In November it was announced that Empire would be undergoing a production hiatus for script rewrites, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The break began on Nov. 15, after filming was completed on episode 409, and was predicted to last somewhere between two and three weeks, which means it should be over by now. But fans will still be waiting a few months for new episodes. While the hiatus won’t impact the show’s on-air schedule, the series typically doesn’t return until early spring. No official release date has been announced by the network yet. But the second half of Season 2 began airing on Mar. 30, while Season 3's midseason premiere occurred on Mar. 22. So if the network follows its traditional pattern, we can expect the Lyon family return around mid-March 2018.
The midseason finale airing on Dec. 13 is titled “Slave To Memory,” and will end this half of Season 4 on an eventful note. Lucious’ memory is back, and Cookie needs all the help she can get to take down her arch-nemesis, Diana DuBois. In the last few episodes it's been teased that someone’s life is on the line. And given that the show had no qualms about almost killing off Lucious last season, no character is safe. Well, except maybe Cookie. Because let’s be real. No one’s watching this show without Cookie on it.
But if there’s anything this show knows how to do, it’s how to drive Cookie crazy by targeting the people she loves most. Still angry about how Cookie ruined her son Angelo’s political career in Season 3, Diana will stop at nothing to punish the Lyon family. Season 4 has already seen Hakeem lose custody of his daughter, Bella, Jamal heartbroken and struggling with sobriety, and Andre reeling from a nervous breakdown — which is probably the most devastating storyline of all. It’s amazing Cookie has managed to hold it all together for as long as she has. But judging by the previews for Empire’s winter finale, this might be the night when Cookie finally breaks.
On the music side, Empire has been faced with more police probes and disgruntled employees than ever before this season. Cookie couldn’t be in all places at all times, so Lucious called in backup — his longtime pal Eddie Barker (Forest Whitaker), an award-winning producer. But lately, Eddie has been giving off some seriously sketchy vibes, and with so many people out to get the Lyons (ahem — Anika, the DuBois family, Shyne, the FBI) it’s hard for fans to know who to trust.
Fortunately, Eddie’s true intentions may be revealed in the midseason finale, thanks to the appearance of his trophy ex-wife Giselle Barker (Nicole Ari Parker). Her character is set to recur in the second half of Season 4, according to Deadline. And judging from Parker’s recent Instagram post, Giselle is looking for money from Eddie. ("WHERE'S THE MONEY $$$ Eddie?!!!", she captioned the photo below.) So this either means (a) Giselle is a "gold digger" just looking for a handout from her super rich ex-husband, or (b) her ex-husband owes her money for something, is behind on payments, and not paying her will result in his secrets being outed ASAP. So Eddie's working with Cookie to eventually take over Empire and steal the Lyon family's fortune.
Now I don't moonlight as a writer on Empire or anything, but given the direction in which this show typically goes, I'm going to bet on option B. Something about Eddie rubs me the wrong way and if Empire has shown us anything, it's that the people the Lyons can't trust are the ones closest to them.
Viewers can expect Empire's Season 4 midseason finale to be full of snappy one-liners, long-held secrets, musical performances, and cliffhangers sure to make heads spin. Will Cookie and the Lyon family survive? Fans will just have to wait until 2018 to see.