Cookie’s Newest ‘Empire’ Rival Has Some Nefarious Plans

by Alexis Reliford
Chuck Hodes/FOX

In last season’s finale, Lyon family patriarch Lucious was just waking up from a coma after almost being killed by a car bomb planted under the direction of none other than his oldest son Andre. Empire Season 4 premiered Sept. 27, and picks up three months after Lucious woke to reveal that the accident messed with his memories. (Spoiler warning!) Lucious still doesn’t have his memory back, but he does have a new “love interest,” the mysterious Nurse Claudia, played by Demi Moore. What Claudia really want on Empire?

It's clear that creator Lee Daniels has a thing for love triangles. At the end of last season, it really seemed as if Cookie and Lucious would finally be back together. Right before the bomb went off, Lucious declared his love for Cookie. They should have been hearing wedding bells at that moment, but, nope, just a loud boom. And in the Season 4, Claudia steps out of car with Lucious on her arm, sending Cookie — and some of the audience, probably — into a jealous rage.

Claudia, an incredibly touchy feely a rehabilitation therapist and psychologist, reassures Cookie that she’s only interested in making sure "Dwight" (oh yeah, Lucious is going by his government name now) gets better. But like the Lyon matriarch, I ain’t buying it. Claudia's ultimate purpose for being in their lives is entirely unclear. Sure, she appears to be there to help Lucious get better, but something about her demeanor seems off.

In a bold move, Claudia admits that Lucious may be falling in love with her, but then unconvincingly tells Cookie that it's just a symptom of his recovery. Something about her tone of voice and body language doesn't sit well with Cookie, and fans might be inclined to agree. It doesn't help that she shows up to the anniversary celebration wearing one of Anika's tight and low-cut dresses. It's not exactly what you picture a nurse wearing to work with a patient, especially when they're supposed to be on the clock.

Chuck Hodes/FOX

After a quick breakdown where's he's comforted by Claudia, Lucious, wearing a new prosthetic leg, manages to fake a memory long enough to give a convincing speech for the TV special. He and Cookie hold hands afterwards giving viewers a sliver of hope that he may be coming back into it, while Claudia eerily watches on from behind them. If things were professional between she and Lucious at first, they're sure not anymore. So maybe Cookie wasn't just being paranoid after all.

Cookie's suspicions are further heightened after Lucious confesses to Cookie that the old Lucious is no longer who he is, before walking away entangled with Claudia. Talk about a kick to the gut. Luckily, Cookie quickly picks her jaw up off the floor and claps back with another one of her usual sassy one-liners: “I’m Cookie Lyon baby. I’m unforgettable,” she says while giving Claudia a look that could stop a bullet in heat. Be warned Claudia. Cookie’s not going down without a fight.

Chuck Hodes/FOX

Unfortunately, this "off" nurse and brewing love triangle will be the least of Cookie’s worries this season. It seems as though the explosion has brought the family back together and back to business, but the peace doesn't last long before they’re back at each other’s throats. Hakeem has knowingly made a deal with Cookie’s enemy, Diana DuBois, who’s hell bent on getting revenge on Cookie for messing up her son Angelo’s political career. Jamal is unknowingly falling for another member of the shady DuBois clan, and Andre is still reeling from guilt over the accident.

Couple all this with Claudia's shady antics and you've got one wild season in the works. Meaning Cookie will definitely need something stronger than milk to compete with this newcomer.