Empire's Finale Just Delivered A Shocking Character Death

empire fox anika grace byers

(Image credit: Image courtesy of Fox)

Spoilers ahead for the Season 4 finale of Empire.

Another season of Empire has come to an end, and it was as wild a ride as fans have come to expect of stories involving the Lyon family and the people in their orbit. The finale was full of plot twists, but the biggest may be the death of one of the characters that has been around from the very beginning: Anika. She died after Andre spiked her champagne with a drug that resulted in her hallucinating, and it just so happens that her hallucinations showed none other than Rhonda, who died because of Anika. Knocked off her rocker by her visions, Anika stumbled off of a balcony and into a glass table, quite definitively killing her. R.I.P. Anika.

Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney has already weighed in on why the time had come to kill off Anika, saying this:

I feel like Anika's storyline had reached its [conclusion]. She achieved what she wanted to over the course of the series, from first wanting Lucious and then just wanting Empire. She got everything she wished for, but it came at a great price. Karma finally caught up with her. She ascended to the throne but then she had to pay for everything she had done in the past.

According to Brett Mahoney, Empire had told all the stories that needed to be told with Anika. It's difficult to argue that the show left any stones unturned with her character; Anika has been involved all kinds of messes from very beginning, and her rivalry with Cookie always meant that she might meet an untimely end. Who could have guessed that Cookie would not be the Lyon to end Anika? Instead of Cookie, we got a tag team of Andre and hallucination-Rhonda taking her out.

Whether you loved Anika, hated Anika, or didn't especially care about Anika, you may have to admit that there was a lot of poetic justice in how her death came about. She never really paid for her role in Rhonda's death as much as she probably should have, and the hallucinations indicated that Anika had a lot of baggage left from what she did to Rhonda. How fitting that Rhonda (albeit a fake version of her) and Andre set events in motion that ended her!

Brett Mahoney went on in his chat with TVLine to say this about why Andre had to be the one to end her:

Obviously, the rivalry between Anika and Cookie was [legendary] and we wanted them to have that moment in the restaurant where Anika finally wins a confrontation with Cookie. But in terms of who she aggrieved the most? It was Andre. She took his wife. Took his kid. And Andre had made a promise to Rhonda to take her down, and that's what he did. Now, Andre didn't intentionally kill her. He just wanted to f--- up what was going on with that press conference. He wanted to embarrass her. He could not have predicted she was going to die

Okay, so technically, Andre didn't set out to kill his former stepmom, but there's still a sense of justice to his role in taking her out. As it turns out, Anika wasn't even the only death in the episode. Recovering drug addict Tory relapsed and ultimately died in the hospital in a twist that obviously upset Jamal. Eddie won the Empire auction, meaning that Lucious and the other Lyons don't have control of the company anymore. Hakeem, Tiana, and Blake's lives in danger thanks to a cliffhanger that saw them shot at by Blake's dad. At least Cookie and Lucious got to (re)tie the knot!

Empire will return for Season 5 in the fall. For where the show will fit into the lineup, take a look at Fox's 2018-2019 fall schedule. If you still need some shows to watch in the not-too-distant future, check out our summer TV premiere guide.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).