Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 6 of Empire Season 5, called "What is Done."
Empire kicked off its fifth season with a shocking twist that revealed an upcoming death. The first flash-forward revealed that somebody was going to die within six months, but the identity of the person who died was not given away. Up until "What is Done," the only significant characters confirmed to still be among the living in the flash-forwards were Lucious and Thirsty Rawlings. Now, the latest episode may have revealed another survivor: Cookie.
The latest flash-forward picked up shortly after the previous flash-forward set at the funeral. Lucious was being questioned by federal agents about a man by the name of Damon Cross, who Lucious had denied knowing. The Cookie twist came when one of the agents pulled out photos of Cookie with Damon and said this:
You may not know Damon Cross, but your wife certainly does. In fact, they look downright friendly. Care to explain?
The plot has officially thickened! The key word there is "does." Although this flash-forward didn't settle the question of Cookie's survival definitively by showing her alive and well, the agent's use of "does" to describe Cookie indicates that she is not the one who died. Could this be a slip of the tongue on the part of the fed? Sure. But it seems far more likely that this was Empire's way of ruling out one more candidate for the death.
Assuming Cookie isn't the big death, she's going to be in hot water with her husband. Lucious clearly had no idea that Cookie knew this Damon Cross person, and he didn't exactly look surprised in the happiest way when confronted with photographic proof of their acquaintance. Of course, it probably didn't help that the photos didn't just show Cookie and Damon hanging out like platonic pals.
No, the images showed Cookie looking quite cozy with Damon, and Lucious was visibly upset to see his wife in such close quarters with him. At this point, we can only speculate about whether he's more upset about Cookie getting so cozy with another man or that the man is this Damon Cross. Empire hasn't delivered much in the way of info about the new character.
Luckily, even if the show hasn't revealed details about Damon Cross, there was news about the character released when it was announced that The Wire veteran Wood Harris would tackle the role. Damon is an international money launderer with a dangerous edge, but he also has a distinctly charming side to offset some of his intimidation.
Lucious actually met Damon in "What is Done," so his claims to the feds about their history are not entirely accurate. Damon was in the mix with Lucious in the episode, joining forces with the Lyon patriarch after he joined a high-stakes poker game in pursuit of a new artist to sign. Given that the Lyons aren't rolling in cash the way they once were, Lucious sold a valuable painting he'd given Cookie for their wedding so that he'd have the necessary buy-in for the game.
The idea was that he would buy the painting back from his friend, who made the purchase, with the winnings from the poker game. Lucious did win the poker game and made off with a lot of cash, but he learned some bad news: the painting had been sold to a buyer who made an offer he couldn't refuse.
Lucious is going to be in trouble with Cookie if she finds out. The big painting twist came with the reveal that the painting had been purchased by none other than Damon Cross. Does the painting have something to do with Cookie's future intimacy with Damon? If she finds out that Lucious sold the painting, it would set the stage for her to perhaps seek companionship with somebody else, and she could meet Damon in pursuit of the painting.
All we know about Damon Cross and Cookie at this point is that he "will tempt" Cookie, and Lucious comes to want to kill him. It's not clear whether Lucious wants to kill him before or after he sees the pics of Damon with Cookie, so we'll have to wait and find out. We do know that Lucious is probably going to get his handy dirty (and wind up very bloody) in the not-too-distant future.
Elsewhere in the episode, Hakeem attempted to exorcise his demons and work out his rage via recording. He was so intense about his work that he was forgoing food and hygiene, which alarmed both his mom and Andre. Hakeem's relationship with Andre was tense due to the little fact that Andre killed the mother of Hakeem's child. Andre finally got through to his brother when he mentioned Rhonda and her unborn child, both of whom died due to Anika. Loss was something the brothers both understood.
Hakeem ended the episode showered and eating, so perhaps he is on the road to recovery. Jamal was actually knocked off the road to recovery when he accidentally ate a bunch of Becky's edibles, believing they were just snacks. He wasn't thrilled that he was accidentally high, but the incident actually provided most of the laughs of the episode as Becky and Kai snacked on some edibles to keep Jamal company. Hilarity ensued when they tried and failed to play a game of Truth Or Dare.
To find out what happens next for the Lyons and whoever winds up dead by the time the present action catches up with the flash-forwards, tune in to Fox on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of Empire. As of now, my money is still on one of the Lyons to be the one to bite the dust. Just because Cookie was almost certainly ruled out doesn't mean the Lyon boys are all safe!