Pointing out the inconsistencies in how time is represented in a movie or TV show is a waste of time. In the case of Empire and Cookie Lyon, it's also foolish. This is how Cookie ostensibly spends about 18 hours:
I picked Union Square arbitrarily as Cookie's place of residence, but I don't think where she is on Manhattan really matters, because here's what she packs into this day:
1. Trip to Ghetto Ass Studios in the Bronx with Jamal. To be clear, this is not a nickname I've given it; the characters claim this is the actual name of the studio. The name check with the Secretary of State before registering that LLC must have been great.
2. Outside of the Studios, Cookie is confronted by Agent Carter, who reiterates that she needs Cookie to testify before a grand jury against a drug kingpin so he can be indicted for murdering a federal agent nearly two decades ago. Normally, Cookie would be the kind of witness you'd want to prep thoroughly before she takes the stand; she's the key to connecting the kingpin to the murder.
Instead, Cookie gets to go home, change, and then get down to the courthouse immediately.
3. After her successful grand jury appearance, Cookie goes back home, prepared to return to Ghetto Ass Studios. Instead, she finds a red rose on her doorstep - the calling card of the drug lord against whom she just testified. That prompts her to hail a cab and head to Philadelphia, where she pays a family friend $5,000 to kill the man she thinks is working with the kingpin on the outside.
4. Then she returns to the Bronx, wraps production with Jamal, and goes back home. Lucious eventually shows up and reveals he's the one who left the rose as an anniversary present. Horrified, Cookie tries to call off her hitman, but it's too late, because that's how scripted drama works.
Star witness in a major federal prosecution, a successfully orchestrated murder for hire, and a new single produced. That's one day in the life of Cookie, and if it seems like too much for one person, it's beacuse you are not Cookie and neither am I.
CRUMBLING EMPIRE IMMINENT WARNING
3. Lucious's soon to be father in law. Lucious proposes to Anika early in this episode and invites her parents over for dinner. (I get that you want to show off your nice house, dude, but can't we ever go out for a nice dinner? What if I feel like sushi?) He pulls Anika's dad, who is a physician, aside to ask him two things:
a) "Can you help me get the best ALS treatment possible?"
b) "Will you write me a letter fraudulently stating that I'm healthy so the IPO can go forward?"
And the answer to both is yes. "Write me this fraud letter" is TV code for "let's set up this plot bomb so it can explode later."
2. Jamal. How extreme will Jamal go with his insistence that he will not rely on his father's wealth? He won't use Empire's studio. Will he also refuse to use their distribution avenues? Who's going to promote this album? Would Jamal refuse to participate in an Obamacare insurance plan because the President is friends with his father? What if Lucious somehow cornered the bagel market in Bushwick? Are you REALLY going to stop eating bagels, Jamal?
1. Cookie. Heresy, yes, but Cookie is now at risk of being prosecuted for ordering that murder and the retaliation from said murder. I'm not actually worried about Cookie making it through this, but let's not pretend that she's doing great right now.
On the plus side, Cookie is now on the Empire Board of Directors which is going to be amaaaaaaazing.
COOKIE'S WEAPON OF CHOICE
$5000, as in the amount she paid her friend/assassin. Is that the going rate? That seems somehow cheap, especially when the target is someone associated with a major crime organization. This is why murderers need to unionize, or at least exchange information on a message board or something. Otherwise they'll keep negotiating against themselves.
A SCENE THAT I IMAGINE WAS CUT FROM THIS WEEK'S EPISODE
ANDRE: Um, why are you so visibly moved by Hakeem's idea for a music video that involves him on a jet ski in front of a green screen? It doesn't strike me as anything artistically unique, especially for hip hop. Have you never seen a Puff Daddy video?
LUCIOUS: Shouldn't you focus on getting your story straight about how you were with me the night of Bunkie's murder?
ANDRE: No, that plot line has been totally abandoned for the time being.