HOLLYWOOD—Season 3 of the FOX series “Empire” was a thrill-a-minute! After a lackluster second season, things quickly turned around in season three as the drama heightened in ways that audiences could least expect. We ended with that epic explosion in Las Vegas where Lucious lost his memory while saving his beloved Cookie. So with season 4 upon us, how did things kick-off for the episode, ‘Noble Memory?’

Things kicked off with Cookie in the driver seat to celebrate Empire’s 20th anniversary, with a TV special, but chaos would emerge as egos collided, and Lucious made his triumphant return to the stage with Cookie by his side. However, we got the long-awaited “Empire” and “Star” crossover, as Queen Latifah brought Carlotta to town, asking a former friend for a pal. The problem is that that crossover was just a tease. Well, you could cut the tension between these two divas: Carlotta and Cookie, and it was evident Lucious was not ready to return to the limelight, so we go back in time!

Andre was a bit of a nervous wreck realizing that his involvement in that car explosion could soon come to light. Hmm, things are getting interesting with Hakeem finding himself at the mercy of Diana Dubois portrayed with such villainy by Phylicia Rashad, whose angle has yet to be explained in full. This woman is crazy; she is so determined to take down the Lyon clan that she would force her son Warren to spark a relationship with Jamal to see his downfall. Ok, two matriarchs going toe-to-toe, but I fear Cookie might have an edge on Diana that she will never see coming.

Yeah, Andre probably shouldn’t have gone into business with Shine because it might cost him much more than just his life. First shocker of the episode, Lucious lost his leg in the blast, just as Claudia (Demi Moore) continued to play protector over her patient, as Cookie persisted that Lucious needed to take to the stage.

Gotta admit I love seeing this new softer, more emotional Lucious, who seemed appalled by his violent past, which he can’t seem to remember. Cookie called out Claudia on her growing attraction to her lover, just as she did her best to get Lucious to recover his memory. He did his best to reconnect with his family over dinner recollecting the importance of songs that he wrote throughout his accomplished career.

Friction erupted when the Lyon clan was forced to shield the truth from Lucious to protect him, but Hakeem’s inability to play nice caused him to spill the truth, and Lucious erupted in anger and wanted to jump into the water, but his sons came to his aide. It was very evident for Cookie that Claudia was getting closer to her hubby than she liked and made moves to reassure Lucious that she would never leave his side. It seemed Lucious might not take the stage, but he did indeed make his triumphant return to the stage and dedicated one of his favorite songs to Cookie and the bond between the two continued to build more and more as Lucious was falling for Cookie.

Andre was still on edge, especially after learning that Shine just murdered the guy who placed that bomb in the car in Las Vegas. The final moments of the episode revealed Lucious put on a show, so the audience has been hoodwinked, and Claudia does indeed seem enamored with her patient. Slow start, but I’m certain “Empire” will bring the heat in the coming weeks. “Empire” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on FOX.