In last night’s episode of Empire, titled “A High Hope for a Low Heaven,” Hakeem Lyon (Bryshere Gray) deals with the devastating psychological effects of being gang raped by 3 kidnappers who are extorting Empire Records for protection money.

First on Hakeem’s to-do list after he is freed is to have sex with his father’s ex-fiancée, Anika (Grace Gealey) on her front stoop in full view of pedestrians passing by.

There are other clues that Hakeem’s back door was brutally violated: he starts hearing voices (a sign that he might be suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness) and he repeatedly screams “I’m straight!” to his brothers when they try to comfort him after his rough ordeal.

“He feels humiliated,” says his openly gay brother, Jamal (Jussie Smollet) with a knowing smile.

When his mother, Cookie Lyon (Taraji P Henson) stupidly takes Hakeem back to the scene of the crime to “negotiate” with the 3 kidnappers, Hakeem — who is mourning the loss of his manhood — pulls a gun on his captors.

Cookie talks him out of pulling the trigger. In flashbacks, she recalls her 17 years locked up in prison — away from her 3 sons who grow up without her. “I’d rather die than lose you again,” Cookie tells him.

A family doctor examines Hakeem, and he notices fresh abrasions on Hakeem’s back and buttocks.

Instead of getting counseling for his son, who was violently raped, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) gives him a new track. But Hakeem is too emotionally overwrought to care about music. He tosses the track on the ground.

“With you, there’s always strings,” He tells his father before walking away.

Cookie looks to ex-cop-turned concert promoter, Laz Delgado (Adam Rodriguez) to be the head of security at her label, Lyon Dynasty Records. She wants protection for her artists, but Delgado is only interested in banging her back out.

Empire‘s overnight ratings slipped again to 10 million + viewers. That’s a full 1 million + viewers down from 2 weeks ago. Empire‘s household rating dropped to 7.9 from the previous episode’s 8.2 rating.

Watch the full episode below, courtesy of