So finally Power is back. But something's different.
During Power's 10-month hiatus, Fox's Empire debuted and became an international hit, which means, for better or worse, other shows will naturally adjust their format to duplicate its success.Because the two are often compared, primarily because they are hour-long scripted dramas mostly featuring Black people, I’ll say that I preferred “Power” to “Empire”. It’s a smart drug story, not quite The Wire (the greatest TV show of all time) with its plodding storytelling, but also not trying to be it. Power paced well to me. Slow enough to build conflict to a crescendo unlike Empire, which races through conflicts like its paced to the beat of house music.
Note the past tense I used for “pace”: paced. Power’s changed—in the first two episodes, anyway, . It’s faster, more-in-your-face conflict. It seems like it’s trying to compete with everything-including-the-kitchen-sink over-the-“topness” of Empire, and it didn’t have to. The timing of the shows doesn’t overlap, they’re not on competing networks, and above all, there is room enough for both, despite what a certain Deadline writer might think.
The premiere of Season 2 picks up right where Season 1 left off. The hit-woman with the pink shoes flees the club after missing her target, Ghost. She hit crazy white boy Tommy’s lady, Holly, instead. Tommy, last seen on a stakeout at Angela’s apartment, after he learns she’s a Federal prosecutor, goes inside to find that her bags are packed and she’s heading off somewhere. Mistakenly, Tommy believes Ghost, who’s been outsourcing more of the day-to-day drug operations to Tommy, has been setting him up to take a fall with the feds. Tommy gets a text from Ghost asking him to meet up, probably to tell him that Holly's been shot. But Tommy’s paranoid, so not today, Satan. Instead he heads off somewhere to hide and we see him get bashed with a baseball bat and collapse.
Oh, and Angela is trying to cover her ass after her CI, Namar, was murdered (by Tommy). Her job is on the line.
Kanan aka 50 Cent aka the executive producer of Power is out of jail after a 10 year bid. After watching the season premiere and episode 2, I can safely say I liked “Power” better when it was a 50 Cent production instead of co-starring 50 Cent. The other characters keep calling 50 “Kanan” and “Dad”, and I’m just like, “no, that’s Fiddy and his son is named Marquis”. 50’s more or less playing himself in that he’s mischievous, cunning, and likes to stir up drama just for kicks. Just as in life, his smile is his redeeming quality. The man does have pretty teeth.
But I digress. 50 Cent is a free man and doesn’t want to see Ghost. He needs a woman. But like, not to have sex with. He’s looking for the hit-woman he hired to kill Ghost who didn’t do her job. He locates her partner, roughs him up bad, and promises to be back if the guy can’t find her. It’s violence for violence sake and to show the audience that Fiddy is not to be f---ed with. Got it.
Omari Hardwick is in his draws. A moment of silence…
Tasha is worried about her husband. He’s restless as he doesn’t know where Tommy is, and decides to head out to look for him. Ghost needs Tommy to make the connections with other drug dealers so they can move more weight. And he just needs Tommy because for some reason I’m yet to understand, these two are actual besties. Okay, if you say so. Ghost follows the trail of the “Underground Railroad”, ie, places where he and Tommy keep a few thousand in cash and a weapon in case ish hits the fan. The most amusing of these is under a church pew. All the stashes are in place, so Ghost is more confused than ever.
Simon Stern, the skeevy white guy who wanted Ghost to work for him is back. He still wants a partnership, and offers to help Ghost get his club back open and “groom him.” Jamie doesn’t want – or need—his help. Not sure where this storyline is going, but I’m not interested.
With the latest catastrophe at Truth, Jamie has thrown himself back into being a “mother---ing coke boy.” His distributor wants to double the amount of product that’s hitting the streets, and Jamie can’t resist the money, or er, power. Me? I would lay low for a minute if someone was trying to kill me in the street, and got close enough to strike the person standing next to me. But, what do I know? I’m a writer, not a drug dealer.
Ghost goes to see Rolla’s replacement, a kid who looks like an older version of Kenard, the kid from The Wire who shot Oh-mar. He’s suspicious of Ghost because he’s “real habla espanol” with some Latino drug dealers and doesn’t know if he wants to do business. Ghost literally cannot give this dope away.
Angela has a new boss. He’s a hard ass and re-assigns her to another case. Of course, Angie can’t give up the chase of Lobos, and unbeknown to her, also the married man she’s doing. She meets up with Ghost to complain about her job and not being in Miami. "We should be tan”, she says. No, what ya’ll should be is communicating more and humping less and maybe you would figure out that the man you’re riding is the source you’re looking for at work. Sigh. Oh, and she still thinks “Ghost” is a white guy, i.e., Tommy. Oh, Angie. Of course, Angie can’t give up the case that easily. She attends Namar’s funeral doing her best “Jenny from the Block” impression, looking to see who she can flip for info on “Ghost.” She singles out Namar’s underage boo as an easy target.
In Tommy’s absence, Ghost turns to Tasha, his wife and trap queen, to help him move weight. She’s no newbie here and quickly concocts an elaborate plan to solve Ghost’s work dilemma: kill everyone! “It only starts a war if they know you did it.”, she says. Fresh eyes for the win!!! And Ghost should think twice about cheating on a woman who speaks of murder so casually. But, In return for expressing her loyalty once again, Tasha has one request of her husband: stop seeing his mistress, Angela. It’s a reasonable request. Jamie seems surprised that Tasha knows. He goes all Olivia Pope and says he’ll handle it. but the look on his face says otherwise.
Of course, this is Omari Hardwick, and after Mary Jane, and For Colored Girls, he’s proven that he can’t play a decent husband to save his life. By “handle”, what he meant was slide some peen to Angie, who is riding in him, in literally the next scene. I was once #TeamAngie and I was impressed with their sex scenes, but that was when Angie wasn’t a knowing mistress and I also empathized with Ghost who wanted more from life and seemed weighed down by his small-minded wife.
Now he’s back to being a full-time drug dealer as the club is closed and it’s ambitious Angie who is weighed down by him. It’s painful to watch her mental contortions talking about getting a bigger place where she can play stepmom to his kids and trying to justify sticking with a married man who hits her with classic lies, like, “I’m only there for my kids.” He’s there because he wants to be there. The End. Move on. I cringed when he told Angie in El Bloombito Spanish that Tasha was all about the money. Yeah, she likes it and all, but I believe she would still be “down” if Ghost didn’t have it. Ghost is actually about the money, not Tasha.
Tasha is convinced that Ghost is a changed man, sort of. Lala calls “bullsh—“, and points out that Tasha can’t be all in because she’s saving money on the side. She requests a withdrawl limit of more than $5k. Well, all right then.
Fiddy meets up with some dude he looked out for in prison. They have a new plan now that the hit-lady screwed up leaving Ghost alive: reach the connect via “the inside.” Fiddy says he can count on his son to tell him everything he wants to know about Ghost’s organization. Um… you sure about that Fif? I’m not always sure where Sean's loyalty lies. He's too quiet. You gotta watch those types.
Ghost is still worried about Tommy, and he can’t expand distribution without him. He calls Tommy’s mom, Kate, and meeting her explains a lot about why Tommy is a nut job that he is. Apples don’t far fall from trees. Tommy’s Mom lies to Ghost and swears she hasn’t seen Tommy, her son aka “the ungrateful bastard”. Meanwhile, Tommy’s standing in the kitchen. Mom and son talk about Tommy’s redhead boo that he hasn’t heard from in days now, and bond by doing lines of coke on the kitchen counter. How Hallmark.
Ghost goes before the community board to plea for a second chance to have Truth re-opened. They relent. But this is a TV drama so there’s always a catch. Skeevy Simon bought out Ghost’s landlord, so technically, he owns Truth now. Forgive me, I just don’t get why this dude wants Ghost’s and/or Ghost’s club so bad. But this scene is kind of telling about Ghost, in that he seems to be a modern-day Stringer Bell. As Avon once assessed, “you’re too good for one world, but not good enough for the other.” He can’t run the drug operation without Tommy, and in legit world, he’s easily scooped. He is, however, winning on the home-front. He lies to Tasha and tells her that he’s taken care of the Angela situation.
Ghost’s spidey senses tell him Tommy’s mother was lying and he pops up at the house with what looks like a dime bag to entice her to open the door. He muscles his way in and finds that Tommy’s got a gun. He accuses Ghost of betraying him. This is how Ghost finally learns Angie is a US attorney. Doh!
In the best exchange of the show, Ghost says, “She told me she was a lawyer for the government!”
Tommy: “What kind of lawyers did you think work for the government?”
Tommy: 1. Ghost: 0.
Ghost is devastated and believes Angela is playing him. Tommy wants to kill her. Ghost can’t do it. He’s in… something with her. I won’t call it love. I do think he genuinely cares about Angie. That puppy dog way he looks at her is almost pathetic. I looked at a man that way once. Nothing good comes of that.
Oh, and Ghost finally tells Tommy that Holly got shot. Tommy goes all weird, as expected. Meanwhile, Ghost shows up to Angie’s house unexpectedly and with a gun… She says she loves him. He’s obviously skeptical.
In other news, I wonder how much the show paid to license that Lil Wayne/Drake song for the conclusion? That didn’t come cheap. Rip Rip.
What did you think of the Season 2 premiere of Power?