1. Let’s just start at the top: I really enjoyed Power Book II: Ghost, which is hard for me because I literally was only hate-watching it at the start. My entire reason for watching this show was to see Tariq laid out on a Manhattan street somewhere, dead. I HATED Tariq in the entire last two seasons of Power. Like HATED. I almost wrote an open letter to Courtney Kemp asking if I could get in on one episode like Elvin and be the triggerman on Tariq in a bodega or something, kind of like how Omar died in The Wire. Spoiler alert.
And you know what, I don’t hate Tariq anymore, and I don’t know how to feel. I’ve been rocking back and forth, draped in a Ryan’s Toy Review weighted blanket for days because of this. Let me tell you, I wasn’t a fan of weighted blankets at first; I still feel this way. Also, notice I didn’t say that I think the show is good, per se, but it was a fun ride, especially the last few episodes. For the record, I don’t even know if this show could be “good” in a traditional sense—you have to take a lot of liberties for this show to work—but high entertainment value is legitimate currency. Just ask the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
2. Speaking of the Power Cinematic Universe—and given the existence of these spinoffs I think it counts as its own universe—can somebody tell me just how fucking long this season lasted in, like, real people time? Was it a week? Months? Ghost’s funeral happened a few episodes into the show. Considering how long it can take to put Black folks in the ground, that’s maaaaybe two weeks? But was Tasha—I will never forgive her for the attempted “hardness” she displayed in jail doing pushups and the simultaneous dread she feared every time her phone rang in jail—like sitting in jail for a long time because I can’t tell. Given the sheer amount of books Tariq read and 25-page papers he wrote for himself and Zeke Cross, I mean, that nigga definitely needed more than a few weeks for that right?
3. And what in the fuck is Canonical Studies and why do you get to graduate college faster for what the rest of the world views as English Lit 101?
4. I’m jumping ahead here but I can’t lie, I hated both professors Jabari Reynolds and his plagiaristic, overly enunciating ass AND Carrie Milgram’s hypocritical, indecisive, ‘bout-to-take-down-a-crime-family ass. (She’s fine though.) She tried to get on Jabari (pun intended) for fucking his students WHILE she was fucking a student. I hated EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Jabari said “CARRIE.” He couldn’t talk to her without saying her name over and over and I have to wonder if that was a writers’ room decision or if he just thought it was dope and kept doing it and it cost too much to keep reshooting the scenes. Hated it. So it should come as no surprise that I was tickled pink when Tariq racked up another body and shot Jabari in the park. I hated this speech to Jabari about why he was about to shoot him but I was happy that he embraced being a “monster” of sorts. Tariq definitely fit his square-peg ass right into the square-hole of being a psychopath. He stuck the landing AND remembered to clap when he landed. 10 out of 10 stars.
5. I have to go ahead and say this here: I didn’t buy the out-of-prison Tejada family as any real, believable head of a drug syndicate. However, it’s the Power Cinematic Universe and they were running Queens apparently, but yeah, Dru and Diana were COMPLETE liabilities as humans in the drug trade. OK. Moving on.
I hated Mary J. Blige’s acting as Monet Tejada at the beginning of the show but by the end, I appreciated the sort of detached, wooden, only say what needs to be said, face is always in distress joie-de-vivre that she brought to the role. By the end, I might have actually enjoyed her acting. It wasn’t particularly compelling or award-winning but it worked wonders for her character. Like when she walked in on her son Cane smashing the chick in what I guess is the random stash-house warehouse where he was living (definitely violates one of the “10 Crack Commandments”) and didn’t miss a beat while telling the chick to get out. She didn’t even fully wait for him to get dressed before she started going in on Cane.
6. Speaking of Cane, I really enjoyed Woody McClain’s performance in this show. Oddly, I still see him as Bobby Brown, which in turn made me view this as kind of a Bobby Brown alternate universe where “Don’t Be Cruel” tanks and he has no choice but to become an enforcer for his drug cartel family. And since we’re already doing this, isn’t Bobby really the only member of New Edition you could see being a successful enforcer for a crime syndicate? Ralph? Nope. Johnny? Hell no. Ricky? Nada. Ronnie? Nyet. Mike? Eh...maybe, but not really. Either way, I enjoyed what he brought to the role.
7. Let’s talk Tariq. Like I said, I hated Tariq. I wanted him dead. And I think because Book II tried to do SO MUCH, and man, this season packed in a lot of stuff, I was mostly annoyed with him, but something happened where maybe I started to appreciate how he was navigating shit. Or something. I don’t know. Tariq was clearly dealing with the tension of not wanting to be his father while recognizing that he needed to be like his father to make all this shit work in order to get his mother out of jail.
While it was kind of corny, the whole idea of him grappling with being a monster, and the moment where Effie—who is now at Yale, which in the Power Universe must be in NYC—told him that he was a monster and he’d be better off when he admitted it to himself kind of worked. Like, Tariq is insane, and for good reason, having been raised by the pack of wolves that are his parents and godfather, Tommy, but he’s super calculated and primed to do well because he’s always in survival first mode. I’m actually curious to see where this particular season takes him. As an aside, I’d like to know (if any writers or Courtney Kemp or even 50 Cent are reading this), were the episodes named after books or just some of them? Most of the episodes were definitely book titles but some maybe weren’t? QTNA.
8. If you had told me in 1994 that in 2020 I’d have seen Method Man in a sex scene where I saw his bare-naked ass on a screen, I’d have called you a liar, and yet, here we are. I actually thought Meth did a really good job as the unscrupulous, ethically ambiguous lawyer, Davis McClean. A Davis McClean/Cooper Saxe alliance will be interesting.
9. Speaking of Cooper Saxe, let me tell you something: I was actually happy to see him kinda, sorta land on his feet with a job offer from Davis after he completely fucked up the whole case to get Tasha put away as a kingpin. The political and legal wrangling they were trying to do behind the scenes was bound to fall apart at some point and well, it did. Saxe is trash, but I almost kind of felt sorry for him and I don’t know why. Can you imagine a world where Saxe ends up being Tariq’s defense attorney, a la Proctor for Ghost?
10. Hated Zeke Cross. AND that nigga looked terrible in the layup line. He’s supposed to be a first-round pick? Coming out of a college with a high school-sized gym and he can’t even dribble? Zeke could get shot and I’d be fine. Put that man on a roof like Nutso and let’s see him fly.
11. I literally have no idea where this show goes from here. It really could have just ended with Tasha leaving for Bumblefuck, USA; Tommy leaving—Tommy showing up and wreaking havoc for an episode was a lot of fun, it’s amazing how much I hated Tommy at the beginning of Power, and by the end of it, he was my favorite character; culminating in the absolute best episode of the final season of Power because of who he is and Tariq joining Monet’s family to help them move the weight and get a new connect since Mary took out Rico, played nonsensically by Jackie Long. That was a fine end, but more seasons cometh and well, who knows what shenanigans will befall young Tariq St. Patrick at Stansfield.