So we’ve come to the end my friends, or have we? LOL. More on that later. But we know who shot Ghost. It was that little punk ass Tariq. I mean, we kind of knew this was coming right? Particularly as they eliminated other characters one by one and then left Saxe, Tasha, and ‘Riq as the final three suspects. Perfect for the 35 Books of Power we have coming. LOL.
The first installment of the extended Starz crime drama Power came to an end last night and we have some resolution. “Exactly How We Planned” was, if not the perfect bookend, a somewhat tidy one that had all sorts of callbacks to how this series began. The pilot episode’s title is “Not Exactly How We Planned.” ‘Riq realized his destiny and became his father, so to speak. But in order to be the man you have to beat, or in this case kill, the man.
Before we get to the climactic moment (was it?) we have to re-introduce you to someone you may have forgotten. Hello Q, aka Quinton. Tasha’s man friend who she’s apparently been seeing all this time. Ok sure. Convenient, so he could be a plot point for her ridiculous, but savage attempt to frame him for Ghost’s murder. Tasha uses sex as her weapon to get what she needs. A seemingly unsuspecting Q, to serve as a scapegoat so that when shit goes down he can take the fall. But Q was too smart for that shit. There’s nothing strange about a woman he may or may not have heard from in months, with a murderous drug kingpin ex-husband who she may or may not be trying to kill, but says she wants you to drive her to the club where her ex is to get him to sign divorce papers. Right. Nothing strange about that at all. Just a regular Saturday night.
Good on Q for “knowing he’d need an alibi” and going to the diner to get a Red Bull so he would appear on all the surveillance cameras. That little maneuver by Q has him up there with Ghost and Elisa Marie as the smartest characters on this show. LOL.
Speaking of smart…
So, Blanca and Saxe finally realize 1+1 =2 most of the time? Sort of…It’s really a process of elimination for them because all the other suspects are dead, locked up or have alibis. Just when it seems like Blanca and a reinstated Saxe (that would never actually happen given what he was charged with) were ready to figure out if either ‘Riq or Tasha pulled the trigger, the sins of the past catch up with them.
‘Riq, playing the distressed son card, sends his child advocate out of the room for some water and tells Saxe he saw him at TRUTH with a gun. You remember, right after ‘Riq shot his father and saw his dad tell Tommy to let him go. Sure, a teenager with the kind of daddy and mommy issues he has would be in his right faculties to identify a federal agent in a reasonably lit back hallway of a club.
Let’s get to the moment. It was Shakespearean in every sense and showrunner Courtney Kemp is a classic storyteller, so this was the only logical ending.
So Tasha and ‘Riq hash out a plan to kill Ghost once and for all because Ghost’s plan was to have ‘Riq confess to the murder of Raymond Jones. As ‘Riq does all his dirt and tries to get other people to kill his father, he has a “moment of clarity” with an assistance by the ghost (pun intended) of Kanan Stark telling him he had to do it, if he wanted to become a man.
There are all of the tropes and trappings of the father son story arc here. You see the obvious Oedipal Complex as ‘Riq literally kills his father and then becomes the “caregiver” for his mother and baby sister. There is the literal and metaphorical point where he becomes his “own man” which is really an extension of Ghost, as many young boys go through with their fathers.
From that perspective it’s all valid. The issue for me and others is we just don’t believe Michael Rainey’s portrayal as a sheltered rich kid turned killer. Yes, there were all of the things that happened as a result of his father’s infidelity, lies, the realization of who his parents really were and the tutelage of Kanan. The turn is believable, but the actor didn’t take me there. I didn’t feel it.
Even though we were told all season we would be shocked by the ending we really weren’t. It was obvious it was going to Riq, the leak finale said it would be Riq and it ended up being Riq. As far back as Season 3, people were saying this was all being set up for Riq to be the new Ghost.
It got to a point where they just forgot they shot some scenes in previous episodes only to make those same scenes totally different in the finale.
This was less about ending the series properly and more about setting up the extending Power universe.
At the end of the day it is performance art. Yes, television and suspending belief is a contract we enter into. But it’s also on the actors to make the audience believe and Rainey Jr. doesn’t do it for me.
It will be interesting to see how his performance improves and changes in Book 2 of the extended Power universe which will debut this summer.
As it relates to that, Ghost gets the “last laugh” in the end. Tasha is completely cut off and ends up taking the blame for the murder. Tasha in prison might be interesting. We’ll see that other side of her. ‘Riq can’t access his money until he graduates from a four-year university that he is already enrolled in thanks to Simon Stern.
A series with Saxe trying to take down ‘Riq? No thanks. Although, Method Man and Mary J. Blige are both set to star in it. At least the dialogue between Saxe and Meth will be funny.
It has been a long journey and Power had its moments. It was a show about people’s proximity to and fraught relationship with that elusive thing. We saw important characters come and go as is necessary and needed in order for a story to reach an ultimate conclusion.
Extending this season with the Rashomon Effect to ultimately finish the story, is something used well in television series and I highlighted that in the last few recaps. In this case it left me, feeling meh…
A line from the series finale stuck with me, “Live by the street, die by the street.”
A few stray thoughts: