Power never ends. February’s series finale saw James St. Patrick killed by his own son Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.), leading to his ex-wife, Tasha (Naturi Naughton), getting arrested for the crime, closing that chapter, now we are back. With Ghost and Tommy (for now) out of the picture, it’s Riq’s time to shine in the show’s spinoff, Power Book II: Ghost, and he hits the ground running in the shows first episode as he steps up to take care of his family and work to get his mother out of jail.
Tasha’s Fight For Freedom Is Off To A Shaky Start
The episode opens up with a tale of two different stories. Riq is woken up by his phone’s alarm warning him his meeting with Simon Stern and Stanfield University’s Dean is coming up. Meanwhile, his mother is going through the motions in jail and is on her way to her arraignment. The correction officer escorting her isn’t sold at all on Tasha’s story of being a battered woman at all. She sarcastically wishes her good luck before telling Tasha that she will “see her guilty ass” again if the local prison doesn’t keep her.
Before he meets with Stern and the dean, Riq heads to the courthouse with cash on hand for his mother’s bail. His grandmother and Yasmine (the youngest St.Patrick child we barely see) are there at the court steps waiting for him. Riq’s grandmother makes an impassioned plea for her grandson to stay with her and Yasmine, but Riq is sticking with the plan of staying at Stansfield and maintaining a 3.5 GPA to secure his inheritance his father left him. The conversation is broken up when Tasha’s attorney shows up, and it’s none other than Tameika Washington, former US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Tameika doesn’t come baring such great news. She reveals that they will be arguing a justification defense, which means Tasha will cop to shooting her ex-husband in self-defense, which doesn’t sit well with either Riq or his grandmother. Tameika explains it’s Tasha’s best chance at getting little to no jail time at all. Once in court, Tameika makes her case for Tasha being a battered woman who feared for her life because Ghost was a “monster.” The prosecution paints the picture of Tasha being a stone-cold murderer who had a plan to kill her ex-husband while using her “lover” Quentin Wallace (whom she also tried to set up unsuccessfully) as a getaway driver unbeknown to him.
After hearing both sides of the argument, the judge decides that prosecutor needs to get her ducks in a row before she proceeds further in the case. The judge also denies Tasha bail being that she is facing murder in the first degree and remands her back to custody, much to the dismay of her Riq, Yasmine, and her mother. In a meeting the prosecutor immediately following the judge’s decision, Tameika makes her strongest pitch for a lighter sentence for Tasha after she provides receipts in the form of photos of Terry Silver, LaKeisha, and Maria Suarez dead bodies. We all know that Ghost is only responsible for one of those deaths, but Tameika gets Tasha to say that Ghost killed them by claiming she feared for her life.
The Path To That 3.5 GPA Won’t Be So Easy
Already late, Riq literally runs his ass back to Stansfield University for his meeting with Simon Stern’s racist ass and the dean of the school. The dean isn’t so sure that Riq is ready to handle the rigors that the school’s curriculum presents. Still, Riq put on his best “I’m ready to handle the challenges presented to me” face and made a great argument as to why he is built for Stansfield University.
Stern and the dean both like’s Riq’s quick answer, but Stern warns Riq that along with his surprising recommendation, Riq has to some extra work on top of his studies to stay in the school. Along with securing and maintaining a 3.5 GPA, Riq will also have to tutor the school’s basketball star, Ezekiel Cross, in all subjects. Cross will also be Riq’s new roommate in the school’s dormitory as well. Before the meeting ends, Stern points out that Riq’s tenure at the school hinges on Ezekiel, stating that if “Zeke doesn’t play, you don’t stay.” The dean sends Riq on his merry way to go meet with his minority student counselor Caridad Milgram (Melanie Liburd). Riq encounters a fellow freshman and possible new love interest Lauren (Paige Hurd), who quickly brings him up to speed about the handful of Black students, including himself on campus.
After his flirtatious encounter with Lauren, Riq realizes he is once again running late with his meeting with Milgram. When he finally arrives, we meet the advisor who, at the jump, seems very concerned about Riq’s well being while attending Stansfield. We also learn that Riq chose his current curriculum, Canonical Studies, for a specific reason, being that it offers freshmen double the credit, allowing them to graduate in three years. Milgram makes sure to point out that the course will not be easy. Professor Milgram explains that all students are required to take a verbal entrance exam on the book, The Stanger by Camus. Riq is up to the task and asks when he can take the test, letting Professor Milgram know that he is not asking for any special treatment. He just doesn’t want to miss an opportunity.
Tasha Makes A Very Bold & Disastorious Move
Tameika visits Tasha, bearing some excellent news. Apparently, people in the Democratic Party don’t want any of her ex-husband’s prior drug dealing business getting out, so the DA has agreed to four years probation, including all of the other charges, which will result in no jail time. The only catch is Tasha has to make a formal statement to the judge, her story has to be airtight, and this is when things begin to fall apart.
Tameika brings up Quiton Wallace’s testimony, which revealed that Tasha rushed him out the door because she was on a tight schedule placing Tasha at the scene of the crime at the precise moment when James would be alone. Tameika wants to know precisely how did her client obtain all of that information because if Tasha’s story doesn’t add up, she opens up the door to additional questioning from the prosecutor. They have to be prepared for that scenario. Tasha begins to replay the night in her head, going over the plan to Riq while Tameika explains to Tasha that if they determine that she is lying, she will go to jail, and Tameika is lying. Tameika asks her who she is protecting and suggests that she is getting tight-lipped about Riq. Tasha quickly shuts that down and then fires Tameika.
After getting canned, Tameika calls Riq to break the bad news informing him that his mother decided to fire her. While not sharing any pertinent information from her conversation with his mother, Tameika does tell Riq that Tasha is protecting someone. Tameika urges Riq to find her a lawyer that is willing to take her case and won’t have any issues when it comes to lying to keep her ass out of jail.
Riq wastes no time, and he sits in on a case where see Davis MacLean (Method Man) passionately and successfully defending a man who we can visibly see is guilty as hell. Riq has found the man to help him for the job, and following his closing argument, Riq asks for MacLean’s help. MacLean recognizes him instantly as the son of James St. Patrick and even compliments him on his picture next to his father’s obituary, but that’s where all the pleasantries stop because he is convinced that Riq’s mother is going to jail. He tells Riq to accept that fact.
Before MacLean can walk away, Riq asks how much will it cost for his services? MacLean’s help won’t come cheap. He asks for $500K upfront in cash. Acquiring that amount of money in a short amount of time will be no easy task. Riq rushes home to go through his mother’s belonging’s from her now-shuttered daycare business, hoping to find her books where she jotted down her drug money numbers. During his search, Tasha calls the house, and Riq speaks to her in private. Riq tells his mother he knows she fired Tameika and that she needs a new attorney. Tasha tells him not to worry because she has a public defender, which we find out immediately is the absolute worst. Riq inquires about one of Tasha’s drug runners, Epiphany, who used to move the weight for her at the strip club. Tasha begs her son to not reopen the daycare and to concentrate on school and makes him promise. Of course, when does this kid ever keep his word?
Riq immediately heads down to the strip club to have a conversation with Epiphany. At first, the exotic dancer is not onboard with moving weight, being that she initially told his mother that the block was hot around her. Riq explains to her that Tasha is in jail for shooting his dad, she agrees to work with Riq, but he has to supply the product. When Riq gets back to school, he is surprised to see his annoying white buddy Brayden from Choate. Brayden reveals just how privileged he by explaining that his family is enormous donors, and the auditorium and swimming pool are named after his family. Before he leaves, Brayden explains that he’s happy that he and Riq were able to connect again following the incident with Effie that resulted in Riq being expelled. A lightbulb goes off in Riq’s head, and he asks if Brayden if he still has her number? Brayden reveals she got into Yale, and Riq goes to meet up with her.
The one-time partners and lovers don’t really exchange that many pleasantries. Effie admits she deserves the cold shoulder that Riq is giving her. She even offers him an ear if he needs someone to talk to, but Riq shuts that down swiftly after he tells her she ruined his whole life. Effie explains that she only snitched because he was the competition, and she needed the money, and it was only business, not personal. Effie hand’s Riq the bag of pills. Riq asks her if what they had was real, and she says she did like him. Riq takes the product and walks off without paying her telling his former partner that is not personal. It’s just business.
Riq’s First Impression With His Stansfield Professors Isn’t A Good One
With Riq’s drug business back online, it’s time to get his academic life in order. Unfortunately, it gets off to a rocky start with him making a terrible first impression on Professors Milgram, Jabari Reynolds, who were also former lovers, and Professor Oliver Simmons. Riq let Professor Milgram down big time after she boasted about him to her colleagues, revealing during his oral entrance exam he didn’t finish the book as instructed. His lack of knowledge about the book was apparent after none of the professors were buying what he was selling. Following the exam, the three professors linked up to have a discussion about what they witnessed.
After initially not being onboard with allowing Riq to take the course, Jabari stuns Professor Milgram in his sudden change of heart. He takes her side in arguing for Riq to get another shot, being that he has to deal with so much drama outside of school. After a discussion with Lauren at a diner where she basically pushed Riq to speak his mind and don’t be fake, he takes a second verbal entrance exam and this time aces it after taking Lauren’s wise advice.
Tutoring Ezekiel Won’t Be Easy, Riq Gets Introduced To The Tejeda Family
Earlier in the episode, we learn that Riq’s success at Stansfield will also be determined if he can ensure that star athlete Ezekiel Cross will be eligible to play college basketball for the school. We finally get to meet Riq’s new roommate in the most interesting way possible, giving us the impression that our boy Riq will have his work cut out for him. Entering his new dorm, Riq finds Ezekekial having sex with a female student. Zeke is not bothered that Riq is there telling his roomie and tutor that he will be done in five minutes. Zeke’s lady friend insists that Riq leaves his new dorm room so Zeke can finish smoking her boots.
It doesn’t take long for the two roommates to become cool. Zeke takes Riq to Queens to attend a house party at his Aunt Monet’s house in his honor for him going to Stansfield. Zeke tells Riq the family wanted to meet him because he will be helping to make sure Ezekiel will be staying at the school. Before they go inside, Zeke informs Riq that he has a book report due on Moby Dick, so you already know this guy intends on doing none of the work assigned to him.
Once inside, Riq meets one of Zeke’s cousins, Cane (Woody McClain), by accident when he discovers him in the bathroom getting his microphone rocked. Riq is then introduced to Cousin Dru, who isn’t really feeling young St.Patrick based on how he sized him up and down. Zeke’s cousin Diana does like Riq instantly, giving him that “hey boo” look. During their conversation, Cane comes into the backyard, and things get spicy when we find out the girl performing oral sex on him the bathroom has a boyfriend named Rel, and he is at the party looking for her.
Rel approaches Cane about his missing girl, who conveniently walks outside as the two men are engaged in a heated conversation. Eventually, words become action. Rel pushes Cane and then follows that up with a punch and misses, and Cane counters with a quick punch to the face. Aunt Monet (Mary J. Blige) comes outside to see what is going on and tells Zeke to go inside, be “he is too valuable to the family.” Cane is still beating up poor Rel before Monet tells him to leave.
Riq and Diana head back inside to finish their conversation. Diana reveals her dad, Lorenzo Tejada, a big-time drug dealer who is currently locked up. The dialogue between the potential couple is interrupted when Rel can be heard screaming for Cane to come to the front. Monet is telling Rel to go home, Cane eventually comes from the back with a double-barrel shotgun threatening to blow Rel’s head off. The fight is interrupted when the police show up, and Monet goes to have a conversation with one of the officers.
Riq receives a text from Epiphany, and he has to leave. We later learn just how bout it the Tejada family is. Cane catches up with Rel again, but this time there is no police to save him, and he puts a bullet in his head. Monet is downstairs waiting for him after he pulled off the hit.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the new wild family in the world of Power.
Riq’s Fight To Free Tasha Is Going To Be Harder Than He Thought
Earlier in the episode, Saxe got a surprise visit from John Mak, and Steven Ott works for the DNC. Mak and Ott are pressing Saxe because Tasha’s defense basically exposes Jame’s criminal life, and the DNC doesn’t want any of those details to come out. So Mak wants Saxe to charge with Tasha with Kingpin Statute, basically stating that she is in charge of the drug organization. They already have the warrant for her arrest so she can be taken into federal custody.
Saxe is not onboard with the idea only because Riq has dirt on him because he saw him at Truth nightclub. We also learn later that Saxe was responsible for the sweetheart deal that Tameika was able to get for her before Tasha fired her. Saxe later finds out from the district attorney assigned to the case that her argument got easier because Tameika no longer represents Tasha. Now getting off subject just a tad bit, during a dinner scene where we meet Saxe’s family, his siblings make fun of him, hinting that Saxe is transgender. We don’t know if this will become a more significant subject later on down the line, but it did catch our attention.
We catch up with Riq, and he is desperate to help his mother out. Following his meeting, MacLean Riq has an idea that will persuade the high priced lawyer to take his mother’s case. Using Ezekiel’s phone, Riq goes on Instagram Live and lies, claiming that MacLean has agreed to represent his mother. The bold act works after MacLean’s phone blows up with notifications about Riq’s IG Live moment. MacLean immediately hits up Riq, informing him they need to meet up.
MacLean meets up with Tasha, and she is stunned that Riq was able to get him to take her case. During their conversation, MacLean reveals that Tasha will be getting the same deal from the ADA that Tameika got her, but this time she has to tell the whole truth. Tasha immediately says the shooter was Dre, but MacLean shoots that down because there was no GSR (gunshot residue) on his clothing. MacLean urges Tasha to tell the truth to him and in court. To put even more pressure on MacLean shares the message Riq gave to him during their meeting, urging his mother to reveal who shot Ghost and that he will love her no matter what. Tasha asks MacLean is he sure if that what Riq wants, being that only she knows that her son is the shooter.
The following day in court, Tasha is asked to reveal who the shooter is, and the tension is high as Riq believes she is going to tell the truth. Instead of saying his name, Tasha says Tommy shot Ghost and says she told him to do it. What she doesn’t realize by admitting that she just gave the Saxe and the DNC the greenlight to charge her with the Kingpin Statute, and now she is facing the death penalty. The prosecutor drops her case, and Tasha is taken into federal custody. MacLean is taken by surprise and presses Riq.
Riq convinces MacLean that he should stay on and that this could be the most prominent case he has ever won. Riq even uses the fact that if he wins, he can take down Saxe and the entire US Attorney’s office in the process, making him the most powerful criminal defense attorney in New York. MacLean likes the sound of that and tells Riq that he owes him $450,000.
Riq has got his man, but he is going to have to work extra hard to get that money. While checking his email back at school, he has happy to learn he has been accepted into the program. During that time, he uses the computer to do some research on Lorenzo Tejada. Looks like Riq has just found his way to get his hand on some more serious weight.
Photo: Starz / Power Book II: Ghost