Tariq and company are back. And they are off to an incredible start.
After a lengthy hiatus, the whole crew, and then some, is back, and nary a day has passed from the events of Power Book II: Ghost Season 1 Episode 10, which saw Jabari dead and Tariq and Cane becoming the unlikeliest of allies.
Power Book II: Ghost Season 2 Episode 1 gets us set up for a whole new host of problems, as there's a new player in town, an old face looking for redemption, and that looming threat of violence always lingering in the shadows.
Many shows struggle with a robust cast, and it's not as if Ghost doesn't struggle at times, but this premiere found a great balance with all the many storylines, which made for a very fluid hour.
Everyone got their moment to shine, and it made for one of the best hours since the series inception.
This is Tariq's show, and right away, it's evident that even with Tasha in the wind, he's still going to need to protect his family, namely Yas. And while doing that, he's still trying to be a college student and keep up with the business.
On top of that, he's now got the Jabari murder following him around.
Jabari's body is found quickly, and with it comes our introduction to Kevin Whitman, who makes quite the first impression here when he quite literally ambushes Carrie with her ex-boyfriend's dead body.
For all my complaints about Carrie's storyline in the first season, which just wasn't all that compelling, they quickly make up for almost everything here by thrusting her right into the action.
It's clear she's going to be pegged as a leading suspect as soon as Whitman starts talking to her as such. Now we know that she has nothing to do with anything. And it's not even as if Tariq and Cane were looking to finger her for the crime either.
Carrie: You think I had something to do with this?
Whitman: I didn’t say that. But it has been my experience that you tend to blur the personal and professional lines.
Carrie: It’s why you ambushed me this way. This is amateur hour bullshit. I have no idea what happened to Jabari. I would never, ever…I would never hurt him.
But an opportunity could fall into their lap here because Whitman is like a dog with a bone when it comes to her. Even with their history, you can tell there's nothing about Carrie that he trusts. And with her and Jabari's history, he's not wrong to suspect something could have gone tragically wrong between them.
Often, Carrie was off on some boring side plot with Jabari or sleeping with Zeke, but here she now becomes a prominent player in a story, and it could put her into contact with the bigger players on the series.
Monet is understandably curious about Jabari, seeing as how Stansfield is now in the spotlight again, which isn't good for her business.
Lying to Monet feels like a death sentence, but there's really no other way for Tariq right now. There's no way Monet continues to work with him knowing what happened with him and Cane. But if she finds out he lied, all bets are off.
Cane: I’m not going down for this. Trust me.
Tariq: If both of us shut the fuck up about it, neither of us will. Trust me.
Monet spends much of the time with Diana, who she's molding and essentially turning into her mini-me. She's also struggling with Dru, who's in a lot of physical and emotional pain after the shooting.
Monet lives for her family. It's the most important thing to her, but how she shows that importance is incredibly flawed. She expects them to do certain things and be the people she needs them to be, which doesn't always align with their people.
Coming up with this plan to get out of the business isn't discussed with anyone first. Instead, it's something conjured up, relying solely on an oblivious Zeke, and then it's expected everyone will accept it and fall in line.
Family is undoubtedly essential, but doesn't there come a time when you have to put yourself above all else? It's not selfish to look out for your well-being, even if it doesn't align with the things the people you love expect.
Diana dreams bigger than the plans Monet has for her, but she's not able to explore those because of "the plan." And poor Dru, he's all over the place, trying just mentally to contend with the fact he was hurt so badly, and his mother is such a large part of that pain.
Considering how indecisive Zeke is about declaring for the draft in the first place, it feels like nothing about this is going to be easy. Nor will it go according to plan.
The thing about Zeke is he's constantly pulled in different directions, and I'm not sure he even knows who he is, let alone what he should be doing with his life right now. And no one in his life has his best interest at heart.
And that's not to say people don't want good things for him, but they also need something from him. It's such a profoundly overwhelming thing to drop on a teenager trying to find his way. And it'll be interesting to see how he contends with the track his life goes on from here.
There's also the possibility he gets roped into the Jabari mess due to his relationship with Carrie. You know that will be revealed in time, and then who's to say the suspect doesn't switch from disgruntled ex to jealous lover?
Having been exiled by Monet, Cane is still trying to make a name for herself. And he has a new friend named Mecca, who kind of drops on the scene without much of an introduction.
Seriously, he's just not there, and then he is. And Cane wants to impress this flashy guy who's got all the charisma in the world while still coming off incredibly dangerous.
My first impression of Mecca was WOW. That's a big, bad man and totally the kind of person with whom Cane would want to be in business. But we also know nothing about him. Like literally nothing.
And enigmas in the Power world tend not to be a good thing. But I need to see more of him to figure out what his goal here is. My gut says he knows more about Cane and his family than he's letting on, but time will let how true that is.
Elsewhere, circling back to Tariq, the whole interlude with Tariq and Brayden's family was odd but also served to put Tariq in a position where he was staring down the barrel of a gun and in a place to take a life.
In this case, it was a buck, but the impact is that Tariq has a decision to make once again. In this instance, he walks away, but what about the next time this decision has to be made? Now that's he's killed and killed again, is this who he is? Or is there time for him to become a different man?
The canonical studies topic centering around free will is such an intriguing topic as it relates to so many of the characters here. For example, Tariq has spent so much of the last few years of his life trying to assert his free will, but look at what it's cost him.
Free will is never free indeed.
Everything Else You Need To Know
- Poor Lauren. She is just … there. I understand the need to give Tariq a little slice of normalcy. It gives Ghost and Angela vibes from the earlier seasons when Angela was oblivious to what was happening. But give the girl something to do beyond pine over the man!
- Did we need Tate back? Not necessarily. Am I glad as hell he's back? ABSOLUTELY. Love him or hate him, Tate has great villain energy, and he can only enhance the drama. Plus, give me all the Larenz Tate all the time, please, and thank you.
- Let this be the year of Brayden. He deserves to shine, and hopefully, this season, we get to see his continued growth as he comes into his own and fights back against all the things he hates about his family.
- Welcome to the Power fam, Redman.
- A partnership between two men who don't fully trust each other means we should be in for a lot more conflict between Davis and Saxe. They're both brilliant, but they have their own agendas, and when the time comes, their agendas will always win out over any kind of alliance they've formed.
- Are there any other shows currently airing with THIS many main characters that still manage to produce incredibly compelling content for a whole hour? The Power Universe is genuinely in a league of its own.
That was a fantastic season premiere and a perfect set-up for what is sure to be an excellent second effort. Not a second of that hour was wasted, and there's so much to unpack and to enjoy looking forward.
Drop me all your thoughts about the various stories in the comment section below. And you remember you can always watch Power Book II: Ghost online so you can join the conversation!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.