Ah, Jamaica, Queens. We've missed you.
Raq and Kanan are back in Power Book III: Raising Kanan Season 2 Episode 1, and after some time apart, it's clear that the deadly mother and son duo are potentially heading in different directions. Raq's rising to the top, while Kanan may be content to sink back into adolescent innocence.
This disconnect sets the stage for what should be another thrilling season with this stacked cast.
Every time there's a gap between Power spinoffs, enough time passes where I start to wonder which one is the best. And maybe that's silly because they're all solid, and when one is airing, you get so swept up in it that you forget about everything else.
But as much as Ghost is familiar with its ties to the flagship, and Force is both fresh and familiar, Raising Kanan is the one that feels the most original. Prequels are tricky because of all the preconceived notions, but they've made the Kanan Stark origin story so compelling that you forget you're watching the creation of a monster.
Much of Power Book III: Raising Kanan Season 1 centered around Kanan's desperation to join the business and live up to the legacy of a father he never knew. He was so desperate that he was willing to do whatever it took to be an important piece of the family business, and we saw that culminate in Howard's shooting.
But through much of that season, you could see that underneath it all, Kanan didn't seem to have that thing that his mother and uncles had. That thing being the drive and desire to succeed in a business that hinges on quick decisions and the ability to bury your emotions down so profoundly you forget they exist.
And because we had that set-up from the previous season, it makes sense that Kanan spends his time away from the family debating whether or not the business is really for him.
It's interesting because Raq was always so hesitant with Kanan, and he pushed back until he ultimately got what he wanted, and now it looks like we see a role reversal. Kanan is looking to step back, and Raq wants to pull him in further.
One thing about Raq, she is always looking for the next big thing.
I love comparing characters in this universe because there are so many parallels throughout all the shows. But there is only one Raq. No one else across any of the series compares to her.
Her primary was always to expand and take over the city, and as we can see here, she's basically succeeded. Unique is a non-factor currently, and her system is pretty flawless. She was always feared and revered in the neighborhood, but she's reached a whole new level here.
And the elevator scene at the apartment building highlights that fact to Kanan.
Even though Raq has amassed this new empire and seems untouchable in so many ways, she's still got her guard up, as she should. Because the second you get too comfortable is the second, it all comes crumbling down.
In getting to this place of stability, it's clear that Marvin has played a huge part, which is surprising and not. Marvin has always wanted to be Raq's righthand man, and sure, he lucked into the role a bit as Lou-Lou pulls further and further away, but Marvin does have a specific acumen that allows him to succeed at the jobs given to him.
Marvin as a character is so infuriating because you know he's more than comic relief. He's more than just the guy who's always got a snack in his hand. But there's also that underlying rage and hatred that sits in his soul and makes it impossible to root for him in any capacity.
Going to anger management class against his will may ultimately cause him to have some kind of breakthrough about his behaviors, but does it matter at this point? The damage is done with Jukebox, who has every right to never give her father the time of day again if she desires.
Redemption isn't always in the cards for some people.
Speaking of Jukebox, I'm not sure what her storyline will be this season, but if she's going to be looking into finding her mother, that will be intriguing as she seemingly gets further and further away from Marvin.
Kanan: Seem like you and Juke really connecting.
Marvin: Kiss my ass, Kanan.
Just like Kanan, we know how Jukebox turns out, so the most exciting pieces of her story will always revolve around looking at the instances and situations that shape her into the crooked cop she became in the future. Younger Jukebox has a good heart, making me anxious for the next phase of her story.
Nicole's death and a homophobic attack at the hands of her father are certainly catalysts, but what else will lead her towards her eventual future?
While Marvin is being Marvin, Lou-Lou is still trying to be the next Puff Daddy circa 1998. And if one day someone could explain to me the greater purpose of this storyline, I would appreciate it.
On the surface, I don't mind Lou-Lou. He's a little less layered than his siblings, but unless they're going to ultimately merge the music stuff into other aspects of the show, it always feels like a different show when we're in those scenes.
Jessica adds nothing of value, and while Famous is actually a decent side character, no one is waiting on pins and needles to see what happens with his fledgling rap career.
But I trust the Power Gods to ultimately make me eat my words when somehow Raq has to use the studio or do something to infiltrate the one thing Lou-Lou wants for himself.
The war brewing between Raq and Lou-Lou is so apparent, and it's only a matter of time before things come to a head because Lou-Lou is OVER Raq. And he's not wrong to want something for himself, but that's not exactly plausible in this kind of business, and he knows that.
So in many ways, his hands are tied, but he doesn't seem to see it that way.
Things between Raq and Lou-Lou are 100% going to come to a head eventually, but in the interim, she's got bigger fish to deal with. Or one fish in particular, and his name is Malcolm Howard.
Howard is lucky to be alive after everything he went through in the first season, and we catch back up with him after a lengthy hospital stay and apparent amnesia. How convenient.
Look, it's not like Howard was some shining beacon of light, but he deserved a lot better than the hand he was dealt. Once he found out about Kanan, part of his reasons for wanting to foster that relationship surely had to do with his cancer, but it also felt like a piece of him wanted to get to know his son.
And Raq tried to take that opportunity from him forcibly and did it in the pettiest and most awful way possible. So, now that he's survived, what's his next step?
Well, if his memory from the night of the shooting is really gone (which, if you believe that, I would strongly encourage you to stop), then perhaps he moves a little differently in his first face-to-face with Raq post-murder attempt. Maybe he's just once again begging for a chance with his son.
Howard talked a lot about trying to utilize this second chance given to him, and I believe it. Even if he's lying about the shooting to protect Kanan, that doesn't mean he's deadset on revenge.
The Howard and Raq cliffhanger ending is the perfect way to end an hour that again sets up the major players. It's looking like a bumpy ride with Raq's ascension, Kanan's confusion, and the ever-looming threat of a man with a new lease on life.
Buckle up, y'all.
Everything Else You Need To Know
- Jess and Crown sneaking around behind Lou-Lou's back is SO dumb I don't even have the words for it. Why Crown would think it's a good idea to cross Lou-Lou is actually wild.
- Burke is going to dig and dig into Howard's shooting and find herself in some hot water, isn't she?
- For some reason, I assumed Unique wouldn't be the primary antagonist any longer. But I like the idea of him returning as an adversary for Raq because he was a damn good one. However, they will need to expand beyond having one "villain" at some point.
- Scrappy getting himself into trouble already! This can't be good.
- Imagine if Kanan's family all got along and how truly powerful they could be.
It feels so good to be back in this world, and the season premiere is a very strong opening hour.
Let me know in the comments what you're excited to see this season, and please remember to watch Power Book III: Raising Kanan online anytime and catch me here every week reviewing the season!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.