At the end of Season 3 our hero, James St. Patrick (aka, “Ghost”), is arrested by his ex girlfriend slash Federal Prosecutor Hottie, Angela Valdez, for the murder of an FBI Agent (Greg). Angela also happens to be Greg’s ex-girlfriend. Yeah, it’s complicated. But good TV is built on love triangles. Now, as the audience, we know that Ghost has “done alota sh*t just to live this here lifestyle;” but, we also know that Ghost did not murder Greg – Greg is federal agent, Ghost would never.
Ghost is the prototypical ‘benevolent bad guy’ – this means that he murders, cheats and steals, but he does not murder law-abiding civilians or law enforcement. So, we (the audience) like Ghost for his benevolence. Now that Angela has messed with our hero (Ghost) we hate her, with a passion. I mean we really seriously hate her. She can’t sit with us
By way of background, just in case you don’t know, mafia dramas do this ‘thing’ to their audiences. They make us fall in love the villain and hate straight-edge cops who threaten to ruin the fun we are all having watching the posh lifestyle of gangsters. The gangsters sit around dinner tables with their biological family members and crime family members and they use lofty words like, “honor, code, and loyalty,” and we (the audience) swoon. Meanwhile the cops have no backstory and are portrayed as loveless schmucks. It’s strange, but it’s how mafia dramas are usually made. It’s a proven formula.
For the last several seasons, Angela had been been in love with Ghost, and she helped Ghost evade her prosecutor colleagues, while wearing sexy Prada dresses. So, we loved Angela, even though she was wrecking Ghost’s marriage to Tasha (Tasha is Ghost’s wife, whom we also love). But that has never seemed to be a big deal. The minor infidelity stuff definitely did not impact our love affair with Angela at all. But now that Angela is a wearing pants suits, and siding with her employer (US Attorney’s office) against Ghost, we absolutely hate her. We’ll basically spend half of season 4 hating Angela until she comes to her senses and somehow apologies to us for arresting Ghost.
But we digress…we digress a lot. As season 4, episode 1 begins, we watch as everyone reacts to the news of Ghost’s arrest. And everyone has their own way of adjusting to the new world order. Many of the players scheme to fill the power vacuum left by Ghost.
Tasha, Ghost’s wife (and sometimes his mistress) is riddled with fear, confusion, and anger. She seems to be Ghost’s biggest ally. Despite the fact that Ghost’s affair with Angela Valdez has ruined her family, Tasha swings into action playing her usual role as Ghost’s “ride or die.” But, even behind bars, Ghost still finds new ways to continually betray Tasha. As Tasha tries to arrange for Ghost’s bail she predictably discovers more betrayal. She finds that Ghost has liquidated all of their investments without telling her and he’s removed their hard assets from their safe deposit, so she has no clean money at all to use to help bail a brotha out. She discovers one clean asset – a diamond necklace in Ghost’s leather duffel, which Ghost originally purchased for Angela. Ouch. It’s not completely clear, however, if Tasha is helping Ghost out of a sense of love, or self preservation. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. To add insult to injury, Angela leads an FBI raid on Tasha’s apartment in front of Tasha’s daughter, Reina. Gasp.
After Tommy learns of Ghost’s arrest he immediately asserts his control over the NY drug empire by calling a meeting with all of his distributors to assure them that – even with Ghost in prison – their ships are all still sailing in the same direction. (That was Godfather 3 reference. I know we’re supposed to hate GF3, but minus Sofia Coppola, it is a solid movie.) At Tommy’s meeting with the heads of the five families, Tommy is met with some mild skepticism, but no real resistance. Tommy is one of these really, really hood white guys (you know, the kind who appear in only fiction, on elite American college campuses, and in boy bands). Tommy sounds more hood than an NWA album, so naturally New York’s black and latino crime syndicates just accept him as the next drug kingpin of New York. For now, all is well with Tommy.
Kanan, played by 50 Cent, is the main villain on this and every season of Power. His backstory is that he was betrayed by Ghost, Tasha, and Tommy back in the day, and sent to prison. Meanwhile Ghost and Tommy took over Kanan’s empire. Kanan wants nothing more than to see Ghost suffer. However, he does not want to see Ghost suffer with a simple bullet to the head. Kanan plays the role of a DC Comics villain. He says stuff like “Death is too good for you. I want to see you suffer.” And, “I want to take away everything you love.” He’s like the Joker. So, when Kanan hears the news of Ghost’s arrest, he smiles and looks as though he just got a paycheck from a G-Unit reunion tour. Recall that everyone still thinks that Kanan is dead, except for Ghost’s son, Tariq St. Patrick, who has been kidnapped by Kanan for the moment. Tariq is not too bright, however. Tariq is the ‘Fredo Corleone’ of this storyline. Tariq is ultimately going to betray the people who love him the most. Strangely, in this episode Tariq doesn’t realize that he’s been kidnapped. Instead, he thinks that Kanan just wants hang out with him a lot, like every minute. Meanwhile, Kanan has anonymously demanded ransom money from Tasha for his safe return home. The character called Dre, also knows that Kanan is still alive.
Dre, as opposed to Tariq, seems to be having the most difficult time with Ghost’s imprisonment. Tommy promotes Julio (one of the show’s interchangeable/fungible bad guys) over Dre, and Julio starts to watch Dre very carefully. Julio assigns a minion – who looks like the rich girl from the Suite Life a Zack and Cody – to watch Dre. We do not yet know where Dre’s true allegiance lays – with Kanan or with Ghost. It’s confusing. Everyone is suspicious of Dre. We see Dre pledge loyalty to Kanan, as he promises to continue working as a double agent for Kanan within Ghost’s crime organization (to keep Kanan from murdering his daughter). Yet we also see Dre pay Tariq’s ransom money and deliver Tariq to Tommy and Tasha safely. But…. Dre also stole that ransom money from Ghost. And, after Dre makes the ransom payment to Kanan, Kanan then demands from Dre regular ‘protection payments’ to ‘guarantee Tariq’s safety’, which Dre also has to steal from Ghost’s drug income. And Dre isn’t telling Ghost, Tasha, or Tommy that Kannan is alive.
Joey Proctor (Ghost’s Attorney, aka Turtle from Entourage):
Joey Proctor is Ghost’s Attorney. You might remember him as “Turtle” from HBO’s Entourage. Any scene that Joey is in on Power makes you wish that HBO was still making Entourage episodes. Watching Joey, you feel like any minute Johnny Drama or Ari Gold will appear to help “Defense Attorney Turtle” save Ghost, probably with some snappy one liners and a protracted rant or two directed against no one in particular. In this episode of Power we get to see Attorney Turtle’s home life for the first time, and it appears that he has a drug-addicted baby momma and young daughter. Attorney Turtle visits Ghost in prison to tell Ghost that his fingerprints are all over Greg’s apartment windows and his DNA is under his Greg’s fingernails. Opps. But, Ghost was only there to destroy evidence, not to commit murder. (“It was the one armed man, not Ghost!!!”) Attorney Turtle then goes on to explain his brilliant legal strategy, which is to pull a “Shaggy.” He tells Ghost to just say, “It wasn’t me.” Forget using criminal procedural law to get Ghost off on a brilliant evidentiary technicality, let’s just go with “he said / she said” as the legal strategy. Cool. But maybe not so cool.
U.S. Attorney John Mak:
Han from the Fast and Furious makes an appearance as a new Federal Prosector named , and he seems to outsmart Attorney Turtle at every turn. Turtle and Ghost need Ari Gold. For example, at Ghost’s bail hearing Han from the Fast & Furious uses what appears to be a Jedi mind trick to get the judge to revoke Ghost’s bail. The judge had originally set bail at a reasonable amount, then Han said some smooth stuff that cause the judge to change her mind. So, Ghost’s bail is denied and he’s returned to prison where is savagely beaten by Charlie Murphy to end the episode. This was the best scene of the episode. It set the tone for the entire season, firmly establishing that the odds are staked well against Ghost.
All in all this was a great episode we look forward to the rest of the season.
The episode sets up a lot of future conflicts:
Dre vs Cannan
Dre vs Julio
Dre vs Tommy
Tasha vs Angela
Angela vs Everybody
Ghost vs Charlie Murphy
Ghost vs Han from the Fast & The Furious
Attorney Turtle vs Han from the Fast & The Furious
Attorney Turtle vs Turtle’s baby momma
And, of course, we’re wondering who will die first this season? Dre?