Caution: This story includes season 4 spoilers.
The best thing the writers on Power could have done was to put Ghost behind bars.
It was a liberating plot twist that gave the Starz drama, which is currently in its fourth season, a much-needed shakeup to break up the on-again-off-again monotony of Ghost (Omari Hardwick) and Angela’s (Lela Loren) relationship. The former high-school sweethearts are more star-crossed than Olivia and Fitz on Scandal. His wife Tasha’s (Naturi Naughton) understandable hatred of the two has also gummed up the momentum time and time again.
That’s not to say that Power isn’t without its flaws this year. As exhilarating as it has been to see Ghost falsely accused of murder, only to beat the rap and bring down the federal prosecutor’s office, many of this season’s subplots proved excruciating.
In fact, if creator and executive producer Courtney Kemp and her writers feel especially generous, they should make things up to fans by turning the Sept. 3 season finale into the most thrilling installment yet. Watching Ghost avenge Raina’s (Donshea Hopkins) shocking and heartbreaking murder should be particularly juicy, but we’ll see.
Until then, here are five times Kemp and her writers played games with Power fans’ emotions over the past nine episodes.
Despite his newfound ability to contain his Cheshire Cat smile, rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is still not the most credible actor. But he’s one of the executive producers behind the drama, which means he’s not going anywhere. Ever.
So the writers decided to link up 50 Cent’s character Kanan with Power‘s second most annoying character, Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.), through a dysfunctional kinship that started in season three. The pair committed crimes together, and Kanan told Tariq all about Ghost’s nefarious past. Ultimately, there wasn’t a significant payoff for these two being besties, even though it appeared as though one or both of them could’ve been killed because of their alliance.
Speaking of which, there also isn’t enough suspended disbelief in the world to convince us that Kanan wouldn’t have killed Tariq at some point. This is a man who killed his own son and who had countless chances to do the honors when it came to Tariq. In one episode, Kanan even chose to kill his cousin Jukebox (Anika Noni Rose) instead of Tariq. Really? Yes, Rose has another gig with BET’s The Quad, but the writers could have found a more believable way to write off her character.
As for Tariq, his purple drank addiction, needless rebellion, and descent into a world of crime are incredibly infuriating. But no one can say Rainey isn’t compelling as an insolent and entitled brat.
We get it — Tasha views her marriage to Ghost as a business arrangement. It still doesn’t explain why she keeps selecting lovers on her husband’s payroll. This woman needs to get out more.
Tasha’s desire to suddenly “go legit” without acknowledging her disdain for Ghost when he tried to do the same thing also shortchanges a character who, up until now, appeared to be more self-aware.
As for the lawyer, Terry Silver (Brandon Victor Dixon), he was a lot more likable when he arrogantly challenged Ghost’s self image during a series of refreshing, class-driven debates. But now that he’s Tasha’s cabana boy in a three-piece suit, his presence — steamy love scene notwithstanding — feels forced.
It’s unfair that the one time Mike (David Fumero) came across as a sympathetic character happened minutes before his death. When he stopped and looked at his daughter’s picture, it was clear that he knew he wouldn’t be alive much longer and that his only solace was successfully protecting his child from Lobos (Enrique Murciano).
It makes you wonder why the writers didn’t show this side of Mike more often. Instead, he was drawn as a mostly one-dimensional, laconic boogeyman who murdered Greg (Andy Bean), framed Ghost, and occasionally spoke Spanish. The best villains are the ones we miss a little. But nobody is going to miss Mike, and his swift but violent end is significant simply because it keeps Ghost and Tommy (Joseph Sikora) out of prison.
Speaking of Ghost’s antagonists, Simon (the ever wonderful Victor Garber) is back and he really doesn’t need to be. He wants to punish Ghost for trying to create his own nightclub empire but a man like this wouldn’t expend this much time and energy on teaching a former business partner a lesson in comeuppance.
His loan to Tasha also seems poorly explained — where did all of Tasha’s money go? — as does the business deal that exploits Ghost’s minority status. Any excuse to add Larenz Tate to the fold is welcomed but there had to have been a better way. Just like the title song says, New York is a big rich town, so why do Ghost and Tommy’s worlds appear so small?
Remember Ghost and Tasha’s youngest child, Yasmin (Amaya Carr)? Yeah, the couple doesn’t seem to recall her existence either, even though she made a brief cameo during the family’s crisis management interview on TV. This tweet says it all:
— savagetay (@ImHonestTho) August 21, 2017
All jokes aside, Yasmin is a part of an implied narrative that Ghost initially considered cheating on Tasha because she didn’t desire him as much after having a baby. That’s poppycock because at one point, Ghost was getting it on with Angela and Tasha.
But like a lot of small children on a number of adult dramas (Scandal, Empire, Desperate Housewives, and every daytime soap ever), kiddos are often an afterthought until they miraculously turn into teenagers and inspire their own story lines. With any luck, perhaps the writers will keep shaking things up and jump ahead a few years in season 5.
Power‘s season 4 finale airs Sunday, Sept. 3 at 9 p.m. on Starz.