The King is dead. Long live the King.

The Power S6 finale revealed a season-long mystery of who shot and killed drug dealer-turned-nightclub owner James “Ghost” St Patrick (Omari Hardwick). While multiple endings and reveals were shot, the writers debated, made a choice, and the shooter turned out to be his own son, Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.).

Now a new spin-off series, Power Book II: Ghost, will tell Tariq’s story, starting days after the events of the S6 finale. 3 Further series are also on order, including Power Book III: Kanan, which is a prequel series set in the 1990s and focusing on Ghost’s nemesis, Kanan (series co-creator Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson”); Power Book IV: Influence, which will centre on weasley politician Rashad Tate (Larenz Tate); and Power Book V: Force, which will focus on Ghost’s former street brother and righthand man, Tommy (Joseph Sikora), as Tommy leaves New York and all his connections behind to make a new life for himself in California. But now, it’s time for Tariq’s tale…

"We're talking about different kinds of power (this season). The power of a mother's love, and the power of a son's devotion; the power of the state; the power of the federal government to regulate our behaviour; the power of the ivory tower of academia; the power of sex and sexuality; the power of family," says series co-creator Courtney Kemp.

The path ahead

Tariq, who started the series as a brilliant student with a bright future, has tragically set his feet firmly on the path that Ghost took to his death, and he hasn’t forgotten one lesson that Ghost taught him along the way – intentionally or not – after his father destroyed and abandoned their family so that he could be with his former childhood sweetheart, Angie (Lela Loren). “He wasn't raised to be a criminal, and yet he has become that out of necessity and some of his own terrible choices," says Courtney.

But it was an actual ghost, a vision of his former mentor, Kanan, that encouraged Tariq to step up and take the shot himself instead of letting his mom and ally, Tasha (Naturi Naughton), do the deed. Echoing a threat that Ghost had made earlier, Tariq told his father that he was in the way and it was time for him to go. “I felt like Tariq was the only person who could have gotten close enough, because Ghost did not understand what he had done, just as many times, your parents don’t understand what they have done to you,” says Courtney.

Michael adds, “He couldn’t let Ghost get in front of his future. Obviously, he definitely regrets it, but it’s just like: what can he change about it? He had to do what he had to do to protect him and his mother as well.”

Complications

While Ghost made his way up from the street, Tariq doesn’t have his father’s street smarts, and bargains have been made on his behalf to keep him out of trouble. Each of these bargains is now a debt he’ll have to pay or erase some other way.

As the series starts, Tariq is facing 4 major hurdles:

  1. Ghost’s will, as seen in the S6 finale, leaves all of Ghost’s property to Tariq (and nothing to Tasha), but there are strings attached. Tariq doesn’t see a cent or a brick until he earns a 4-year university degree, maintaining at least a B+ average throughout. “He’s not the same kid as he was on the original series, says Michael. “The dynamic of Tariq happens in the streets to get money for [his mom’s] lawyer and then, obviously, him having to finish school, to graduate so he [can] get his [inheritance] from his father. So he’s playing those two sides. It’s a different dynamic now, because Tariq, he’s in school, he’s young, he’s around kids his age, so they get to see Tariq be a kid now. They get to see him act around people his age and just be himself rather than trying to be that tough kid around all the adults.”
  2. Thanks to a muddle with alibis, an unsuccessful frame job and plots gone wrong, though, Tasha winds up going on trial for Ghost’s murder in episode 1 of Power Book II. On the stand, she points the finger at a man who could be an ally or an enemy to Tariq: the now-absent Tommy. “She knows that Tariq wants her to say his own name… and she can’t. She can’t bring herself to do it, so she says it’s Tommy,” reveals Courtney. Tommy could sink the entire ship, since he’s the sole real eye-witness to Ghost’s murder. “Let's just say that Tariq and Tasha have to be wise about who they name and try to throw under the bus. And at the time, Tasha is just like she has no other choice because everyone else is dead, everyone else that could have killed Ghost is not alive anymore, so Tommy is kind of her only option at this point. Tommy is in her mind, and she's willing to take that chance," says Naturi.
  3. With Tasha’s trial looming, Tariq needs to raise cash fast to get her the best legal defence, Davis McLean (rapper Method Man), whose fee starts at $500,000. And there’s only one sure way of scoring a cool half million in a hurry. Of course, it’s not legal.
  4. Finally, Tasha made a deal to exchange ownership of Ghost’s nightclub, Truth, the jewel in his crown, in exchange for Tariq getting into that prestigious university of his. And making those kinds of deals could see Ghost’s legacy slip out from under their feet like sand if they keep being backed into corners.

Meet The Family

Tariq’s cash crisis will see him approaching another powerful crime family to strike a deal. Monet Tejada (Mary J. Blige) and her sons, Cane (Woody McClain) and Zeke (Daniel Bellomy) – Tariq’s new university roommate, who introduces him to the family after Tariq also starts tutoring him – and daughter Diana (LaToya Tonodeo), understand a boy who’d be willing to do anything to stand up for his mom. But that doesn’t mean they won’t take advantage.

"I think having Mary J. Blige step into this role of Monet is so exciting because it's adding another strong female character to our story base, and she's awesome,” says Naturi. “We may not see each other at first, because our worlds are different. However, our paths may cross. And when they do. We will not be buddy-buddy, not at first."

They should certainly see eye to eye, though. “What made this role special to me is not just that she’s a queen pin and she’s a powerful woman. She is a survivor, a single mother trying to raise her children, a woman who survives and lives in a male-dominated world and male-dominated business. She has to do it alone now, and she knows how, because she was the one showing (her husband) how to do it," says Mary. “Women are always ahead because we have so much to deal with. We have children, that’s just how we’re built. We’re always strategising for survival.”

It’s work that goes unappreciated and unrecognised by Cane, who’s defiantly bucking for control in his father’s absence. “He’s just trying to follow in his father’s footsteps. Cane is always thinking, ‘What would Dad do?’" reveals Woody. Monet has her work cut out for her controlling this volatile, ruthless and angry young man. And Tariq is going to have to watch his step around them both.

Watch Power Book II: Ghost S1 from Wednesday, 16 September on 1Magic (DStv 103) at 19:00
Binge Power S6 as a Box Set
Or get caught up from Power S1 on Showmax

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