Every week, Power‘s Lela Loren, who plays the feisty, determined Angela Valdez, is bringing EW behind the scenes of every episode. Take it away, Lela…
One of the things I love about the character development in Power is Courtney A. Kemp’s subversive use of stereotype. Kemp often baits us with familiar tropes, stoking either our ire or elation. But then, sometimes immediately, sometimes slowly, she turns them on their head and reminds us that there will always be a gap between how the characters are marketed and the story that’s being told. The third episode, “I Got This on Lock,” written by Randy Huggins, displays these turns cunningly both in Tasha’s reorientation and our introduction to Jukebox, played brilliantly by Anika Noni Rose.
First off, let’s talk about Tasha, played by my trench sister, Naturi Naughton. This season we find Tasha coming into her own, blooming despite her heartbreak. Maybe it’s not so much a debate over the merits of love, loyalty, and worth, but instead, it’s all a moot point in the face of who you become after. Tasha is proving that she will be much more than the left, lovelorn wife, and it begs the question: Sure, Ghost is handsome, charming, sexy, and well-dressed, but is he really such a great catch? While Tasha remains deliciously criminal and Courtney doesn’t spare any of her characters from the searing consequences of their choices, it reminds us that there is still so much more story to tell. And we don’t know what’s coming.
My favorite scene in this episode is when Tasha and Holly (Lucy Walters) are stopped in their car by a cop. Now it just so happens that Naturi is a great mimic — something we all found out after getting her a lil’ tipsy during season 1. (Her Sinqua Walls impression can make ladies swoon.) Courtney wanted to write a scene that brings Holly and Tasha together in a moment of jeopardy, and give us all a taste of Naturi’s secret skill. Lucy’s secret skill is playing the violin. Omari’s is his photographic memory (lucky duck). Joe is a fantastic tagger, and mine… is harder to spot. Can you guess? (No, not running. Clearly.) My secret skill, if it even counts as one, is saying really crass things that sometimes end up as dialogue coming from other character’s mouths. My inner salty sailor is alive and well — the only problem is most of the writers on our show are just as inappropriate, so at the end of the day, it’s hard to tell who came up with the line. In any other industry, HR would have a field day with us!
Okay, how awesome were all those reversals in Randy Huggins’ opening sequence? From cop, to executioner, to harborer, by the time we land on solid ground as to who Jukebox is, only one thing is certain — Kanan is at her mercy. The inspiration for Jukebox comes from a person in 50 Cent’s life, and so does the detail of convalescing upstate. Besides being every man’s dream nurse, I don’t know who the inspiration was for Candie, but Natalie Paul’s slow, seductive rhythm makes me want to take notes. Now here’s the recipe for Texas tea. Just kidding. You’ll have to Google that at your own peril.