Power premiere recap: Call Me James
Ghost is no more ... maybe.
The “American Dream” means different things to different people and how we attain that dream can be influenced by class, gender, and race. For tech titans like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, their genius was fast-tracked by socio-economic privilege afforded to them by their parents. Oprah Winfrey, who was born into a economically poorer family, used her gift of empathy and connecting to her audience to create a multi-million dollar media empire. Audiences have always gravitated to that “outsider” who goes for the brass ring in spite of obstacles thrown in their way.
In the case of James “Ghost” St. Patrick, the protagonist of the breakout hit series Power — the road to wealth and success is paved with greed, blood, and money. Created by Courtney Kemp Agboh, Power is a rarity on primetime — a successful black man who actually thrives and succeeds in his underhanded dealings, often beating his white male counterparts at their own game. While we’ve had characters like The Wire’s Stringer Bell and Lemond Bishop, who were similarly charismatic and powerful, their life of crime eventually caught up with them. Ghost St. Patrick reflects a more modern reality, much like Sean “Jay Z” Carter and this show’s co-executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson — two black men from the streets who used their street savvy to build their capitalist empires. Like them, Ghost is in for the long game and makes no apologies for his ambition.
For the first two seasons, Ghost laid the groundwork to escape his life of crime by opening one of New York City’s glitziest nightclubs, Truth. But what is the truth to Ghost? After two seasons of living a double life — businessman by day, powerful drug lord by night — Ghost ruthlessly scrubbed all connections of his illegal past in a series of cunning double-crosses and bloody takedowns. In the process Ghost alienates best friend and partner-in-crime, Tommy Egan. Ghost also ends his marriage to Tasha to be with high-school sweetheart Angela Valdes — a relationship complicated by the fact that Angela is a federal U.S. attorney who was assigned to hunt him down. Only by promising to leave his life of crime behind, does Angela agree to be with him. But can James St. Patrick truly be free of Ghost?
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As season 3 opens, Ghost and Angela seem happy. Angela plays the supportive girlfriend accompanying Ghost to Truth, but the law-abiding agent in her still has reservations, as witnessed by the gun she carries in her purse. James has taken Andre, a former foot soldier of Kanan’s, under his wing by hiring him to work at his nightclub. But having an appearance of respectability is of no interest to Andre as he tells his boss, “I said I want to look clean, but I never want to be clean. I need money!” Ghost calmly shuts down Andre’s need for the corner hustle: “When you’re in here, use your real name. When I’m in here, call me James. There’s no more Ghost.”
NEXT: But Angela has a hard time believing that…
While Ghost may be no more, the people around him are still feeling the aftershocks. Tommy, who’s decided to run the drug game without Ghost, finds out running the New York drug game takes more than just brute strength. With their main drug connect Lobos still recovering from a hit (ordered by Ghost), Tommy makes the rounds, assuring his network that all is well in the kingdom. What Tommy fails to tell them is that Lobos will only supply Tommy with product once he takes out Ghost.
Tasha tries to keep a handle on her family without Ghost around, while secretly grieving the death of her lover, Sean. When Ghost comes over to discuss their children meeting Angela, Tasha loses her cool and confronts her ex-husband with her suspicions that he killed Sean out of jealousy. Ghost breaks down and shares the ugly truth; Sean was killed by his own father, Kanan. Ghost quickly assures Tasha that their family is safe since he killed Kanan, but Tasha remains skeptical.
Angela makes her own power moves by accompanying her boss Mike (who is actually a mole for Lobos) to a meeting with the judge to negotiate Lobos’ trial. When Lobos’ lawyer asks the judge to extradite Lobos back to Mexico, arguing that his client’s safety is in jeopardy. Angela comes up with a clever counter-offer; a “John Doe” prosecution, which gives the prosecution time to mount evidence against Lobos, while keeping his identity a secret. The judge grants Angela’s motion. When Mike updates Lobos later that day, Lobos is furious and demands a meeting with Angela in order to suss out any of her weaknesses. Lobo tries to shake Angela by piling on crude sexual innuendos but Angela declares, “I’m not afraid of you.” Lobos smiles evilly, and replies, “You should be.”
Angela’s victory is short-lived when she catches Ghost speaking to a man with a “718” tattoo on his neck at the club later that evening. The next morning, she pulls out her old files and makes the connection — the man with the tattoo is Julio, Ghost’s former drug associate. Feeling hurt and betrayed, she confronts Ghost about his meeting about Julio. Ghost tries to assure Angela that that his old life is behind him, when Angela blurts out “Lobos is still alive.” Ghost keeps calm and outwardly seems to forgive Angela for keeping this vital piece of information from him, but Ghost has his own secret. Earlier that day, when going over security footage, he catches one of his servers, Tatianna, sneak into his office and put something in his desk — a bloody tarot card just like the ones Ghost left on the bodies of all his victims from the end of last season.