DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

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ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Starz Brings the ‘Power’ Back on
June 25, 2017  | By David Hinckley
 

Power
lives up to its title as the fourth season opens, hitting the mean streets at 90 miles an hour.

With full props to Empire, Power remains TV’s richest and most compelling drama about an urban family skirting the outer limits of the law as it moves to conquer a corner of the music business.

In the case of Power, that conquest has hit a significant impediment when the story resumes Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.

Our main man James St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick, top), also known as Ghost, has been arrested for the murder of FBI agent Greg Knox (Andy Bean).

The agent behind the arrest is Angela Valdez (Lela Loren, left), who until very recently was Ghost’s live-in squeeze. That was a complicated situation, too, because Ghost is still married to Tasha (Naturi Naughton), with whom he has three children who did not all adapt well to their father’s romantic indecision.

It wasn’t a total surprise that Ghost left Tasha for Angela since Ghost and Angela were an item years ago before he met Tasha.

Yet it also wasn’t a total surprise that Ghost later decided to move in with Angela was a mistake and moved out, creating a lose-lose-lose situation for everyone. 

We mention all this because there is some suspicion among the many other folks involved in this drama that Angela busted Ghost for revenge. We viewers can’t be sure whether that’s true, though we do know something else about the case: Ghost did not kill Knox.

In any event, we start this season with Ghost going into the system, where he is not happy. Tasha isn’t so happy, either, when she discovers there’s no money to post bail, meaning he must stay there, getting treated the way prison guards treat someone they think killed a fellow law enforcement officer.

Also, Ghost’s wardrobe has been seriously downgraded from gray tailored suits to orange jumpwear.

Outside, meanwhile, Ghost’s long-time partner and now frenemy Tommy (Joseph Sikora, top) is working to solidify his new position as the community’s go-to drug runner. This involves managing and juggling a lot of moving pieces, many of them suspicious or downright hostile.

Tommy tries to send out the word that Ghost’s arrest will have no impact on his business. No one’s really buying that, which means Tommy is inevitably drawn into the Ghost situation, at first mostly through his long-time pal Tasha and Ghost’s lawyer, Joe Proctor (Jerry Ferrara, right).

Sikora does a great job, as usual, conveying Tommy’s ambivalence here. He’s annoyed that he has this distraction to deal with, while on the other hand, he becomes Ghost’s quasi-defender since he knows Ghost isn’t dumb enough to shoot a federal agent.

And that’s just one segment of the opening-night drama.

Angela, for starters, isn’t completely happy about busting Ghost, for whom she still, as they say, has feelings. After Ghost is put in jail, she returns home, yanks the cork out of a bottle of wine with her teeth and pours most of the bottle into a glass.

She also finds herself marginalized by the prosecution team, which is fearful of that pesky conflict-of-interest thing.

So the case gets turned over to a new guy who has a reputation for being most interested in promoting himself, correctly suggesting that there will be some friction on the prosecution team that could ultimately be helpful to Ghost.

At the same time, Ghost’s son Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.) is being mentored by street-smart and ice-cold Kanan (50 Cent, right), a dangerous fellow who has become more dangerous because almost everyone else thinks he’s dead.

That’s not an irrational assumption on Power, where becoming dead is a fairly common thing.

Power has become a stronger show as it’s gone along because it knows how to accelerate the action and keep the characters compelling without taking the easy path of becoming pure soap.

That’s not a knock on Empire, which does soap very nicely. Power just has a different model, focusing more on the street action and often giving its characters a more raw and visceral response.

Besides Sikora, Naughton and Loren also shine in the opener. Hardwick has to be more subdued with Ghost, since the guy’s in jail, though it’s a safe bet that won’t continue all season long.

What should continue is the intensity that makes Power one of the bright spots of summer television.

 
 
 
 
 
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