Power Book II: Ghost Season 4 Episode 2 Review: To Thine Own Self

Spoilers

Tariq and Brayden found themselves broke for a few days and were like…absolutely not.

They got a little taste of the life for many college students and were not about to run themselves ragged for pocket change when they had a skillset equipped to bring in the kind of money most people could only dream of.

Power Book II: Ghost Season 4 Episode 2 may have been an hour solely meant to set up the rest of the season, but even a transitional hour in this universe can be entertaining as hell.

Only Tariq could kill a man on campus and just waltz around the place like everything was chill. He was back at Stansfield, attending classes and doing his thing, while one person had the nerve to call him out, and they did so in the least threatening way possible.

Tariq has had a lot of luck on his side over the years, but instead of acknowledging that luck and just being happy to be alive and continuing his education, he was fixated on everything he lost.

Shockingly, Tariq didn’t seem too interested in revenge. At least not yet. Though, it’s not as if he had a lot of resources to enact a revenge plot right now, anyway.

Related: Power Ghost’s Michael Rainey Jr. Talks Tariq Entering ‘Predator’ Mode & Warns ‘Anyone Could Go’

It’s hard to feel bad for Tariq because he’s had everything handed to him basically his whole life, and the struggles he has found himself in, have mostly been of his own making.

Same with Brayden.

They both made big-boy choices and must now live with the consequences. Womp womp.

Has Tariq ever had a real 9-5 job? He had that little internship, but I can never remember witnessing him sweep the floor. It was clearly beneath him and not how he was used to living.

But was getting back in the game with Carter already on his neck and Noma around every corner the best move right now?

Brayden: Weren’t you just telling me how un-smart your dumbass just was?
Tariq: Yes.
Brayden: Okay.
Tariq: But out of the ashes rise the phoenix, okay?
Brayden: What is this fucking Harry Potter?

Speaking of Detective Don Carter, he made quite the impression here, running at Davis, Tariq, AND Obi, all in a bid to rid New York City of all its rampant crime by his damn self.

I admire the ambition, but there’s a reason these people have caused all this mayhem and are still out roaming the streets.

For all those wondering who Denise was (myself included), we got our answer here, and it was a little anti-climatic unless I’m missing something, and we should all know who Denise is.

There have been so many deaths in the Power Universe that it’s impossible to remember everything.

But Carter’s driven by rage and grief, and he’s taken it upon himself to bring violent crime down, which again is admirable, but I wonder if he’s getting in over his head. Or if he will.

Carter was right when he told Tariq that he’s a damn good liar because he is. He wouldn’t be where he is if he didn’t know how to spin a tale and do so convincingly, but it’s not as if Carter was the first person to recognize that and call him out on it.

But knowing someone is lying doesn’t necessarily mean you can do anything about it. Consider the various task forces that have tried to bring this criminal enterprise down in the past and have failed spectacularly. 

Related: Power Book II: Ghost Season 4 Episode 1 Review: I Don’t Die Easy

But when a personal vendetta drives you, it ups the ante. Carter is driven by a desire to avenge his wife and is now helping get justice for Paz, but when your motivation is internal, it can blind you.

In this hour alone, Carter went to Davis and tried to bribe him for help, and if he’s willing to do all that with barely a solid case, imagine what he might do when he gets close enough to enact some real change but he needs one little thing to get him across home plate?

Michael Ealy was an excellent choice for the role of Detective Carter, as he’s an actor who can easily slip into whatever roles in front of him. Here, he’s menacing and cold and feels like a dangerous guy.

A lot of the “bad guys” in the past have been lawyers, and while they’ve also had elements of menace floating around in their veins, they never stood toe-to-toe with Tariq and made Tariq feel out of his league.

Tariq went to the school of James St. Patrick lying, gaslighting, and self-aggrandizement, so he’s used to thinking quickly on his feet, and no one in the world gets him to back down. Least of all, law enforcement.

But something about Carter’s interaction piqued my interest because he got Tariq to crack, even if it was just the littlest bit, when he brought up Tasha.

Tariq working three jobs, Tasha working at a small-town Home Depot, and somewhere, out in the wind, Ghost must be shaking his head and drafting up another letter he wishes he could leave for his son.

Hearing Tasha may be getting kicked out of witness protection was the least surprising news of the hour. That kind of protection isn’t a guarantee just because it’s offered to you in exchange for something.

It’s a luxury, and Tasha has done her own thing when she felt it necessary to protect her family. But she seemed to be in a better mindset when Tariq stopped by. She was focused on her future, which meant working and providing and nothing else.

I feel for Tariq because whether you agree with his methods or not, he has always loved his mother and his sister and wants to protect them.

But he’s so hard-headed, and the minute Tasha told him to leave her wildly inappropriate boss alone, I knew that was not going to happen.

Tariq does not play when it comes to his mother.

Related: 23 TV Moms We Love to Hate

Could this have negative consequences for Tasha? There’s a very high likelihood, but add it to the list at this point.

This being the final season, I expect Tariq to be bathing in problems as the season continues.

Speaking of problems, nearly everyone had one this hour, from Diana and Dru to Noma, Monet, Cane, and Effie.

Even Obi got himself roped up. (If I never hear the words green card again, it will be too soon).

We got to meet Monet’s cousin, Janet, played by the wonderful Golden Brooks, and I loved that we just met Janet, but you could feel the familiarity between her and Monet.

Monet keeps everything close to the vest for the most part, but she lets herself be vulnerable with Janet, even if just a little bit. And that’s got to be incredibly hard for someone like Monet, who has lived her life trying her damndest not to rely on anyone else but herself.

Bringing in Monet flashbacks felt odd until I understood what they were trying to do in highlighting the kind of mother Monet was in contrast to the mother we see now. Hint: they’re the same.

Monet and Lorenzo were clearly going through it, and Monet wanted to get out of their crappy apartment and do better by Cane, and what mother wouldn’t want that?

Because I’ve been watching these shows for so long, it’s just ingrained in me not to think beyond drug dealing. I didn’t even bat an eye at Monet going behind Lorenzo’s back to get product when, in reality, she could have gone and found herself a job.

But taking the initiative is something we’re used to seeing from Monet, as is putting her children in harm’s way.

Don’t mix our fucking kid with business, Mo. That shit will not end well.

Lorenzo

A gun in Cane’s car seat? Really? That’s what young Monet was doing back in the day to potentially save herself?

If that wasn’t the perfect encapsulation of Monet Tejada as a parent, then I don’t know what could be.

Related: Cliffhangers That Made Our Jaws Drop to The Floor

Like many of the parents in the universe, Monet is always ready to scream out that everything she’s doing is for the good of the family, but it’s simply not true. She’s doing what’s best for her, and if her kids can benefit from it as well, then so be it, but when have they ever truly been the priority?

She’s gaslighted herself into thinking she’s some martyr, and it would be comical if it weren’t so sad.

Dru can barely control his disdain for her when they’re in a room together, and when given the chance to make even the smallest of amends to him, what does she do instead? She justified her actions, doubling down on her decisions and not even remotely concerned about how they affected anyone else.

I’m baffled why Monet would think Cane would be looking to hurt her before Dru, but it wouldn’t be that interesting if she put the pieces together so early in the season.

Cane has his moments, but at this point, with how strained the relationship has been with Dru and Diana, why she would peg Cane for the hit on her didn’t compute to me, though she may not be able to accept Dru and Diana as being diabolical enough to do something like that.

Dru and Diana are barely hanging onto their lies. When they get in their feelings about potentially wanting Monet to die, they should probably have those conversations outside of the family home.

Monet didn’t seem to pick up on more than her being a crappy parent, and they were LUCKY she didn’t hear more than that.

Did she fuck up her kids? Monet posed a blunt question without an easy answer.

But Diana and Dru tried to have her killed. All three of her kids can barely stand one another, and have actively tried to hurt each other in different ways.

Their lives are constantly in danger, a mixture of their actions and being a Tejada. And this is to say nothing of brother/cousin Zeke, who was just trying to hoop and eventually lost his life getting wrapped up in the Tejada dysfunction.

So, to answer that question, yes, Monet. You did.

Noma’s another questionable parent trying to make her next move, and she and Monet will never be able to get on the same page. This story feels like it’s headed toward one killing the other when all is said and done.

Related: 19 Times Tariq Irritated Everyone

Every week, we must hear Noma tell someone they’re mistaken about the power dynamics. Yet, she continually lets these CHILDREN (yes, they are of adult age, but children in the eyes of the game) dictate to her what happens next.

Noma then slaps a deadline on their plan and puts herself back in charge, but without their initiative, she and Obi would still be twiddling their thumbs.

They seem to be setting up some romantic and power triangle between Noma, Cane, and Effie, which is ew, but also fascinating.

Effie has proven time and time again that she’s interested in protecting Effie, but she can’t entirely escape the life even when she wants to. She’s not going to school so she can get a trust fund at the end of it.

She’s going to school because she’s intelligent and could legitimately make something of herself, but she’s also so far into the game that she can’t just pull herself out so easily.

Now that she’s found the in with the Russians, she could use that to her advantage if she wanted to. But does she want to? And how can she use it?

Those questions remain unanswered now, but it’ll be interesting to see how Noma fits into everything.

She doesn’t like playing second fiddle or being out of the loop. Effie, being the Russian’s primary contact, leaves her both second fiddle and out of the loop.

That won’t sit well with her, but maybe she’ll have Cane there to make everything better.

I’m joking, but also not because there was an air of flirtation in their final exchange during the hour, and I’ll be keeping an eye on that!

I’ll also be watching Tariq and Monet, who always find themselves working together when they barely trust each other and their interests don’t align.

It wouldn’t be Power Ghost without Tariq and Monet having a secret meeting and not being 100 percent honest with one another.

Related: 20 Best TV Opening Theme Songs That Get Us Grooving

We’ll have to see how things go this season and if that weird tether they have will finally be severed.

Everything Else You Need To Know

  • Brayden landing on his feet with a real estate job is such peak privilege, and I appreciate that the show constantly reminds us of that. Brayden’s life may suck, but it’s an entirely different way from Tariq’s.
  • Speaking of Brayden, he was shooting his shot with Elle, which was not working. I wonder if part of his wanting back in the game was so he could try again with her.
  • Tariq immediately getting his car back from 2-Bit when he decided broke life wasn’t for him was hilarious. If there’s one thing 2-Bit will do, it’s show up in a season of Power Book II: Ghost.
  • Diana is pregnant! It’s not very shocking, but it’s also kind of shocking. Tariq will not be on board, one would think, making me nervous about Diana’s long-term survival rate.
  • If Diana does make it out of the season alive and has the baby, maybe this will lead to a new Power spinoff set sixteen years in the future called Power: New Beginnings, a deep dive into Tariq St. Patrick Jr.’s ascent to the throne as the top drug-dealer in Miami (or another random US city).
  • All those cops know that Tariq’s story about Junior’s death was a lie but are unable to do anything about it. What even is the law on this show?
  • They got the younger Mary J. Blige casting so right! She looked just like Mary.

This hour was meant to set things up, and that’s precisely what it did. Next, we’ll have to see how Tariq and Brayden keep their activities under wraps and what Monet does next.

Lots to look forward to!

As always, drop your comments below and let me know what you thought about the hour and where things are headed.

Whitney Evans is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lover of all things TV. Follow her on X.

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