Kendrick Lamar Steals The Show

Written by on July 30, 2018

Article written by: Karlton Jahmal

This week’s episode of Power might be called “Happy Birthday,” but there was little cause for celebration in the lives of any of the main players. Except for Kanan, and his new buddy Laces (played by Kendrick Lamar), nobody had a good week.

The mid-season marker began with a not so friendly meeting between Tommy, Teresi, Sammy, and Vincent. Vincent is suspicious of the shootout that occurred in the previous episode, and he presses Tommy for the truth. Tommy admits that drive-by was orchestrated by Dre (although it was actually set up by Kanan in secret). Vincent realizes that Tommy and Sammy lied to him about taking care of Dre, and so he places a gun in Teresi’s hand and instructs him to kill one of the two men. Surprisingly, Teresi points the gun at his best friend and shoots, but the clip was empty. Now that Sammy and Teresi’s relationship is ruined, Vince leaves the scene and cuts the trio out of his business. Unfortunately, the entire situation makes Tommy trust his father even more.

When Tommy tells Ghost and Kanan about his father choosing him over his best friend, they’re both in disbelief. Tommy defends his father, which makes Ghost uncomfortable. Still, Ghost hands Tommy a clean check after washing his dirty money, and leaves. That’s when Kanan introduces a plan to Tommy to stir things up between Dre and Cristobal, but Tommy doesn’t co-sign on the plan. It doesn’t matter though, because Kanan goes out and figures out how to cause drama on his own.

Ghost spends most of this episode spiraling out of control. There is a moment of brilliance, where he gets Dre fired from his job. Dre unknowingly signed a non-compete clause when he worked for Truth, and his new employer fires him rather than be sued by Ghost over the contract. Dre was planning to hold an event for the Queens Child Project at his new club, but now that he’s jobless, Ghost takes control and moves the party to Truth. It seems like everything is good at that point. Wrong. Councilman Tate brings Dre to Truth and a drunk Ghost attacks Tate in front of all the guests. After choking out the politician and threating to kill him, Ghost flees his own club in a drunken stupor.

Meanwhile, Kanan is approached by Laces, a Spanish speaking crackhead who wanders the streets. At first, Kanan dismisses Laces, but once he realizes that the vagrant can help him track down members of the Tainos, he uses him to his advantage. Kendrick Lamar is the highlight of the episode as Laces, who talks a mile a minute and has a high pitched haunting laugh. Laces helps Kanan set up several kills before Kanan turns on Laces. At the moment where the crackhead thinks he might die, you actually feel empathetic. There’s something brilliant in the twisted madness of Laces, and Kanan decides to let him live. For a moment, it seems like Laces can see into Kanan’s soul, as he begins to break down several characteristics of the burned gangster. Nope. Laces reveals that he’s just rambling off the script of a commercial he heard in passing, and as soon as he came, he disappears again.

In the legal world, Angela Valdez continues to dig herself into a hole. She meets up with Ghost after he calls her to help pick out shoes for Tariq’s birthday. It seems like she stands up to Ghost after she warns him that she doesn’t want to get sucked in again, but he sucks her in anyway using his daughter’s death. Angie leaves the shop in a rush, but the moment between her and Ghost lingers. She has bigger problems to worry about though. Tameika is suspicious of Angela, and brings up the fact that she confiscated Blanca Rodriguez’s files. Angela plays it off like she’s investigating a dirty cop, but you can tell Tameika isn’t convinced. Still, she reveals to Angela that Mak and Saxe are working on bringing Tommy Egan in. That prompts Angela to set up a meeting with her ex-lover’s best friend.

Angela orchestrates a meeting with Tommy through Proctor, and the three have a very uneasy meetup. Angela asks Tommy to snitch on the Jimenez, and she offers him full immunity in return. That’s a pretty good deal in Proctor’s eyes, who warns Tommy to think about the Homeland agent he murdered. Angela also removes a tracker from Tommy’s car, which shocks both him and Proctor. Tommy still isn’t too worried though, and he shrugs off the deal. For now.

This episode is called “Happy Birthday” for a reason, but when the time comes for Tariq’s birthday, everything falls apart. Ghost fails to show up for his son’s first birthday without his sister. It was his job to grab the cake, but Terry shows up as the savior with the dessert. Tommy takes Tariq on a joy ride, letting the youngster drive his whip, but things turn sour quickly. Tommy confronts Tariq for snitching to Dre about the hit he placed on him. Although he denies it at first, Tariq admits to warning Dre. Why? Because Dre helped him catch his enemy, Ray-Ray.  “Loyal only to your own cause,” Tommy states. “Sounds exactly like Ghost.” Tariq doesn’t like the comparison. Dre being alive just cost Tommy his entire business, and it doesn’t look like he and Tariq will be as close anymore.

The horrible birthday isn’t over yet though. Police show up asking to see Tasha’s gun (which Tariq used to kill Ray Ray). Tasha tells them that she reported it stolen, and her story checks out. Still, Silver had to defend his new lover and Blanca looked overly satisfied with how well she shook Tasha up. To top things off, when Tasha opens the cake she realizes that she ordered the wrong one. Raina’s name is sprawled across the cake, and that puts an end to the birthday celebrations. Tariq attempts to talk to his mother about the mistaken cake, but Tasha has little patience. When Tariq reveals that he wants to confess, Tasha warns him to keep out of her way. Tariq then steals his mom’s pills after she pretty much admits that she wishes he died instead of his sister. Ouch.  

Ghost wanders in drunk sometime later, and Tariq decides to step up and be a man for the first time. Tariq confronts his father about his past, and completely rips Ghost apart in the memory of Raina. Admittedly, Ghost is at his lowest, and Tasha intervenes to kick him out of the apartment. Tariq decides to leave and head back up to Choate, with the assistance of Kanan. 

Dre finds himself in a tough position after Kanan and Laces drop his men. Diego does not approve of the unstable business that Dre is running, and the latter blames his troubles on Ghost and Tommy. Both names immediately ring a bell with Diego, and he vows to take care of the two men. Tommy may not be around long enough to get killed though. His lying father meets up with Mak and Saxe after he discovers that Ghost is cleaning Tommy’s money. Teresi snitches on his son, putting Tommy in the worst position he’s been in all season.

Tommy has a plan though. He may not be fully aware of the danger looming in his future, but he’s smart enough to know that having Angela as an ally can be useful. He shows up to Valdez’s apartment and asks her for the tracking device she took of his car. He claims that he isn’t the type of guy to snitch, but he still hints that if Anglea wants the Jimenez, she should hand over the tracking device. After creepily revealing that he’s been spying on Angela, Tommy leaves. Meanwhile, Ghost visits a reverend, who shoots down his half-ass excuses pertaining to Raina’s death. While Ghost blames everyone but himself for his daughter’s death, the reverend destroys Ghost’s selfish debate and asks him, what would Raina do? Ghost thinks his dead daughter wants him to be a better man. So, he drags his drunken self over to Angela’s apartment, and for the second time in two episodes, we’re left with a cliffhanger on Ghost and Angie’s relationship.


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