Power You Can’t Fix This Review
Starz‘s Power: Season 4, Episode 10: You Can’t Fix This was the resolution of all the bad decisions that Tariq St. Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr.) had made during the last two seasons. You Can’t Fix This was a transitional episode, one in which Tariq stepped from the civilian world into the world of his mother and father. Tariq did so because of the overwhelming desire for revenge but the why was inconsequential. The act was still murder. The perpetrator was still a murderer. For that seminal moment in Tariq St. Patrick’s life, like a high-schooler at graduation, Tariq was surrounded by the people that cared about him the most in the world.
Duality played a large role in You Can’t Fix This. Michael Rainey Jr. delivered his best performance-to-date in Power, during an episode that saw his character’s criminal dalliances apex and conclude (presumably) in an auspicious way.
The lead up to Tariq’s shootout was beautiful, its escalation the best scene in You Can’t Fix This. Two freight trains raced towards each other – parents and friend ran up apartment staircases while Tariq confronted NYPD Officer Raymond “Ray Ray” Jones (Marcus Callender).
What followed was a Rubicon being crossed and a sloppy murder scene cleanup. James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), Tasha St. Patrick (Naturi Naughton), and Thomas Patrick “Tommy” Egan (Joseph Sikora) admittedly didn’t have a lot of time to think after entering the Ray Ray murder scene but their criminal minds should have kicked in. In part, they did – they got rid of the body. In large part, they did not – they left blood on the floor and didn’t pry the bullet out of the wall. The St. Patricks and Egan could have done three things to make the room look anything but a murder scene: 1.) one of them could have run into the kitchen for cleaning supplies while the other surveyed the room for stray bullets in the wall. They could have taken Tariq, looked at his gun clip for how many rounds he fired or asked him. If Tariq fired twice but there was only one bullet in the body, the other bullet had to go somewhere (which would have led them to the wall and the bullet encased there), 2.) the St. Patricks and Egan could have made it look like a botched robbery gone wrong. They could have turned over furniture, ransacked the apartment (as if looking for something hidden), and stolen Ray Ray’s hidden money. Instead, the St. Patricks and Egan left exposed stacks of currency and tons stolen property everywhere. To any police officer or detective, that scene would not look like a robbery. No robber would leave bundles of cash laying around after breaking in and killing so they could steal. That was the St. Patricks and Egan’s second biggest mistake, and 3.) the St. Patricks and Egan could and should have burned the entire apartment. Nothing gets rid of physical evidence like fire. The fire wouldn’t have gotten rid of the slug in the wall but it would have burned the floors and consumed the blood on it. That was the St. Patricks and Egan’s biggest mistake in You Can’t Fix This. If Showtime’s Dexter taught the viewer anything it was to never leave behind a viable crime scene.
With any screenplay, whether it’s for a television show or a motion picture, there are going to be things kept off-screen or left up to the viewer’s imagination. When Kanan Starks magically found Tommy Egan as Tommy was about to walk into an Italian mob bar in You Can’t Fix This, this was one of those moments. How did Kanan find Tommy? Then there were moments in You Can’t Fix This that defied all semblance of logic. Why would someone as smart as Andre “Dre” Coleman (Rotimi) use traceable, gang-inked local hitmen to try and kill Kanan? You’re mistaken if you blame Dre for that blunder. It wasn’t his fault. Real-world Dre never would have made a mistake like that. That blunder was manufactured by Dre’s creators (as was the Jimenez meeting face-to-face with Dre’s primeras). Screenwriters can sometimes be strange creatures e.g. they create a smart, ambitious, thinks-on-his-feet character, someone with all of the pluses of the main character and none of the minuses. Then, for narrative expediency, the screenwriter will dumb-down that smart character at a critical moment so that the main character or a cadre of main characters, can prevail. This happens all the time in television (e.g. Dexter) and in film screenplays (e.g. Avengers: Age of Ultron). It happened with Dre in You Can’t Fix This and in That Ain’t Me. It was moments like those that made the viewer grind their teeth together. There may come a point where screenwriters are smarter than the material they are writing instead of relying on illogic and school-taught screenplay writing formula. A few of those writers exist (e.g. Paul Haggis and Andrew Kevin Walker) but none of them writes for Power. In Power‘s future, perhaps they will hire a screenwriter that creates a smart character, good or bad, that is intelligent in everything that they do without fail, 100% of the time. That is how that character got to where they are and they have no intention of having it taken away. We are not at that point yet. You Can’t Fix This proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Tasha St. Patrick’s prescience at the end of You Can’t Fix This about what is coming next season on Power i.e. her murder trial was interesting. Did she know that a mistake had been made at Ray Ray’s crime scene, did she sense something, or did she remember something after the fact? Since it was her gun that was used to kill Ray Ray, it can be assumed that she was being proactive in retaining council. She sacrificed love and a meaningful relationship to save her son from prison. It was selfless and brave and spoke to Tasha’s underlying character. Tasha was positioning herself to be Tariq St. Patrick’s shield if and when the police ever came knocking on their door next season (and they will – the murder weapon is in the police database).
Here is the problem – that isn’t what Real-world Tasha St. Patrick would have done. Hiring a lawyer would have been Choice B for that smart and shrewd individual. Choice A for Real-world Tasha would have been to leave the country that evening with her children for a non-U.S. extradition country e.g. Venezuela. All of it would have been under the clever guise of having reached her breaking point (the death of her daughter pushing her over the edge), of not being able to stay in the city for a another second, and of needing some space from James St. Patrick. Tasha would have written a letter attesting to those facts, that it would be good for the children to get away, saying she would be back in a few weeks after clearing her head.
That letter would have been the perfect cover for leaving the country. The need to get away after a traumatic event is a mindset that anyone could understand, even for someone without no family. The newspapers and magazines would have bought it hook, line, and sinker.
By being out of the country and in a non-U.S. extradition country: Tasha and Tariq couldn’t be extradited back to the United States, arrested, questioned, or tried for NYPD Officer Raymond “Ray Ray” Jones’ murder. The police wouldn’t even have an alibi for Tasha or Tariq to refute. James “Ghost” St. Patrick could tell the police, when they came knocking, that his wife and children had already left by the time he returned home. Ghost could tell the police that they had left their cellphones behind before heading to the airport, the rationale being that his wife would call him when she was ready to talk and not before.
It would have been a perfect and clean getaway for Tasha and Tariq.
The writers of Power did not want that. The writers didn’t want Tasha and Tariq St. Patrick off the show for half of next season or for nine-out-ten episodes of it. The writers wanted that arrest (Tasha St. Patrick), they wanted that trial where Tasha eventually takes the stand in defense of herself for killing a corrupt police officer after he killed her daughter (for maximum self-righteous effect). Power‘s writers wanted all of that juicy drama so they dumbed-down Tasha and her decision-making in You Can’t Fix This until Tasha arrived at Choice B.
There will be no globetrotting for Power, no Tasha St. Patrick setting up another appendage of her husband’s criminal organization (like Milan, like the Jimenez) in Venezuela (creating new sources of income and product for that organization and new drama for Power). There will be no narrative or locational expansion for Power. No growth. Power is going to stay in New York for all (or almost all) of its narrative (a beneficial strategy up to Season 4).
Who is looking forward to Tasha St. Patrick’s police officer murder trial next season?
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