Power New Man Review
Starz‘s Power: Season 4, Episode 6: New Man was a betrayal episode on three separate fronts: Kanan Starks betraying Jukebox, James “Ghost” St. Patrick betraying his former criminal organization, and Andre Coleman betraying Julio Antonio Romano.
I predicted that Kanan Starks (Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson) would betray Jukebox (Anika Noni Rose) for Tariq St. Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr.)’s sake. No one, however, could have foreseen that the scene would play out in such an operatic way. Kanan coming clean, confessing his sins while a life that he wanted to save hung in the balance was the most dramatic event in New Man. Up until that moment, the viewer hadn’t realized what the relationship that Kanan had built with Tariq had meant to Kanan until Kanan was forced to confess. Kanan was willing to do anything to save Tariq, including braking a cardinal rule of the street – snitching. In Kanan’s case, he snitched on himself. It was a noble act, most-likely the most selfless act that Kanan Starks had ever committed in his life. It was not a redemptive act, but like The Governor in The Walking Dead (when he gave Rick Grimes the chance to walk away from the Prison unharmed), it showed that there was still a residue of humanity left within Kanan. Saving Tariq didn’t wipe Kanan’s grim-ridden moral slate clean but it was something that Kanan knew that he would not live to regret.
James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick)’s moral slate was completely comprised in New Man. When Money Counter Marcus (McKinley Belcher III) was shot dead by Kanan, also killed was the trust that Ghost’s former criminal organization had in Ghost. No one will care that Ghost did what he did for Tariq or that Kanan was the one that killed Marcus. All they will care about is the fact that Ghost brought Kanan into their house, that Ghost beat up people that trusted him, and that Marcus ended up dead. That’s it. Ghost can’t talk his way out of those facts. Ghost’s former criminal organization won’t let him.
Thomas Patrick “Tommy” Egan (Joseph Sikora) will find it hard to let those facts go as well. Tommy won’t seek retribution for Marcus’ death but what Ghost did will further the erosion of Tommy’s trust in Ghost. Tommy loves Ghost but Tommy has grown ambitious for a bigger and more lush criminal organization, like Ghost had when Ghost, Tommy, and Kanan had been working together in the past. With the Los Angeles drug trade on the table, what Ghost did in New Man will make it very easy for Tommy to cut Ghost out of every criminal aspect of their relationship. Tommy had already made that deal (in that case, to save Ghost’s life) with Jason Micic (Mike Dopud) before leaving Chicago. After New Man, that decision (to cut Ghost out of the drug trade) will be solidified (e.g. all the gang member will change cell phone numbers, all the drug storage, drop locations, and money counting houses will be moved to locations that Ghost knows nothing about, etc.). Will Tommy keep Ghost’s drug trade percentage coming? He will, at least for the immediate future. Sugar helps bitter medicine go down, especially medicine that you are forced to swallow. Ghost had wanted to be out of the drug trade for a long time. Now he might be, at the most inopportune time. Ghost is now strapped for cash, Simon Stern’s loan notwithstanding, and Ghost’s previous drug trade was easy money.
Tommy confronting Holly Elizabeth Weaver’s pedophile uncle Sam Weaver (Ned Van Zandt) in New Man was buffoonery (fitting for Tommy and his ability to make critical decisions on the fly). Who admits to being a pedophile and a rapist to a complete stranger, a complete stranger that was not threatening you in any way or whom was not law enforcement? The out-of the-blue, non-duress driven confession made no sense. No one blurts out their darkest secret, even one they are secretly proud of, to some guy off the street. It defied any semblance of reality. What made the scene even more of a Saturday morning cartoon was that Sam told Tommy that an open house was going to occur soon. Anyone could have come walking into that house at any time. Knowing all of that, Tommy still killed Sam in that house in Splatterhouse–fashion. Tommy would have had to clean up all of that blood, bone, and brain-matter up (before people arrived) and either hide the dead body in the house (the smell would eventually lead to the body) or take the body with him (carrying the dead body out the front door, in broad daylight). Because of those facts, that entire scene in New Man, its entire setup, was a pathetic, holey mess. If the viewer of New Man relished the zany exploits in Merrie Melodies episodes, this scene was a masterpiece to them.
Also pathetic in New Man was James “Ghost” St. Patrick’s indignation with Tasha St. Patrick (Naturi Naughton) about her Simon Stern dealing-making. It was the-pot-calling-the-kettle-black moment of New Man. Ghost had no moral legs to stand on. Ghost had made a hundred major decisions behind Tasha’s back that had directly effected her and their family (e.g. Ghost dating Assistant United States Attorney Angela “Angie” Valdez, Ghost stealing the family’s money for club expansion, Ghost not telling Tasha about the prison deal Angie offered him, etc.). As they both stared at each other across their dinner table in New Man, they both knew that they needed each other. They also knew that they could barely trust each other anymore.
Andre Coleman (Rotimi) betraying Julio Antonio Romano (J.R. Ramirez) and its resultant battle royal was another instance of eroded trust within New Man. In Julio’s case, Julio never really liked Dre in the first place. They were also new acquaintances so there wasn’t long-standing trust to break. What was broken, in the end, was the viewer’s respect for Julio. Julio had always presented in Power as a steady, street, tough individual. Someone that could be counted on, thus his recent promotion in Tommy Egan’s criminal organization. What Julio did towards the end of his death match wasn’t something that a steady, street-smart individual would have done. A steady, street-smart individual would have killed everyone with that metal pipe and made sure they were dead before the celebration began. Beating your chest as though you are king sh*t warrior of the galaxy doesn’t work if you have left some of your opponents alive. It really doesn’t work if you turn your back on one of them, are knifed, and hamstrung as comeuppance for your hubris. What the hell was Julio thinking? They were there to kill him. He should have killed them all, made sure they were all dead, and then talked trash (if he had to). Instead, B.S. and Julio’s gruesome and gratuitous end. At least Julio went out swinging, literally.
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