Film & TV

Review: Power – Looking for Love in All the Usual Places

We are about midway into the fifth season of Power, the show that breathed new life into the Starz network.  Showrunner Courtney Kemp and her talented team have once again proven their ability to create complicated storylines fueled by raw, human emotion; so while their professions (drug dealers, murderers and crooked lawyers) and the specificities of their particular predicaments (death, imprisonment, torture) are not necessarily commonplace, the sentiments are all too real.  In her behind-the-scenes insights, Kemp informs viewers that one of the themes of this season is strange bedfellows as epitomized by the “unholy Trinity” of Tommy, Ghost, and Kanan.  But it can also be seen in the new truce between Ghost and Dre, the budding father-and-son relationship between Tommy and Teresi, and the new levels of collaboration between Tasha and Angela.  While the concept of strange bedfellows makes for unlikely partnerships, it also extends beyond the dynamic of characters needing to co-conspire to protect their own interests. In fact, one of the driving factors that forges these strange bedfellows together is the desire to be seen and loved.  This results in numerous characters seeking out affection from the wrong, yet, expected places.

While Kanan does what he is told and stays away from Tariq, we knew it was only a matter of time before he would defy orders.  Despite the fact that Kanan helped usher Tariq into “the life” and initially had intentions of murdering him to get revenge on his father, the teen’s gravitation towards Kanan is understandable.  After enduring his first birthday without his twin sister, Raina, in which he is shunned by his mother, scolded by his Uncle Tommy, and lied to and attacked by his drunken father, it becomes quite clear to the grieving and confused Tariq that he is alone.  Thus, Kanan’s seemingly crass salutations, where he admits that he would wish him a happy birthday, if his sister wasn’t dead, serves as an honest interaction. This honesty translates to respect, and respect to something like love. Kanan doesn’t lie to Tariq and treat him like an ignorant child.  He deals with him as an equal, putting him onto game. So while it is scary to watch the relationship between Tariq and Kanan endure, you can see why the two click.

The dynamic between Dre and Alicia Jimenez is quite odd and somewhat unexpected.  While her attraction to the up-and-coming kingpin has been mostly hinted at by her brother Diego, the last two episodes have ushered the rumored attraction onscreen.  Their emerging relationship, with its romantic undertones, is an adrenaline soaked experience, as viewers are unsure if there is symbiotic need that has brought them to this point, or if there is something more sexual.  The two motivations seem intertwined with the possibility of tension on either sides of their relationship being catastrophic for the other. This is a refreshing angle for us to experience Dre, as up until this point, he has been almost completely career oriented, with a non-existent dating life.  Considering that he is already in-over-his head in his new business endeavor, watching him attempt to juggle yet another ball is thrilling, to say the least.

Like Kanan and Tariq, the seeds for the relationship between Tasha and Terry Silver were sown in Season 4, and are now are breaking new ground.  Personally (as if he isn’t fictional, lol), I cannot stand Silver. I think he is a self-righteous cornball. My distaste for him was further solidified with his testimony against Proctor where he had the unmitigated gall to question the suspended lawyer’s ethics as if he is not engaged in an affair with a married woman.  [Full disclosure, I have a crush on Proctor. His palpable fear of Tommy and his constant pleas with Ghost not to give him any information make him comical and realistic.] Despite my aversion to Silver, I can see why Tasha is drawn to him. Her husband, instead of working through his pain at the death of their daughter, blames her, snaps at her every chance he gets, and leaves her to do all the leg work needed to prevent their son from going to jail for killing their daughter’s murderer. She is always picking up the pieces, no one tending to her emotional needs.  In comes Silver. He is the only one who seems to truly care for her and her wellbeing and wants to help her. His love is an expression of the feelings he has for the upstanding, noble, woman who he believes her to be and not the strategic criminal that she is. His love, rooted in a somewhat intentional naivety is extremely alluring. (However, as we now see when the going gets tough, Terry gets gone.)

This is the power of Power.  The creators’ ability to look beyond the crudeness of the characters’ actions to see them as persons wanting, needing love.  But, the question is, can this love withstand the wrath of karma? We shall see.

MJ VanDevere

MJ VanDevere is a doctoral candidate at a predominately white elite institution in the South who uses humor to combat racism, sexism, and all the other –isms that seek to diminish her greatness. She is a self-proclaimed “stand-up snob” who does not have a favorite comedian, so please don't ask unless you have several hours to spare. Some of her favorite movies include, Life, Dead Presidents, and Happy Feet. If, she could only do one thing for the rest of her life, it would definitely be laugh, and maybe write. Adulting is her greatest work in progress.

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