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‘Power Book II: Ghost’ may be a better show than the original, and Tariq is a better Ghost

OPINION: With just two seasons under its belt, the sequel to ‘Power’ is living all the way up to its potential.

Courtney A. Kemp and 50 Cent have us all in a collective chokehold. Their Drug Dealer Cinematic Universe (I can’t remember who called it that first, but I’m running with it because it fits) keeps us entertained nearly year-round as a new season of one show starts just as another is ending. 

They gave us Power first, and we were all caught up in the drug-dealing world of James St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick)—a Queens native who had done his time in the streets and built an international drug empire, earning enough cash to give his family a lavish life, buy several nightclubs and legitimate businesses for himself and ultimately leave a fortune to his children, pending certain conditions. 

For his son, Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.), the conditions of receiving his inheritance included completing a college degree and not ending up in prison. 

And so we began Power Book II: Ghost in the first season with Tariq attending the fictional Ivy League college Stansbury. Fresh off of killing his father and watching his mother take the rap for it, Tariq spends his freshman year selling drugs with his roommate Brayden (they were also roommates at Choate in the original series) to raise money so that Davis MacLean (Method Man) can launch a sturdy defense to get Tasha off for the murder she did not commit. 

Getting to the money leads Tariq to team up with the Tejada family, led by matriarch Monet Tejada (Mary J. Blige). She and her three children have their own drug empire, becoming Tariq’s distributor. 

Ghost benefits from everything Kemp, the showrunner for both shows, learned from making its predecessor. She has the benefit of the experience of a highly successful six-season show, and with that knowledge comes vast improvements in the storytelling and the action. Couple that with the feedback the show regularly receives on social media, and the powers that be have given us fans exactly what we want on a weekly basis—an even better show. 

Don’t get me wrong; I loved Power, and I eagerly watched every episode of all six seasons. It was a fun world to get caught up in, yet somehow, Tariq’s world feels so much more entertaining and engrossing. 

“Power Book II: Ghost” (Credit: Starz)

We get to see Tariq literally get it from the mud. He was easily the most annoying character in the original series, but in Ghost, he has come into his own. The decisions and choices he has had to make to simply survive have matured Tariq. His every move is calculated. 

Unlike his father, he seems much less driven by ego and more driven by the need to make things right for people he cares about. Even when things don’t go exactly as he planned, he manages to stay cool, calm and collected and ultimately make a good decision. 

In season 2, we saw him face a double murder charge (murders he did not commit), and we watched as he went to great lengths to prove his innocence. As he fought for his freedom, he also did all he could to make sure his younger sister and sole surviving sibling did not end up in foster care or worse—adopted and taken away from their family. By the end, he even manages to reunite the young girl with their mother—who is in witness protection—and young Yaz doesn’t end up getting the Judy Winslow treatment after all

Tariq’s cunning ways, keen observation skills and ability to completely outwit everyone who tries to go up against him—including the “GOAT of international snitching”—as well as his always cooler head, make him, in my opinion, the better Ghost as well.

People keep likening Tariq to his father or making references about his father to him, but as the younger St Patrick pointedly told his lawyer in the season finale, “I ain’t built like that ni**a.”

And he’s not. 

I’m eager to see what comes next for Tariq. If the ending of the season finale was any indication, he may be the primary suspect in yet another murder that he did not commit. 

But I’m not worried about Tariq St Patrick. He’s going to be all right. 

As he continues to grow into his manhood and the person he will ultimately become (because there is no doubt in my mind he will continue to deal drugs and build a bigger empire than his father did), I’d worry more about the people who come up against him. 

Monique Judge

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.

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