“Power” has returned for its high stakes fourth season, and it looks like a Mexican standoff. No one will escape unscathed if James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) goes down.
When last season ended, Ghost was arrested for the murder of unhinged FBI agent Greg Knox — a crime he didn’t commit. Now in prison, he grapples with the claustrophobia of his daily existence, which allows Hardwick to reveal Ghost’s many, unseen layers. Hardwick does a fine job of revealing glimmers of the exhaustion, fear and anger simmering beneath as St. Patrick struggles to deal with losing his power, and having to hide “Ghost” while in prison.
Over the course of the first four episodes, “Power’ confronts Ghost’s existence with self-aware commentary on race, and what society expects of Black men, especially in order to survive. His lawyer, Proctor (Jerry Ferrara), plays the race card like a Beethoven symphony with the media. And Ghost confronts questions about how economics and education have no standing on his integrity. The show also takes a critical look at how angry black men are discredited no matter their guilt or innocence.
The setting also forces him to face the missteps he’s made: as a husband, father, boyfriend and business partner. Everyone agrees Ghost’s problems start and end with Angela Valdes (Lela Loren) — his ex-side-piece. His relationships with Tasha (Naturi Naughton), Tariq (Michael Rainey, Jr) and Tommy (Joseph Sikara) have all been strained for the past couple of seasons because of jealousy and lack of trust. Now that everyone has to fend for themselves, could things finally fall apart for Ghost?
Trust and loyalty aren’t new themes for the show. But the series manages to flip the script by showing the vulnerabilities in some relationships, and asks major questions. In the past Dre (Rotimi Akinosho) has been loyal to Ghost, but now that Ghost is in jail and Kanan is back in the picture, is that loyalty over? LaKeisha (Lala Anthony) has always been a ride-or-die bestie to Tasha. But now that her business is threatened, is she going to remember other times Tasha took something away from her?
This season also introduces a few new characters that the audience will love to hate. Charlie Murphy (RIP) joins as a prison guard who ends up torturing Ghost in a million different ways. There’s also a fellow prisoner, Tony Teresi (William Sadler) who exploits Ghost’s vulnerable position as a drug kingpin posing as a straitlaced businessman who has been wrongfully imprisoned.
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Overall, this season continues to deliver the intrigue and tension we’ve come to expect from the hit Starz series. Because when it comes down to it, “Power” is all about survival.