Power Season Premiere Recap: The Thick of It


Call Me James
Season 3 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating *****
Omari Hardwick as James St. Patrick. Photo: Jessica Miglio/Starz Entertainment, LLC

To quote Blazing Saddles, what’s happenin’ in the clean world?

After plowing through a season of shit (in the hopes of coming out smelling like a rose), Power’s charged season opener finds James St. Patrick, a.k.a. the drug dealer formerly known as Ghost, trying his damnedest to keep himself and his business on the legal side. It’s his absolute goal: The premiere is itself titled “Call Me James,” and he makes that request several times during the hour.

Both James and Angela want to make a fresh start at a normal relationship, now that they’re no longer sneaking around and having hellacious nooners. Of course, it’s not going to be easy for either of them. Angela tries to get assigned to another department, but shifty-ass Sandoval keeps her on the Lobos task force. And even though James passed the drug-kingpin torch to a resentful Tommy (a.k.a. Eminem Lite), who rules the streets with a wink and a ready uppercut, Ghost’s smooth touch is sorely missed. Even Julio visits Torch to plead with James to get back in the game, after Tommy duct-tapes a couple of corner boys in bubble wrap and throws them off a roof. Julio also reveals that Lobos is still alive, recuperating from the failed prison hit James secretly put out on him.

As much as James wants to be on the straight and narrow, dude is obviously worried his old enemies might be on the attack. First, he investigates that bloody lotería card by going to the apartment of the Truth waitress he caught on camera leaving it there. But even though he finds a sly way to get past security in his apartment — cigarettes in desk guy’s pocket + shift-time list = smoke break! — someone has already painted the walls with her blood. After that, he’s on high alert, going so far as to tell new apprentice Dre to stay strapped.

As always, James has other things to worry about, like breaking the news to his kids that he and Tasha are living separate lives. They let their kids know what’s up during a rather somber dinner, where they also cook up a story about Shawn getting clipped by some thug in his old neighborhood. And even though we know Kanan killed Shawn, Tasha has a hard time believing it when James tells her.

Tasha tries to get Tommy to tell her the truth, but in an uncharacteristic move, he gives her the cold shoulder. Apparently, he’s doing everything he can to give off the cold-blooded kingpin vibe, despite doing the one thing that will officially make that true: Kill James. As Lobos once again makes clear, he needs to kill James if he wants to continue receiving his product, not to mention keep himself and his girl, Holly, alive. And, just as a reminder that time’s a-wasting, Lobos orders a hit on their dog.

Yes, Lobos is in a foul mood — he’s still in jail and the government has frozen his assets. It’s a good thing he has Sandoval in his back pocket. (Though the dude does everything short of darting his eyes back and forth to show how suspicious he is these days.) Although his lawyer tried to get everything dismissed on the grounds that he was attacked in the government’s care, both Angela and Saxe convince the judge to let everyone believe Lobos is dead so they can continue the case under a John Doe prosecution.

Despite that brief moment of solidarity, Saxe later tells Angela he’ll report her if she makes another mistake. You can hardly blame him for bringing down the hammer; as Darryl tells her, she’s given herself a “radioactive” rep. Also, Saxe has shown support for Agent Knox — who is now on the warpath, ready to take down both James and Angela — ever since she accused him of harassment and got him suspended. He tries to get information out of Kantos at Truth, first trying to entrap him by giving him cash in exchange for one of the waitresses (another reminder of his sordid past, which we’re still not clear on), then asking him outright what he knows about James and Tommy. But Kantos remains a soldier, not giving up anything. He later tries to hip James of Knox, but James gave him a public heave-ho in front of the Truth crew. Guess James is still sore about about that shit with Stern from last season.

It’s safe to say that Kantos will soon be on the list of people gunning for James, which means he’ll eventually have to resurrect Ghost. After all, the episode ends with him making a phone call to Tommy, referring to himself with his old nickname. So, get ready. James is gonna dirty his dying-to-be-clean ass up!

Stray Thoughts

  • The first James/Angela sex scene is a heated one (aren’t they always?), as a pantiesless Angela sweeps all that junk off his desk so they can get right to business.
  • Now that he’s wheelchair-bound, Lobos has became a pathetically hilarious villain. Look at the way he first threatens to stab Sandoval’s crotch with that tiny shiv, only to pitifully hand it over after Sandoval tells him what’s happening.
  • Damn, the actor who plays Tariq certainly had a growth spurt during the hiatus. He practically towers over Tasha now.
  • In an insane bit of casting, comedian Jim Norton plays one of Tommy’s new primeras: a priest.
  • Is Joseph Sikora trying to be the Brad Pitt of this show? Tommy really stuffs his face in that montage while recruiting new primeras.
  • Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is finally listed as a cast member. I guess this means we’ll see Kanan’s burnt-up ass at some point.
  • Did that dog ever have a name?

Power Season Premiere Recap: The Thick of It