Power Book III: Raising Kanan
It’s not every day that a mother is cool with knowing that her teenage son is a cold-blooded murderer — but in the Power universe it is. Raquel making her son breakfast before school is pretty normal, but schooling him on how to lie low because he now has a target on his back is not. Like most teens, Kanan is hardheaded. He doesn’t appear to be affected after killing Buck Twenty, nor does he seem concerned about the possibility of Buck Twenty’s people retaliating. As he steps outside, though, the leftover bullet-shell casing he finds on the floor quickly reminds him that he’s a target. Fearful for her son’s safety, Raq decides to drive Kanan to school.
This is not surprising, as Raq functions best when in the driver’s seat, whether she’s in drug-queenpin or hood-mom mode. Throughout the episode, we get glimpses of her wisdom, as she lectures her son about life’s most valuable lessons: Eyes open at all times; fear keeps you alert and alive, so be scared.
This episode blesses us with another high-school fight scene that includes hair pulling, heavy blows, and busted lips. See, when the popular gangsta dies, every girl he ever messed with comes out of the woodwork, so Davina, Buck Twenty’s girlfriend, is going blow for blow with Tiffany, Buck Twenty’s side chick. Davina has a mean right hook that made me have the same reaction as everyone in the scene. You know, that strong “Ooooooohhhhhh.”
While in the principal’s office, Kanan consoles Davina (just as I predicted). He even has the audacity to send his condolences. It’s not clear whether Davina believes him. Her mother shows up to the school pissed, like most Black mommas when the principal calls, interrupting Kanan’s opportunity to shoot his shot. Davina’s mother’s unkempt appearance and the aggression shown toward her daughter make it clear that she has a hard life at home.
While being escorted out of the building by school safety, Davina and her visibly angry mother walk past Kanan and his crew. Famous, who at this point has established himself as the hood’s jokester, cheers her on, nicknaming her “The Champ, Davina Don’t Get No Meaner” (which I’m sure pissed her mother off even more). I expected Kanan to be impressed by Davina’s hand skills and express his love for the prettiest girl in Southside, but instead D Wiz announces his desire to make a move on her. Annoyed at his poor timing, Jukebox states the obvious by reminding the guys that Davina’s boyfriend just died. During this exchange Kanan stares at the school’s exit door, saying nothing.
Raquel has a number of problems on her hands — not only did she lose territory to Unique but Kanan remains a target — so she meets up with her brothers to figure things out. As they brainstorm how to bounce back, Marvin throws out ridiculous ideas, while Lou Lou and Raq are on the same page. Their goal is to find a business to cover up their business. Randomly, Marvin being Marvin, he announces he’s throwing a party, which rightfully pisses his siblings off.
Raq and Unique meet again to talk business, this time at a cemetery. During their conversation, Unique continues to make it clear to her that he’s not responsible for whatever happens to Kanan in the streets. The underlying tone of their conversation aligns with the title of the episode, “Reaping and Sowing.” Someone has to pay for Buck Twenty’s death, and as Raquel would have it, it’s not going to be her son. Per usual, she takes matters into her own hands.
As she gets ready for a night out with Symphony, Raquel gives Kanan permission to have company; she even suggests he invite D Wiz over to watch the hood cult classic New Jack City. Throughout the episode there are a number of hints that something is going to happen, and that it’s probably going to happen to D Wiz. Before he can make it to Kanan’s house, Lou Lou invites him to a party, promising him the best night of his life. He even lies and says Kanan will be there. At that moment I knew it was going to end badly, but Lou Lou’s motives still aren’t clear.
While waiting patiently for D-Wiz, Kanan notices Davina walking down the block pushing her baby sister (something tells me the baby is really her kid, but I can be wrong). As expected of a grieving girlfriend, she vents to Kanan about the local newspaper’s disregard for Buck Twenty’s life. At some point, she even asks him outright if he had anything to do with the murder, and he calmly reassures her that the accurate rumors she’s been hearing “is just noise” (lying ass).
In episode two, we finally get to see Detective Malcolm Howard (played by Omar Epps) flex his street muscles. He pays a visit to Unique and, shockingly, Unique throws Raquel under the bus. While speaking with Unique privately, the detective offers a dramatic spiel about “one king, one throne” and promises to make sure Unique is the one left standing. It is obvious Detective Howard has a beef with Raq, but why? We don’t know yet. Their brief exchange in episode one was also weird. Maybe she had someone in his family killed — or maybe they used to date! Could he be related to Kanan’s father? I know I can’t wait to find out.
Now that he’s officially in, Kanan has been promoted to the stash house. He still has his eyes set on the corners, though, but as a mother–drug dealer, Raq is always one step ahead of her son. Placing him at the stash house was her way of protecting and testing him, which he soon realizes when one of her workers reveals to Kanan his ignorance.
When Kanan presses his mother about her decision, she schools him again, sharing bits of her coming-of-age drug-queenpin story. Lesson No. 3: “Every good leader has to be a good follower.” We see this play out with Lou Lou, whose loyalty to his sister and their family is unmatched (unlike Marvin). By the end of the episode, we learn why Lou Lou scooped D Wiz: to kill him. And of course Raq ordered the hit. No one is safe in the Power universe; it’s all a part of the game.
• This episode continues to explore Jukebox’s relationship with the rich Catholic-school white girl. The show’s writers do not ignore the tension caused by the socioeconomic differences between Jukebox and her girlfriends.
• Jukebox flexes a different kind of hustle: boosting! Every hood has a few boosters, and you know you’re going to get a good deal!
• I was wrong about Symphony! He’s no sheltered educated bartender. He has heart, and he showed it when crazy-ass Marvin tried to intimidate him. As of now, he and Raquel are perfect for each other.
• The comedic moments in the show, mostly carried by Famous and Marvin, really land well!