Kanan gets a new job as the brown-bag guy — and in true Kanan fashion, he fumbles the bag, literally and figuratively, on his first day. While headed to the bodega, he and Famous get robbed by the neighborhood stickup kids. They are attracted to Famous’s chain (which wasn’t even real) but successfully get away with grabbing Kanan’s bag, which has Raq’s profits inside. This is a big fuckup, so Kanan needs to figure out how to get his mother’s money back. One small problem: Famous doesn’t have a knife in his kitchen, and neither one has a gun. So they head next door to Corinne’s (Josephine Lawrence), but she has more questions than knives.
Luckily for Kanan and Famous, her mother, Palomar (KJ Smith), provides Kanan exactly what they need while educating her daughter about how to respond to men. Now, I’ve never met a mother-and-daughter duo who went after the same guy (maybe y’all have), but there seems to be a weird love triangle beginning between Kanan, Corrine, and Palomar. Remember, Kanan and Corinne made out at Famous’s party, so it’s strange that after handing Kanan a pocket pistol, Palomar plants a juicy kiss on Kanan’s cheek. Strange! Women are attracted to powerful men, and Palomar may know precisely who Kanan’s family is, which is why she would be willing to pimp out both herself and her daughter. In addition, we are witnessing the transformation of Kanan in real time. As he accepts his new role in his family’s business, he becomes more ruthless. We see this when he gets the money back from Freddy and gives him the ultimate revenge beatdown that leaves Famous and Freddy’s man shook.
In the Power Universe, when you solve one problem, another problem pops up almost immediately. Although Famous and Kanan manage to re-rob Freddy and his crew, on the way out of Freddy’s building they get chased by the police and only Kanan gets away. With Famous locked up, with Raq’s money in his possession, Kanan is frantic and runs to his mother for help. Raq doesn’t have the same urgency to get Famous out of jail that her son has. In fact, she tells him, “We don’t pay to take on other people’s problems. Famous, that’s on his family, not ours.” With Raq and his uncle Marvin unwilling to help, Kanan reaches out to someone who has the pull to help: his father.
Raq has a host of her own problems to solve. Jersey is still an issue, and it has become clearer than ever that Lou has one foot in, one foot out, Marvin and Juke are still beefing, and Juke has been seeing her mother behind her father’s back. Since resolving the conflict with Sal in Jersey is a top priority, she sets up a meeting with her team to reassure them that bowing down to the Italians is not an option. She still has her eyes set on expanding her business nationally, and setting up shop in Jersey is the first step. At the end of the meeting, Worrell approaches Raq to clarify his loyalty to her. He lets her know that Nique has a relationship with the Italians and suggests she uses him to smooth things out. Raq is no fool. She’s well aware that this is a calculated move on both Worrell’s and Nique’s part — and it works out in Nique’s favor. On the strength of his relationship with Unique, Sal agrees to revisit him and Raq’s business deal. Unique has positioned his relationship with Raq as a business partner. So Sal agrees to allow Raq to do business in Jersey under one condition: Unique has to run the operation. Worrell and Unique’s scheming blindsides Raq, but in this game, business is business.
To deal with Lou, she decides to let him out of the game. Her decision doesn’t come without ulterior motives, though. For months Lou has expressed to Raq that he doesn’t want to “do that type of work no more” and would rather shift his energy to making legit money in the music industry. But Raq tells Lou all that Crown said, knowing it would trigger him. “He asked me to help him move you. That you was no good at the music shit, that you was just getting in the way,” she coldly tells him (shout-out to Patina Miller’s acting skills). Being good at music is all that Lou wants.
Before she gets on Lou’s ass, she lays Marvin out for putting his hands on Juke. Her love for Jukebox runs so deep that she threatens to kill him if he dares to harm his daughter again. Raq also lets him know that Juke has reconnected with her mother, which puts him in a rage and sends him storming to Kenya’s Harlem apartment to emotionally tell her to “stay gone.” By now, we know parenting is a recurring theme in the Power Universe, and in Raising Kanan, the absentee-parent trope is subverted with Jukebox’s mother not being in the picture. Hopefully, Kenya doesn’t listen to Marvin’s ego-driven response. She and Jukebox have been spending quality time shopping for dresses and attending church.
Surprisingly, Raq and Detective Howard haven’t crossed paths lately. She’d be pissed if she knew he helped Kanan get Famous out of jail, which shouldn’t be too long since Burke watched his every move. She pulls his employment file and learns that Howard worked undercover from 1974 to 1976. Is it possible that Raq sleeping with him was a calculated move and had nothing to do with her feelings? Or maybe she didn’t know he was a cop.
Burke isn’t the only one to see Howard and Kanan interact. The unhoused guy who saw Kanan shoot Howard gets taken into the precinct as Kanan and Howard are coming out. That he takes a fresh look at Kanan again will certainly be an important detail in a future episode — taking a minor narrative to contribute to the main plot significantly is one of the show’s biggest strengths.
The ending of “It’s a Business, Man” is a perfect example. Lou and Crown’s beef has been a recurring thread. The power dynamics between the two have also remained important. As a street guy, Lou held more power over Crown and ultimately bullied his way into forming a partnership. However, Lou-Lou’s toughness didn’t stop Crown from sleeping with his girl, going to Raq for assistance, or telling his drug-dealer partner that he’s not good at the music business. In almost every episode, it is clear Lou will eventually harm Crown, but it still comes as a surprise to see Lou strangle Crown to death. To Lou’s surprise, Zisa witnesses the entire thing. And with just a few words — “So what we gon’ do with him now?” — she proves to Lou that she’s more than just a beautiful face who can sing.