In this game, you’re often to get down and dirty. For instance, sometimes you’re tasked with getting rid of an old decomposed body that’s been hidden in a wall for months. Raq killed the loudmouth super months ago. And after giving the crack house a foul smell, the team finally decides to get rid of his body. Although he struggles and has a few missteps, Marvin packages the super’s body nicely for Raq. She and Kanan take an impromptu mother-son “camping trip” to the Catskill Mountains. Her goals for the trip are simple: get closer to her son and get rid of the body. Raq leaves Marvin with some simple instructions, “no more runs out to Jersey until I get back.” But unfortunately for Raq, Sal’s men were two steps ahead of her. They’ve been keeping surveillance on the Thomas-Stark family. Their plans for Raq’s trip are also quite simple: distract Kanan and kill Raq. Luckily for Kanan, the Italians have a “no killing kids.”
The theme of surveillance is neatly woven throughout episode five. Everyone is interested in what another person is up to, whether it’s Sal’s men keeping an eye on Raq, Detective Burke secretly stalking Detective Howard and those close to him, Marvin spying on Toni, Marvin’s therapist keeping a close eye on him, or Jukebox running up on Zisa. In the end, we learn that if you spy, you better be prepared for whatever you find.
After preparing the body for his sister, Marvin meets with his anger management counselor Renée Timmons (Krystal Joy Brown) for breakfast. It is pretty obvious that a romantic relationship will develop between the two. But Timmons uses Marvin’s lack of participation in their group sessions as an excuse for meeting with him privately. She threatens to have the judge send him back to jail, but her threat is just a strategic tool to get Marvin to open up — and it works. He begins to slowly open up about Juke. Without going into details, he admits to his mistakes as a father and acknowledges his daughter’s right to be upset with him. “I ain’t a sick motherfucker. I’m just a dumb motherfucker,” he tells Timmons. With Raq out of town and Lou-Lou distracted by the studio, Marvin goes for a ride that leads him to Toni. She has upgraded her life — designer shopping trips and a large house in the suburbs with an attractive husband who wears Khakis and cardigans. Of course, a Black guy with jewelry is easily identifiable in Toni’s new neighborhood, so just as much as Marvin is watching Toni, the local police are watching him. I’m not 100 percent sure what Marvin would want with Toni. Maybe revenge? Maybe he misses her? I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see a sneak peek of the bougie publicist’s life.
Detective Burke won’t let trying to solve the shooting go. And if you’re a fan of the Power Universe, you are well aware that her snooping will probably get her killed or ruin her career (see: Agent Greg Knox, Angela Valdez, Joe Proctor, Blanca Rodriguez, and Cooper Saxe). She brings in Andrea, a paid sex worker who has been a long-time customer of Howard’s, for questioning. Burke relies on intimidating interrogation techniques to get Andrea to talk. At first, not much information gets shared because Howard didn’t do much pillow talking after his sessions with Andrea. He did vent to her, however, about finding out he had a son, and Andrea relays this information to Burke. It won’t take long for her to put two and two together to figure out that Kanan is Howard’s son.
After finding out about Andrea’s loose lips, Detective Howard cuts her off. Like his partner, he’s been doing some surveillance of his own. With Kanan in the mountains, Howard hasn’t successfully reached him, so he pulls up on Jukebox to get some answers. Loyal to both Kanan and her aunt Raquel, Jukebox pays him no mind — speaking with 12 (especially one who is claiming to be your cousin’s father) goes against the rules of the game.
Jukebox has her own shit to deal with, from trying to convince her uncle and Crown that she is talented enough to make it in the music business to still mourning the loss of her girlfriend (and relationship with her father) to building a new relationship with her mother without most of her family knowing. After hearing a recording of Zisa singing one of her songs, Juke pops up on her at her house, only to find out that her uncle Lou-Lou gave Zisa the song. The rejection from her uncle inspires a soulful performance of “Mary Don’t You Weep” at her mother’s church that leaves everyone speechless. What’s the saying in most Black churches, “that girl can sannnggg.”
On the way to the mountains, the car ride is awkward for Raq and Kanan. He doesn’t trust his mother, causing a wedge in their relationship. Because he’s unable to express his true feelings to Raq, Kanan has opted to avoid her. To break the ice in the car, Raq pulls the ultimate mom move and asks her son about his love life. Kanan shares that he’s been kicking it with a young lady in Famous’ building. But as soon as they arrive in the mountains, he wastes no time macking with Hannah, a young white girl. The two teens show equal interest in one another, but their attraction quickly causes trouble because of their racial differences.
Before things get crazy, Raq and Kanan are able to bond over smores and alcohol. “I brought you out here to talk to you. To see how you are … how you feeling … about us … about you and me and what we do,” Raq says to Kanan. Aware of her son’s hesitancy to fully commit to the family business, this conversation (though a bit odd for a mother to have with her son) allows Raq to give Kanan the agency to make his own choices. She’s also able to reset the trust button and start fresh. “No secrets between us. No lies, no side hustles. We share everything,” she says. The look on Kanan’s face says he’s wise enough not to trust his mother completely.
Now that Kanan is all in, Raq tasks him with helping her bury the super’s body. The moment forces Kanan to see his mother in a different light. However, he doesn’t budge or show fear, and he gets the job done.
Sal’s guys are still on a mission to kill Raq, but they drop the ball and only end up shooting each other. Raq outsmarts one of Sal’s guys and Kanan manages to handle himself while fighting off the other. Raq is well aware that killing both of Sal’s guys would cause a war, and a war with the Italians is not what she wants, so she lets them live knowing that a conversation with Sal is a top priority. The drive back to Queens is equally awkward as the ride up, but not because of the distance between Raq and Kanan. As Kanan puts it, “there are times you don’t even have to say shit. It’s better to keep your mouth closed and your eyes open”.