Maybe it’s just me, but episode two feels a little forced — pun intended. What kind of kidnappers free the people (I mean gangstas) they kidnap and expect them to return without retaliating? In only two episodes, the tension between Diamond and Jenard feels drawn out. The same can be said for the dying interracial romance between Gloria and Vic. We get it: Walter Flynn doesn’t want his son to date outside his race; she has to be of Irish descent to keep their family line pure. Even the way the elder Flynn demeans Claudia whenever she expresses a desire to participate in the business — Walter’s sexism is more annoying than anything.
In the opening scene of episode two, an establishment that we are not yet familiar with gets shot up. As the glass and alcohol shatter in shoot-out perfection, we’re left to wonder whose place got shot up and why. We soon find out it’s the blues club that belongs to JP, Tommy’s newly found brother. The club has had several attacks by local gang members. Surprisingly, he calls Tommy, who is technically a stranger to him (another forced moment). Tommy questions his motive. With no family and a dying father and an ex-husband, Tommy is all he has. The writing of JP as a queer character feels forced; it lands like “Insert gay character here … check box.” When he mentions his ex-husband, he asks Tommy, who is just listening in a defensive manner, “if he has a problem” — the whole exchange feels odd. Hopefully, the writers will shape JP into a three-dimensional character in future episodes, rather than using his subtle identity as a gay man as a framing device for a story line.
Anyway … Tommy is interested in developing a relationship with his brother and gives JP $10,000 to get a start on handling his troubles.
Meanwhile, at the Flynn estate, Walter Flynn is sick. Triggered by the death of his mother, Vic tells his father they need to tell Claudia. Of course, he’s in denial about the state of his health and demands that his son not tell a soul. Walter wishes for Victor to take over the family business once he’s gone, but under one condition: He has to lead the exact way his father did. But Victor hasn’t proven to be much of a leader. Claudia is the stronger sibling. She finds a solution to save the family business from a loss of revenue: a new designer drug. Vic reminds her that their father will never agree to expand, especially not with a new product. She tells her father anyway that what they are selling is outdated and gets shut down. It’s not hard to predict that Claudia is right and Victor will probably get to take all the credit. After finding out about his father’s sickness, Vic interprets that as a way to be with Gloria. But he soon finds out that Gloria has her eyes and lips set on Tommy.
Running a drug organization must be hard because, like the Flynn family, the Chicago Brothers Incorporated has internal conflicts. No one is sick or dying, but the brothers clearly have competing ideas — that can be blamed on generational differences — as to how CBI should be run. Jenard wants to put a group of young hotheads to work, while Diamond wants to be intentional about the attention they bring their way. This means no reckless killings. Tommy reintroduces himself to the brothers but ends up getting caught up in the middle of some old CBI beef. Diamond’s prison past comes back to haunt him. While in jail, Diamond put a rival Latino gang member in a wheelchair permanently. In an attempt to retaliate, Rojas’s men kidnap him and Tommy and force them to sell their product across a police-filled Chicago within 24 hours.
Diamond and Tommy quickly become acquainted and complete the mission with little to no trouble. Because Diamond is still getting acclimated to being on the outside, it’s traumatizing for him when a young white police officer pulls him over (and, if we’re being honest, for me too). While Diamond calmly expresses his refusal to make sudden movements, the rookie officer becomes enraged and makes demands while pointing his gun at the newly released inmate’s head. It isn’t until Tommy returns from completing one of their challenge deals that the officer’s whole demeanor changes: Not only does the tone of his voice change, but he also spews out a bunch of “bro”s and even makes more than one joke with Tommy. The performance by Isaac Keys and Joseph Sikora is powerful and highlights America’s racial imbalance.
Rojas may have power in prison, but on the streets, his crew is weak AF. They make a host of rookie mistakes that even Tommy calls out. And the biggest mistake of all is not killing Jenard, Diamond, and Tommy. I mean, they could keep something for collateral to continue to make CBI do their dirty work. But they don’t! And Tommy never lets a job go unfinished. Proud of his “good deed,” he swings by the barbershop to show them his souvenir. The men are impressed, and now Tommy has acquired allies.
After receiving a payment from Diamond, Tommy heads to his grandmother’s house to connect with JP. He gives him the rest of the money, and JP shows him past home videos that he has no memory of. The two discuss family dynamics, parenting, and navigating brotherhood. We find out JP has an estranged son who has been kept away from him ever since he came out 14 years ago. Both Tommy and JP have psychological wounds and are searching for someone they can depend on. It appears their brotherhood has the potential to benefit them both.
As Tommy can appreciate one reunion, he runs into another friend he’s not happy to see. In season one of Power, Liliana was a former drug “runner” girl for Tommy and Ghost. Kanan had her cut in the face, and Tommy wanted her dead. When she realizes Tommy is in Chicago, she goes after him, but the scuffle is interrupted by the police. By the end of episode two, Tommy finds Liliana and has every intention of killing her, but after finding hidden drugs with the infamous spider logo, we are left to wonder what role Liliana will play in Chicago since it is now Tommy’s new home.