Monday, 18 July 2016

Power premiere recap: 'Just Call Me James'


Season 3, Ep. 1 | Aired Jul 17

Posted July 17 2016 — 10:00 PM EDT

The “American Dream” means different things to different people and how we attain that dream can be influenced by class, gender, and race. For tech titans like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, their genius was fast-tracked by socio-economic privilege afforded to them by their parents. Oprah Winfrey, who was born into a economically poorer family, used her gift of empathy and connecting to her audience to create a multi-million dollar media empire. Audiences have always gravitated to that “outsider” who goes for the brass ring in spite of obstacles thrown in their way.

In the case of James “Ghost” St. Patrick, the protagonist of the breakout hit series Power — the road to wealth and success is paved with greed, blood, and money. Created by Courtney Kemp Agboh,Power is a rarity on primetime — a successful black man who actually thrives and succeeds in his underhanded dealings, often beating his white male counterparts at their own game. While we’ve had characters like The Wire’s Stringer Bell and Lemond Bishop, who were similarly charismatic and powerful, their life of crime eventually caught up with them. Ghost St. Patrick reflects a more modern reality, much like Sean “Jay Z” Carter and this show’s co-executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson — two black men from the streets who used their street savvy to build their capitalist empires. Like them, Ghost is in for the long game and makes no apologies for his ambition.

For the first two seasons, Ghost laid the groundwork to escape his life of crime by opening one of New York City’s glitziest nightclubs, Truth. But what is the truth to Ghost? After two seasons of living a double life — businessman by day, powerful drug lord by night — Ghost ruthlessly scrubbed all connections of his illegal past in a series of cunning double-crosses and bloody takedowns. In the process Ghost alienates best friend and partner-in-crime, Tommy Egan. Ghost also ends his marriage to Tasha to be with high-school sweetheart Angela Valdes — a relationship complicated by the fact that Angela is a federal U.S. attorney who was assigned to hunt him down. Only by promising to leave his life of crime behind, does Angela agree to be with him. But can James St. Patrick truly be free of Ghost?

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As season 3 opens, Ghost and Angela seem happy. Angela plays the supportive girlfriend accompanying Ghost to Truth, but the law-abiding agent in her still has reservations, as witnessed by the gun she carries in her purse. James has taken Andre, a former foot soldier of Kanan’s, under his wing by hiring him to work at his nightclub. But having an appearance of respectability is of no interest to Andre as he tells his boss, “I said I want to look clean, but I never want to be clean. I need money!” Ghost calmly shuts down Andre’s need for the corner hustle: “When you’re in here, use your real name. When I’m in here, call me James. There’s no more Ghost.”

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