Entertainment

Power Season One Review: 50 Cent Is Up To His Old Tricks

The showrunners decided to end the inaugural season of the Starz series ‘Power’ on a little bit of whimper, rather than a bang.  The show was created by Courtney Kemp Agboh, but has been marketed around one of the executive producers, rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.  The hype for the show was just like 50 likes it:  All about him.  Every commercial included his name, and every tweet from his account was about the show.  For those who are not familiar with this program, here’s a synopsis:

James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a wealthy New York night club owner who has it all, catering for the city’s elite and dreaming big, lives a double life as a drug kingpin. – IMDB.com

The finale ended with the organized chaos of confusion, and no finality to any of the storylines that were introduced during the season.  The main plot centered on a mystery person that was attacking, killing, stealing from, and terrorizing Ghost’s (Omari Hardwick) organization.  Spoiler Alert:  It was his old friend Kanan (50 Cent).

Hip hop aficionados have come to understand that 50 is a “me first” guy.  He had a record label and produced some decent artists (Lloyd Bands, Young Buck, The Game), but it was well understood that he was number one; the head honcho; the main attraction.  I knew this heading into episode one of this new series, but I still let one get by the goalie.  I should have known that 50 Cent, being so excited for this series, had nothing to do with the quality of the actual series… it was about his positioning and how he (his character in the show) will come off.

You see, Sean “Puffy” Combs gave The Notorious B.I.G. a boost.  Jay-Z did the same for Kayne West.  Dr. Dre was wise enough to help Eminem become a huge star.  Hell, Eminem paid it forward and gave 50 Cent his first boost.  But, you see, when it was 50’s turn, he remained front and center.  He had an opportunity to propel The Game to a higher level, yet he chose to have a public beef with him that still resonates (on a very small scale) today.  His artist never knew real crossover success, yet 50 has gone on to rake in millions in the music, movie, business and now television worlds.

In other words:  No one eats/wins unless he does so first.

I might be coming down a little too hard on 50, but his track record is clear.  All of the artist he signed to his G-Unit label fizzled out in short order.  All of their album sales combined don’t equal a quarter of what 50 has sold over his career.  That could just be a coincidence of bad choices, but it speaks to something bigger in my opinion.  I just hope 50 doesn’t become the one and only star of ‘Power’ too.  Omari Hardwick is an industry vet who has paid his dues in movies like ‘Four Colored Girls’, ‘Sparkle’, and ‘Next Day Air’.  He deserves the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat of major network-backed television show.

I didn’t even know that 50 Cent was going to actually have a role in ‘Power’, but the minute I saw him hit the screen, I knew he (Kanan) was behind all of the mayhem.  That’s when everything clicked.  All of the tweets; the interviews; the hype… it was calculated… it was planned.  I even heard him say in a radio interview that ‘Power’ was his most prized piece of work.  The show just isn’t good enough (yet) to give it that sort of praise.

To be honest, this entire season felt like a hospitality session for the viewers.  Only a few actual plot points were advanced, and none of the characters seem to know what each other is up to.  I mean, Ghost is this ultra-gangster-drug dealer who has been so smart, that 95% of the people he deals with (including law enforcement officials who are charged with bringing down his empire) do not know who he actually is.  The puzzling part is that he is so love-struck, that he never asks what his federal lawyer girlfriend Angela (Lela Loren) is up to.  Love happens of course, but as a “ghost” drug dealer, your senses have to be heightened, and you have to be ultra-paranoid at all times.

Tasha (Naturi Naughton), Ghost’s wife, can sense that her husband is setting up for a divorce, so she is making plans (stashing money) for her future.  She’s also been giving striptease lessons to Kanan’s son Shawn (Sinqua Walls) who is the driver and unofficial bodyguard for Ghost.  I’m predicting that Shawn and Tasha will get together in the future, and her loyalty to Ghost will get tested.  That should be an interesting storyline going forward.

The deteriorating relationship between Ghost and Tommy (Joseph Sikora) will probably get worse now.  Tommy’s suffering from the same type of girl problems that his buddy Ghost is having.  Why can’t these two top notch kingpins see the forest, despite the vagina?  Tommy’s new girlfriend Holly (Lucy Walters) has been shot by the same person that has been terrorizing their organization.  She may even be dead.  Ghost was right there when it happened, so somehow Tommy is going to blame him… right?  He also is going to think that Ghost gave him more power in their organization, so that if any unwanted attention came, Tommy would take the hit first (which is kind of true).

‘Power’ is a decent watch; sort of a guilty pleasure, but it doesn’t have the makings of a truly great television drama.  The story is too plain.  Instead of it introducing the audience to something original and fresh, it seems to present an updated version of the main plot points from gangster movies/dramas of yesteryear.  I do expect a much better and succinct season two though.  There is enough material there to make this show successful, and more interesting.  It’s up to the showrunners (including the great 50 Center) to push this show in an upward direction.

According to TheWrap.com, ‘Power’ was essentially renewed for a season two before season one got into full swing.  That is a good thing, because they need a full season to develop and explain some of the characters and storylines.  I’m interested in seeing whether Ghost can conquer Kanan or will 50 Cent will be up to his old tricks again.

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Jack Gotta

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