Franchise fans craving a Ghost and Tommy prequel may have gotten something better with Power Book III: Raising Kanan – the title character’s mother, Raquel.
From the moment Raq gives her chubby kid a sock full of batteries to fend off playground bullies in the season premiere, which debuted Sunday night on Starz, she’s established herself as an undeniable wife and mother. As she smokes a cigarette and rocks a ridiculously chic fur-trimmed green jacket, the drug queen watches on to make sure her young son applies the knowledge she imparts.
Later, when Kanan grows up to be an astute high school student with boundless opportunities in front of him, Raq tries to change gears. She and his principal want Kanan to test in an elite magnet school that would secure entry to a prestigious college. After all, Raq argues, she taught Kanan how to protect himself on the street. Now 15 in 1991, her tough love can help her progeny surpass his parents and reach for ever-greater stars by bringing the family’s Jamaican, Queens Street insight to rare spaces. Raq wants Kanan to be a book and street smart – but above all crime free.
Children are more likely to do what they see and not what they are told, which is why Kanan rebels against Raq’s will. Not only does he intentionally fail the test (bruh, why would he even show up?), but Kanan tries to mend his mom’s reputation on the street by taking a corner back within her drug-selling demarcation. There’s just one problem: Unbeknownst to Kanan, Raq had struck a peace deal with her business rival Nique, where he would get that corner and a few more.
To complicate matters further, the boy who Kanan shoots and kills is also his romantic rival for Davina, the girl Kanan has been in love with for years. None of this makes the murder easy to swallow for the teenager who had never taken a life until then. Kanan’s hasty and deadly decision also creates a lot of trouble, from a drive-by attempt on his life to heightened tension between Raq and Nique and their now nonexistent peace deal. Time to go to war.
By the end of the episode, Raq has to accept that there is no such thing as half-crooks. Even though she wants better for her son, if she teaches him the right way to be a criminal, at least he will live and prosper. Power fans can also see Kanan and Jukebox as cousins, loving and raising each other against the odds. This is especially harrowing and heartbreaking because as an adult, Kanan is the one who kills Jukebox, his first and only best friend.
Other highlights of the premiere — aside from a top-notch soundtrack — include dating Raq with a dude straight out of Shemar Moore’s lookbook, and Raq texting a haughty club manager who spoke to her through her younger brother Lou-Lou’s to microwave the woman’s lap dog, is reminiscent of the godfather decapitation of the horse. Because make no mistake: Raq is Vito Corleone as a beautiful black woman, and Kanan is her Michael.
What did you think of the premiere of Power Book III: Raising Kanan and is Raq also your new favorite character? Rate the episode in our reliable poll and leave your thoughts in a comment below.
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