There’s a scene in the latest episode of Power where Tommy and Ghost are doing what they do best these days, which is to say they’re arguing like a couple still trying to remember why they loved each other to begin with. In the middle of their latest round of bickering, Tommy tells Ghost he did in fact choose his best friend over Holly. See, Milan knows Ghost is plotting something–because he’s Ghost–and made it as clear as crystal that if he doesn’t stop, there will be a lot of slow singing and flower bringing for Tommy. Rather than tell his kinda sorta best friend to chill for some logical reason, he goes right for the emotion. He wants and needs Ghost to pick him and truly be selfless. He needs him to not think about his exit strategy for once and just do something to protect the people who’ve always protected him. Ghost agrees but if you’ve seen this show before, you know where this is going.
There’s a dynamic running through this episode about choices we conceive and the consequences they give birth to. Tommy wants Ghost to choose him, Kanan tells Dre he’s got no other choices to make, and Tasha makes a choice that completely undercuts something her estranged husband put in motion. The most interesting aspect in all of this is how it leaves our protagonist with very little agency for once. In a show that’s defined by how he affects everyone around him, we’re now getting the reverse. Perhaps the biggest example of this is the most subtle one on the show.
Kanan is planning on turning Tariq to the darkside as the Emperor Palpatine to Tariq’s Anakin Skywalker. It’s started with little stuff like giving him a sip of lean, shooting hoops with him, and giving him the attention his dad wasn’t. This episode finds Tariq being one step closer to using his powers for evil, as he steals a pair of sneakers all in the name of “respect.” See, the kid who’s moms and pops can buy him anything he wants feels the need to prove himself after Kanan tells him stealing was a way to show people they should respect you. While the setup that allows Tariq to pull off his plan reeks of lazy writing, I’ll give it a pass since the destination is a lot more important than the journey on this one. He makes off with a fresh pair of Jordan’s, showing Kanan he’s no sucker while Kanan gets deeper into the kid’s psyche.
It’s extremely subtle and in an episode filled with betrayal and someone getting stabbed to death, it’s probably easy to forget. But if the movie Hook has taught me anything, it’s that turning a son against a father is the best revenge possible. In fact, you give Kanan a hook, a pirate hat, and a wig, and this could easily be a remake of Spielberg’s 1991 movie. But I digress.
During the career day scene, Ghost has a very surprising moment of honesty and vulnerability. He confesses to his family–and a group of children and parents who couldn’t care less–that his choices have caused them all plenty of pain and that he’s to blame for whatever issues they have. Ironic that even though he made those choices seemingly with his family’s well-being and future at the forefront of his mind, it’s that same family making choices that will lead to his undoing.