HOLLYWOOD—Look I was a fan of the Starz series “Power” for quite some time. However, the series ended this year and it ended with a bang with our primary player meeting his demise. SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the series finale of “Power” you might want to stop reading this column right now. With that said, James St. Patrick aka Ghost met his maker courtesy of his son Tariq St. Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr.). Who got away with the murder of his father, after his mother took the fall for the crime; yes it is very twisted in nature America.

With that said, I have never despised a character on TV as much as Tariq. So it’s a testament to fine writing and stellar acting. I mean you know how you have those characters you love to hate, but then you have those characters that you really hate with a passion. Tariq ranks quite high up there for me. There is something about this spoiled bratty child that irks my skin to the heavens. I told people I wasn’t interested in the spin-off saga because the primary players that I enjoyed Ghost, Tommy and Angela are not part of this series people.

However, after watching 2 episodes, I binged the episodes I missed and now I am hooked. This spin-off really focuses on Tariq and his quest to gain his inheritance left by his father, while also getting his mother Tasha (Natauri Naughton) out of prison. The thing about Tariq is that he has always been a splitting image of his father, Ghost, but the viewer really gets to see that now more than ever. Rainey shines in the role and proves that he is more equipped for the street game aka drugs than his father or mother ever imagined.

He finds himself in more dicey situations than I can imagine as he finds himself entangled in a seriously dangerous drug game led by Mary J. Blige’s character, Monet Stewart Tejada. Now I will admit I’m not the biggest fan of Bilge’s character because I get the feeling that Blige is simply portraying herself. I don’t see much of an evolution in the character or something that does not scream May J. Blige for me.

On her team, she has her daughter, and two sons, Diana (LaToya Tonodeo), Cane (Woody McClain) and Dru (Lovell Adams-Gray). Cane is without a doubt an annoying character, one who is desperate to prove his ego and his power to the rest of world which only creates more ripple effects than expected. He is not a fan of Tariq and that rivalry has caused a major rift between his family as Cane has found himself iced out, and that has caused the jealously gene to heighten in the street smart kid.

He already tried to kill Tariq and failed miserably. Now he is on the cusp of really wanting to kill the kid now that his own mother won’t even allow him to stay at her home. Tariq is lucky that a former foe and ally of his father’s, Francis aka 2-Bit came to his rescue as he sought payment from Ghost for the deed he committed before his father was murdered.  It seems the more Tariq tries to get out of the game and stay on a clean path he finds himself deeper and deeper in the whole America.

As for Diana, she is simply a ‘yes’ person to whatever her mother says, while Dru is a brute force that has a quiet rage about him. He is openly gay, but is dating a basketball player at Tariq’s university who is still in the closet. This is an interesting dynamic to say the least America.

We do have familiar a face back in the mix with Cooper Saxe (Shane Johnson), whose character I wanted to see meet his maker almost every single episode of “Power,” but here he is trying to take out Tariq and his mother Tasha still. However, he has opposing counsel this time in lawyer Davis Maclean (Method Man), who is Tasha’s lawyer playing a ruse to make Saxe thinks he is working in tandem with him to nail Tariq and Tasha.

Playing a double agent that is indeed fun. There is a bit of filler content with Tariq’s professors who were sleeping together, but are no longer doing so and are now sleeping with their students. I guess it serves purpose if you think about it, but in my personal opinion it does not. I’m much more interested in the relationship that is slowly growing between Tariq and Lauren (Paige Hurd). Tariq has his guard up, but it is apparent that his classmate is interested in him, and he sees it to a degree, but I don’t think he understands the scope.

I’ll be honest “Power Book II: Ghost” is like its predecessor just without the key players that fans of the series have come to love. With that said, it’s a fun, exciting, dramatic and explosive show. New episodes air Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.

Written By LaDale Anderson