'Power Book II: Ghost' Premiere: Tariq Feels the Pressure, Tasha Fumbles, and Saxe Is Nancy

Off the rip, Power Book II opened with a familiar sound:” They say this is a big rich town ….” The first episode of the spinoff officially dropped and some of the most skeptical of fans were impressed. Tariq may have a chance after all.

Though we’ll miss the games that Ghost played and Tommy’s hot-headed presence, there is enough happening in this show already to keep the audience’s attention. Who didn’t miss Saxe in all his brilliant glory? Here’s a recap of the extended premiere.

Tariq rises to the occasion, Tasha lawyers up

Stern texts Tariq about a morning meeting with the dean as he readies himself for the day. When he closes the door to his dorm room, we see his full name: Tariq James St. Patrick. It’s a reminder of his origins.

Tasha is escorted to court for a bail hearing. Outside the courthouse, we learn Tameika Washington is her attorney. Tariq is talking to his grandmother and Yasmine about why he won’t live with them when Tameika walks up. She explains Tasha is going to use a self-defense/battered woman strategy but Tariq doesn’t want her to admit any wrongdoing.

Inside the courtroom, Tameika and the prosecutor present their arguments for and against bail, but the judge isn’t on either side. Bail denied.

In a side room, Tameika tries to negotiate with the prosecutor by pulling out photos of James’ homicide victims. She threatens to tarnish the Democratic party for not vetting him properly.

At Stansfield, Tariq runs late for his meeting, and after bs-ing his way through some questions, he learns he has to tutor a basketball player in order to maintain his enrollment. That’s another stake on Tariq’s plate. On his way to see his advisor, he meets a girl named Lauren who gives him directions and the scoop on black students.

When meeting with his advisor Caridad Milgram, he decides he wants to enroll in canonical studies as a shortcut to graduate early. She warns him the program is rigorous and wonders why he’s in such a hurry.

He cites his grandma and sister. She’s willing to give him a chance and hands him The Stranger, a book that serves as his admissions test into the program.

Tasha receives a miracle but chases it away

Tameika finesses the DA into giving Tasha 4 years of probation for criminally negligent homicide. What? It went from murder 1 to manslaughter, to this. The catch? She needs to tell the truth under oath and refute Quinton’s statement about her presence at Truth.

Tameika has lots of questions and isn’t willing to risk Tasha committing perjury. She warns Tasha that she can’t lie because they’ll both be in trouble, and to name an accomplice if there is one. Tameika realizes Tariq has something to do with it, and Tasha fires her in the jail’s meeting room.

Tameika tells her she’ll lose the D.A.’s deal, but Tasha kicks her out and cries afterward. Tameika then calls Tariq to inform him she’s been fired and explains she knows his mom is hiding the truth about who shot James. “I think you might know who it is.” She advises him to get her a good attorney— one that doesn’t need the truth.

We meet Davis McLean. Tariq observes him in court and accosts him in the hall. He’s heard about the case and tells Tariq to accept that his mom’s going to prison. Tariq insists and asks for the cost. It’s $500,000.

Back at his grandma’s house, Tariq wants to find his mother’s daycare records to find a contact. Tasha calls and he wants to speak to her away from granny. He talks in code about “opening the daycare” but she discourages it and wants him to promise to focus on school.

Tariq gets back in the game, and Saxe is defensive

At Stansfield, his counselor tries to loop in the canonical studies lead (Jabari) so they will admit Tariq. He’s against it and thinks Tariq is a privileged brat but finally agrees to give the kid the test.

Tariq tracks down his mom’s old daycare client Epiphany, the dancer who used to move drugs at the strip club. They make a deal.

He heads back to his dorm and Brayden— his friend from Choate — is there. His family has wings named after them at Stansfield and he’s a student there too. They catch up and he asks Brayden for Effie’s number.

He links up with Effie to get some drugs, and they argue about how she betrayed him. It’s business, not personal.

All that running makes him oversleep and he’s late for his exam. He didn’t finish The Stranger, but spouts off some opinions about the main character. He blows it, but after Milgram and Jabari go to bat for him, the department head agrees to give him another shot. Tariq doesn’t know it yet.

Tasha meets with her disheveled public defender and learns she’s not in good hands. Now, she’s facing 15 years for conspiracy and other charges.

At the federal building, Saxe is surprised by Mack and the DNC guy that helped James clean up his mess. They want to charge Tasha under the kingpin statute. It’s a RICO case but Saxe is not on board. Mack reminds him he owes him for that job.

Later that evening, Saxe has dinner with his rich family and they call him by his nickname: Nancy. His siblings put him down and make him feel like a doofus even though they’re celebrating his job. His brother offers to get him a gig at his firm because he’s convinced Saxe is going to muck things up.

Meet the Tejadas

Tariq and his basketball player roommate Zeke head to Queens for a party. It’s Aunt Monet’s house and there are lots of cousins. While there, Tariq meets the Tejadas, and the only one who’s not suspicious is Diana. She flirts and shares that her father is in prison.

Her brother Cane gets into a fight over a girl and Monet eggs it on. After kicking the guy out, she warns Cane he’ll be back. “You know what to do.” Dude comes back with a gun and argues with Monet. Cane walks up with a shotgun and the cops roll up. The party is over and Tariq leaves.

Saxes visits Tameika at home about the kingpin case. He dry snitches on himself about being at the scene of Ghost’s murder with a gun, telling the story like it’s a hypothetical situation.

Tameika figures it out and wants nothing to do with him. She warns him about being implicated and kicks him out so she won’t risk getting subpoenaed.

In another scene, Cane murders the dude from the party in a hallway. Monet is outside waiting in the car. Good parenting.

Meanwhile, Tariq wakes up and receives an invite from Lauren to meet for coffee. She talks to him about Milgram and his second chance. They discuss The Stranger and Tariq goes into a philosophical rant about what it’s like to kill someone, the act of murder, and consequences — while talking about the main character in the book. Lauren encourages him to tell the teachers that.

When she darts to the restroom, Saxe knocks on the diner window to get his attention. They chat outside and Saxe rails against Tariq about his mom’s decision. Saxe brought Tameika in to help, and Tasha messed things up by not telling the truth about an accomplice.

Tariq plays it like he didn’t do it but learns they can’t blame Dre because there wasn’t any gun powder residue on his clothes. Saxe tells him to get his mom to name the shooter so the case can end.

Back at the dorm, Tariq borrows Zeke’s phone to go on Instagram Live. He thanks McLean for taking his case and it goes viral, forcing the man to respond. They meet, and he agrees to accept $50,000 as a retainer. Tariq sends a message through McLean for his mother: Tell the truth and say the shooter’s “real name.”

Tasha and Saxe piss everyone off

McLean meets with her and has the same deal that Tameika snagged. She has to tell the truth and names Dre. McLean informs her that’s impossible and advises her to be honest in court. The next day, Tariq, Saxe, and the DNC fixer show up in the courtroom.

The prosecutor announces the deal and tells the judge Tasha will name the shooter. Tasha looks around the room as she stands, and admits she didn’t kill Ghost. She names Tommy! We all thought she’d say Saxe.

That doesn’t work in her favor. When asked why Tommy Egan would kill his best friend, she says “Because I asked him to.” Bingo.

The DNC guy demands that Saxe present the warrant to the prosecutor, and she winds up dropping all state charges. But Tasha is arrested on the spot under the kingpin statute. Now it’s federal.

McLean is pissed that Tariq dragged him into a federal circus. Tariq convinces him it’s the biggest case of his life and that he’ll win. He agrees to do it.

In the end scene, Tariq is in the library working on Zeke’s paper and looks up Lorenzo Tejada. He’s in prison for murder. How will he juggle his studies (Zeke’s too), his drug business, his mother’s case, and his personal life? Tune in for Power Book 2 on Sundays at 8 p.m. EST.

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