Episode 3: PLAY THE GAME

Monet wants to know why Tariq is so loyal to Dru, so she puts Diana on the case. Dru shadows Tariq at Stanfield Campus and meets a basketball player in an art class that he sketches him in a stunning reflection. The reflection revealed a like-sparkle and the two hit “the court of percale” after class convened. The game was so captivating that Dru forgot all about Tariq and “the business.” Diana saves the day and delivers weight for Dru to Tariq at Stansfield. She takes the opportunity to ask Tariq a few questions and to steal a quick kiss as a foundational assertion of things to come.

The intellectual demands of Tariq’s Canonical class are the sweet spots of this production, in my opinion. For instance, when Professor Simmons asked Tariq what he thought about ‘Socrates virtuous actions in front of the Athenian court,” and Tariq replied:

TARIQ: Nothing. I think that Socrates was very stupid for not defending himself, actually.

PROF: I see your remedial analysis shouldn’t surprise me. That’s why I told Prof. Milgram, Canonical Studies was too advanced for you. This proves my point. Okay, let’s move on.

TARIQ: I read the book. I understand it. I just didn’t find any virtue in Socrates' actions. He chose to make a mockery of the courtroom of his peers to condescend to the jury and forget of those accusations levied against him. That’s why he died. Do you find that virtuous?

PROF: Socrates was making a point about the invalidity of the accusations against him, okay? Is there no room…

TARIQ: Socrates was a victim of his own hubris. Some men believe their status grants them immunity from the rest of us like they’re above the law. Men like that meet their end.

PROF: So, thousands of years of scholarship on Socrates is all incorrect, in your opinion? Including my own.

TARIQ: Look, virtue is in the eye of the beholder. Okay? Someone who thinks that they are so much smarter than another is blind. I mean, even a scholar could be wrong.

PROF: Well, it’s original. I’m sure it’ll make for a very interesting paper.

Philosophy class was dismissed by Tariq, afterward, the bell rang, and Professor Simmons dismissed the student body.

I love rich-dialogue that enriches; this script has “the goods,” and does not disappoint. As good as Tariq was in class, he received a failing grade from Professor Jabari on an essay that he was less direct on; he chose to write passively, as in ‘what he thought Professor Simmons would like to hear.’ To quote Prof. Jabari on why he would not consider changing Tariq’s grade in Canonical Studies,

This is your consequence for not using your voice. You have to be authentic, Tariq. People are going to make their minds up about you whether you want them to or not. But you do not have to prove them right.”

Good stuff. Speaking of “the goods,” after class Lauren spoke with Tariq about thumping his intellectual chest at Professor Simmons and always needing to win. Tariq is definitely about winning and sending his mother a commissary. In a hollowed-out book that was placed under her mattress was a morning-after pill and a burner cell phone that connects Tasha to Lorenzo Tajeda (Monet’s convict hubby). Tasha approaches Laila in the cafeteria and gives it to Laila (because she previously overheard Laila asking the Correctional Officer for one and the CO shot her down). Laila received the pill and bantered long enough to get Tasha’s name and to make no promises. Lorenzo’s inside-connect reports all.

The game of Davis Maclean included hair, makeup, and wardrobe for Tasha to participate in a surprise mock trial. Tasha took the stand to testify and tell her truths. Shortly thereafter, the mock-jury returned with a guilty plea, but only after Tameka put a mock-prosecutor-beating on Tasha. Maclean makes his point; Tasha should not take the stand in a real trial. Not yet anyway.

Monet laces Diana up with la femme game and helps her to find her position in the family business alongside her brothers. Monet warns Diana to steer clear of Tariq because people that hang out with him end up dead or in jail. Diana calls her father on a secret burner phone and asks him to intervene for her with her mother and convince her to let Diana plan for higher education and a singing career. Lorenzo follows through for Diana and before the close of the episode Monet’s game trumps. While Diana stood in the kitchen chilling, Monet stormed in and began to yell, “Where is it? Where’ the other phone, Diana” She pats her daughter down and finds the private burner cell. She throws it on the phone and stabs it with her snakeskin stiletto boots.

Monet is more than a helicopter parent; she is a drone, and her game is to know people better than they know themselves. This skill comes to the surface for her side-piece, Officer Danilo Ramirez, when he visits Monet one day unannounced. Diana calls her out on being too liberal with her intimate Officer-relations, and Monet took that exact opportunity to set-it-straight and immediately erected a gate between her and side-piece. Very bossy femme behavior and very necessary because Diana is in training, and if she can see holes, Monet’s game is not sewed-up. Lorenzo is the bolts of the family. Monet’s conjugal visit with him spoke volumes in dimension.

The great game of business is broached at the 50-minute mark of episode 3. Tariq approached Monet with a bag and about her being his “supply connect.” Monet accepts and Lorenzo concluded it all by calling Tasha on the burner and informed her of Tariq’s new job in his family business.

Power o’ Power, how coveted you are.

Still, by all accounts the spirit of Ghost remains the star.

Are you watching POWER BOOK II: GHOST? It returns on December 6th.

Of course, I will be watching with you, because the game is quite thick.