(Caution: major spoilers about Power ahead!! Stop reading if you haven't seen Episode 8 or don't want to know what's going to happen next!)
On a Monday morning conference call that really put the mort in postmortem, 50 Cent told members of the media that Kanan's death had been planned for some time — as part of a seven-season arc modeled after The Sopranos — and that from here on out, the pace accelerates quickly. Of course, Kanan's death in Season 5 Episode 8 came as a shock not only because Kanan has been an integral, shadowy figure since day one, but also because 50 Cent is a co-creator and executive producer on the show — and he's came back from the dead before, after being burned alive by onetime nemesis Ghost (Omari Hardwick) in the Season 2 finale. But Kanan is really dead, as fans saw when a morgue attendant lifted a sheet to show his face, even if fans haven't seen the last of Kanan on screen. "You may see (flashbacks) in nightmares," from Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.), he said. After all, Tariq watched as Kanan executed several cops, paralyzed with fear Kanan would shoot him next for Tariq's betrayal, and that, 50 said, "doesn't just go away."
For a season that's been a bit of a slow burn with complex sub-plots involving more seemingly distant players and measured unraveling of long-simmering conflicts, Kanan's death shot a jolt of adrenaline into the crime drama. The intensity is about to magnify. Kanan's death deepens the wedge of distrust between Tommy and Ghost, and it changes Tariq and his mom Tasha's relationship irrevocably too. "Everything spins out of control," 50 said.
50 Cent said Kanan's death scene was a joy and a challenge, shot in Far Rockaway, Queens on a freezing night. A tightly choreographed dance that involved Kanan grabbing an officers' gun and then eliminating a handful of cops in bursts of ammo and blood squirts, the scene let 50 take advantage of his bona fide acting chops — and an unfortunate circumstance. "I was sick," he revealed. "It was easy for me, spitting up blood — I was throwing up anyway. I think I had the flu. It was rough to get to the end of the shoot." It took two or three days to get it right, but "the overall experience was cool." 50's departure as a cast member frees him up to do more executive level work — he's the one who set up Kendrick Lamar's shockingly good turn this season — and of course, work on the many other projects he has going on including The Oath on Crackle and his shows in the works at Starz. He's also directing on Power, beginning with Episode 3 in Season 6.
Carefully plotted as Kanan's departure was, the moment caught everyone off guard — including other Power stars. "We went through the table read, and when they read it the cast was like, 'Whoa what is going on?" Nobody knew it was coming, and the script was left open-ended — without the final scene in the morgue so no one could leak spoilers. That's often how it goes for other cast deaths — they won't know they're getting offed until the table read — and it can be disorienting and frightening as they, like everybody else who's seen a job end, begin to think about what they're going to do next. Luckily for 50, he has that part figured out. Less certain is what other major character will fall next on Power but 50 advises not getting too attached to anyone. "There is no one in the show that can't die."
Power continues Sundays at 9/8c on Starz.