Forget the popcorn, your smartphone, your bae or whatever else you usually have on hand to keep you from exploding while watching Power. This week's episode may have best been enhanced by having Lil Kim's seminal first album Hard Core playing softly in the background, like some sort of bad b-tch white noise.
That's because Tasha (Naturi Naughton) owned this episode. Long fed up with her husband James' (Omari Hardwick) foolishness, she not only proved herself to be the archetypical ride-or-die boo, but also the only person among all these grown-ass people playing themselves who's still got her wits. Let's rewind.
Tasha would've been 100-percent justified a long time ago in dumping gasoline on all the suits and boxer briefs Ghost peacocks in and flicking a Newport on them a la Queen Angela Waiting to Exhale. You know she's clocked his wandering eye for a while, but seeing his eyes, hands, ears, chiseled booty and everything else brazenly sliding in Angela's (Lela Loren) DM's is next level foul, especially since she's a FEDERAL PROSECUTOR. But did Tasha ever — once — get herself a baseball bat and start swinging like Beyonce in Lemonade? No. No she didn't. She bossed up. She got her a side piece too, swiped some stacks out of the safe and started a business. Tasha understands the game.
This week, Tasha played to win. Oh, the joy of her propped up in that luxury suite, munching on a sammich while Ghost and Tommy (Joseph Sikora) were getting dirt under their nails murdering Lobos (Enrique Murciano)! Oh, the delight of her muttering, "Seriously b-tch, ain't you got a job?" while replying to Angela's corny, completely ridiculous messages pretending to be Jamie. (As a matter of fact Angela, yes, your colleague is being ambushed by gunmen freeing a kingpin...shouldn't you be working?!) As everyone — especially Jamie and Tommy, who descended into pure Laurel and Hardy buffoonery as they lost Lobos — was coming undone, Tasha was unbothered, laid up in the suite like Oprah on her birthday. If she had one f--- to give, she didn't pack it for this trip.
The problem though, is that Tasha's comeuppance was way too short lived, and frankly not enough. Her loyalty to her estranged husband — the father of her children and, up until now, her business partner — has remained unshakable even as Jamie dives deeper into a pool of sewage he created. It's commendable, I guess, but completely unfair, particularly when she discovers the divorce papers, confronts Ghost and then capitulates. Tasha seems fierce when she puts on her sleeping mask, makes Ghost sleep on the couch and declares she wants her own car home. But that's not enough. For all she's been through, Tasha deserves so much more, and we need to see her get it.
The show is called Power, after all. It's starting to stretch the limits of believability to think this down-ass black girl is going to roll over, literally, without once taking off her bamboo earrings, smearing some Vaseline on her face and throwing them bows. Doesn't she have some "cousins and them" that'll come and rough Jamie up and then leave? Does she not have a squad of ratchet girlfriends who'll come embarrass him at his job? These are minuscule, basic-b-tch victories sure, but Tasha needs a win — if not for her, for us.
We all know a woman (hell, maybe you are this woman) who's been thrust in this same sh---y situation: handling the separation, her house, her kids and her future like a straight G. Putting strategy over getting tangled up in her feelings; playing the long game instead of the victim. That's impressive, because if the guys on Power are representative of the species, a man could never. They'd completely fall apart under similar circumstances. We need to see Tasha get the "You Holding It Down, Ma" trophy women the world over have earned but will never get to stand on stage and accept.
Of course, that's quite possibly coming now that Jamie broke things off with Angela — a wrenching moment well played by both actors. As for Angela, she gets no sympathy at all; her tears are refreshing and delicious. Like Tasha, she knew exactly what she was signing up for, and the risks. We can only assume that, after Miss Thing gets up off the floor from that tragic wall slide and stops playing Adele on repeat while drinking wine from the bottle, she's going to want payback. Unlike Tasha though, she has the means to get it. While Tasha divorced herself from Jamie emotionally some time ago, could having him all to herself again trigger feelings? Will she be willing to swing that proverbial bat for her man now, instead of at him like she should've? Whatever she chooses, it'll likely be with grace and control. Cause she's the queen.
Power airs Sundays at 9/8c on Starz.