The episode that began the power of secret is over in “Power Book II: Ghost.” At the end of the episode, Tariq realizes that his ex-wife Lauren was actually still alive and that she was playing a role in helping him kill her son Zeke. In addition, lawyer Cooper Saxe and his girlfriend Tariq’s partner-in-crime Brayden’s business trip to Italy becomes a mess when Tariq starts to get kidnapped by Noma. And finally, after a long period of time (several weeks), Lauren resurfaces as a real person and the showrunner offers his opinion on what she means to the characters.
Dark secrets have been controlling all the action so far in “Power Book II: Ghost” season three, but episode five marks what showrunner Brett Mahoney calls the “true turning point” that’s put everyone on notice.
The episode, titled “No More Second Chances,” picks up after the shooting death of Detective Kevin Whitman (Jeff Hephner) in Monet’s (Mary J. Blige) house, with the feds snooping around on suspicion that her self-defense excuse is really a murder cover-up. There’s also the fact that Monet has finally figured out who killed her son Zeke: her husband, Lorenzo (Berto Colón). Then, on the other side of “Power Book II,” Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.), his girlfriend, Effie (Alix Lapri), and partner-in-crime, Brayden (Gianni Paolo), get roped into a mess overseas during their business trip to Italy, as the latter gets kidnapped while on a mission for their new drug connect, Noma (Caroline Chikezie).
“Episode five is a huge turning point in terms of the reveal of the secrets that other people have.”
Everything is in disarray by the end of the episode, which ends with nothing but one shocking reveal after the next. Tariq finally finds out his ex Lauren (Paige Hurd) is still alive (after Effie and Brayden let him believe she was dead); attorney Cooper Saxe (Shane Johnson) realizes his fling/partner ADA Jenny Sullivan (Paton Ashbrook) has been lying to him about Lauren all along; and Lorenzo gets killed by his nephew Gordo (Erik Hernandez) after Monet puts a hit out on him. Viewers saw many of these moments coming but no one could’ve predicted that so much would come to light just halfway through season three.
Mahoney tells POPSUGAR that the theme of season three is all about betrayal, as loyalty and truth are far and few in between. “Episode five is a huge turning point in terms of the reveal of the secrets that other people have,” he explains. “We’ve seen, of course, that Monet is acting on what she knows in [episode] five, and then for Tariq, it’s sort of like that bomb going off. And the question is, what is he going to do about it moving forward?”
As Mahoney previously told POPSUGAR, Lauren resurfacing this season after she was believed to be killed by Effie (with help from Brayden) in season two is still a “huge issue.” For the past few episodes, we’ve learned that Jenny has been keeping Lauren in witness protection to aid her investigation into Tariq, who she insists tried to kill Lauren for snitching on him by wearing a wire. However, Lauren revealing herself to both Saxe and Tariq will only cause issues farther down the line and turn the latter’s world upside — especially when he confronts Effie and Brayden about their dirty secret.
“[Tariq is] now holding a real bomb and we’re just waiting for that bomb to go up.”
Funny enough, Mahoney says Lauren actually was dead by the end of last season and there weren’t talks of her coming back until he made the suggestion. “I remember I had a conversation with [creator] Courtney [Kemp] and I was like, ‘Courtney, wouldn’t it be cool if either Carrie or Lauren weren’t actually dead?’ Then the question was which one we would get more story from and how would it work? And we decided to keep Lauren alive,” he explains. “So Lauren was dead, literally real dead, in the writers’ minds for definitely several weeks. And then it was like, ‘No, let’s bring her back.'”
Though Mahoney admits it “definitely was difficult” to keep Lauren’s (and Hurd’s) return a secret, going forward, her storyline plays a vital role in Tariq’s relationships with Brayden and Effie. “[Tariq is] now holding a real bomb and we’re just waiting for that bomb to go up to see how he’s going to turn on Effie and Brayden,” Mahoney says. “Because the first half of the season, it’s all about him creating a family with Brayden and Effie and how close they’re becoming . . . So, intentionally, we wanted to see them grow closer and closer and closer that now, there’s this bomb that’s going to possibly blow that relationship apart.”
Now that Lauren’s back in the picture, the showrunner teases that her arc for the remainder of the season will revolve around whether or not she’ll be able to cut herself loose from Jenny’s investigation. “She is a true innocent who is mixed up in this world that she had no idea she was stepping into,” he adds. “But what I like for Lauren in this season is she was sort of a pampered Ivy League girl, but now her eyes are open and she’s going to have to take some agency for herself.”
Meanwhile, back with the Tejadas, their latest family drama threatens to destroy everything as they know it since Monet is holding onto the secret of Lorenzo’s murder. “Taking him off the table certainly impacts the family,” Mahoney notes. “Then, also, the idea that she now has to keep this secret from her children is also something that impacts the family dynamic.”
What does this all mean for the rest of season three? Mahoney can’t spill much but assures us that “it’s going to be really, really explosive.” “Episode five really is a true turning point that is going to drive us towards the end of the season in which all the relationships that we know are, significantly, going to be impacted and changed.”
New episodes of “Power Book II: Ghost” air on Starz on Fridays.