Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college professor and writer from Chicago, who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here. Follow J Reed on Twitter @jreed913 . Check out The Reeders Block Podcast and subscribe there to hear more.
*Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen “Power Book III” episode one and don’t want it spoiled for yourself, come back after you have. Also, this was written after seeing both episodes one and two of “Power Book III”, but this covers episode one only, yet both episodes are fails.
“Power Book III: Raising Kanan” is a spin-off of the Starz hit-show “Power”, produced in-part by 50 Cent. In this prequel, actor Mekai Curtis portrays the teenage-version of 50 Cent’s Kanan. The teenage Kanan happens to be the reluctantly academically gifted son of drug queenpin Raquel Thomas (Patina Miller). In the very first episode, “Back in the Day”, the gifted Kanan decides to fail an important entrance exam to a great school to absentmindedly set off a street war. And this is where the story falls apart.
To begin with, Mekai Curtis doesn’t have the “look” associated with Kanan. Granted, this is a younger, more scaled back version of Kanan, but Mekai looks meek or fake angry most of the time. He possesses none of the menace 50 Cent’s Kanan is known for.
Moreover, Kanan’s story makes no sense. It is a stretch at best. For instance, when Raquel gives up one of her corners to another dealer, Kanan is in the dark about the deal. After seeing guys hanging out on what he believes to still be his mother’s corner, Kanan takes this as disrespect and murders a kid named Buck 20. Afterwards, Kanan finds out the fatal error he’s made, and now he’s “in it”. Still, this error costs Raquel all of her blocks.
The issue with this is, no audience is going to believe an academic genius was stupid enough to commit murder for seemingly no reason. Trying to make Kanan both a genius and a street guy doesn’t work from what is known about the original version of Kanan. At best, 50 Cent’s Kanan was conniving; a genius he was not.
Additionally, Kanan in this new prequel costs Raquel a whole empire. Yet he pays no price for wrecking an empire that feeds not just Raquel and her family but her brothers’ as well. In a real crime family where one individual has cost the family its means of survival, some price beyond a stern talking-to would have happened to Kanan, regardless of who his mother was.
Overall, out of five stars, “Back in the Day” gets two. The storyline is weak and makes no sense. If this episode is any reflection of what’s to come in “Power Book III”, it may be best to wait for Tommy’s story. It’s supposed to happen in Chicago, and Tommy never lets the audience down. But “Power Book III” is so far a fail.
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