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‘Power Book II: Ghost’ Transformed Tariq St. Patrick from the Most Hated to the Most Respected Character

‘Power Book II: Ghost’ Transformed Tariq St. Patrick from the Most Hated to the Most Respected Character

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Power’s James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) has been one of the most beloved TV characters in recent memory, so how has the tide toward his killer, Tariq St. Patrick, changed so much? In less than three seasons of Power Book II: Ghost, Tariq, played by Michael Rainey Jr., has become someone fans are rooting for, even though he killed his father. 

Tariq is now, in many ways, already better than his dad. The writers behind Power Book II: Ghost deserve so much credit for masterfully transforming one of the most disliked characters on Power into the lead in Ghost. Tariq, like many other leads in the genre, is an anti-hero like his father. Fans want him to succeed, even if that success involves a life of crime. The show is entering its fourth, and final, season on Friday, June 7, 2024. The Season 3 finale left fans on pins and needles waiting to see how Tariq and Brayden (Gianni Paolo) get out of the tight spot they are in after starting a war between them and Monet Tejada (Mary J. Blige) and her kids.  

Fans have come to expect clever and astute decisions from Tariq, and in three seasons, his intelligence has gotten him out of so many tricky situations. After taking out his dad, Tariq became the man of the house. He has found a way to repeatedly protect his family and himself. Perhaps because of that, it has dawned on fans that Tariq’s actions and behaviors were a mere reaction to who his parents were. It shouldn’t be a child’s or young adult’s responsibility to care for his parent and his sibling, but after Ghost’s death and his mother Tasha (Naturi Naughton) being away, first in jail then in witness protection, all the responsibility has fallen on Tariq. And he’s shouldering all the weight well.  

Tariq was not an inherently bad kid, he was simply a product of his environment and his mom and dad’s mistakes. When Tariq is about to shoot Ghost in the final season of Power, he tells his dad that things would’ve worked out for them had Ghost not left his family for Angela Valdes (Lela Loren). Angela was his first childhood love, and once she entered his life, Ghost began seeing her, ultimately ending his marriage to Tasha and causing a rift between him and his partner in crime, Tommy Eagen (Joseph Sikora). All of the adults’ decisions trickled down to the children. Tasha and Ghost had three children, twins Tariq and Raina, and a little girl named Jazzie. When Ghost begins to be distracted from his life outside of home, Tariq falls victim to a plot from his dad’s enemy Kanan Stark (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) to get close to his son. 

As things unravel, that leads to the shooting and killing of Tariq’s sister, Raina, for which he feels responsible, and his life goes downhill from there. He had a promising future, coming from an affluent family. To avenge his sister, he becomes a killer. It takes a lot of talent, and precise storytelling, to make viewers hate a child, and they found ways to make Tariq look like the bad guy, when in fact, his father was to blame for much of the family’s misfortune. Because of that, fans used to dislike Tariq and blame him for so many of the problems that went on in Power. “I’ve never hated a fictional character more than I hate Tariq,” one X user wrote while Power was on the air. 

But is a child to blame or is his upbringing around so much crime the problem? Tariq simply adjusted to the circumstances around him and became his mother’s protector when his dad went off the rails. In exchange, Tasha also protected her son in ways his father didn’t. Tasha took the blame for a crime her son committed and once Power Book II: Ghost begins, Tariq does everything he can to get his mother out of jail and be reunited with his little sister — and he starts selling drugs to his classmates at Stanfield University to pay for the lawyer fees and to make himself a viable adult to have custody of Jazzie. Now Tariq has become a young man who is desperate to help his mother and bring his family back together. 

The difference between Ghost’s drive and his son’s is at the center of why Tariq is now also a beloved character in the Power Universe instead of the most hated. So far, Tariq’s actions have been externally motivated and to help the people around him. Meanwhile, his dad would always serve him and his desires first. Tariq has been dealing with the consequences of his parents’ life choices, while Ghost created this life for himself. While he had dreams of getting out of the drug game, those dreams were all self-serving. He wanted to prove to himself that he was more than just “the biggest drug dealer in New York City,” but rarely did he mention that it had anything to do with his children and their futures. It seemed like it was all for himself, and his dream of one day being a law-abiding citizen who could build a life with Angela.  

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Tariq figures things out, just like his father. At the end of the day, he always has a plan to get out of whatever hole he finds himself in. Tariq inherited the best of his father, his smarts, his charm, and his leader abilities, but he learned the bad side of who Ghost was as well. Everything Tariq has been through, from his dad cheating on his mother, his twin sister dying, his family losing everything, and him ending up alone, he had more than enough for that to be his villain origin story. When Tariq pays Tommy’s mom a visit wielding a gun in the Season 3 finale, she tries to calm him down. “You’re a good kid, in spite of all your role models,” she says. Tariq responds in a deep, somber tone: “Yeah, Mrs. Eagen, I’m afraid I’m not the same kid that you remember.”

But now that he has risen and fit into the anti-hero role his father became so popular for, Tariq has the public in his corner too. “Power: Ghost really made me forget how much I hated Tariq,” one fan of the Starz show shared recently on X. “I hated Tariq in Power but in Power Book II, I’ve forgiven him for all his trespasses, I like the kid,” another fan shared. 

Tariq has made smart connections along the way, and while some have been strategic and beneficial to his many plans, he has also done his best to look out for people and found family outside of his own. Gianni Paolo, who plays Brayden, has also been a highlight on the show, making it even more appealing. He’s Tariq’s best friend and the equivalent of what Tommy was to his father. But while there was intense animosity between Ghost and Tommy, Brayden and Tariq have gone to bat for one another. And Brayden came to his rescue at the end of Season 3, even when he promised to be out of the life. Tariq has also had a fair share of love interests, but he hasn’t committed to any of them seriously. Perhaps it’s because he’s too preoccupied with his slew of troubles, but it may also be because he doesn’t want to become his dad. 

Fans have watched Michael Rainey Jr. grow up before their eyes. This month is the 10th anniversary of the birth of the Power Universe, and he has been there from the start. He started on this journey as a child star but has since shouldered the first spin-off, and has made Ghost so strong that it has birthed even more spinoffs, like Raising Kanan, and more already in the works. Michael should get all the credit, along with the writers, for winning back the fan’s love for his character. Tariq, and the actor who plays him, have earned every ounce of recognition and respect from viewers, and with good reason. Michael has carried the show effortlessly and his performance helped bring Starz some of the highest viewership numbers, even without 50 Cent or Omari as part of the cast. 

Power Book II: Ghost should cement Michael as an actor to watch in Hollywood, and open doors for him to expand and build a long career. While fans love Tariq now, Michael is more than capable of playing more characters outside of Ghost’s son. But the people will always remember him as not only the person who took out Ghost, but the one who made it worthwhile for fans to stick around for four seasons of a spin off without the main character they had grown to love.  

The first part of the final season of Power Book II: Ghost premieres Friday, June 7, 2024.


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