The mother/son relationship at the center of Power Book III: Raising Kanan will never be the same after what went down at the end of the first season.
In an attempt to prove he could step up and be part of his mother's empire, Kanan (Mekai Curtis) tried to kill Detective Howard (Omar Epps), but he only managed to gravely injure him. Kanan then essentially ran away while his mother Raq (Patina Miller) was left to pick up the pieces. As Season 2 picks up, it's a few months later and Kanan's coming back from his summer hideaway, Detective Howard is getting out of the hospital with amnesia, and Raq has fortified her business in an effort to protect her son and her drug empire. At least on the surface, it almost seems as if things are OK. But as Miller tells Metacritic, under that surface, everything has been "thrown into chaos." And Kanan's relationship with his mom has been forever changed.
"Kanan has come back into town and there is the threat of the secret still there," Miller says. "You have Detective Burke still sniffing around. Kanan's not that safe still, and their relationship isn't safe as well. That relationship is fractured. So, coming into the second season, Raq is all about repairing that, trying to find some middle ground with her son again, because she knows what mistakes she made."
The main mistake was letting Kanan into the family business in the first place, though Raq began to feel like she had no other option.
"She pushed him away from it since the beginning of the season, but since he is so insistent on being there, elbowing his way in, going behind her back and making calls that he shouldn't be, at 15, making, and he's gonna weasel himself in anyway, Raq says, 'Well, if he's gonna do it anyway, I don't want anything to happen to him,;" Miller explains. "So maybe if I can teach him to do it, be a little smarter [but] I think it's the worst idea. I don't think it's ever what she wanted to do, but she doesn't see any other choice."
While trying to take care of her son, Raq is also intent on climbing ever higher in whatever way she can, and as Kanan returns to Queens, he discovers how she stepped things up while he was away.
"Raq was never really just OK with just being the queenpin of South Jamaica, Queens. She wants it all, and why can't she have it all?" Miller says. "She wants to expand, and she's willing to go into enemy territory, because why not? She's not afraid of the mafia. She's gonna go for this opportunity, and she's very persistent in getting what she wants. We get to see her maneuver this new threat and how that kind of throws everything into chaos, while also navigating Kanan."
Miller is excited that the audience has now had a full season to get to know the characters and can just "be along for the ride" throughout Season 2, as the stakes have risen.
"We get to just go deeper with the characters, and it does get darker this season," she promises. "It's a crime drama and a family drama as well, so you're going to see the Thomas family dealing with a lot of stuff, but there is still the threat of keeping the empire. I'm excited for people to see that, and to watch Raq try so desperately to connect with her son, and keep her secret a secret."
Miller also says that not only is the show going a little harder this season, but every character will evolve as they deal with the different sides of themselves.
"Kanan goes on a self discovery journey for himself that has nothing to do with his mom, but he's also his mom's child," she explains. "There's a lot of things that we pick up from our parents, so we're going to be navigating the good versus…I hate to say evil, but everybody's grappling with that within themselves."
Power Book III: Raising Kanan Season 2 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Starz beginning Aug. 14.