Television

Power Ghost’s Michael Rainey Jr. Talks Tariq Entering ‘Predator’ Mode & Warns ‘Anyone Could Go’

It’s bittersweet knowing this is the last season premiere for Power Book II: Ghost, but boy, did they bring the heat for this final run.

Coming off a wild and deliciously twisted Power Book II: Ghost Season 3 Episode 10, the premiere picked up right where that finale left off, with Tariq and Brayden on the run and trying to figure out how they were going to keep their heads above water.

It’s shaping up to be Tariq and Brayden against the world, but considering this is the Power universe, it’s probably safe to assume they will throw a few curveballs our way before it’s curtains on this special series.

I’ve been lucky enough to chat with Michael Rainey Jr. several times over the years. Not only is he one of the most talented actors of his generation, but he’s also an all-around decent human being.

He answers everything with great care and sincerity, and we chatted about everything from Power Book II: Ghost Season 4 Episode 1 to his time on Power overall.

And we had to talk about the fans, as well!

It’s a wonderful conversation with one of the greats! Check it out, Power fanatics!

The premiere places a lot of emphasis on Tariq and Brayden and their plans following the events of the season three finale.

It got me thinking about the fact that we’ve seen the two of them grow up on-screen and that relationship and friendship develop. Can you speak to the evolution of their friendship over the years and what we’ll see from it in season four?

Oh, man, the evolution between Brayden and Tariq; it’s been a rocky road. It’s been a rocky road. Brayden had his situation with Riley, and

Tariq wasn’t a huge fan of that. And they always have their little disagreements and stuff, but at the end of the day, they always find their way back to that brotherhood like, “Yo, I got your back, no matter what’s happening.”

So, this season, that’s their story right there. “I got your back.” They’re the only two, really. Everyone else flipped on them. So,  that brotherhood factor will have to play a bigger role this season. And you guys will see that, for sure.

I’ve asked you this before. Who does Tariq trust, if anybody? Do you think that Brayden is the one person he can trust completely? Or do you still feel like he can only trust himself?

I don’t think he thinks he can trust anybody 100%, but he does feel like Brayden is one of the most trustworthy people he has around him, obviously, aside from Mom and stuff like that.

Related: With Power Book II: Ghost Coming to an End, What Does the Future Hold for Starz’s Most Popular Franchise?

As far as anyone else, he puts the most trust into Brayden, compared to anyone else. It’s zero trust when it comes to anyone else, but Brayden, it might be a little, 35%, 50%, or something like that there.

We’ve seen Tariq have his back against the wall more than once in his lifetime. But I don’t know that he’s ever been in a worse predicament than when he begins this season.

Coming out of the events of the finale, what is he thinking? What’s going through his head when he’s going through that whole day of, “What am I going to do?”

Tariq’s back has been on the wall his whole life. This season is a lot more because, like I said, everyone flipped on him.

It’s really only him and Brayden. And the fact that he could trust him, but he could barely trust him. So he doesn’t know if it’s really him and Brayden or not. He doesn’t know.

He’s in that predator mode, so he knows how to operate. He’s not on defense anymore; he’s on offense, so he’s making the moves.

He’s not waiting for people to move to him, and then he has to defend himself. Now, he’s making sure people know that they got to defend themselves against him.

Tariq and Brayden have that conversation in the car where he’s like, “Imagine if we were just college students and things,” everything like that. And I was like, “I don’t know if Tariq really believes that.”

Nah.

Exactly. Do you think there’s anything inside of Tariq that would ever give up and walk away, or do you think he will always keep fighting?

I don’t think he’s going to walk away. I think it’s in his blood. That’s just what it is. He just has that in him, and he has that battle he’s fighting like, “Oh, I’m not anything like my father.”

But obviously, he’s pretty similar to his father. His father wanted to stop the crazy stuff he was doing, but he couldn’t really; once you are kind of in that life, it’s almost impossible to get out without either going to jail or dying.

So Tariq is trying to figure out how he could continue this lifestyle without going out the way his father did.

Throughout the series, and maybe it hasn’t happened yet, and we’ll see, but what has been Tariq’s biggest misstep?

I don’t know, because I don’t want to answer that and say too much, because I got to think about it. I’ve been doing this for ten years now.

Well, if you can’t answer, you can’t answer, but…

Yeah, I don’t want to say too much. I don’t want to say too much.

All right. Something to look forward to.

What is one of your favorite moments from Power through seasons one through three? Not this season, but through the past seasons?

I was going to say I don’t even remember half of what we did. That is out the window for season four.

Related: Power Book II: Ghost Post-Mortem: Joseph Sikora Talks Tommy’s Return & If There’s A Chance For Reconciliation

When Uncle Tommy came back, that was a pretty fun moment, just having Joseph on set. That was pretty cool.

So many things happened on set between the original Power and the spinoff that I can’t even choose which moment stood out to me the most.

One moment I will never forget, though, and I always hold close to my heart, is when we were filming the last scene of season six, where Tasha gets arrested.

That was just a super emotional day, being that was literally the last day of filming Power, a lot of our last days. And we just weren’t sure who we would see again.

Obviously, we knew we had the spinoffs and everything coming, but we weren’t sure who would make a return or what crew members would be back. It was just super emotional.

Everyone was finally ending a chapter, and literally, everyone in the studio and everyone on set were crying. It was just super emotional. That was a crazy day.

It’s been so many moments, these ten years that I’ve been working on this show. How could I choose one moment? I don’t even know.

Keeping with that theme, the Power fandom is so huge and so vocal. What do you have to say to the fans who’ve taken this ride with you guys for the past ten years?

Man, I love the fans, I love the supporters. Because our writers, the way they write the stories, they write, basically, based off of the fans’ reactions. Whatever the fans react to, the writers see that, and they build on that.

So, the fans helped us create a super dope story because everything they reacted to motivated something that was in the story. The supporters definitely played a big part in the direction of the show, and they just kept us motivated; they kept us working.

They always made us feel like they were waiting for the next season, so we were working for a reason. The fans really, really played a big part, and they changed my life. So, shoutout to the fans.

Related: Cliffhangers That Made Our Jaws Drop to The Floor

Did you ever foresee how far his storyline would keep going like this when you were playing Tariq back in the original Power?

Heck, no. Not until midseason three, going into season four. Season one and two, I was like, “I’m just here. Y’all call me on set, come see my hi’s, and byes, whatever, I’m here.”

And then, during the hiatus from season two, going into filming season three, I filmed a movie, Barbershop: The Next Cut. And I feel like that gave them a different type of confidence in me, a different type of belief. They saw my potential, and that’s when they really started building my story.

After that, it was history. I was just starting to work a lot more, and it was no more “Hi” and “Bye.” I was like, “Damn, I’m working with you. This is different.”

I didn’t expect that at all, but when the time came, I was definitely ready for it.

I know you say you don’t remember much from season four, but what can you tease a little bit for us?

Action-packed, a lot of plot twists, and y’all know this universe, man. Y’all know, in the Power universe, anyone could go; anyone is expendable.

That’s all I would say. That’s all I would say. Anybody. Anybody could get it. Nobody’s safe, not even Tariq. So y’all take that how y’all want.

All right. I’m going to add nerve-wracking in there, then.

Yeah, no, for sure. Definitely nerve-wracking. People are going to be on the edge of their seats the whole season.

***This interview has been edited for length and clarity.***

You can watch Power Book II: Ghost on Fridays at 8/7c on STARZ.

Whitney Evans is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lover of all things TV. Follow her on X.

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