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Here we are only at episode 2 of the season 4 return and things are already going from bad to worse for James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) and all those who fall in line of this nasty trickle-down effect.

Episode 2, appropriately titled “Things Are Going to Get Worse,” opens with a battered and sore St. Patrick alone in his cell, standing in front of the metal toilet trying to use the bathroom. The blood in the toilet, his struggle to dress and his limp is the result of being beaten by two prison guards hell-bent on teaching the “cop killer” a lesson. Damn, they messed him up.

It’s obvious that James is not adapting well to what could become his new normal if his lawyer doesn’t find a way to get him out of jail soon. So far, Proctor’s (Jerry Ferrara) solutions include keeping James off the stand to testify in his own defense, at risk of committing perjury. He also instructs James to play the most important role of his life while behind prison walls by suppressing Ghost and making everyone around him believe that he’s the upstanding club owner James St. Patrick. Okay. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong!

It doesn’t take long for James to be put to the test by another inmate, prompting Ghost to surface and handle the situation like the street boss he is. While James is sitting alone eating his biscuit and minding his business, he’s joined by another inmate whose conversation and gestures are menacing.

After calling James a rich boy and snatching the biscuit out of his hand, the inmate moves closer to James (too damn close) and makes a pass at him. The unwanted advances prompt Ghost to calmly and discreetly snap the man’s wrist underneath the table. Though he thinks his actions go unnoticed, inmate Tony Teresi (William Sadler) sees the interaction and starts asking questions about Ghost.

Meanwhile, on the outside everyone is still trying to carry on, but some are better at it than others. Tasha (Naturi Naughton) tries to keep her children together. They visit James as a family and while Ghost adamantly professes his innocence, his children are unraveling.

Poor Raina (Donshea Hopkins) is slowly breaking down. First her father is arrested and denied bail so she has no clear understanding of when (or if) he’s coming home. Then she has her mother in her ear telling her they need to “go on with [their] lives like everything is normal” while the press keeps following them around, even at school, snapping pictures of them. And to make matters worse, she’s recognizing how, aside from her father, she’s slowly losing another male figure in her life – her brother.

Tariq (Michael Rainey, Jr.) is spiraling into a full-blown bully badass gangsta. If you were asking yourself “when is Tariq finally going to detach himself from Kanan aka Slim (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) it’s not going down in episode 2. What is going down is Tariq’s growing discontent toward his father which is pushing him closer to Kanan, who reveals he has “plans” in place for him and Riq.

Kanan is already teaching him how to break and enter using a credit card, and while in school, Tariq is the tough guy ready to check anyone who has something to say about his family’s situation. What plans does Kanan have in mind for Tariq? That’s the question.

Kanan’s former associate, Dre, (Rotimi Akinosho) is doing his thing over at Truth. He’s successfully running the club, all while implementing a new drug trafficking operation that uses matchboxes and bottle service as a cover, and it’s going smoothly.

But all aspects of the drug ring are not running so smoothly. The team is still moving weight with Julio (J. R. Ramirez) as the distro and Tommy (Joseph Sikora) as the connect but, Julio is learning quickly that rank doesn’t get you respect. A missed meeting by Christabal (Matt Cedeno) results in an opportunity for Julio to step up and show who’s in charge.

When he doesn’t follow through, allowing one of Christabal’s men to punch one of his men in the face, Tommy steps in to rectify the situation. In his usual no holds barred fashion, Tommy runs over Christabal’s guy to gain the respect for his organization and his position as the connect.

Speaking of connecting, Tommy and Keisha (La La Anthony) connect in a hot and steamy type of way on the kitchen counter of her apartment while her son is away with his father. Holly who?

Tommy’s role in the organization still has the prosecution stumped into believing that he is Ghost. ASA Angela Valdez (Lela Loren,) lead prosecutor John Mak (Sung Kang) and Mike Sandoval (David Fumero) continue to build their case against him, even putting a tracking device on his car. Luckily, Tommy feels the heat coming down on him and gives possession of his car to his mother, Kate (Patricia Kalember) before anything can pop off.

As the case builds against Tommy as the kingpin, Proctor preps St. Patrick for how the prosecution could possibly approach him to flip on Tommy. Yes, they want him to snitch.

Meanwhile, Teresi gets a visit from his dying wife, who tells him that she needs money for an experimental treatment.Teres now knows who Ghost and Tommy really are so he approaches Ghost with an extortion deal he just can’t refuse. He wants 20K a week hand delivered to his home, specifically by Tommy. Hmmmm…wonder what his interest in Tommy could be? I smell a plot twist coming on.

Sandoval, the real killer of agent Greg Knox (Andy Bean) finds the perfect opportunity to further implicate St. Patrick in his murder. During a search of Truth, Sandoval plants the gun used in the murder, in the bar area of St. Patrick’s office. Of course, during the search they find the gun.

The murder weapon coupled with St. Patrick’s fingerprints on Knox’s window and his DNA found under Knox’s fingernails give the prosecution just what they need to not only file for murder in the first degree but, to also seek the death penalty. Awww shucky ducky now – life is anything but normal.

QUOTABLE: Tasha to Tariq and Raina when they ask her how their father got his nickname: “It doesn’t mean anything. It’s the hood. Everyone has nicknames in the hood.”

KILL LIST: 1. Dre 2. Julio 3. Tarik 4. Kanan

PHOTO: Starz

Wanda J. Coppage is a full -ime Music Director at an Urban AC radio station, journalist and proud Virginia State University alum – Go Trojans! As a music enthusiast who can’t go a day without hearing R&B/Soul or Classic Hip Hop as well as a TV passionista, why not live a life that covers both?  
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