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Back in the Day is the first episode of the first season of the Starz original crime drama Power Book III: Raising Kanan.[1]

Synopsis

In 1991 in South Jamaica, Queens, 15-year-old Kanan Stark is eager to join his family's growing drug business that is led by his mother, Raquel "Raq" Thomas.

Plot

The season premiere opens up in 1985, with a little Kanan getting beat up by some bullies in a park while his cousin, a young Jukebox watches in horror as Kanan gets knocked out for his money. When Kanan eventually gets up, he runs out of that park all the way home.

When he gets home, his mother Raquel Thomas and her boyfriend High Post are bagging up some product, but she puts that on hold to talk to Kanan, who jets upstairs to his room to cry about the beating he endured at the hands of his bullies. Post tells her that not every kid is made for the South side. Raq told him that her son is and goes to talk to him. Kanan reveals that Post will be shot to death a year later for snitching. He remarks that it is a shame because he liked him for treating his mother right.

Upstairs, Raquel asked Kanan what happened and he told her he got beaten up and got his money stolen.

With that, Raquel has enough of the crying and supplies Kanan with nothing but tough love telling her son he shouldn’t show off or talk about his money. She eventually grabs one of Kanan’s socks, fills it with batteries, and informs her son they will go to the park to have a word with the bullies. When they arrive at the park, Raquel spots the boys and hands Kanan the stuffed sock. She tells him to handle the bullies because if he doesn’t, he will have to deal with her. Kanan calmly approaches the bullies, with the lead bully taunting him on coming back for more before Kanan lets him have it and he is laid out on the ground crying and bleeding. He then turns his attention on the other one who was beating him badly. The remaining bully is scared and pleads but Kanan pounds him with the sock as the other kids watched in horror and shock. However, some kids speak highly of Kanan for defending himself and laugh at the defeated bullies. This will be the first time Kanan’s name rings bells in Southside Jamaica Queens, and it won’t be the last time.

In 1991, Kanan is now 15-years old. Kanan and his mother talk with the principal about taking the admissions exam to get into Stuyvesant High School, one of the most prestigious high school’s in New York City. The principal has taken the liberty of signing Kanan up to take the test and only needs Raquel's approval, and she is with it, especially becuase it means she keeps Kanan away from the streets. But, that's not what Kanan wants, even though his mother is pushing him for it. Kanan wants in on the family business run by his mom and her two brothers, Uncle Lou-Lou and Uncle Marvin. Still, his mom does her best to convince him that the street life is not for him because she plans for her son. She wants him to become a CEO but he doesn’t want to be away from his mother.

While this time, Jukebox shows her singing skills on her choir practice. But don't get it wrong, Kanan says she's the most ruthless person he has ever met and she still looks cute. He also loves her a lot. At lunch, Kanan runs on his crush Davina, who tells him he's cute. Kanan has had a crush on her for years, but she currently has a boyfriend, hilariously named Buck Twenty, a rival drug dealer. After that, Kanan joins Jukebox and his crews. He even gets a little rap performance from his best friend Shawn nicknamed Famous because he participated to a poem contest aired on radio.

Raq runs a pretty tight ship along with her brothers, but the crew's power will be constantly tested by Unique, who Kanan describes as the biggest drug dealer on the southside. The premier episode highlights the tension between Raq and Unique immediately after some members of his crew ambush her crew during a meet leading to one of her soldiers getting shot in the leg. Raq meets up with Lou-Lou and Marvin, who Kanan hilariously describes as someone extremely dumb. Uncle Marvin explains that Unique is trying to move on their territory, and Raq is not having it and feels it’s time to discuss with him.

Before Raq has that one-on-one with Unique, she heads to a nightclub to speak with its owner Hugo about a deal they have in place. Instead, they are greeted by his publicist Toni Deep and her dog, who insults Raq to her face. When the talk heat up, Lou-Lou gets his sister to walk away from the situation before it gets out of hand, but Raq would later get her revenge by having Scrappy put the publicist's dog in the microwave. At the bar, Raq meets the barman Symphony Bosket

When the Thomas family is having a dinner with Famous and his sister Jessica, who seems to have an interest for Lou-Lou, things will get even testier between Raq and Unique after a driveby. The shooters didn’t shoot at Raq and her family but shot in the air to scare them. Raq finally decides to meet Unique and Raq is understandably upset, but they do manage to come to a truce and divide up blocks between them, one of those blocks being a territory she used to have her crew used to move weight on.

Kanan is a smart kid but deep down, he wants to be like his mom and be by her side. He has been paying attention all these years, learning the code language they speak in, and wants to be in the drug business like his family. Kanan makes that decision while taking that entrance exam to Stuyvesant, where he fails on purpose. It's there he decides he wants to be a hustler like his mom and be a part of the family business. In his first act as a thug, he decides to run up on one of Unique’s crew members, who happens to be Buck Twenty, selling on a block he knows his mom used to run. Kanan has no idea that his mother gave Unique that block to dead the beef between them. Kanan and his boy D-Wiz shoot the dealer as he tries to run away, subsequently killing him. Kanan just dropped his first body and he says that he will remembers his face when he was dying forever.

Raq is informed of her son’s actions while on a date with Symphony. When she gets home, she and her two brothers talk to Kanan, who is covered in blood. Kanan explains why he shot Unique’s boy, and Raq explains that she gave Unique that block, much to the surprise of Kanan. Understandably, she is upset with her son because he killed someone and has more than likely started a war between the two crews and tells him to take off his sweater so they can dispose of the evidence.

Later that night, Raq is deep in her thoughts about the situation, Kanan comes downstairs to talk, but she dismisses him and tells him to take out the garbage. While he is doing what his mother told him to do, someone from Unique’s crew tries to kill Kanan but miss and sprays Raq’s home with bullets in a drive-by attempt. Raq comes out of the house with a gun but the attackers are already gone. Kanan manages to escape the situation unharmed.

The police eventually show up, and we meet Det. Malcolm Howard, who Kanan describes as the one cop “who thinks he runs the streets.” Epps presses Raq about what happened, and she doesn’t snitch, saying it was a big misunderstanding. Howard knows she is hiding something. Before he leaves, he tells Kanan to keep his head on a swivel because he knows this won’t be the last time they will try to take him out.

The next day, Raq decides to speak with Unique again to see if she can make things right. She hands him some money to give to Buck Twenty’s family as a peace offering. Unique accepts it but tells her he is not responsible for people trying to get revenge against her son. It’s at that moment she realizes now that Kanan is now a part of the business. Unique tells her that he now takes all Raq's territory.

Raq decides it’s time to talk with her son. She drives him out to a secluded area to tell him that they are the hunters, never the hunted. She hands him a gun and teaches him how to hold it, and tells him to let off a shot. Kanan pulls the trigger, and Raq tells him that one bullet he just shot will be chasing him forever and that now he's in the drug business...


Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

Soundtrack

Chanson Interprète Scène
"I Can't Live Without My Radio" "LL Cool J" 1985 : Kanan gets beaten up in the park for his money.
"Can You Run It Like This" "Run DMC" 1985 : Kanan and Raq go back to the park with a sock filled with batteries.
"Buggin Out" "A Tribe Called Quest" 1991 : In Kanan's high school.
"Back To Life" "Soul II Soul" Jukebox listens to this song when she waits for Nicole.
"Just To Get A Rep" "Gang Starr" Kanan sees Buck Twenty sell drugs.
"Just Hangin' Out" "Main Source" Outro song.

Trivia

  • The episode scored 0.438 million viewers.
  • This episode introduces more of Kanan’s family: His mother and his uncles.
  • Kanan’s father was named Def Con.

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Videos

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References

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