Fans have been desperate for the Tommy-centric Power spinoffs since news broke that the Power Universe was expanding beyond the exploits of James St. Patrick.
And thus far, both Power Book II: Ghost and Power Book III: Raising Kanan have been monster hits for Starz. Both series are doing a solid job of continuing the magic that was the original Power series, and they did it focusing on two of the more polarizing characters.
Now it’s time to focus on a favorite. It’s Tommy Egan’s time to shine in Power Book IV: Force. And shine he does, alongside a wily group of Power newcomers who come ready to play. This show is legit on every level and another winning addition to the franchise.
Power may have ended a while ago, but as soon as you see Tommy Egan again, it’s like no time at all has passed.
Joseph Sikora has cultivated this iconic character, whose penchant for violence and chaos is always brimming just under the surface. But along with that dangerous streak that stretches a mile long, fans connected with his charm, wit, and cunning spirit.
Tommy decides to leave New York in the rearview, and can you blame him?
He’s a wanted man, and he’s also beholden to no one anymore. He’s the definition of a free agent, and there was no reason for him to stay in the city any longer.
The premiere hour is less about the journey and more about the destination, though. It’s the ultimate set-up episode, where we get to settle in and see if we’re ready to invest in this story. And with Tommy Egan at the helm, there’s no question that it is.
Even though we’ve had a break in seeing him on the screen, we’re getting the same old Tommy in Power Book IV: Force. The only thing that’s changed is the scenery.
The franchise as a whole has never ventured far outside of New York, but Tommy must start this chapter of his life away for the city that never sleeps for several reasons.
And the pilot does an exceptional job of methodically piecing out why it makes sense for Tommy to start over and do it on his terms.
With a new city comes new faces, and the cast is well-rounded, providing us with a very eclectic and fun group of characters.
And it’s also beautifully shot, doing the city of Chicago proud.
Gabrielle Ryan plays Gloria, a woman who, while a little mysterious, has chemistry with every person she meets.
What her role ends up being, in the long run, is still very much up in the air, but she’s headstrong and no-nonsense, and isn’t that just the kind of person who would find themselves in Tommy Egan’s orbit?
Brothers Jenard and Diamond, played by Kris Lofton and Isaac Keys, reunite after an elongated separation, and we get plenty of time to see the siblings just reconnecting. And that’s important for a series like this.
They need to get the audience on board with the unknown.
We know Tommy and what to expect, but we have to get used to the newbies who look to play a prominent role in this world. And while you can do an information dump via voiceover, it’s much better to let the characters introduce themselves.
Lofton and Keys not only look like they could be real-life brothers, but they have the sort of natural chemistry that is hard to find.
Of all the introductions, these two make the biggest impression, with Lofton especially having that right amount of charm to do serious damage when played against Sikora’s always compelling Egan.
While Power had a host of “bad” families coming after Ghost and company, and Power Book II: Ghost launched perhaps the most fascinating family in the whole universe in the Tejada’s, Chicago brings forth the Flynn’s. And they carry themselves like they are every bit the criminal masterminds the show would like you to believe they are.
Of the three who get to play a role, Claudia is the most fascinating, being the one woman dealing with the inflated egos of her father and brother. And while this is Tommy’s hour to get the ball rolling, Flynn’s scenes pack a punch.
As the leader of the clan, Walter is especially menacing and someone you don’t want to cross. And he could easily come across as a caricature, but veteran actor Tommy Flanagan plays him with an air of arrogance, cunning, and intensity that immediately makes him a man worth fearing.
Seeing how Tommy interacts with this family will be a highlight moving forward because you can’t have two alpha men like Tommy and Walter in the same city and not expect sparks to fly.
JP and D-Mack, presumably more prominent players down the line, round out the cast.
Compared to some of the other spinoffs, the cast is smaller, giving the feel of a more intimate experience. It also makes it feel like no character will get left behind, which has been a problem at times throughout the franchise.
With only nine main characters, there’s plenty of time during the hour to let the characters breathe and let the stories play out over time.
And as each new character makes their way onto the screen, you’re wondering how they will ultimately end up working with Tommy. Because if there’s one thing we know for sure, this is Tommy’s show.
While the series starts strong, it is a slower hour, which should be expected but can still be an adjustment, especially as it leads out of the Ghost spinoff, which is fast-paced and just a continuous stream of plot, and more plot.
Perhaps Force will get there one day, but it starts off more exploratory, tempting the audience with gritty characters, solid backstories, and a promise of more to come. And Power has always done the long game and done it well.
It’s banking on a compelling opening arc to hook the viewer in, and Force does that and then some.
You’ll want to see what Tommy does on his own, away from the demons of New York, contending with a different set of allies and foes.
Power Book IV: Force premieres on February 6, after the season finale of Power Book II: Ghost Season 2.
And we’ll be covering it for you all season here at TV Fanatic.
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.