Raising Kanan Review: The Thomas Family Unravels


Lou-Lou has officially hit rock bottom.

We’ve watched the youngest Thomas brother slide into a violent tailspin all season, which has seen him really give up on living his life. He’s still breathing, but he hasn’t been living for a while, instead caught in a vicious cycle of agony.

And while he’s been trying to evade not only his feelings but his family as well, that all came to a halt during Power Book III: Raising Kanan Season 3 Episode 9.

Everything that could be said about Lou-Lou at this point has been said.

We’ve seen him struggle. We’ve seen him falter. We’ve seen him put himself and others in danger. But more than anything else, we’ve seen him silently begging for someone to help him.

It may not seem like he wanted help when he was waving a gun around every corner, but when faced with feeling like his life was actually over, you could see the pain in Lou-Lou’s face and the despair in his voice.

All the Thomas siblings are proud people. They know they aren’t infallible, but that doesn’t mean they’re walking around town holding signs that broadcast all their struggles.

Lou-Lou spent the hour just drowning himself in alcohol until Howard scooped him up, and he continued to unload some of the baggage on his shoulders.

But even admitting to crimes wasn’t helping him feel any better because he wasn’t clear-headed, nor was he able to come to terms with what he’d done because he had absolutely no support.

Admitting you need help and asking for help is extremely scary for many people because it requires vulnerability. And a lot of people associate vulnerability with weakness, and they also feel they could be opening themselves up to even more heartbreak.

It’s so hard to face and slay your demons without support from people who love you and want what’s best for you. And for Lou-Lou, he doesn’t have that. He feels flayed open and alone, and without anyone in his corner, it’s nearly impossible for him to free himself from the prison he’s encased himself in.

He feels like death, but he doesn’t want to die.

Was there anything sadder than hearing Lou-Lou plead for his life repeatedly? The way he said Marvin’s name was like a prayer, hoping he would grant him some kind of serenity.

There’s no other way to describe the scene in that car other than soul-crushing, hearing Lou-Lou beg for mercy and beg for his siblings. His not wanting to be left alone in the cold and begging Marvin made me tear up.

Malcolm Mays has given everything to Lou-Lou this season, and it can’t be easy to put yourself into that mindset constantly, but he left it all out on the field during this hour.

Marvin and Raq were completely stoic in approaching their brother, which was typical for Raq, but man, I was waiting for Marvin to cave. I’m unsure how he didn’t because Lou-Lou’s pleas were so incredibly sorrowful.

Lou-Lou was convinced he was being driven to his death, but no part of me thinks that’s what’s going to happen. In a perfect world, they’re taking him to some clandestine place in the woods where no questions will be asked, and he can get help for his alcohol abuse, trauma, and depression.

A place where he can get honest without fear of retribution and work through his complicated feelings about himself first and then with the people in his life.

I’ve been incredibly worried about Lou-Lou’s safety for weeks, but I can’t imagine Raq and Marvin having a direct hand in his demise.

Raq is cold-blooded, but killing her brother? She’s no Ronnie.

Lou-Lou’s continued deterioration caused enough problems for him to be shipped out of town, especially now that Raq and Marvin have a working knowledge about the FEDs.

I’ve been wondering what Howard’s play was in keeping the heat on Marvin to himself, but everything came out here when he admitted to purposefully hiding the information to make Marvin the scapegoat.

And while Marvin is the MVP and does not deserve to go down for EVERYTHING his family has been a part of, damn it if Howard wasn’t making some VERY valid points.

This task force isn’t going away. They’re not going to pack up their ball and go home. They will keep crawling and scratching until they get the information that will make everything click.

If we’re being honest, Marvin is low-hanging fruit for them, but getting something on him could open them up to an entire criminal enterprise, which is precisely what they’re after.

Howard’s hands are so dirty they can never be fully cleaned, and he’s clearly reached a point where he realized that he could only push things off and send people in a different direction for so long before it stopped working.

The top priorities for Howard have always been himself, Kanan, and Raq, in that order. Marvin, taking the heat, leaves the three of them in the clear, assuming Marvin keeps his mouth shut.

With everything we know about Marvin, it’s easy to believe he would, especially coming off the Gerald betrayal.

Marvin has tried to be a better person in all facets of his life. From how he parents, supports Raq and their business, and tries to nurture his friendship with Gerald.

He wasn’t supporting Gerald to make himself feel better. He helped him because it felt right, and he wanted to do it for someone he considered a friend.

The fact that Gerald’s betrayal utterly blindsided him says everything in and of itself. He was blown away that Gerald was a snitch because he thought they’d built a genuine relationship that was helpful for both of them.

This whole hour was full of these moments where you couldn’t help but feel awful for people whose worlds were falling down around them and completely unprepared for it.

Marvin was more thrown off by Gerald’s not really being his friend than the fact that he might go to jail.

The FEDs don’t have enough to put Marvin in jail right now, but that doesn’t stop them from going after Jukebox, fresh off the heels of her debut performance.

Watching the joy get sucked out of Jukebox’s wings was one of those sad moments I was talking about. Because she was coming off the high of realizing a dream, only to see it all go up in flames when Tanner waltzed in to take her away.

Jukebox can sing, but she would never sing like a canary and rat out her family. Say what you will about the Thomas family, and I’ve surely said enough, but outside of Lou-Lou’s alcohol-induced outbursts, they don’t rat on each other.

But what mattered to Jukebox more than her family potentially being in trouble was that her future in Butta would be in jeopardy now.

Jukebox was the star of the show, but can you have the leader of your up-and-coming R&B group potentially wrapped up in a federal investigation?

You have to feel just gutted for Jukebox, as she was still pondering her future but so excited about the possibilities of Butta. And there were so many possibilities there.

We’ve all wondered what would be the catalyst to push Jukebox toward the person we’d meet during Power, who was cold, calculating, and nothing like her younger self. And we just found a very promising candidate.

Kanan surprisingly showed up for Jukebox’s performance, though whether that was to see Krystal or Jukebox is anyone’s guess since he snuck off before we really could find out.

You get these little glimpses of the old Kanan here and then, like when he threw Famous a bone after Ronnie assaulted him. But those moments are fleeting because the next second, he’s baring his teeth and acting like he’s not a kid in an adult playhouse.

There is no hope for Raq and Kanan anymore unless one of them, named Kanan, comes groveling back, and that will never happen because, like everyone else in his family, his pride would never allow it.

It’s interesting to look at Kanan and see a kid who is so obviously disgruntled at being lied to and treated like a kid decide that the proper way to handle everything is to become just like his mother.

Whatever happened to wanting to be better than those who’ve wronged you?

Kanan backed himself into a whole corner with Snaps, Pop, and Ronnie, which couldn’t have been more apparent than in that shot of him sitting on one side of the table and the other three staring back at him.

He chose a side already, but now his side doesn’t want there to be any side at all. They’re looking for total domination, which puts Kanan squarely back in the middle whether he likes it or not.

He can act all big and bad and pretend that he trusts Ronnie more than Raq, but when push comes to shove, Kanan should be wise enough to understand that he’s disposable to Ronnie. Raq lies to him, does whatever she pleases, and she’s put him in some truly awful situations, but she’s still his mother.

And that will never change.

So if he’s asked to make that call, his mother or his new business, what decision will he make?

It’s sometimes difficult to separate this Kanan from future Kanan because the Kanan from Power days was capable of ANYTHING.

But THIS Kanan. Kanan, who can’t even vote yet. Kanan still has to show his face in a classroom lest the police come looking for him.

Well, it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll decide to do, but I think we can all agree that he’s going to do what’s in the best interest of Kanan Stark.

That’s the kind of kid he’s become, and that will never change.

Everything Else You Need To Know

  • We haven’t seen Stefano in a minute, but after hearing he has a connection to Pop, he will have to choose a side in the war. Whose side will he be on?

  • Is Baptiste incompetent? Howard is a MASTERFUL manipulator, but did he really never make the connection between Jukebox and Marvin until Captain Burke dumped it on his lap?

  • Howard was ready for those questions and danced around the truth like it was his job. Bringing Howard down will not be easy, though I’m starting to wonder what his breaking point may be.

  • Gerald’s daughter dying was gut-wrenching and a genuine shock. His overdose after that confrontation in the hospital unfortunately felt inevitable, as he truly sounded like a man who was completely broken.

  • Shanice! Paramus Mall! This episode was so ’90s it hurt.

We only have one episode left in Power Book III: Raising Kanan Season 3, and the tension is off the charts!

It wouldn’t be a Power series if the finale didn’t serve up a shocking twist or death. And I hate saying this, but my money is one Famous not making it out of this season alive. I have a feeling he will be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

And his death will eat up Kanan all the way.

What are your big predictions for the final hour? Let me know in the comment sections where you can chat about anything you like, including this penultimate installment!

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.

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