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Raising Kanan Season 2, Episode 1 Recap

Photo: Cara Howe/Starz Entertainment

Last season, we wondered what Detective Howard would say when he finally wakes up. And now that he’s awake, he doesn’t have much to say about the incident – at least not in front of the doctors or his fellow officers. According to the detective, he doesn’t remember anything from the night he was shot. Her doctor thinks this is also true. As Howard’s partner, Burke, questions the doctor’s expertise, he reminds him to focus on what’s most important: Detective Howard is cancer free. Another cop donated his bone marrow, and now Howard is in remission with both lungs intact.

While Howard was recovering, his son/attempted murder was spending quality time with his extended family in Virginia. Happy to be reunited with her son, Raquel took a trip down the i-95 to pick up Kanan.

Back in New York, Jess and Lou-Lou argue that Famous isn’t famous yet. Jess is her brother’s manager, and she hasn’t quite figured out how to be both manager and girlfriend. Lou randomly overhears a pretty girl with a fiery New York attitude singing along to her beat. He nearly causes a car crash to get her attention. Before leaving at full speed, he entrusts her with his company car and does not even ask her name.

Like his uncle Lou-Lou, music is what keeps Jukebox afloat. And as she mourns the loss of her girlfriend Nicole, she delivers a song neatly packaged in a tape titled “It Hurts So Much” to her grave. In a strange way, Kanan is also in mourning. “Have you ever shot someone and missed?” he asks. The shooting incident still shook Kanan. As he tries to make sense of everything that happened, he knows his innocence is officially gone. His mother tries to comfort him by telling him that Howard doesn’t remember anything. Kanan isn’t really convinced and asks her what will happen if Detective Howard remembers her face. Raq puts on her mother bear’s hat and reminds her that she would never let anything happen to her.

Marvin is in trouble with the law, but his “ex-girlfriend” Tony has moved out of town, and without her testimony, there’s no case. He must now choose between managing anger and picking up trash. He chooses anger management because he can connect and leave.

After three months in the hospital, Detective Howard returns home. Burke shows his support for his partner by accompanying him. She loses little time before starting to snoop around her house. The near-death experience makes Howard feel like “he’s been given a second chance in all this shit,” as he tells Burke. Determined to find out what happened the night he was shot, Burke informs Howard that Unique’s whereabouts have been accounted for, so he is not the shooter. Not interested in engaging with her, he sticks to her history of memory loss.

Ever since Unique was charged with Detective Howard’s attempted shooting, the streets have been on fire. The police arrive much stronger and more aggressive than ever, attacking the local boys first. And because of their change in police tactics, Raquel had to change her tactics as a businesswoman to sell her product in large quantities but under the radar. She currently has full control over Baisley, all product sales and uses take place indoors, away from the police, and armed guards are strategically placed on the roofs of each building. She and her brothers make $75,000 A DAY! To keep the peace, Raquel makes sure to bribe the residents and fulfill all their demands. On the other hand, Unique is at Rikers Island with a target on the forehead.

So far, Kanan has proven to be much luckier than Unique. He finally finds his favorite cousin. The two catch up on his trip south. “It was good to be gone,” Kanan said. He then proceeds to vent about what the drug game may or may not offer him. He told Jukebox: “I don’t know if that’s enough. I don’t know if this shit is for me.” Like the best little cousin she is, Juke just listens.

Her relationship with her father is still strained. Marvin’s attempt to have a conversation with her in front of the family doesn’t go well. We find out that it’s been a minute since they’ve spoken or seen each other. Before their conversation escalates, Raq interrupts them with a hot, home-cooked meal. It’s the first family dinner since Kanan left. As Raq says, “If [Kanan’s] the seat is empty [they’re] not sitting around the table. Her talk about family comes at just the right time since she isn’t really having fun with Lou-Lou, and Jukebox and Marvin are jostling. But no matter the tension, family is all that matters.

After dinner, Lou-Lou admits that he slipped. The tag turned out to be more difficult than he thought. As always, Raq’s mind is on business, and since Lou-Lou hasn’t earned any money, she lectures him on his “hobby”.

Outside on the steps, Kanan and Jukebox continue their venting session. Kanan is quite surprised that what he did in the park (or, more so, failed to do) wasn’t even mentioned at dinner. He wonders if he is made for the family business or not. Juke tells him that Raq should never have asked Kanan to eliminate the detective. She suggests that he have a conversation with the direct source (i.e. his mother). As Famous approaches to greet his friends, Kanan glances at Detective Howard passing.

Back inside the house, Raq, Marvin and Lou-Lou work out their expansion plan. To everyone’s surprise, Raq considers working with Worrell, one of Unique’s men, rather than promoting Scrap. It’s the old “keep your enemies close” trick. His goal is to make sure that when Unique gets home, he’ll have nothing to take home – no men, no products, no money. She assigns Lou-Lou to oversee all 40 projects using their same model, “inside and up”. He rejects her offer but fails, and now we know whatever Raquel says is what happens.

As I mentioned earlier, ever since Detective Howard was shot, the police have been on their bull (this actually happened in real life). Scrap’s mother’s illegal gambling network is looted while he’s there. Detective Howard sees him at the precinct turning his mouth around in the investigation room. It’s not a good look for Scrap, now it looks like he’s a liability for Raq. At the police station, Howard also realizes that his partner keeps looking into his case. Although he warns her to mess things up, he doesn’t seem too bothered.

It’s a bit difficult not to be disturbed when you’re in prison. Unique gets into a fight with three white inmates who were sexually assaulting another inmate. The fight shows he’s no one to fuck with.

Meanwhile, in Raquel’s world, she and Kanan meet with Symphony to express their gratitude. Despite having a good lunch, Raq and Symphony’s personalities clash again after he brings up the incident in the park and reminds Raq how good she is. This, of course, pisses her off. “You always think you know my son better than me…you never learn,” she said scolding him. “I know who my son is and I know what he is capable of. I don’t need anyone to tell me that. He is protected. But Symphony is not backing down. Instead, he actually doubles down on what he said and lets Raq know that not only did Kanan confide in him on the way to Virginia, but he was visibly scared. Kanan’s return from the bathroom brings Raq and Symphony back to reality. It’s clear that they both love each other, but it’s also clear that their relationship will never work.

Symphony’s lyrics affect Raq. She checks on Kanan to see how he really feels, and he’s honest. He tells his mother he’s not sure he’s cut out for this life. He also shares that shooting Detective Howard gave him many nightmares. His love for his son runs deep, so Raq immediately apologizes for putting Kanan in danger. She reassures him that her role is to protect him, not the other way around. The mother-son duo connect for a few moments before being interrupted by the house phone.

The first episode ends really crazy! Not only Unique manages to get out of prison. When he does, Marvin is waiting across the street, watching his every move. The call Raq received must have been Howard. After seeing Unique, viewers see Raq in the same park where Kanan shot Howard. Shortly after, Detective Howard appears out of nowhere. If looks could kill him and Raquel would both be dead. What feels like a five-minute stare ends the first episode, leaving us all hanging on the edge of our seats.

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