"Power" Showrunner Confirms Lauren's "Exit" Is Still a "Huge Issue" in Season 3

Surprise, "Power Book II: Ghost" fans — Lauren is back! Well, technically, according to season three's March 17 premiere, she never actually left. As viewers may remember, Lauren (played by Paige Hurd) was thought to have been killed off by Effie (Alix Lapri) and Brayden (Gianni Paolo) in season two's penultimate episode. After it's discovered that she's working with ADA Jenny Sullivan (Paton Ashbrook) and catches Brayden, her boyfriend, Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.), and Cane (Woody McClain) talking about their drug dealings on a wire, Effie and Brayden, unbeknownst to Tariq, take Lauren out to the woods to kill her — all in an effort to avoid criminal charges.

Though viewers didn't see Hurd's character actually die, many believed that scene marked the end of the road for her, with Jenny later revealing that Lauren's body was found by locals after a "car accident." That turns out to be a complete lie, however, because, as seen at the end of season three's opening episode, Jenny has, in fact, been hiding a very-alive Lauren at an undisclosed location the entire time.

"It's a huge issue because Tariq was really close to Lauren and was really sad to see her go. [Plus,] Effie and Brayden are keeping that secret from [him]."

Of course, Effie and Brayden are still under the impression they killed Lauren, and Tariq is completely in the dark about the situation. So "Power Book II" showrunner Brett Mahoney tells POPSUGAR that Lauren's faked-out death and shocking return are going to cause major problems for the trio in season three. "It's a huge issue because Tariq was really close to Lauren and was really sad to see her go. [Plus,] Effie and Brayden are keeping that secret from [him]," he says. "As we'll see in season three, Tariq is really relying on Effie and Brayden. They're his family, and they're becoming closer and closer." But at the same time, Mahoney says their secret is "a bombshell waiting to detonate that's going to change their whole dynamic when Tariq finds out what they actually did."

Rainey Jr., Paolo, and Lapri all agree that the truth about what happened to Lauren is going to completely wreck the trust the three friends have. "I think that it can't end in any other way besides terrible," Alix says frankly. "Hopefully, we can all still be friends after. [But] I think it's just a lot to kill someone's lover."


As we've seen in previous instances in "Power Book II" and its parent series, Tariq "doesn't do well with being lied to," Rainey Jr. affirms. Viewers have seen what betrayal has pushed the young college student to do in the past — from rebelling against his criminal parents and befriending their enemy, Kanan, to killing his own father. Despite this, it's become clear that over the last two seasons of "Power Book II," Tariq is slowly but surely turning into everything he resented his father for being — a liar and a drug dealer who constantly deceives those closest to him. Still, Paolo predicts that Brayden and Effie's secret won't blow over well when Tariq eventually learns the truth, "Because he does most of the lying," he notes.

"That's definitely going to mess him up in a lot of ways."

"So when he's told a lie, he's like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'm the one lying here. Don't be lying to me,'" Rainey Jr. adds. "But that's definitely going to mess him up in a lot of ways. That's not going to be right at all."

As far as what else viewers can expect from "Power Book II" season three, Mahoney notes that the show's plot is still following Tariq's "coming-of-age story." "What is Tariq's next choice? What's his next path as he goes on this journey to determine does have to become his father? Are there other opportunities that he can pursue? Is there someone else he can become?" the showrunner asks. "It's sort of like when you're in that sophomore year in college and you're making the decisions for your future. That's how we looked at it for Tariq."

He continues, "We'll see as we go into season three and beyond, different people are pulling him in different directions, and he's got to choose what path is best for him as a man."

New episodes of "Power Book II: Ghost" air every Friday on Starz.