Following the shocking death of Cooper Saxe (Shane Johnson) and the arrest of Effie (Alix Lapri), the episode began with Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.) and Cane (Woody McClain) looking for answers. Tariq showed up to Davis MacLean’s (Cliff ‘Method Man’ Smith) office looking for any clues Saxe might’ve left in regards to where Tasha and Yazmine were. Cane also ended up at MacLean’s office but he was actually looking for Davis to inform him of Effie’s situation. Tariq and Cane ended up coming face to face and letting out their grievances towards one another. This turned into a fight that would’ve likely ended badly for Tariq if not for Davis intervening at the perfect time. After Cane leaves, Tariq and Davis discuss how Saxe might’ve left the voicemail as a Hail Mary to save himself. Tariq then reveals that he came across a picture of the police report signed by Whitman. Davis realizes that if Saxe knew he had the case, the Feds would too. Tariq decides to take the picture himself and dispose of it.
THE TASK FORCE
Jenny Sullivan (Paton Ashbrook) and Blanca (Monique Gabriela Curnen) are trying their best to get Effie to fold but it’s not working. The two are contacted by Medina (Greg Serano) and eventually find out about Saxe’s murder. The news obviously hits Jenny the hardest. As her co-workers piece things together and criticize Saxe while doing so, she defends him. Jenny reminds them that he sacrificed his life for them and without Saxe, there would be no case. As a unit they realize that if Effie doesn’t flip, they’re done.
Jenny returns to her office to find a letter from her ex-lover. In the letter Saxe tells Jenny that his death wasn’t her fault and that he knew what he was getting himself into when he agreed to help her. He expressed his true feelings for her and how he wanted to start a family with her. The last gift he left her with was “freedom.” He urged her to let the white whale go. Instead of taking his advice, Jenny decides to do the opposite and turn her pursuit up even more. Her and Blanca make their way to the precinct where Davis exiting, after he was unsuccessful with trying to get Effie to take on his services. The two women badger Davis about Saxe and all of the dirty dealings that came with his death. After Davis continues to deny is involvement, Jenny brings up the video they have of him handing Diana a note and how they think it all coincides. A frustrated Davis scolds the ladies and tells them that if they want to blame someone for Saxe’s death, they should look in the mirror. Can Jenny and Blanca find anything new to help their case? How helpful will all of the letters that Saxe left people be?
Diana (LaToya Tonodeo) walks in the Tejada household to find Monet (Mary J. Blige) reading a letter sent to her from Saxe. In the letter, Saxe claims Tariq was working with the Feds all along and that he set up Diana to get arrested. Monet doesn’t buy it at all but Diana isn’t as quick to just throw it outside. Suspecting that it could be a setup, Monet orders Diana to go find out if Tariq is actually a snitch. Monet had other things to worry about. While she was working at the bar, Evelyn (Luna Lauren Velez) pops up and demands to know where Dru (Lovell Adams-Gray) is. Evelyn tells Monet that she saw the YouTube video and that it’s a confession. After Monet again denies any involvement with Gordo’s disappearance, Evelyn basically threatens Monet and the Tejada family by telling her that she won’t get away with taking her son from her. Before the situation could get any more heated, Cane walks in, prompting Evelyn to leave. Ironically enough, Dru was there the whole time. He owns up to it being his mess and states that they have to take out all of the Castillos. Monet warns her sons to make sure that it doesn’t come back on them.
While the Castillos close down shop for the day at their restaurant, Dru and Cane go on the offensive. The lock them inside, seal the airways and push in some type of poisonous gas that kills them all within a few very short minutes. Once Cane and Dru are inside, they check to make sure that every family member is dead. Dru apologies to Evelyn, claiming that he didn’t have a choice but to kill Gordo. With her last breaths, Evelyn tells Dru that it was Monet who wanted Lorenzo dead. Dru covers her mouth and nose and kills her. Dru decides not to tell Cane the information Evelyn had just told him. The next day, Diana finally went and attempted to get answers from Tariq. She mentions that she got arrested because he told her to use the lockers. He responds by telling her that he didn’t know there were cameras up there and she has to do her due diligence. He continues by explaining that once he figured out that Saxe was a criminal informant he put together a plan to protect her. Hearing this helped Diana realize that Tariq wasn’t working with the Feds. She expresses how Monet has her head messed up. Diana then asks Tariq if she transfers out of state, where would it leave them. A flustered and in a rush Tariq brushes it off and tells her to choose herself first. Tariq takes a call and he’s surprised when RSJ (Gbenga Akinnagbe) tells him that Tate was the one who blew the whistle to the SEC. As Tariq rushes out to try and get a hold on things, Diana sneaks back into his room and starts searching through his things. She comes across the file that Tariq found earlier that he told Davis he would get rid of.
Diana brings the information to Dru, who tells her what Evelyn said to him before she died. As the two piece the story together, Cane walks in and confirms their suspicions. He explains to his younger siblings that Lorenzo killed Zeke on accident thinking it was Mecca. He goes on to tell them that when he brought it to her attention, she threatened to kill him. Diana and Dru both realized that if she would kill Cane, there’s no reason she wouldn’t also kill them. The Tejada children decided to confront their mother. Dru, Cane and Diana bring all the information they’ve gathered to her. When she tries to lie and act as if she doesn’t know what they’re referring to, they all get increasingly angry. Monet defends herself and her actions by mentioning how Lorenzo killed Zeke. She brings up all the negative things Lorenzo did to try and get them to get off her case. Monet says that she would’ve did the same thing for any of her kids. This specific statement pisses off Diana to the point where she starts yelling at Monet, calling her out for her selfishness. As the two women of the Tejada family almost come to blows, Diana expresses how Monet kills everything good in their family. She makes matters worse by telling her mother that it should’ve been her that should be dead. All three children leave the house as Monet emphasizes how she doesn’t need them.
Cane didn’t let his family issues weigh him down for too long. He posed as an attorney so that he could speak to Effie at the precinct. Cane came to tell her that she should flip on Tariq. Although he said he already figured out exactly what she could say so that Tariq takes all the weight, Effie tells him that she isn’t built like that and declines. She tells Cane that she never asked him to have her back. Cane tries to explain that the situation can work out for them if she listens. She expresses how there isn’t a them and tells him to leave. Will Effie be released from jail? Will she put her pride aside and take some help? What will the Tejada children do next now that they seem to be done with their mother? Will Monet understand the ramifications of her decisions?
TARIQ, BRAYDEN & EFFIE
Cane was on a mission to get to the bottom of the Effie situation. After his interaction with Tariq, he decided to pull up on Brayden (Gianni Paolo) next. He literally hit him with his car door while driving over 60+ miles per hour. After knocking him to the ground, Cane starts to question Brayden about knowing Lauren (Paige Hurd) being alive. Brayden explains how he wasn’t there when Effie did whatever she did to Lauren. When Tariq comes to visit Brayden at the hospital, he must admit that he knew Lauren was still alive after Brayden figures it out. Tariq doesn’t seem to feel too sorry that Brayden is hospitalized considering that he still wanted him to go talk to his Uncle Lucas (David Walton). Before he left the hospital, he hit up Lauren to try and find out if he and everybody else would be getting arrested next since the Feds got Effie. Unfortunately for him, she didn’t respond to his text or answer his phone call.
Since Brayden couldn’t go do it, Tariq went to Obi (Kyle Vincent Terry) to ask him to give them a couple more days to meet their quota. When Obi questions why he would go behind Noma’s back to help him, Tariq assures him that he can help him get anything he needs. Obi shares that only Noma’s influence can get his family in Nigeria what they need. The two end up making a deal so that Tariq gets three more days to meet his quota without Noma knowing in exchange for Tariq getting Obi’s family the green cards. As he’s done numerous times before, Tariq goes to Councilman Tate (Larenz Tate) for help. Tariq proposes that Tate give him the green cards as repayment for him helping Tate get a boost in his numbers due to the drug raid. In the midst of their discussion, Tate mentions Weston Holdings. He claims that they’re trying to put him on a payroll and before he agrees, he wants to know what he’s getting into. Tariq tells him that the company was on the up and up. Realizing that Tariq is lying like he usually does, Tate calls Harper (Keesha Sharp) who has a friend who claims he’s also been doing some digging on Weston Holdings. He claims that the SEC has been paid off by the right people and they’re ignoring all of his letters. Tate tells him that with I’m behind him, people have to listen. Tate decides that he wants to take down Weston Holdings and Wall St. for that matter.
It didn’t take long for FBI agents to make their way to Weston Holdings and start searching through all of their stuff. As the rest of the company is confused by what’s taking place, Kiki (Moriah Brown) assumes that Tariq or Brayden ratted them out. Brayden tells her that they actually made a deal with Lucas instead so it wasn’t them. Robert (Jeff Auer) and Trace (Cory Jeacoma) both suspect that Kiki knows something about everything going on and Lucas’ whereabouts. Brayden takes up for her by saying that he found that something was off with the books. He claimed that when he did, Lucas told him that he would take care of it and not to tell anybody. Later on, Brayden and Tariq link to discuss their plan moving forward. Tariq tells Brayden that the only thing they can do is to find Uncle Lucas and take him out. Brayden isn’t really too fond of the idea. Tariq explains how Lucas being alive could come back to be bad for them. Brayden admits that he doesn’t want to end up like Tariq (he specifically says he doesn’t want to become someone who can kill their father), which further infuriates Tariq. He asks Brayden what he’s willing to do for their family (he reminds Brayden that’s what he called it). Brayden says that even if he wanted to do it, he doesn’t know where Lucas is. Tariq orders him to find him because it’s either him or them.
At the Weston household, the family try to figure out where Lucas could be and discuss if they should turn on Lucas or not. In the midst of the conversation, they’re interrupted by the FBI who want to question Robert. Before walking off, Robert tells Brayden that sometimes doing the hard thing is the only thing you can do. While everybody else was running around like chickens with their heads cut off, Lucas was plotting. He got in contact with Medina, Jenny and the task force and shook things up a bit more. He told them that he knows who’s behind the Ponzi scheme at Weston Holdings and he has intel on a drug ring operating there. He promises to give them the information they want if they give him protection and immunity from the Ponzi scheme allegations. Before their conversation ends, Lucas tells the Feds to look into Crash Coin. While Lucas was trying to squirm his way out of the situation, Brayden just wanted to know where his Uncle was. He went to Kiki’s house and found her packing bags. She was preparing to make her way back home since she didn’t have lawyers, money or white privilege to protect her. She expresses why she got into business with Lucas. Brayden lets Kiki know that if she doesn’t turn Lucas in first, he’ll do it to her. He tells her to trust him and he’ll handle it.
When Tariq was in a hurry to get his conversation over with Diana earlier in the episode, there was a mysterious person named Pinky that he was texting. It turns out that she was keeping tabs on Brayden and led Tariq right to him at a condo in Tribeca. This is where Lucas was hiding out. Brayden tries his best to get his Uncle to sign a letter taking legal liability of the Ponzi, which would clear the rest of the family. He explains that Lucas can leave the country after he does it and can avoid all consequences. Lucas isn’t really receptive to Brayden’s plan and explains that he holds all the cards and that he isn’t scared of Brayden’s “ghetto friends.” Brayden tells Lucas that he will still go down even if he throws him and Tariq under the bus. Lucas says that he won’t, especially once he blames the Ponzi on Robert and Kiki. This seems to be all that Brayden needed to hear. As Lucas is explaining how he would never take the blame for something he could easily pin on someone else, an enraged Brayden pushes him off the building to his death. Ironically enough, Lucas fell right on top of a car that was very close to Tariq (as he was preparing to possibly have to go up there and kill him).
Tariq is hit with yet another surprise at the end of the episode. After he parks his car, he is snuck up on by none other than 2-Bit (Michael J. Ferguson). He reveals that Saxe also left him a letter since he knew that he and Ghost were beefing. Since the information in the letter (Tasha and the family’s address) was also valuable, 2-Bit told Tariq he’d need $100,000 from him on top of what he already owed him. Tariq explains that he doesn’t have a lot of liquid cash at the moment. 2-Bit convinces Tariq to switch rides with him, He tells him that it’s an offer he can’t refuse unless he wants someone to shoot Tasha. Of course Tariq obliges. On his way to the location, Tariq calls Tameika (Quincy Tyler Bernstine) and warns her that somebody knows his mother’s location. He has her send some extra protection over to their home. Tariq makes it there in time enough to see Tasha (Naturi Naughton) and Estelle (Debbi Morgan) having a conversation about Yasmine’s whereabouts. A few seconds later, there she was, running to give Tariq a hug. The reunion was short lived though. The person who was supposedly after his family was coming around the corner. In comes that classic blue Mustang that we all have grown so accustomed to seeing. Tommy (Joseph Sikora) parks in front of the house and kills the two guys that were outside guarding it right away and makes his way into the house. Estelle leaves to go find Yasmine, leaving Tasha alone. Tasha is shocked when she sees Tommy and asks how he found her. He tells her that Monet dropped him a message. Before Tommy can shoot Tasha, Tariq shows up at the perfect moment. Tommy and Tariq point their guns at each other while Tasha tries to convince Tommy that they’re the only family each other has left. Tommy doesn’t want to hear it. Tariq explains that none of them wanted anything that happened to happen. During the conversation, another man (assuming he’s a protective officer) comes in and shoots at Tommy but misses. Tommy ends up killing the man and before Tariq could shoot Tommy, he is knocked unconscious. Tariq wakes up in the hospital with a head injury. Tameika tells him that his grandmother and little sister are okay but Tasha is missing. Where is Tasha? Where is Tommy? Who knocked Tariq out? How will Brayden move now that he has caught this first body? Only one episode left of this season and so so much to unpack. Drop your thoughts about season three’s ninth episode in the comments and let us know what you think will happen next week!