There is one moment from Power season 4 episode 5 that is going to be ringing in our head for a rather long time. However, it has to do with matters outside of the show just as much as it has to do with the story within.
More than halfway through Sunday’s new episode, we saw what was the final scene for Charlie Murphy on the series, and maybe one of the last times that we ever see the late actor and comedian onscreen. The way in which Marshal Williams went out was especially grisly and visceral, with James St. Patrick bludgeoning his head in during the midst of a rage. He had just sat through a painful discovery hearing (that included him taking the stand) and was in the process of being subjected to further abuse at the hands of the prison guard Williams. What has transpired with these two characters over the past few weeks has been nothing short of horrible, and to see Ghost snap was hardly a shock since every man has their breaking point and he’d been just about as restrained as he could be considering the circumstances.
With all of this in mind, to see Murphy’s character die onscreen months after his real-life death was unsettling, to say the least. It added a greater sense of unease to the moment and reminded us further of the brevity of actual life, even though it was fictional in the sense of the show. Murphy’s health struggle was also something that he kept secret from the Power production during his time filming, which adds a further sense of gravity and mortality to what we see in this scene. Murphy committed his everything to making this scene right leading up to Williams’ death and clearly did not want to be treated as anything other than a great actor doing what he does best.
(Eventually, Ghost has a little bit of help in covering up precisely what happened to Marshal Williams, and is able to go about his way.)
As tough as this scene was to watch, we have nothing but praise both for him and the show’s production — the grittiness of it is a testament to the work that they do. We don’t think that this necessarily rewrites any history on who Charlie was, mostly because his genius was already so well-known. What was so exciting about him on Power was to see him take on this dramatic material and show a different side to some people out there who only know him for comedy. He had tremendous range and could alternate between both likable and unlikable characters with ease.
Back when Murphy first passed, we wrote a little bit more in terms of honoring his memory.
For some further news on Power season 4…
We will publish a full review for this episode tonight over at the link here, and that includes a preview for the next installment and also some more reaction to this hour. (Photo: Starz.)