The death of Roxy's mum in The Power explained
The Power spoilers follow.
Readers who had their noses buried in a copy of The Power in 2016 have finally been treated to Prime Video's long-awaited adaptation of Naomi Alderman's sci-fi thriller, where girlbossing is a way of life and electricity doesn't come from the National Grid.
Developed by Alderman and an all-female writers' room, The Power imagines an alternative reality where adolescent girls discover overnight that they have the power (get it) to electrocute people at will.
The show follows a handful of characters as they reckon with a new reality where women have suddenly been placed at the top of the food chain. We meet foster child turned cult leader Allie (Halle Bush), savvy Nigerian journalist Tunde (Toheeb Jimoh), ambitious Seattle politician Margot (Toni Collette) and her disillusioned teenage daughter Jos (Auli'i Cravalho).
Perhaps most magnetic among the show's ensemble cast is London's literal spark plug Roxy (Ria Zmitrowicz), who we meet while she's living with her former beautician mum Christine, with financial support from her gangster dad Bernie Monke (Eddie Marson).
The first of the three episodes already available to stream on Prime Video sees Roxy attend the kind of extravagant wedding only a crime boss can conjure, to celebrate the nuptials of her half-brother. It's here that Roxy is buried among the guests on a far-off table and dad Bernie snubs her in his reception speech for the happy couple.
There's clearly no love lost between Roxy and her stepmother, who finds a moment amid the hoopla of her son's wedding to inform Roxy just how much her meal at the reception set them back. "Revealing price tags. How common," Roxy's real mum later sniffs as they debrief the evening over a slice of smuggled wedding cake.
As Roxy relays her dad's offer of a job at a Cotswolds spa that he owns, Christine begs her to maintain the peace with him since he's keeping them afloat, but Roxy hints she wants a part in her dad's more nefarious business activities.
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It's as Roxy and her mum are scuffling over whether she's destined to go to prison or not that a window in their London flat smashes and a frightening gang of men burst in. As Christine screams threats of gangster Bernie Monke's vengeance to the intruders, one of them says: "The girl's not meant to be here," before barking at her to scarper.
A tragic scene unfolds as a desperate Christine and Roxy wrestle to hold onto each other, while they're pulled apart and Roxy is bundled into a nearby cupboard. Hard-as-nails Roxy doesn't let that stop her from fighting for her mum and she barges out to launch at one of the men, electrocuting him with her newfound voltage fingers.
Yet just as she's staring at her Lady Macbeth hands, another heavy deals her a blow to the head and she falls to the ground, waking later to discover her lovely mum Christine has been killed. In a shellshocked haze, Roxy returns to the wedding and shuffles through the strobe-lit dancefloor drenched in blood.
The following episode finds Roxy in Kill Bill mode, hellbent on revenge. She pitches up at one of her dad's criminal fronts and volunteers her services in the manhunt, since she saw the men who attacked them. However, Bernie throws a wet blanket over her fire.
"No one's killing anyone," he tells her. "I'm handling this with the police. This is a proper investigation." An apoplectic Roxy asks since when has the notorious gangster trusted the likes of the Met to handle his business.
He replies: "You don't think this is killing me? I loved your mum. I am taking care of everything, but we have to be careful because we've got coppers everywhere. I don't need you doing something stupid, little girl."
After the three episodes already available to stream, we still don't know who was behind the murder of Roxy's mum, but an Easter egg in the show's source material hints at how important her character could prove to be. Roxy's mum was called Christine in a nod to Alderman's previous novel, which she scrapped after writing 200,000 words, but which eventually formed the germ of The Power.
So, who killed Christine? Well, Bernie and Roxy have already floated a few theories. While Bernie suggested it had been a "burglary gone wrong" after the intruders stumbled on the wrong house, Roxy said it was a hit job to get back at crooked Bernie. Roxy tells him: "They said the girl wasn't supposed to be here, like they knew who I was," but Bernie points out they could have seen her after casing the place.
Yet if the show plans on following the storyline of the book, we could get an idea as to who was really behind the murder. The Power could end up deviating from its source material, though, so we're only speculating here on how it could all pan out.
Major spoilers for the novel The Power follow.
Alderman's novel sees Roxy's mum's death unfold in a bitterly similar way to that depicted on the show. Meanwhile, her dad Bernie has managed to wrong a shadowy figure referred to as Primrose, whose reputation is far less flowery than his namesake.
Roxy and Bernie come to understand it was Primrose who ordered the hit on Christine – potentially proving that the show's Roxy may have been bang on the money when she suggested it was related to her dad's crooked career. In the book, the father-daughter duo hatch a plot together to get rid of Primrose for good.
With Primrose despatched, Roxy heads abroad and follows in her old man's footsteps, turning her hand to building her own criminal business relating to the electrical power. Yet when one of her half-brothers is attacked on home soil, Roxy returns to London to right some more wrongs.
Roxy's stepmother gifts her a book of Bernie's contacts as a slightly bizarre way of saying thanks, and lo and behold there's a twist in store, because Roxy recognises a name in the ledger as one of the men involved in the murder of her mum.
Leaving no stone unturned, Roxy and her half-brother track down the man in question and he reveals that it was none other than Roxy's dad Bernie who ordered the hit on Christine. Despite the devastating betrayal, Roxy is reluctant to take her usual eye-for-an-eye approach with her father and instead demands he put himself out to pasture and publicly hand over his criminal enterprise to her.
We are only part way through the nine-episode arc of The Power, so it remains to be seen whether the show will follow the storyline of the novel. We will just have to tune in to find out who was really behind the death of Roxy's mum…
The Power episodes one to three are available on Prime Video with new episodes released weekly.
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