The Chi: In The Heat, We Prosper
After missing a week (my burnout got bad) I’m so happy to be back writing about The Chi. In another spine-tingling and emotional episode, this week all our favorites deal with the out of control heat and some the consequences that have been building up since the first episode.
While the heat rages, Brandon finds himself in business with Emmett. The two have been clashing the last couple of episodes but with Emmett’s millennial way of thinking, he’s managed to bring in more business than Brandon has ever seen. So Brandon has no choice but to partner up and lets Emmett help him run the food truck. Whether he likes it or not, business booms when Emmett is around and he needs as much money as he can get.
After attending his fathers funeral, Kevin struggles to understand and process his own emotions. He and his father had a strained relationship at best. Kevin, harboring a lot of resentment towards the man, didn’t show emotion at the funeral and kind of passively brushed everything off. He doesn’t know how exactly to feel about the entire situation. And it doesn’t help that all his mother and sister seem to be able to do is yell and scream at each other, while his friends can only offer their condolences. For now, he’s left to deal with his feelings on his own.
Meanwhile, Detective Toussaint is making big moves in her determination to find out what happened to Ms. Ethel. She also seems ready to take down the gangs in the process if she has to. Cruz and the head of his department are weary, they’ve had to make a sort of arrangement with the street gangs in order to keep the peace. Toussaint, however, isn’t about making deals with gangs. She’d rather just take them all down and make sure the gangs know she isn’t here to play. It’s a dangerous game but after successfully raiding Reg’s trap house, Toussaint proves that she’s about that life.
Now, though, that means that Reg and Douda (also know as Mr. Perry) have their eye on Toussaint and will be taking the steps needed to fight back. Reg has thoroughly fucked up in Douda’s eyes and there might be no coming back from this to him. He even goes as far as to tell Reg that he isn’t in charge of a few of the blocks anymore. He can’t be trusted to be the one giving orders. Douda also throws in Reg’s face the fact that he’s supposed to be setting an example for Jake, yet instead, he’s letting him witness this gangster lifestyle and participate in it at times. It’s an ironic sort of call out.
Finally, this week saw the return of an old friend. As Ronnie struggles to adjust to life outside, one morning he wakes up to discover a kid cutting his grandmas grass. The kid tells him that Rafiq has been sending him over ever since she was attacked. Surprised, Ronnie decides to pay Rafiq a visit and finds himself useful around the center. He manages to fix the AC in the building and Rafiq asks him to come back after they’ve closed so he can look at few other problems. But the judgmental stares and awkward silence haunt Ronnie to the point he leaves and doesn’t come back. However it’s never that easy when Rafiq is involved and he shows up at Ethel’s to get to the bottom of Ronnie’s discomfort. He knows first hand what it’s like to have killed another human, he also knows that there’s no one judging Ronnie harder than he’s judging himself. He can help Ronnie get pass that.
One thing that I love about each and every episode of The Chi is the quiet detailed moments we get. Scenes like Brandon and Kevin in the taco truck when Brandon reads his impact statement, Ronnie sitting with Tracy when he discovers how bad her depression has gotten or even in last nights episode when Emmett could tell Keisha was only using sex as a distraction and opted to cuddle with her instead. These scenes give The Chi ground to stand on. Yes the plot and storylines are amazing and yes we want the characters to come out on top, however, to me we only want these things because of the little moments we’ve been given.
A perfect example is Emmett. I haven’t like Emmett as a character since the first few episodes of Season One. Every time I give him the benefit of doubt, he screws up in ways that could have been avoided if he’d just thought about it. However, in just one episode, The Chi has managed to change my view on him. I don’t know if the fire in Sonnie’s restaurant made him get some sense or if Tiff finally letting him see his son is what did it but Emmett is finally making moves in the right direction. His sudden dedication to helping Brandon with the taco truck is fascinating to watch. He goes as far as to create social media pages for the truck, hook them up to alerts and even sells some of his best sneakers so he and Brandon can get supplies. Perhaps Brandon is wearing off on him or Emmett is just tired of messing up, either way, he’s finally doing something worth his efforts. He also takes his mother out on a date, wanting to apologize for himself and his father. A new side of Emmett we haven’t seen before.
One relationship that is quickly becoming my favorite is the brother bond between Brandon and Kevin. We’re to the point now that if we don’t get a Brandon and Kevin scene every episode I might be upset. Usually, the highlight of the episodes is watching Brandon take Kevin under his wing and be there for him; while Kevin does his best to support Brandon even though he’s only 14. In last nights episode, it really resonated with me the way Brandon was able to tell something was wrong with Kevin from the moment he saw him. He knew he was upset, but he didn’t push him either. Brandon let Kevin tell him in his own time. He was there to be his rock while he cut his hair and Kevin cried. Which is what Kevin needs right now. The support he gets from Brandon he can’t get anywhere else, not even from his mom. And I love that The Chi, so far, hasn’t done anything to jeopardize that. I hope the writers let the relationship between Brandon and Kevin only get stronger.
One last thing that I wanted to take a second for is to talk about the romantic relationships on the show. Besides Jerrika and Brandon, we don’t really see any couples. Kevin’s mom obviously has a girlfriend/wife but we know next to nothing about her. And Emmett is, at best, only interested in getting off. While I really appreciate the fact the show doesn’t just revolve around romance, it would be nice to see some of the characters get loved on. Jada especially, because the more we learn about her the more we see that she’s truly been given the short end of the stick when it comes to love. I was really on board for her and Ronnie but after his conviction, I’m unsure if Jada will ever see him as anything other than a murderer now. I’m also tentatively hoping for something between Detective Cruz and Detective Toussaint, not because I feel like it could help or hinder the plot but because sometimes it’s just nice to ship characters. Their dynamic would be interesting to watch if it was taken to another level.
All in all, The Chi continues to please me week after week with its sharp storytelling and unparalleled writing. I look forward to the upcoming twists and turns and watching the characters navigate this thing called life. I’m also extremely relieved that the show has been renewed for a 3rd season. There are so many places and possibilities that it can go.