The Chi: Season 1/ Episode 9 “Namaste Muthaf*ka” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Jerrika looking at Brandon as he opens his gift.

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What goes around comes around isn’t just about karma in this episode, but also what happens in darkness will eventually be exposed by the sun. Whether you walk into the light or not.


Network
Showtime
Director(s) Zenta Fuentes
Writer(s) Adam Glass, Sylvia L. Jones
Air Date 3/11/2018
Characters Introduced
Dek Ivan Ellis

Stepping Up: Emmett, Jada, Ronnie, Ethel, Detective Cruz, Detective Wallace

Jada reveals to Ronnie and admits to Ethel she got fired, and lets Ronnie know there may come a point where someone replaces her and they may not be as lenient. So, with that in mind, he needs to figure something out. Which leads him to think his little friends, Barry and Curtis can step in, but Ms. Ethel ain’t about that. It took her forever and a day to trust Jada and now Ronnie thinks, just because he shaved his scraggly beard, now he can introduce any ole person and she’d be fine with it? That boy got another thing coming.

But, with Jada having to go, Ethel makes sure to thank her. She gives her a wad of money and wishes her well. Which ends up being a blessing. For Jada has a job but it is in Seattle to be a nursing director. Which puts Emmett in an odd situation. As been established. Emmett doesn’t have contact with the majority of his kids since the momma lives out of state. So, with him actually connecting with EJ and him playing daddy, Jada’s announcement sort of puts him at a crossroad. Get a job which pays enough to handle rent or follow her to Seattle and leave EJ behind? Needless to say, it is a hard decision.

Detective Wallace welcoming Detective Cruz to come after him.

What isn’t though, in the case of Detective Cruz, is pushing Detective Wallace onto the defensive when it comes to Jason’s murder. Especially in terms of the missing 911 logs and how much of a cover-up seems to be involved. For with Sergeant Clemmons shutting him down, it seems he is ready to go to internal affairs about this. Something his girlfriend is a little worried about since she is pregnant and doesn’t want anything happening to him.

Commentary

You had to have known someone was going to move from Chicago right? That or else another cast member would get killed. So Jada’s storyline possibly wrapping up isn’t much of a surprise and is kind of the kick in the butt Emmett needs. He has taken baby steps to being a better father and man, and now he is being full on pushed to do so. And really, it couldn’t have come at a better time. For while Tiffany seems cool, her man Dek seems sketchy. To the point he sort of reminds me of Reg if he got his act together. Can be nice, family oriented, and all that, but you know there are things he is about which makes it so he shouldn’t be raising a child. Plus, with Tiffany, there still isn’t an answer to where she was for two weeks.

Yet, we’re not going to judge Tiffany here. If only because there seems to be more to her to her story than we have been told. Now, I don’t want to be a pessimist, but there is this thought that Dek, as nice and protective as he might seem, might be the reason for that two-week disappearance and it wasn’t a vacation. And while Tiffany got ways about her, I don’t see her as necessarily being trifling. Just another young woman who picks the wrong people to be in her life and tries to make the best of it.

With that said, I’m hoping this Detective Cruz vs. Detective Wallace thing heats up. Cruz has been so forgettable in his The Wire inspired storyline. Also, he seems so disconnected from the community and the cast that his appearances are always jarring. While most of the cast have brushed elbows a bit, one time or another, outside of interacting with Ronnie, Cruz has been weirdly isolated. Making this whole thing about his girl being pregnant very weird. As if this character has been developed to the point we should be invested in the fact he is to become someone’s daddy.

Trying to be Big Homey/ We Need To Talk: Reg, Kevin, Papa, Jake, Quentin, Detective Wallace, Laverne, Tracy

With what Quentin got out of Reg, he wastes no time having a one on one with Detective Wallace and proposing they work together. You know, take southside from the wild, wild west to a more business-oriented community. But of course, there is one thing he needs: The answer Trice won’t give him – who shot Jason. Which leads to the question of, why do you wanna know and don’t you already know the answer? Of which Quentin replies, because he is Jason’s father and Trice.

Leading us to Tracy and Laverne. Tracy reveals to us she was sold to Quentin and he didn’t seemingly abuse her or nothing like that. He did, however, have sex with her around the age of 16. She got pregnant and really wanted an abortion, to the point of attempting suicide, but she survived and made Quentin a deal. You leave me and my child alone, and I won’t do this again. A promise Quentin kept all these years. However, with his son dead, he is back and ready for revenge. A revenge Reg helps out with by delivering Trice to him.

But not before hanging with the little homeys you know. After a heart to heart Kevin and Papa make up, and now they want to work on Jake. Someone who has not only decided to skip play practice but now school. For, look at Reg, he did and now look at him. Yeah, he is a drug dealer, got cuts and bruises on his face, had some strange men up in the house, but he got money, is driving a fancy car, and seems respected.

Jake realizing that his friends aren't about the life he is getting into.

And with all that said, as Papa listens to who is Jake’s main influence, and Kevin takes note of how strong of a hold Reg has on Jake, they come to a crossroad. After Jake tries to jump someone, and Papa and Kevin are pushed to get involved, the cops show up and have them on the hood of a cop car. While this acts as a wake-up call for Kevin and Papa, Jake is so deep in the sunken place he thinks nothing of it. He just takes note of his friends not wanting to jump in and now not wanting to be in the same car as him and Reg. Signaling their friendship might be over.

Commentary

Though it has been assumed Quentin had some sort of relationship with Tracy, him having sex with her under duress is very f***ed up. Much less him buying her like she was a dog. And it wouldn’t have been so bad if he just took her in, raised her, and kept up his whole American Gangster

persona, but once it was noted he had sex with her it pretty much tarnished his image. I still think he is one of the most interesting characters on the show, but it is now so hard to like him. It’s like hearing your favorite actor got caught up in a #MeToo or #TimesUp scandal. On the low you still enjoy their work and want to see them continue, but also there is this immense shame since you know the court of public opinion has judged them as guilty.

Moving past that situation, I really do wonder why Laverne went to that meeting. Was it simply to get that idea Coogie killed Jason thing handled before she probably moves from Chicago? Did she just want to clear her son’s name or did she really want to address the murder and get support? Hell, do you think she found out, through Brandon, maybe Jerrika, just by overhearing something, Tracy’s ex was involved? The way Tracy moved let you know it wasn’t just talking about Quentin that made her uncomfortable. It was the entire situation.

Papa asking of Kevin for there to not be anymore secrets between them.

Leading to us talking about the kids. I cannot say it enough, I love Papa, the actor playing him I hope gets to have a similar career as the young man who is playing Kevin is, and we see more Papa types in media. For I can seriously picture a kid like Papa, take this in a positive way, in a Tyler Perry movie. A one-liner staple who outdoes the big name stars also in the movie. But what I also love about Papa, Kevin, and Jake’s story is how they, alongside Laverne and Tracy, give you a major 90s vibe.

What I’m talking about is the kids seem like that 10+ minute time allotment nearly every Black focused movie had where we saw our leads as kids. The way Kevin and his friends relationship is built, it is like we are getting what often times were the best part of the movie before they flash forward. Then, with Tracy and Laverne, it is like Lena Waithe and company are addressing that joke made in Don’t Be A Menace where the mother isn’t around or else the fact it always seems to be just the son’s brother’s we see affected and the mom and dad, if around, is an afterthought.

What Was In The Dark Comes to Light, And It Isn’t Always Something Evil and Disgusting – Just Uncomfortable: Jerrika, Brandon, Luis, Sarah, Ronnie

Let’s begin with saying Ronnie turns himself in for Coggie’s death and making it seem this show is really trying to start fresh for season two. Then, from there, let’s talk about the other element which brings 90s nostalgia: Jerrika and Brandon. From what it seems, they are officially back together and though Brandon confessing he had sex with Sarah and Jerrika confessing she also had sex when they broke up causes an uncomfortable moment, they could pull through. Jerrika invests in Brandon’s dream, Luis hooks him up with his truck being painted and worked on, with him just paying for parts, and Brandon even gets some customers. His truck also gets reported to Reg, who he owes, but that’ll be something to address down the line.

Commentary

Sarah asking to talk to Brandon about Chef knowing they had sex,

I need them to stop making issues that could break up Brandon and Jerrika. They just got back together and Sarah walks up talking about how Chef knows and seeming like she is about to tell him she is pregnant. We have to sore reminder that Brandon owes Reg, which is another thing that could lead to Brandon being kicked out, and also Jerrika sleeping with someone, which you know is going to make Brandon flip out. Not that he has the right to, but because of the way Jerrika was talking about old boy at the party made it seem nothing was happening. Yet, low and behold, it probably was.

As for Ronnie? Not to be cruel but similar to Jada, it seems like a cutting the fat kind of move. While I love Ms. Ethel, with Jada gone it means her only interactions would really be with Ronnie and once Jason’s murder is solved, outside of joining the Muslims and repping that on the show, what else does he have to offer?

Well, the answer to that is probably showing what life in prison is like. After all, he just confessed to murder and the actor playing Ronnie isn’t noted as a guest star. He is part of the cast so he isn’t going anywhere. So prepare for this show being a bit of season 4 of The Wire mixed with, I guess Oz and maybe a little Orange Is The New Black to address the conditions of prisoners in the system.

Highlights

  1. The 90s Vibe: Kevin and his crew being the kids who establish the friendships before we flash forward to the dysfunctional present; Jerrika and Brandon being that cute couple who are goals, even though they have some unnecessary drama; and Laverne and Tracy being the mothers who, usually, don’t get their pain and emotions noted but The Chi changes that.
  2. Making Quentin complicated: They took him from this loveable gangster to reminding you that despite all his talk about community and what not, he is not a good person. He maybe more mature than Reg, and not as flashy as Trice, but he still is the scourge of society.
  3. Papa and Kevin leaving Jake at the crossroads. Though also Papa in general since he is a true carefree Black boy.
  4. Jada getting a new job out of state and what that could mean for Emmett’s storyline.

On The Fence

  1. Detective Wallace and Cruz: With the show largely moving on from Jason and Coogie’s murders, while it speaks to how murder is just part of life for many of the characters, it also makes these two have the most outlier storylines on the show. Especially since the crime is all they are about and we don’t get much in the way of development out of them. Besides learning about Cruz’s girl but, with no strong reason to give a damn about Cruz, she isn’t given a second thought.
  2. With Ronnie turning himself in, and reporting elderly abuse, it means we may not see Ms. Ethel again.

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New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all. An avid writer, Amari hopes to eventually switch from talking about other people's productions to fully working on his own. Such a dream is in progress to becoming reality.