The Chi: Season 2, Episode 2 “Every day I’m Hustlin'” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

A picture of Ronnie and Miss Ethel.
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As the investigation into Miss Ethel’s attack begins, it appears Ronnie may get out, and Brandon may have more issues than Reggie.


Network
Showtime
Director(s) Darren Grant
Writer(s) Joe Wilson
Air Date 4/14/2019
Introduced This Episode
Darnell Rolando Boyce
Detective Alice Toussaint Crystal Dickinson
Douda Curtiss Cook
Kimberly “Escape Artist” Hendricks Kimberly Hebert Gregory

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You’re Now Accountable: Reggie, Douda, Kevin, Jake, Nina, Karen, Detective Cruz, Ronnie

With Q taken care of, Trice dead, Reggie finds himself getting a promotion. One which comes a bit as a surprise but he seems ready for it. But, as much as he is willing to take on more responsibility, Jake seems to be prepping not to join his brother in gang life. By creating a snack hustle, seemingly he wants clean money. Now, his lack of homework and possibly not giving his all to classes does lead you to question how he plans to stay out of the gang, but maybe like Kevin, he doesn’t expect to grow up. So maybe he is just trying to lengthen his lifespan by not being directly involved with his brother’s activities.

Speaking of Kevin’s fears, with Nina hearing that Kevin is scared of not growing up, it makes detective Cruz coming around talking about testifying a bit scary. After all, it’s one thing to give a statement but to be on the stand? Kevin already has fears about him “snitching” affecting his safety. Yet, with talking to Jake, maybe hearing about Karen’s situation with her brother over the years, he decides he is going to testify. All because Ronnie no longer wants to take the guilty plea – due to his grandmother being attacked.

Things Can’t Be As They Appear: Brandon, Jerrika, Amir, Tiffany, Emmett, Darnell, Jada

Brandon flipping out.
Brandon: That’s that bougie shit your parents be on.

While Brandon loves Jerrika, there is a constant conflict with the fact she comes from well-to-do people who are not only bougie, but condescending. Which, of course, he sees come out of her sometimes, and there is the wonder if she can be saved or is she lost to the upper crust? Her parents don’t help though with noting they spent 100K on her at Spellman, asking when she will pass the bar, get serious, and things of that nature. Heck, they are so against Brandon that when Jerrika tries to close business for their company, they poison the well a bit by bad mouthing Brandon. Luckily though, Brandon can code-switch like no other.

But for some, it isn’t about code-switching to adapting to a situation or environment. In the case of Darnell, Emmett’s father, it is simply about growing up. This is something Emmet feels challenged by since he sees Darnell be a pretty good father with making breakfast, helping his kid cut his meat at dinner, and being everything he wasn’t to him and what Emmett isn’t being to his kids. Leading to the need to question: why?

Well, Darnell decides to break things down for the boy since he recognizes all three of his children’s moms, and him, at a dinner table, seems foreign. Yet, the way Darnell lays it down, it was a lot of work, but they came into his life when he was a man, they were grown women, and they were willing to blend families. Not to imply there is a harem going on, but they do share resources and time for the sake of the kids.

Leading to two things for Emmet: Maybe some hope, after this child support thing is handled, he could become cordial with Tiffany. He and Amir got a new hustle selling Pakistani hair, so that is a new source of income for him. The second thing which comes out of the Darnell conversation is looking at Jada once over. Especially with taking note of how she talks about his dad who doesn’t want to say a word about her. Perhaps asking himself what role did she play in why he is disconnected from his father?

The New Cop To The Southside: Detective Toussaint, Detective Cruz, Reggie, Brandon, Miss Ethel, Ronnie, Kimberly, Kevin

Detective Toussaint (Crystal Dickinson) smiling.
Detective Toussaint (Crystal Dickinson)

With Miss Ethel alive, though with broken wrists, a concussion, and collapsed lung, also internal hemorrhaging, her case goes to violent crimes. Specifically, Detective Toussaint who isn’t that fond of south side cops, since she comes from the west side, and thus rubs Detective Cruz the wrong way. However, they come to an agreement to respect one another. Especially as Det Toussaint realizes something is fishy about Miss Ethel’s assault. No money was taken, jewelry untouched, they just ransacked her house and beat her within an inch of death.

This leads to some theories. The one focused on right now is the idea Coogie’s family might be involved, since grief makes people do some crazy things. There is also the idea the realty people could be involved, but that isn’t heavily pursued. Especially since Brandon is caught hanging around Reggie, finishing his debt, and that leads to some suspicions.

Though, as all this happens, Ronnie is prepping to get out of jail. His grandmother needs him, and it seems her getting assaulted might be just the thing he needs to get his act together. The problem is, he made a confession, Kevin gave a statement, and Ronnie has a public defender. But, with giving his hooch recipe to a neo-nazi, he acquires Kimberly Hendricks. Someone whose tactics are about results, including the idea of making Coogie seem anything but a saint and her name strikes anxiety among cops. Thus pushing Detective Cruz to double check everything for alongside getting Ronnie out, Hendricks may mess up Cruz’s career.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Ethel is 73.

Highlights

Karen and Nina

Karen and Nina relaxing on a couch.

While understated, you have to appreciate Karen and Nina’s relationship. It isn’t being used to make a statement or be made into a huge deal, they are just two parents trying to raise some kids and be in a relationship. One which is functional, loving, supportive, and yet doesn’t have either one feel they need to be submissive to the other. The prime example being Karen having to really push Nina to support Kevin testifying because of her brother’s death and the consoling received from the murderer being locked up.

Darnell

Darnell (Rolando Boyce) and Emmett talking.
Darnell (Rolando Boyce) and Emmett

One of the things you have to about The Chi’s approach to Darnell is they are showing what was a deadbeat dad evolving. That includes, somehow, creating a blended family, while he still has way too many kids, and making it all work between the kids, the mothers, and his bank account. But perhaps the part that may come of particular interest is the question of Jada’s role in all this. Not in deadbeat Darnell but not possibly joining this new Darnell’s mixed family?

Not to put any blame on her, since Darnell was noted to be trash in the past, and technically still is since it isn’t like he is active in Emmett’s life up until now. However, you can see in Emmet that classic realization that maybe it wasn’t all your dad so now you are analyzing your mom’s part in why things are the way they are. Which, considering Emmett is likely thinking about how things are with Tiffany right now, may make him overly critical of his mom and change their relationship.

Detective Toussaint

Detective Cruz they tried to do far too much with by showing his family, the Detective Wallace plot, and a whole bunch of stuff which brought him more screen time than needed. I mean, I get this show has a The Wire season 4 look, but that doesn’t mean that it needed to really tap into that’s show’s style. But, that thought aside, I do love Detective Toussaint. She comes off as a badass, yet not an ass**** and she represents what you’d want in a cop on a show like this. Someone good at their job, who stirs the pot since there are multiple circumstantial situations, yet isn’t written to make this into another show about the lives of cops. We got more than enough of those, don’t need another one.

Ms. Hendricks

It’s always good to see Black women play villains. For while being shown as complex, flawed, things of that nature is good, I’m sure many just want to be someone you love to hate and just lavish your tears. That’s what I get from the very blunt Ms. Hendricks who, dare I say, will probably get Ronnie out on a technicality, embarrass Cruz, and likely lead to Laverne flipping out. Assuming she will actually have a presence on this show and not just be mentioned to remind you she is alive.

Understanding Bougie Black Folks

Jerrika at her parent's fundraiser.

When it comes to bougie Black folks, it’s easy to write them off as forgetting where they came from and leaving it at that. However, with the woman Jerrika was trying to get the business of, you are reminded why many turn their back on those who they grew up with. For to find those who deserve a chance, who don’t break good faith, and are appreciative, that can be hard.

Yet, on the flip side, you see how problematic that is. This uppity idea that they should be so happy you gave them a chance and should be happy you are so gracious. It’s honestly terrible but, like with the Darnell situation, the conversation isn’t one-sided. You get why the woman only wants wealthy, yet with her growing up in section-8 housing, there is a small desire to see her continue to help the less fortunate despite previous tenants.

Jake Pushing Kevin To Be Grateful

Jake pushing Kevin to be more thankful for what he has.
Jake: I wouldn’t even know my mom if she knocked on that door.

As with other topics mentioned, there are two sides to everything and they show how complicated life is in Chicago. With the kids, we’re reminded, with each being Black boys, they are potentially in danger of being killed, recruited, or being forced out of their childhoods. Something which, from Papa to Jake, we see in various degrees.

Papa is shown as the most protected due to him being a church boy, still scared of his parents, and the peacekeeper of the group – the cautious one. Kevin is in between since he is out there, his family doesn’t have the time to be on his case like that, and while not a product of his environment yet, he has seen people die and almost killed someone. Then there is Jake.

With Jake, he has nothing the others have. His community, his people, are all in that life outside of his two friends. Parents are unknown faces, outside of Reggie, and he is basically responsible for himself. Hence why he was left in the house, despite a recent murder of a member of the crew, after said crew likely got robbed. It is assumed, despite barely being close to a teenager, he can take care of himself.

Which makes Jake reminding Kevin to be grateful so big since sometimes Kevin seems to forget his life is closer to Papa’s than Jake’s. If not, since there aren’t any guys in his household, there is some warped viewpoint of masculinity which makes Reg seem like the man. Leading to the need to wonder, when are we going to see Papa’s people on a regular basis? Are they waiting for the Mann family to be available or something?

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