The Chi: Season 2, Episode 5 “Feeling The Heat” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Ronnie smiling.
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It’s an episode of redemption, sweetness, and perhaps a rare reprieve in The Chi. Well, before it likely goes to hell.


Network
Showtime
Director(s) Jet Wilkinson
Writer(s) Ayanna Floyd Davis, Joe Wilson
Air Date 5/5/2019

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Clipping At The Knees: Detective Toussaint, Detective Cruz, Reg, Douda

Detective Toussaint shows how things are done where she comes from, and they are anything but by the book. She raids one of Reg’s stash houses, and on top of taking drugs and money, she hits a kid and leaves him to send a message. An action which doesn’t go unnoticed by Detective Cruz who is dealing with being investigated – something we don’t see.

And with Reg becoming a bigger and bigger issue for Douda, he is starting to believe whatever potential this boy has is never going to be realized. Leading him to take two corners from Reg but he does hear him out about a potential way to clean money he discovered.

Restitution: Rafiq, Jada, Emmett, Ronnie

Rafiq checking on Ronnie.

With Emmett starting to get some stability in his life, he decides it is due time to speak to Jada, perhaps apologize for his father, and reassure her that nothing he said was true. She was a good mom, and a lot of what he did was just him being immature. Which is nice to hear but, to be honest, she wasn’t expecting this conversation with her son. Actually, Jada was expecting a date. One that, without Emmett to mess up her game and take up space, maybe could lead to something? If just good practice.

Which, depending on how you look at it, could come from Ronnie of all people. Granted, he did smooth things over with Tracy in the last episode, but who knows if they may just end up friends or become something more? Also, while he seems to have moved past Jason’s death, it will always haunt their relationship. Not to say Jada finding Ronnie shot and knowing he killed someone near her son’s age means a good beginning, but Ronnie is working on himself.

Case in point, he decides to visit Rafiq, who had someone tend to Miss Ethel’s grass, and despite all the stares, he makes himself useful. In fact, Rafiq not only gives him the ability to pay restitution but also gives him a sense of purpose that he hasn’t had since the military. Perhaps because he feels needed and is given tasks rather than feeling as if he has all these skills and abilities with nowhere to funnel them? Leading to the need to wonder if, with his ability to love restored, will Jada be on the receiving end?

Come Together, Over Me: Brandon, Kevin, Emmett, Douda, Reg, Keisha, Nina

Kevin is having a difficult time with his father’s death mostly due to Nina’s complicated relationship with him and also Kevin, like Keisha, only knowing one half of the full story. Leading to him seeking out Brandon for while he has Reg and Papa, what he needs is an older figure. Not Keisha, since she is not giving him what he needs, but a male one.

Thus putting Brandon in a big brother position for both Emmett, who helps him take the business to the next level, with a small investment, and Kevin. Though, while Emmett and Brandon’s newfound relationship is sweet, nothing beats Brandon not only giving Kevin a safe space but him opening up about losing his own dad as well. Which seems to allow Kevin to feel, to cry, all while he gets his hair cut. An act that, when you think about it, might be when most Black men are the most vulnerable.

Brandon cutting Kevin's hair.

Yet, while Brandon is doing good, and getting some attention for his success, unfortunately, the one whose attention he gets is Douda. Someone who takes note of him, after Reg recommends him as a means of cleaning money. So, with Douda always liking local entrepreneurs, he uses a soft touch on Brandon. Just slips him a card, thanks him for a delicious taco, and walks away.

Leaving just one last thing: Emmett and Keisha. As you can imagine, with Keisha learning the truth about her parent’s marriage, and not really having an outlet, Emmett giving a quickie to take her mind off things makes sense. Yet, recognizing she is having sex more so as a vice than due to passion, he pushes her to get what she really needs – a cuddle. A sense that, yes things are messed up, but someone has you.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What went down between Nina and her kids’ father?

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Brandon’s father died when he was 4.
  • Tiffany posts Emmett’s child support check on IG so now it seems the rest may file for money too.

Highlights

Brandon’s Role In His Community

While Brandon isn’t marching down the street yelling “Black Lives Matter” or running for office, we’re reminded through him how even the smallest acts of kindness lead to you becoming a leader in your community. If not someone who may not be noteworthy to many but can be that reliable someone to multiple people.

Take note Kevin and now Emmett. Because of Brandon, arguably Emmett’s skills are being honed from a day to day hustler to someone who thinks long term. Also, while Darnell is in his life, arguably Brandon is taking Sonny’s place as a guiding force in his life. But, with him not being old enough to be his dad, he seems more open to listening and it gives Brandon a better opportunity to be a positive influence.

The same could be said for Kevin. With his father dead, and the only male figures in his life being his friends, Brandon can be the deciding factor. Making him take time out of his day, stay true to his word, everything Kevin may need to go from almost having Reg as his role model, in terms of hustling, to seeing Brandon’s life and take note of him.

Which isn’t to say Kevin ignores the positive influences at home or downplays the role of women in his life. If anything, I think Kevin is looking for someone who gets him in a way and while he appreciates the women in his life he’d like a male role model too. Making Brandon perfect since he comes from the same area, has a business, a nice home, and with things in Brandon’s life not being perfect, he is the best kind of role model. One who isn’t on some weird, unreachable pedestal but just at the top of the stairs. Waiting for you to put in enough effort to catch up.

Toussaint Showing She’s No Saint

Detective Toussaint questioning why Detective Cruz if he has a problem with her methods

Detective Toussaint is really showing herself valuable to the show and a worthy pairing to Detective Cruz. For while far from corrupt, by her not going by the book, she makes the whole cop angle of The Chi far more interesting than it was in season 1. Also, with her really disturbing Douda’s operations, making him seem like such a threat he heads to an OG, she does more in 5 episodes than Cruz the entire first season. All the while, thankfully, only being about her work and her personal life being nil.

Rafiq’s Return

Rafiq’s convenient return is quickly and easily forgiven considering he is turning a page and starting a new chapter in Ronnie’s life. One which leads us to see the man smile and have purpose once again. Though, most importantly, beginning restitution. Also, in a similar ilk to how Brandon is a mentor to Kevin and Emmett, Rafiq is to Ronnie. After all, he killed someone too and turned his life around. So after all Ronnie has been through, here is hoping Rafiq can make this change in him permanent and not just a flash in the pan.

Emmett Being Nice To Keisha Instead Of Taking Advantage Of Her

Emmett and Keisha cuddling.

While my numbers might be off, let’s not forget Keisha is still a teenager and Emmett, due to various decisions, age possibly included, is an adult. So him not looking to smash and go, but console Keisha really makes you think he is growing as a person. Now, whether he will date her for real or at least make it so she gets more consistent screen time, who knows? However, it would be nice if Keisha could be elevated to at least a Maisha level. Plus, having a real girlfriend could be a good look for Emmett.

Balancing Out All These Characters

With mention of Maisha, and hoping to see more of Keisha, I think we quickly have to note that, for the most part, the balancing this season is a bit better than the last. Yeah, female characters are still catching up a bit but led by Jada, Jerrika, and Detective Toussaint, things are better than before. Also, everyone has some sort of storyline going on which makes them come off as individuals rather than a supporting role in someone else’s life. Thus really pushing that everyone is a star of their own story and it is just we’re focusing mostly on this or that person vs. a lead and a supporting or reoccurring role.

On The Fence

Brandon Is About To Be Dragged Into Douda’s Mess

Douda praising Brandon's business.

It’s silly to think Brandon wouldn’t get dragged into Reg and Douda’s mess sooner or later. After all, Reg still thinks he owes a debt, it makes Detective Toussaint’s case easier, and Brandon having a fall from grace would be a tragic story. Especially if he loses Jerrika in the process. Yet, is it wrong I don’t want him to get mixed up, and his life screwed up for my entertainment?

Not that I expect this show to be all happy and like a paid advertisement to visit Chicago, but it’s hard to not sometimes wish a character’s struggle could just involve personal issues or business matters. Not cops and local gangs getting involved.

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