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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Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
Season 2, Episode 7 “Blind Eye”Alongside venturing into Detective Cruz’s past, part Detective Toussaint’s is revealed, and Jerrika makes a big move. As does Douda to make sure Brandon becomes a fat fish.
Director(s) Becca Rodriguez
Writer(s) Cinque Henderson, J. David Shanks
Air Date 5/26/2019
Introduced This Episode
Detective Moreno Elliot Villar
  • The Truth Can Set You Free, If You Tell It: Detective Cruz, Detective Moreno, Emmett, Kevin, Ricky
  • A Little Sunshine After The Storm: Ronnie, Jada, Miss Ethel
  • Planning The Next Move: Brandon, Otis, Jerrika, Greavy, Detective Cruz, Detective Toussaint
Season 2, Episode 8 “Lean Into It”As we approach the season finale and know certain people are going to be written off, you’re left to question if others may join them?
Director(s) Salli Richardson-Whitfield
Writer(s) Terri Kopp
Air Date 6/2/2019
Introduced This Episode
Malcolm Cayen Martin
  • Education Doesn’t Change Everything: Malcolm, Kevin, Jake, Mr. Gasca
  • Off The Wagon: Ronnie, Jada, Emmett, Sonny, Shante, Detective Cruz
  • Know Who You Playing With: Jerrika, Brandon, Otis, Reg, Alderman Bonner, Detective Cruz
Season 2, Episode 9 “Guilt, Viral Videos, and Ass Whuppings”As the show preps for Brandon’s exit, it becomes clear there is more than enough going on that his time can be used well.
Director(s) Tanya Hamilton
Writer(s) J. David Shanks, Joe Wilson
Air Date 6/9/2019
Introduced This Episode
Lonnie Gaines AC Smith
  • Someone’s Watching You: Ronnie, Tracy, Detective Cruz
  • Kids Will Be Kids: Papa, Maisha, Nina, Kevin, Jake, Brandon
  • It Gets Real Sometimes: Detective Toussaint, Douda, Emmett, Tiff, Ricky, Keisha, Brandon, Detective Cruz, Lonnie Gaines, Reg
Season 2, Episode 10 “The Scorpion and The Frog” [Season Finale]While we already knew certain characters wouldn’t make it past this season, additional names get added, and it becomes clear there is a lot of change on the horizon.
Director(s) Jet Wilkinson
Writer(s) Ayanna Floyd Davis
Air Date 6/16/2019
Introduced This Episode
Mr. Bennett Richard Gant
  • Making Time To Heal: Ronnie, Brandon, Mr. Bennett, Tracy, Jada, Miss Ethel
  • Sometimes Apologies Work, Other Times They Don’t:Jada, Emmett, Darnell, Jerrika, Brandon, Maisha, Kevin, Papa, Tiffany
  • You Gotta Prep For What’s Coming: Detective Toussaint, Brandon, Douda, Reg, Jake, Jerrika
Season 2, Episode 6 "A Leg Up"The ladies of The Chi continue to get a voice as Keisha gets features and Emmet’s past partners. Alongside this, Brandon decides to get a leg up and Ronnie reveals a trigger to Jada.
Director(s) Cheryl Dunye
Writer(s) Justin Hillian, Dime Davis
Air Date 5/12/2019
Introduced This Episode
Ricky Levenix Riddle
Neva N.K. Gutierrez
Shay Danyelle Monson
  • Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman: Keisha, Ricky, Maisha, Kevin
  • The Past Haunts You: Ronnie, Jada, Jake, Kevin
  • Trying To Get A Leg Up: Jerrika, Ms. Brown, Alderman Boner, Brandon, Emmett, Neva, Shay, Dan, Tiff, Otis, Darnell, Greavy
Season 2, Episode 4 “Showdown”Jerrika and Brandon’s relationship gets tested as Ronnie learns he will be paying restitution for a long time.
Director(s) Carl Seaton
Writer(s) Casallina Kisakye
Air Date 4/28/2019
Introduced This Episode
Ms. Brown Jacqueline Williams
Alderman Boner Phillip Edward Van Lear
  • When Problems Arise: Kevin, Keisha, Reg, Jake, Maisha, Papa, Douda (Mr. Perry), Detective Toussaint
  • Can’t Always Be There When You Want: Jada, Darnell, Emmett, Jerrika, Brandon, Tiffany, Ms. Brown, Alderman Boner
  • Restitution: Ronnie, Ethel, Jada, Tracy, Shanté
Season 2, Episode 5 “Feeling The Heat”It’s an episode of redemption, sweetness, and perhaps a rare reprieve in The Chi. Well, before it likely goes to hell.
Director(s) Jet Wilkinson
Writer(s) Ayanna Floyd Davis, Joe Wilson
Air Date 5/5/2019
  • Clipping At The Knees: Detective Toussaint, Detective Cruz, Reg, Douda
  • Restitution: Rafiq, Jada, Emmett, Ronnie
  • Come Together, Over Me: Brandon, Kevin, Emmett, Douda, Reg, Keisha, Nina
Season 1/ Episode 1 “Pilot”The Chi seems like the evolved form of the urban dramas which dominate Black late 80s through early 00s nostalgia.
Network
Showtime
Creator Lena Waithe
Director(s) Rick Famuyiwa
Writer(s) Lena Waithe
Noted Cast
Brandon Jason Mitchell
Jerrika Tiffany Boone
Coogie Jahking Guillory
Laverne Sonja Sohn
Ronnie Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine
Tracy Tai’isha Davis
Kevin Alex R. Hibbert
Jake Michael Epps
Papa Shamon Brown Jr.
Andrea Mariah Gordon
Emmett Jacob Latimore
Keisha Birgundi Baker
Mr. Gasca José Antonio García
Jada Yolonda Ross
Sarah Kristina Emerson
Season 1/ Episode 2 “Alee”The Chi still treats its female characters dirty, but as it delves deeper into Chicago post-Jason and Coogie’s death, there is hope for others.
Director(s) David Rodriguez
Writer(s) Elwood Reid and Lena Waithe
Release Date  1/6/2018
Catch Up or Follow Along [External]
Characters Introduced
Ethel LaDonna Tittle
Quentin Steven Williams
Sonny Cedric Young
Miss Tiny Erica Watson
Alderman Martinez Sammy A. Publes
Maisha Genesis Denise Hale
Nina Tyla Abercrumbie
Detective Wallace Brian King
Detective Cruz Armando Riesco
Meldrick Byron Bowers
Tiffany Hannah Hall
  • Somebody Got To Look Out For Those Struggling: Emmett, Jada, Quentin
  • And It Was All Going So Well: Ronnie, Tracy, Kevin, Maisha, Jada
  • You Killed The Wrong Kid And Will Suffer The Consequences: Ronnie, Brandon, Laverne, Jerrika, Detective Cruz
Season 1/ Episode 3 “Ghosts”As Ronnie’s life continues to get complicated, the women of The Chi finally begin to be developed – somewhat.
Director(s) David Rodriguez
Writer(s) Adam Glass and Ayanna Floyd Davis
Air Date 1/21/2018
Characters Introduced
Trice Tosin Morohunfola
Reg Barton Fitzpatrick
Amir Behzad Dabu
Habib Amro Salama
  • Episode Focus: You Need To Get Your S*** Together | Laverne, Brandon, Jerrika, Ronnie, Detective Cruz, Kevin
  • Subplot 1: Money Is a Major Issue | Emmett
  • Subplot 2: When Money Isn’t an Issue At All | Quentin, Jerrika, Trice
Season 1/ Episode 4 “Quaking Grass”Violence begets violence, and there can never be peace as long as revenge links together like chains. In other words, things only get worse for damn near everyone.
Director(s) Tanya Hamilton
Writer(s) Elwood Reid, Justin Hillian, Mike Flynn
Air Date 1/28/2018
Characters Introduced
Greavy David Alan Anderson
  • Episode Focus: I Got Shot | Ethel, Jada, Ronnie, Brandon, Kevin, Jake, Reg, Jerrika, Detective Cruz
  • Subplot 1: Poking The Bear | Quentin, Trice, Detective Wallace
Season 1/ Episode 5 “Today Was A Good Day”While the title of the episode maybe, “Today Was a Good Day” that doesn’t necessarily apply to most of the characters on the show.
Director(s) Darren Grant
Writer(s) Marcus Gardley
Air Date 2/11/2018
Characters Introduced
Hannibal Chris De’Sean Lee
Tep Ronald L. Conner
JB Curtis Toler
Kasim Bassam Abdelfattah
Demetrius Gregory Fenner
  • You Got To Put In That Work To Get Paid: Jake, Emmett, Amir, Reg
  • Trying To Bring Back Some Peace: Q, Sonny, Brandon, Hannibal, Kevin, Maisha
  • Ain’t No Party Without Some Drama: Jerrika, Brandon, Q, Reg, Ronnie, Tracy
Season 1/ Episode 6 “Penetrate a Fraud”As Brandon and Sarah grow closer, a major piece of evidence comes into Detective Cruz’s hand. Though considering the moves Quentin is making, Jason may not remain his focus for long.
Director(s) Roxann Dawson
Writer(s) Casallina Kisayke
Air Date 2/18/2018
Characters Introduced
Shante Aeriel Williams
Becky Melissa Carlson
  • Redemption Moves: Emmett, Amir, Ronnie, Detective Cruz
  • O.G. Movements: Quentin, Trice, Reg, Tep, JB
  • Jerrika Who?: Brandon, Sarah, Laverne, Greavy
Season 1/ Episode 7 “The Whistle”People pay for their deeds, good or otherwise, and while some are as sweet as a kiss, others are as brutal as a bullet.
Director(s) David Rodriguez
Writer(s) Lena Waithe, Dime Davis
Air Date 2/25/18
Newly Noted
Luis Steve Casillas
Det. Ed O’Malley Guy Massey
  • You Just A Pawn In A Game: Kevin, Andrea, Maisha
  • Doing The Right Thing Doesn’t Mean You Won’t Be Punished (Part 1): Brandon, Luis, Sarah, Detective Cruz, Jerrika
  • Doing The Right Thing Doesn’t Mean You Won’t Be Punished (Part 2): Quentin, Sonny, Emmett, Trice, Reg, Jada
Season 1/ Episode 8 “Wallet”As Brandon figures out how to start his next chapter, Quentin treks backwards to prove a point to Trice and Reg of who not to f*** with.
Director(s) Tanya Hamilton
Writer(s) Adam Glass, Marcus Gardley
Air Date 3/4/2018
Characters Introduced
Chauncey Brad Walker
Mr. Wu Wai Yim
  • I Just Wanna See My Son: Emmett, Tiffany
  • I’m Just Trying To Have Something of My Own: Jerrika, Hannibal, Brandon
  • You Better Watch Out For Your Friends and Family: Kevin, Jake, Papa, Quentin, Reg, Ronnie, Meldrick
Season 1/ Episode 9 “Namaste Muthaf*ka”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.
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
  • Trying to be Big Homey/ We Need To Talk: Reg, Kevin, Papa, Jake, Quentin, Detective Wallace, Laverne, Tracy
  • What Was In The Dark Comes to Light, And It Isn’t Always Something Evil and Disgusting – Just Uncomfortable: Jerrika, Brandon, Luis, Sarah, Ronnie
Season 1/ Episode 10 “Ease On Down The Road”The Chi ends in a polar opposite way to how it began. There is peace, little to no drama, and rather than focusing on endings, it is all about new beginnings. Though not necessarily of the positive kind.
Director(s) Justin Tipping
Writer(s) Elwood Reid
Air Date 3/18/18
  • Curtain Call: Trice, Jason, Detective Wallace, Quentin, Reg, Jake, Kevin, Papa, Andrea, Maisha
  • The Job Of a Father: Emmett, Tiffany, Jada
  • Closure: Ronnie, Brandon, Jerrika, Reg, Laverne, Detective Cruz
Season 2, Episode 2 "Every day I'm Hustlin'"As the investigation into Miss Ethel’s attack begins, it appears Ronnie may get out, and Brandon may have more issues than Reggie.
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
  • You’re Now Accountable: Reggie, Douda, Kevin, Jake, Nina, Karen, Detective Cruz, Ronnie
  • Things Can’t Be As They Appear: Brandon, Jerrika, Amir, Tiffany, Emmett, Darnell, Jada
  • The New Cop To The Southside: Detective Toussaint, Detective Cruz, Reggie, Brandon, Miss Ethel, Ronnie, Kimberly, Kevin
Season 2, Episode 1 “Eruptions”How Ronnie end up in the position he’s in is uncovered alongside everyone’s struggle to either grow up, find stability, or just not succumb to the bad side of Chicago.
Director(s) Jet Wilkinson
Writer(s) Ayanna Floyd Davis, Lena Waithe
Air Date 4/7/2019
  • Growing Up In Chicago: Kevin, Papa, Jake, Maisha, Emmett, Tiffany, Jada, Keisha
  • Trying To Find Stability: Brandon, Jerrika, Ronnie
  • Surviving Chicago: Miss Ethel
Season 2, Episode 3 “Past Due”Kevin and Brandon FINALLY reconnect as Ronnie is hoping he can get out thanks to Detective Cruz rushing to close Coogie’s case.
Director(s) Justin Tipping
Writer(s) J. David Shanks
Air Date 4/21/2019
Introduced This Episode
Gladys Renee Lockett
  • Daddy Issues: Ronnie, Tracy, Emmett, Sonny, Tiff
  • What Are Friends For?: Brandon, Hannibal, Kevin, Maisha
  • Technicalities: Kimberly, Detective Cruz, Ronnie, Detective Toussaint, Gladys, Kevin, Miss Ethel

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Brandon Is About To Be Dragged Into Douda’s Mess
75 %
Brandon’s Role In His Community
89 %
Toussaint Showing She’s No Saint
80 %
Rafiq’s Return
85 %
Balancing Out All These Characters
86 %
Emmett Being Nice To Keisha Instead Of Taking Advantage Of Her
84 %

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