The Chi: Season 2, Episode 6 “A Leg Up” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Keisha doing her makeup.
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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.


Network
Showtime
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

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Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman: Keisha, Ricky, Maisha, Kevin

It isn’t clear what is happening between Maisha and Kevin, but it seems he is increasingly warming up to the idea of her being a fixture in his life. Mind you, not enough to claim her around his friends but considering her kisses her, in front of her friends, at her birthday party, there’s progress. Unfortunately, when it comes to Keisha, while she too is taking steps to be in a relationship it is with her track coach Ricky.

The Past Haunts You: Ronnie, Jada, Jake, Kevin

A person’s childhood is the building blocks for their life. So, with Jake getting blamed for stuff, and Kevin often reinforcing the accusation, it messes with him a bit. Especially since Kevin clearly has a future ahead of him, to the point of being recommended for a fancy academy, and Jake recognizes the struggle is real and coming for him.

Ronnie revealing the man across the street was his absentee dad.

But he isn’t alone in dealing with childhood trauma. Ronnie gets a job, thanks to Jada, to clean out a house across the street and while, at first, it’s pushed that maybe he was molested, instead, we learn his father lived across the street. Which wouldn’t be a big deal if the man was active in his life but the way things appear, either his dad didn’t know about him or ignored him. Making how much care he put into his lawn but couldn’t hang out with his son, who seemingly grew up without his momma, and lived across the street, part of Ronnie’s trauma. Hence why, a few episodes ago, he was pretending to shoot his neighbor, and it wasn’t due to how he acted with Jason.

Trying To Get A Leg Up: Jerrika, Ms. Brown, Alderman Bonner, Brandon, Emmett, Neva, Shay, Dan, Tiff, Otis, Darnell, Greavy

After Tiff put the fact she is getting child support out there, the mothers of Emmett’s other children seemingly decide to visit the Chi and organize. This pushes Emmett to take a note out of Darnell’s playbook and make peace with them for the sake of the kids, and so they aren’t trying to gang up on him or get into altercations with each other.

But, I would be remiss not to note another inspiration of Emmett is Brandon. Someone who has a bit of a rocky time with Jerrika this episode. You see, Brandon is looking to work with Otis (Douda) since Dan fixes the cooking competition (we can even hear one judge saying that he could get fired helping Dan). So, taking note of a conversation with Greavy, he is ready to use whatever advantage he can.

Otis Perry (Douda) noting he'll be in touch and give Brandon 10,000.

Leading to the issue with Jerrika: Because she decides to play ball with Alderman Bonner, who coerces $30,000 out of her for a community center, he finds her to be a hypocrite for not supporting him working with Otis, who likes to pay for things in cash. Also, unbeknownst to her currently, who offers Brandon $10,000.

Yet, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real trouble comes from when Jerrika’s friends come over and once again, Brandon’s insecurities rear its head. For if it isn’t the idea that he doesn’t provide financially, it’s that his worth comes from giving Jerrika some good thug d***. Which leads him to storm out and while it may make you fear they are about to take another break, luckily they make up within a day.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Where are Brandon’s friends or is it, outside of Hannibal, all his friends are his ex-co worker, Emmett, and Kevin?
  2. Is Greavy going to get a divorce since Laverne clearly isn’t coming back and he isn’t moving?

Highlights

Emmett Humbling Himself

While still a ho, it seems he no longer is trying to be a dumb one. For between Brandon cracking jokes and Darnell’s example, it seems he might be growing up a bit. Also that he is coming to realize he is getting older and he can’t get away with what he once did. He needs to, even if he isn’t going to see and spend time with his kids, at least step up financially and realistically note what he can contribute.

Jerrika is a Boss

Jerrika telling the Aldeman to not screw with her.

Jerrika bossing up with Alderman Bonner may not compensate for the fact she is one of the few women this season with a compelling storyline, but it remains an improvement over the last one. For she has moved far beyond just being Brandon’s girlfriend and they are addressing her privilege, showing her friends, her issues with the relationship, and her challenges as a businesswoman. Especially a young Black one with men who think they can play her.

Ronnie’s Past

While I must admit that I’m starting to get sick and tired of Ronnie’s whole life being a sob story, it doesn’t mean I’m not invested in the character. Such as why Miss Ethel was raising him since, I’m sure it was mentioned, but gaps between season make you forget the little details. So with learning his dad was across the street and had nothing to do with him, I get why that messed him up in the head a bit. I also appreciate this growing relationship he has with Jada. Even though I’m rather unsure if it is circumstantial or they are actually friends.

Kevin’s Apology To Jake

While Kevin apologies to Jake more often than the other way around, since Kevin is frankly in the wrong most of the time, I love the fact he isn’t pushed by Papa to apologize this time. Instead, he brings some food, somehow affords a video game, and they make peace. Now, whether he’ll stop assuming the worst about Jake is a totally different thing. Yet, recognizing her was wrong and that this is messing with Jake’s feelings shows he could evolve and their relationship get stronger.

On The Fence

The Beginning Of The End For Brandon

Considering all Brandon has gone through, I feel like I’m going to hate watching him become the scapegoat for Douda. Yet, on other hand, maybe he won’t go down for Douda and ends up being the one who takes Douda down? I mean, it isn’t clear how this show may handle its major drug lords so it may either start a trend or keep us guessing.

So Is Kevin Into Maisha Or Nah?

Papa teasing Kevin.

Here is my thing, he kissed her in front of her friends, so there is evidence and people who know what he did. Yet, in front of his boys, he still plays down what is happening and makes her defend their situation? I’m confused. Especially since he can man up enough to apologize to Jake but not stick up for Maisha? His growth is inconsistent and it is lowkey bugging me.

Where They May Go With This Keisha & Ricky Thing

Here is the thing, I want more out of Keisha than being one of Emmett’s options and Kevin’s sister. But her dealing with an R. Kelly type? I just don’t know how to feel. They could use Ricky to show how men prey on young women, but… let’s just say this storyline is the kind you see the value in having but also don’t want to happen to a character who is barely established. Since, you know, this will become the sum of her character forever and a day.

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Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
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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1 COMMENT

  1. Hey man, thanks for writing these! I’ve really been enjoying this show and all the complexities it presents with its ensemble cast ranging in age, experience and social status. Glad I just found your blog; the reviewers at the Chi Tribune have not been keeping up so far! Anyway, I would like to present a humourous (spelling, I am Canadian) correction: Alderman Bonner!

    I thought the scene with Jerrika’s friends was jarring and I would’ve reacted the same way Brandon did. It’s nice he was able to blow off some steam with his step-dad who, after their departure of Brandon’s mother, is “making projects for himself”.

    Interesting point of Ronnie’s story being a “sob” one. It certainly doesn’t seem to be getting any easier for him. I’m not entirely sure where his arc will develop now that grandma Ethel is home, she will continue to badger him to grow the hell up and do something with his life. In addition, what happened with Jason’s mom, Ronnie’s ex? It seemed for a moment that they could be supportive of each other with her depression. [Your question regarding miss Ethel, btw: Ethel is the mother of Ronnie’s mother, and Ronnie’s mother had a thing with the neighbor across the street, resulting in Ronnie. So they grew up there but at some point the mom must have split leaving Ethel and Ronnie behind]

    Oh Brandon, I feel the storm coming. Remember, he still has the gun Reg gave him (immediately recalled Chekhov’s gun, it may be a trope but I believe he will use it in this upcoming struggle with Douda).

    Agree with you about Keisha and Ricky. Sticky situation and not sure where they will go with it.

    Lots brewing in this show and it really keeps one on one’s toes. The connectivity introduced in S1 that drew me in continues to yield!

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