As darkness descends upon the southside, it illuminates a few in regards to the situation they are in. Both good and bad.
|Writer(s)||Ricardo Gamboa, Nambi E. Kelley|
|Introduced This Episode|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Honesty Goes A Long Way – Sonny, Dominique, Emmett, Jada, Tomas
So, Jada and her co-worker Tomas are officially dating, and it comes to the point of her meeting his family. Which is a difficult experience for Jada since Tomas is a widow, his family loved his wife, and don’t seem to think Jada measures up. Add in them speaking Spanish around her, after asking if she knows the language, and you can see her wondering if this is a sign for her to exit. However, as she is walked home, Tomas tries to reassure her the best he can.
Switching things to Jada’s son, Emmett is in a very odd place. He and Domonique are getting close and flirty, but she is also growing tired of the way they are operating as business partners. The secrets, the work ethic he expects, it is getting on her nerves a bit. However, with a blackout happening and them trying to take advantage with a BBQ, Sonny finally coerces Emmett to admit what has been happening.
Which, for Sonny, was a long time coming for he thought Emmett would have been come clean. However, him having people outside, during a curfew, on his property? It’s too much for Sonny to deal with, so on top of firing Emmett, he makes it clear he is done with him personally as well.
Stepping Up – Jemma, Maisha, Kevin, Papa, Jake, Trig, Imani, Otis
While Jake has witnessed and experienced more than Papa and Kevin, it can be said their maturity past his. I mean, just look at who they are dating and how they treat them. Kevin, when it comes to Jemma, is protective, loving, and like Papa, knows how to balance being their man and their partner. And speaking of Papa, let’s shout out a young man who, when asked what their requirements are for dating, he talks about what he can do for her! Damn thinking what she can do for him off the bat.
But, with being single, and seemingly no one checking for him, this leaves Jake as a fifth wheel, and who wants that? So, during the blackout, he spends time with Otis, who is trying to use the outage as an opportunity for his campaign. However, with one of his associates catching a kid defacing his posters, he gets triggered and beats the hell out of them.
This imagery, despite all Jake has seen before, sends him running to Trig and Imani. Two people who are struggling with trying to get their lives in order so the government can co-sign their ability to be Jake’s adopted parents. And with a bad visit happening, Imani reveals she might be a liability since she killed her father – in self-defense. Though with Jake seeing a side to Otis that scares him, maybe it won’t be as hard as it initially seemed to fly the coop with him?
We Found Kiesha – Kiesha, Omari, Ronnie, Pastor Stanley, Miss Ethel
So, after being baptized by Pastor Stanley and Ronnie going to see his mother, he is walking the streets and hears an outcry. Said outcry is Kiesha’s! For maybe a month at this point, maybe more, she has been in the basement of the building behind two locked doors, where this creepy dude named Omari has held her captive and watched her with multiple, motion tracking, webcams. It isn’t clear why, just yet, but you can definitely tell this was planned for a long time, and homeboy is twisted.
But, with Ronnie seeing finding Kiesha as his redeemer and him hearing her cry, it might be what he needs to reclaim his life. I mean to push how he seems to be back on the path he needs to be, Miss Ethel even recognizes him again. I’d even add, her forgetting the struggle he had almost made it so his baptism washed away those sins and allowed him to go back to the place when he just returned home, and things still felt hopeful and possible.
Jake, Papa, Kevin, Maisha, and now Jemma, they steal the show. If the adults got cut and we just focused on them, I’d be cool with it because there is something beautiful and engaging about each story. Be it Kevin and Jemma, and him being this kid from the wrong side of the tracks finding ways to match and earn this rich girl. Someone who loves her people, yet don’t necessarily know her people beyond those her father gives her access to, and that she reads in books or sees in media.
Then with Papa, while he has pretty much remained the same in many areas, his maturity really shines when it comes to Maisha. Someone who we’ve loved since around the time she was introduced, since she bridges that gap between being a hood chick, from an underprivileged environment, paired with being smart, resourceful, and that girl. So even if seeing her more required her dating Papa, I’ll take it.
Lastly, with Jake, what we’ve always enjoyed about him is how he walks that line. With Reg, you could see him ending up a gangster, inheriting that life, and walking the path of either jail or a bullet to the dome. However, watching him sit with Otis, listening to jazz, and really chilling, it reminds you how much an investment in kids like him can change their trajectory. Not just in money either, but specifically time.
Trig and Imani
I must admit, seeing a cis man love a trans woman like Trig does Imani is a beautiful thing to watch. Granted, sometimes, it seems very much about just that, and we don’t get who they are beyond the representation and the message, even with getting Imani’s backstory. But you can’t have it all. Plus, with their dynamic still being a rare thing, it isn’t like there are huge swaths of examples, both good and bad, to pull from.
WE SAW KIESHA
As mentioned in the latest episode of “Getting Ignorant With It,” Kiesha being alive is a complicated thing. For one, her disappearance, and the conversations before it, triggered so much about Black girls’ autonomy, them being kidnapped, and so much more. So the possibility of her death was there, yet what can be done if she returned home was also brought up to question.
After all, she has just gone through major trauma and taking note of everything said before, and the trajectory she was on with school and everything, what’s next?
Ronnie Back On The Wagon & The Testament of Faith
While Ronnie gets on our nerves a bit, at the same time, he is an addict we can identify since we know people like him. And one of the things which keeps a lot of addicts clean isn’t intrinsic motivation but extrinsic motivation and being held accountable in doses they can handle. With Ronnie, being part of something has always been what he needed to stay sober. Be it part of a family with a kid, part of a church, or some sort of environment where he feels useful.
However, after Coogie got killed, he lost all that. Add in him being a drunk and, while he has his friends, they aren’t enough. They don’t give him a position in society as much as they enable some of his worst qualities. But, faith is one hell of a thing and being told by God he’d find Kiesha, and his grandmother suddenly remembering him, alongside saying he’ll find her, it likely feels like a sign. And when you are in a place like Ronnie, and trying to be better, you can hear and witness signs. The kind that most people, in their daily lives, especially if they are doing good, may not recognize.
So here is to Ronnie back on the path and walking by faith.
On The Fence
Otis’ Quest For Mayor
Otis is someone we like, but I don’t know if we like him enough to have a storyline that is his own. Him as a father figure to Jake, that is a role for Otis we enjoy. However, meeting his wife, learning his past, his mayoral campaign, as much as there is a need to develop and give the character a storyline, I feel like the story isn’t hitting.
Now, this isn’t to say I wouldn’t complain about them underusing the character if he was just this business savvy gangster. It’s just, his political opponent isn’t that interesting, the people in his campaign, and I think the time and effort needed to bolster Otis’ story would take away from arcs already established and far more invested in. Leaving us in a weird catch-22 position.
Jada Falling In Love
Again, like with Otis, Jada’s storyline feels underwhelming because it doesn’t get the time and dedication it needs. Her going from barely wanting to spend time with Tomas to meeting his family feels like a huge leap, and we missed all the in-between. Yet, as much as we’d want to see more, I don’t think there is any character, besides maybe Otis, I’d sacrifice to get that time.
Leaving me to wonder, has “The Chi” become bloated?
Trajectory – Plateau
There is so much good about “The Chi” yet, it is coming to that point where it seems unable to do every single character justice. Especially characters who haven’t had the strongest storylines or are just starting to get notable focus this season.