The Chi: Season 6 – Written Review

Alicia (Lynn Whitfield)

As “The Chi” extends into its 6th season, it continues to be something worth applauding for how diverse it wants its depiction of Chicago to be. However, it still struggles to do the most at a high caliber.


Plot Summary

As Douda finds himself having to remind people he is the baddest man in the city, he finds more and more pushback and people being audacious. Things have never been so trying, from Emmett and Rob, who he hasn’t forgotten about, Rob’s mother Alicia, Victor, and even his own soldiers. Yet, committed to doing what it takes, both his allies and opponents fight to change what has long been the status quo.

Characters and Cast

Character’s NameActor’s Name
Otis “Douda”Curtiss Cook
EmmettJacob Latimore
RobIman Shumpert
AliciaLynn Whitfield
VictorLuke James
PapaShamon Brown Jr.
Pastor EzekielDaniel J. Watts
JakeMichael Epps
FatimaL’lerrét Jazelle
IsisMonroe Alise
AerinToni Bryce
JemmaJudae’a
TierraNia Jervier
NinaTyla Abercrumbie
KieshaBirgundi Baker
NuckCortez Smith
Pastor JacksonTory O. Davis
ZayAaron Guy
Detective ToussaintCrystal Dickinson
AlonzoLeon
Professor GardnerKadeem Hardison
MaishaGenesis Denise Hale
TiffHannaha Hall
BritneyAmari Noelle Ferguson
ShaadJason Weaver
KevinAlex R. Hibbert
DreMiriam A. Hyman
BakariAhmad Nicholas Ferguson

Review

Our Rating: Mixed (Stick Around)

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Highlights

The Trajectory of Papa’s Storyline

Papa (Shamon Brown Jr.) and Ezekiel (Daniel J. Watts),
Papa (Shamon Brown Jr.) and Ezekiel (Daniel J. Watts),

With becoming an adult and losing his father, while Papa isn’t lost or alone, he finds himself on a journey where he gets tested. Pastor Ezekiel, whom Papa has been warned about his entire life, becomes a mentor, and Papa bites into the apple.

Why shouldn’t he monetize Papa’s Pulpit? Why shouldn’t he have nice things? He is working for the lord, so why be against having enough to live a nice lifestyle and giving the flock something to aspire to have?

Seeing all this reminds you of when Papa got too big for his britches and, during an assembly, called out Jake and soured his relationship with many. The only question is, with more power now than ever and money attached, will we see Papa fall from grace again or prove his father was here long enough to instill in him right from wrong?

The Introduction of Fatima’s Chosen Family

Isis Monroe Alise and Aerin Toni Bryce The Chi Season 6 Episode 7 Long Live scaled
Isis (Monroe Alise) and Aerin (Toni Bryce), The Chi, “Long Live,” directed by Boma Iluma, 2023, (Showtime)

“The Chi” does its best to show everyone in Chicago, including the LGBTQIA+ community. In this season, the show expands the faces and voices to Fatima’s family, Isis and Aerin.

Now, admittedly, we don’t see much or learn a notable amount about either. However, the highlight here is to see queer people outside of productions presented as queer media. Breaking out of that box is the next step for media equality, especially in terms of the balance of presenting the space Isis made for her children while showing Shaad, Victor, and others welcomed, as long as they come correct.

Jemma and Tierra’s Relationship

Tierra (Nia Jervier) and Jemma (Judae'a)
Tierra (Nia Jervier) and Jemma (Judae’a)

While Nina and Kiesha still have mother-daughter moments, Tierra and Jemma have the most notable. Perhaps it is due to Jemma not being used to having a maternal figure or all she is going through with Jake, Maisha, and her new client Britney, for whom she has a thing? All of this is thrown Tierra’s way, and despite not having a kid of her own, she says all the right things and creates an enviable relationship.

Nina and Kiesha’s Therapy Scene In Episode 7

Kiesha Birgundi Baker and Nina Tyla Abercrumbie The Chi Season 6 Episode 7 Long Live scaled
The Chi, “Long Live,” directed by Boma Iluma, 2023, (Showtime)

Mental health is an issue for nearly everyone on the show. From death to cheating, kidnapping, and more, nearly every character has trauma they are trying to process.

However, only Nina and Kiesha have found themselves embracing therapy. More so Kiesha, but Nina sharing a session with Kiesha in episode 7 perhaps gave the mothers of “The Chi” one of their biggest moments since Laverne left the show.

How and why? Well, because Nina was given a chance to be vulnerable and free in a way that you don’t even see when the mothers have their group sessions. In her revealing she didn’t want kids, was living up to other people’s expectations, and Kiesha’s reaction to that, we got nuance in a way I don’t think a lot of Black women, in general, get to have on scripted television. Especially from platforms that have money behind them, like Showtime/Paramount+.

Nuck As A Father

Nuck (Cortez Smith
“Nuck (Cortez Smith),” The Chi, “House Party,” directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green, 2023, (Showtime)

Nuck faded to the background like many characters on “The Chi” who had their moment in the sun and weren’t written off once the need for them was over. However, with the reveal that he is Kiesha s baby daddy, not her assaulter, there was a thrust towards the spotlight. Now, when most characters come off the bench, they struggle since they are usually paired with someone who was also on the bench, and neither have the type of Storyline to reinvigorate their characters.

Nuck as a father, though, connects him with a central storyline, Emmett’s, and gives him the motivation he needs to become a major player in the criminal underworld. That is, as opposed to being Douda’s number 2, yet treated damn near on the level of most of Douda’s organization.

Low Points

The End of Douda & Pastor Jackson

Pastor Jackson's Bible
“Pastor Jackson’s Bible,” The Chi, “Boyz II Men,” directed by Shanrica Evans, 2023, (Showtime)

Death, for series like “The Chi,” are necessary. It presents reasons to value the danger characters put themselves in, it makes it so you can’t get complacent, and for most shows, deaths are exclamation points that shake up a show.

Increasingly for “The Chi,” deaths just allow one person to be replaced by many. Pastor Jackson’s death opened the door for Pastor Ezekiel to be introduced and Papa’s story to continue. The same for Douda. His death opened the door to Nuck, Zay, and Bakari’s next chapter. It’s like one tree falling feeds many.

But, the problem here is that, while you see the benefits of the death for other characters, the death doesn’t feel impactful beyond that. Zay killing Pastor Jackson might have been brutal, but it felt like everyone moved on rather quickly.

Douda’s death, for example, Nuck sneaking up on him and ending his life? Yeah, even though that opened the door for Detective Toussaint to return, so comes the question of whether these characters returning or boosting themselves off dead bodies deserve that boost or will reach the heights that character did?

Because while Pastor Ezekiel is entertaining, it’s hard to see him on Pastor Jackson’s level and not him being part of Papa’s journey. Then, with Doudas death, it honestly pushes you to wonder, why are cops just now returning to the show? Can Nuck, in his potential war with Alicia, live up to all we hoped and wanted in a war between Douda and Alicia?

While we appreciate the risk of killing off any character, as they become low risk and lead to questionable rewards, it cheapens each character’s death.

On The Fence

It’s So Bloated

While we love seeing actors like Leon and Kadeem Hardison perform and collect a check, “The Chi” is coming to the point of having too many characters to properly service. Then, when characters are written off, like Dre, two to three are suddenly introduced.

It’s not sustainable, and add in how the show pushes things to be so interconnected rather than have characters be multiple degrees separated; it makes getting compelling storylines, that don’t rely on lessening shock value, a challenge.

How Storylines Are Getting Wrapped Up Or Forgotten

From Dre suddenly being gone, how Victor’s murder case was handled, Maisha giving up on music, Kiesha looking for work, and more, it seems when the writers think something isn’t working, they will sweep it under the rug so the show can move on. This is frustrating but fine in cases like Dre’s, but Victor’s case suddenly being thrown out and, once again, the political angle of the show being discarded as it was, is upsetting.

It contributes to the frustration of how many characters the show tries to juggle. How can any character move forward, the actor have notable moments, when there is a constant fight for screen time? Never mind, even if you are the de facto lead, like Emmett, how do you keep things going when every step forward leads to you moving a step back?

He goes from making a deal with Douda to Alicia. Goes from Tiff to Kiesha, they add one of his many siblings to the show, then have Nuck piggyback off his prominence. In my mind, as much as they push Emmett forward, he isn’t lead character material. “The Chi” doesn’t really have that. It’s an ensemble cast with actors who, for the most part, are on equal ground regarding talent and charisma. The only exception is Lynn Whitfield, but they undermined her character from eclipsing Emmett.

Bringing The Police Back To “The Chi”

Detective Toussaint questioning why Detective Cruz if he has a problem with her methods
Not from this season

Originally, the police played a notable force in “The Chi” as the murder, which acted as the catalyst for the show went on. However, by the end of season 2, all the cops who we saw consistently vanished and didn’t so much make a cameo. But, with Q’s death, then Douda’s, they are back, with Detective Toussaint, the sole original cop we’ve seen, back on the show.

Now, this is after the litany of opportunities the cops could have come back, like when Douda was mayor and defunded the police. That would have been the perfect time. But to have them pop up for a murder, and skip Pastor Jackson’s and Ronnie’s, and come back for Douda’s? I get it; with Victor voting to return funding to the police, it seems like a good time. But, for a show that usually pushes forward, I must admit, I’m not jazzed about them bringing in an element of Chicago they dropped for the better but now want to revisit.

How Politics Have Been Handled

Speaking of another element dropped, I’d submit how the politics of Chicago has been handled has been trash. From Douda removing himself as mayor to Victor being a councilman, there is nothing but disappointment. I get, touching upon the police situation and politics and showing more than the criminal element of Chicago is important.

However, there are times when watching “The Chi” when I worry that it tries to be so much or do so much but isn’t great at most of it. Yet, knowing that it is so rare to get a Black predominant show, it wants to do all it can since there is no guarantee when the next time will be when a creator gets the opportunity to showcase the city on this level.

The First Half Was Better Than The Second Half

I’d submit the first half, including Kevin’s lackluster departure, was better than the second half. The second half of season 6 felt like it was less trying to compliment the first half or be a continuation, as much as it was trying to compete. The first half ended in September 2023, and the show came back in May of this year. Honestly, I feel like they should have treated this as another season.

Yes, it would have been a weaker season, a transition season even, but at least it wouldn’t seem like the best parts of the season were frontloaded, and the rest of what we got was just to fill the episode order.

Alicia: Wasted Potential

Alicia (Lynn Whitfield), The Chi Season 6 Episode 15, directed by Justin Hillian, 2024, (Paramount+) (56)
Alicia (Lynn Whitfield) bonding with Tiffany, The Chi Season 6 Episode 15, directed by Justin Hillian, 2024, (Paramount+)

Lynn Whitfield killed it as Alicia, but I feel like the writers didn’t give her what she needed. She is supposed to be this badass, yet Shaad is the head of her security? Never mind, look what happened under his watch from Rob’s murder, Emmett nearly being killed, Alonzo being murdered, Douda being able to roll up on Emmett, and Nuck was even able to take Douda’s murder from Alicia.

This is supposed to be the only person who could take Douda down and control his empire, yet they constantly made her look weak. I’d even say, if anyone but Ms. Whitfield played Alicia, she would be a laughingstock on the show.

Britney

Britney (Amari Noelle Ferguson) talking to her brother Bakari
“Britney (Amari Noelle Ferguson) talking to her brother Bakari,” The Chi, “Boyz II Men,” directed by Shanrica Evans, 2023, (Showtime)

Like Alicia, Britney is a character of wasted potential. From what she has or had going on with Jemma, being a push for Maisha to step her game up, her relationship with her brother, to being a spy for Douda? There were missteps, but also so many things Britney could have been used better for.

However, again, this show has many characters, many with built-in storylines that could be intriguing. Still, the proper time and effort isn’t spread about to allow them to shine. So, many storylines get rushed, borderline dropped, and you’re left frustrated because you were getting invested and didn’t get any kind of reward.

What I Hope To See Next

  1. The best thing “The Chi” could do is cull characters and maybe have a season or two where it doesn’t add any regular characters but just sticks to guest stars.

Background Information

NetworkParamount+ | Watch On Paramount+
Genre(s)Crime Drama Romance Young Adult LGBT+
Renewal StatusRenewed
Series PageThe Chi
Content Information
DialogCursing
ViolenceGun Violence, Blood
Sexual ContentNudity, Sexual Situations (Implied)
MiscellaneousDepiction of Corpses, Drinking, Drug Use, Smoking

Listed Under Categories: , , , ,


The Chi: Season 6 - Review
Alicia (Lynn Whitfield)

Title: The Chi: Season 6

Description: As "The Chi" extends into its 6th season, it continues to be something worth applauding for how diverse it wants its depiction of Chicago to be. However, it still struggles to do the most at a high caliber.

Start date: August 4, 2023

End date: June 28, 2024

Number of episodes: 16

Season number: 6

Part of series: The Chi

Author: Amari Allah

Production company: Paramount+

Actor(s): Curtiss Cook, Jacob Latimore, Iman Shumpert, Lynn Whitfield, Luke James, Shamon Brown Jr., Daniel J. Watts, Michael Epps, L'lerrét Jazelle, Monroe Alise, Toni Bryce , Judae'a, Nia Jervier, Tyla Abercrumbie, Birgundi Baker, Cortez Smith, Tory O. Davis, Aaron Guy, Crystal Dickinson, Leon, Kadeem Hardison, Genesis Denise Hale, Hannaha Hall, Amari Noelle Ferguson, Jason Weaver, Alex R. Hibbert, Miriam A. Hyman, Ahmad Nicholas Ferguson

Watch On Paramount+

Summary

In many ways, you get it. There is a scarcity of dramas starring predominantly Black casts, especially on platforms that not only give the show a budget but also market the show as well. “The Chi” is in a rare space, and with that in mind, putting on newcomers and legends and trying to make sure everyone gets a chance to be seen and collect a check is important. However, in trying to include everyone, it does a disservice to most, and even for the legends, you could submit they elevate the script beyond what is given and have to work twice as hard to maintain their legacy.

But, as “The Chi” continues to grow out, more than grow up at this point, we can only hope the bloat doesn’t kill the show, and as preparation for season 7 continues, it’ll drop the characters and storylines that are dead weight, and double down their focus on what has been working or what has potential to carry this show beyond season 7.

Overall
76%
76%
  • The Trajectory of Papa's Storyline - 83%
    83%
  • The Introduction of Fatima's Chosen Family - 81%
    81%
  • Jemma and Tierra's Relationship - 82.5%
    83%
  • Nina and Kiesha's Therapy Scene In Episode 7 - 83%
    83%
  • Nuck As A Father - 81.5%
    82%
  • The End of Douda & Pastor Jackson - 64%
    64%
  • It's So Bloated - 73%
    73%
  • How Storylines Are Getting Wrapped Up Or Forgotten - 71%
    71%
  • Bringing The Police Back To "The Chi" - 72%
    72%
  • How Politics Have Been Handled - 71.5%
    72%
  • The First Half Was Better Than The Second Half - 77%
    77%
  • Alicia: Wasted Potential - 74%
    74%
  • Britney - 72.5%
    73%
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User Review
0/100 (0 votes)

Highlight(s)

  • Nuck As A Father
  • Nina and Kiesha’s Therapy Scene In Episode 7
  • Jemma and Tierra’s Relationship
  • The Introduction of Fatima’s Chosen Family
  • The Trajectory of Papa’s Storyline

Disputable

  • Britney
  • Alicia: Wasted Potential
  • The First Half Was Better Than The Second Half
  • How Politics Have Been Handled
  • Bringing The Police Back To “The Chi”
  • How Storylines Are Getting Wrapped Up Or Forgotten
  • It’s So Bloated
  • The End of Douda & Pastor Jackson

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