Share

‘The Chi’ is great in ‘Today Was a Good Day!’

Via static01.nyt.com

Spoiler Alert: this article contains a thorough recap of “The Chi’s” fifth episode, “Today Was a Good Day”

“Today Was a Good Day” was a gripping episode that seamlessly blended humor with the omnipresent tension that South Siders face. This episode occurs over the span of a single day and revolves around that night’s block party where all main characters converge for the first time. Emmett immediately resurfaces this week and displays his skills as a cook at Sonny’s Chicken Pit. However, with a child to care for, Emmett continues to seek illegal activities for extra income. Shortly after receiving compliments from Sonny, Emmett transports countless cartons of unstamped cigarettes to peddle on the streets.

Meanwhile, Reg oversees his crew’s gun heist from a shipping container at an empty train yard. The brazen, daytime robbery equips Reg’s gang with an array of semi-automatic weapons. This scene also foreshadows Jake’s moral demise and descension into the criminal underworld. Reg is ruthless, intimidating and villainous and he has become an utterly fascinating addition. Equally intriguing is how Reg continues to heartlessly debase his preadolescent brother, Jake. As Jake remains attracted to Reg’s nefarious lifestyle, it’s evident that he’ll soon become a merciless solider.

Brandon is still saddened, and lost, after getting dumped by Jerrika. Thankfully for the show’s lone role model, Brandon’s zany cousin, Hannibal (Chris De’Sean Lee), is determined to improve his spirits. Hannibal and Brandon get stoned on high-grade marijuana and enjoy their drug-induced euphoria. Hannibal is a diverse guy and his presence is uplifting.

While Hannibal’s appearances offer levity, the interaction between Ronnie and Tracy (Toya Turner) is depressing. Subtly or not, Tracy absolutely directed Ronnie to avenge Jason’s murder. To hear her claim otherwise is simultaneously maddening and pathetic. Still, it’s encouraging that Lena Waithe is starting to develop Tracy and reveal her personality.

At nighttime, the block party gets underway. Within due time, Brandon eyeballs Ronnie and again confronts him. Ronnie explains to Brandon his mistake and how the tragedy unfolded. The dialogue between Ronnie and Brandon was eerily heartfelt and it flawlessly exhibited the murderer’s pain. Before departing, Brandon warned Ronnie to leave Kevin alone. The lone critique here is that it’s unrealistic that Kevin wouldn’t have fled in fear at the mere sight of Ronnie. After all, Kevin is a preteen who nearly shot Ronnie to death.

Brandon’s evening is ruined when he learns that Jerrika has, within a week of their split, started dating some yuppie. This scene was odd and raised a few questions. Was Jerrika cheating on Brandon the entire time? Was Jerrika cheating on the yuppie with Brandon? Furthermore, as an affluent woman from a ritzier area, why was she at a block party on the South Side? These questions notwithstanding, Brandon’s character continues to shine as “The Chi’s” most invaluable creation.

Lastly, Quentin is in the midst of reassembling his squad of gangsters to, presumably, battle Trice. Quentin, standing alongside one of his enforcers, observes Reg threatening a DJ over his music selection. The menacing duo approach Reg and demand that he leaves the DJ alone. Quentin then whispers something into Reg’s ears and the younger sociopath cowers and bolts from the soirée. Quentin is such a dynamic character and his impending war with Trice will be riveting to watch.

THOUGHTS, OBSERVATIONS AND PREDICTIONS

  • Ronnie’s foul-mouthed grandmother, Ethel, would make Andrew Dice Clay blush.
  • Detective Cruz was absent this weekend. Cruz must formally question Ronnie about Coogie’s death or he is an inept interrogator.
  • Waithe deftly showed Jake giving his popsicle to Papa. This moment signified the end of the Jake that Papa and Kevin grew up with.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b5P-pCLznw&w=560&h=315]