The Chi sets up major conflicts as it heads into a promising finale

“Namaste Muthafucka” is a showcase of a lot of The Chi’s narrative problems in terms of pacing, but it gets a lot done. A lot of things are revealed, but none of it is particularly surprising. Tracy and Quentin’s horrific connection is revealed and it turns out Quentin is Jason’s father. This doesn’t really change Quentin’s place as a villain in the show and most viewers had already guessed this reveal was on the way. Much like Brandon’s food truck, “Namaste Muthafucka” feels like a lot of things we’ve seen before.

The episode’s best arc is with Ronnie, who finally decides to turn himself in for shooting Coogie. Of course, this has issues because Detective Cruz has to admit that he shared confidential information with Ronnie, so this may not work out the way Ronnie thought. Still, watching Ronnie make sure his grandmother would be taken care of before calling Adult Protective Services showed growth on his part. Ronnie was in need of a redemption arc and his story finally seems to be on the right track.

His radical physical transformation over the past few episodes represents the progress he’s made. The last time we saw Ronnie interact with his friends, they said it seemed like he was close to death. Now he’s clean shaven and walking without a limp. It’ll be interesting to see what else comes to light through Ronnie’s actions, but his repositioning as a figure of clarity rather than one of confusion and violence has helped the show make more sense of his character.

We didn’t get to see much of Reg this week, but he still carried the most compelling plot on this episode. Reg has kidnapped Trice for Quentin and seems aligned with helping him. Quentin is dedicated to “taking things back to the old ways,” which is a scary promise now that we know his history with Tracy. If Quentin’s way of doing things involves putting women through Tracy’s fate, how is it any better than the current system? It also seems unlikely that Quentin could calm all of Chicago’s South Side with his plan. I’m not sure if that’s Quentin speaking from hubris or the show’s writers simplifying gang relations, but Quentin has big plans and Reg is officially on board.

Jake is also on board with Reg’s lifestyle. He skips school and play practice because he recognizes that isn’t what got Reg power. He even tries to start a fight with a classmate at Reg’s suggestion. Papa and Kevin are terrified of his behavior and the divide between their adolescence is clear after they’re nearly arrested. Papa and Kevin worry that their mothers might find out. Jake simply smiles, happy he made Reg proud. Still, the reality of Reg’s lifestyle isn’t something Jake can avoid when he realizes a man has been tied in his brother’s car during their entire joyride. I hope we see Kevin and Papa get through to Jake, but this is the reality of how childhood friendships fall apart.

Brandon’s plot feels a bit more put together this week, but we have the Deus Ex Jerrika to thank for getting his food truck going so quickly. Throwing Sarah back into the mix feels pointless now since he already quit the restaurant job and we know Jerrika and Brandon both slept with other people. How can either of them be mad about it? It seems like Brandon’s next big issue is going to be the debt he owes Reg, since we got that incredibly nonsensical scene where two random guys notice Brandon’s food truck and point out that he owes Reg a favor. I have to believe there’s a better way to have these plot points connect, but we’ll have to wait and see how Reg and Quentin make use of Brandon’s truck.

Emmett’s story also makes some positive progress, but again, it’s nothing he hasn’t already been dealing with this season. His mother is taking a job offer in Seattle and Emmett will either have to follow along, leaving EJ, or make it on his own. Either way, Emmett is going to need to hustle harder than his current circumstances allow, pulling him into Quentin’s pull along with Brandon and Reg. As the season comes to its final arc, Quentin is being set up as the main source of conflict. After the heights the show has reached this season, there’s no doubt that whatever Quentin has planned will be big, but in the meantime, episodes like “Namaste Muthafucka” are merely place setting.

Stray Observations

  • I’m glad Laverne and Tracy got to have a moment together. I figured Laverne would get pulled into the support group. Hopefully we get to hear her story too.
  • Jerrika is incredibly forgiving. She is literally the perfect girlfriend. What a great plot device.
  • I’m glad Emmett isn’t fighting over the whole child support thing, but his baby momma’s new boyfriend asking for extra money on the side was gross.
  • Detective Cruz is expecting a baby. Okay.

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