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The Chi: A Rebirth Worth The Wait

When it was announced that The Chi would have a third season after behind the scenes allegations tainted its image, I wasn’t too sure if I’d be tuning in. It’s been a long journey for this show and as much representation as it gives Black people, it still stumbles along the way occasionally. Or at least it did for the first two seasons. However, season three seems almost like a completely different show in the way it’s gone into hyperdrive to change the narrative from being focused around one person to the focus being the entire community of Chicago. Which is what I think many people have been wanting.

The first episode of the new season has a lot of heavy lifting to do, but somehow it manages in less than sixty minutes to set a new pace and give us new interesting characters to be invested in. As Kevin and Kiesha’s mom Nina gets married to her girlfriend Dre, Brandon’s funeral brings out uncurable bitterness in his mother and Ronnie struggles to come to terms with the fact the neighborhood will always judge him for what he’s done. Meanwhile, Douda, who is running for Mayor is confronted by Jake and Reg’s oldest brother Trig; someone he was told was dead. And Emmett struggles to take Brandon’s place in both the food business and as Kevin’s mentor, although even he is unsure if he’s the right person for the job. As life tries to keep spinning on a broken wheel, the south side community is unaware of a threat that will undoubtedly tear them all apart.

Since all the odds were stacked against this first episode, it’s a pleasant surprise to see the way the change in narrative has been handled so smoothly. To start things off with a beautiful wedding between Black lesbians was a great decision, it’s not often that we get to see pure joy between dark-skinned same sex couples. Nina and Dre make one of the most handsome couples I’ve ever seen and to watch the small group of people at their wedding be able to have uninterrupted fun made me feel content. Of course, there were small issues, as all weddings have, like the aunties ganging up on Keisha and slathering her in backhanded compliments and Emmett’s disappointment that no one enjoyed his food and pizza had to be ordered. But it was very nice to have that moment when everything outside of it seems to be bleak and dreary.

On the other side of things Douda, also known as Otis Perry, is gaining momentum in his mayor campaign all the while still being the kingpin of the streets. After Reg’s death, he has taken Jake under his wing; literally buying the child from his mother under the guise of trying to be a good samaritan. What he wasn’t counting on, however, was the oldest brother of the Taylor clan making an appearance and demanding his little brother back. Trig is a new character in the show that at first may seem like just another gangster, but I don’t think that’s the case with him. It’s through Trig that we’re introduced to the most revolutionary character The Chi has had yet; his girlfriend Imani. We don’t get much information about her in this first episode other than the fact she’s clearly down to ride for Trig until the end but that’s not what makes her revolutionary. It’s the fact that she’s the shows first Trans character, which is really great to see on a show that has been doing so much already for Black representation. Black Trans lives are currently under attack in the real world and not many people want to acknowledge it, hopefully, The Chi is prepared to give her a proper storyline and shed some light on why her life is just as important as any other Black person.

I’m very pleased with the turn around that The Chi is attempting to give us. Part of me hopes that we get a little more background on what exactly happened to Brandon, whether he was killed by Douda or the police he was going to snitch for, but at the same time, I understand the need to want to completely leave Brandon in the past. I applaud Lena Waithe and her team for not simply letting the show fall victim to outside forces that would have wanted to see it canceled. Personally, I’m very excited to see what this season has in store for its audience.

The Chi airs Sunday nights on Showtime

-Danyi

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