So Showtime has a new show coming out soon from Common and Lena Waithe, and we got a sneak preview. The Chi, as you can tell by the name is based in Chicago. And like any good Chicago story, it starts with an act of violence. That one act of violence is the springboard to how all the other characters interact from that point forward.
You don’t realize it at first, because of the way the scenes jump around. But as the episode continues, you’ll see how the characters are intertwined. While I wasn’t a fan of the editing, there were moments that took you be surprise and had you guessing what would happen next.
The Chi is good about presenting the characters with choices and we see how their choices play out good or bad. The overall theme seems to be that choices have consequences, even if the consequences are unseen.
The Chi also explores family relationships. What does it mean to be a father? Are you still one if the child isn’t yours? What is the proper role for men in the family structure? When are you no longer responsible for the choices of others? What does it mean to be a protector? Do we expect too much from men or not enough? What is the woman’s role in the shaping of a man?
Another theme explored is the role of law enforcement in the community. On the one hand, there is a desire for law and order. On the other is the very real danger of being seen as cooperative. After all, snitches catch stitches. When there is no trust between law enforcement and the community, then that leaves the opening for street justice. That in turn circles back to the overall theme of choices. What do you do when you want justice, but you can’t/don’t trust the government to treat you fairly?
The characters will take a minute to grow on you, but by the end of the episode, you will have conflicting feelings about who to root for. With so many characters on the canvas, there wasn’t much time for character development, but the acting was solid, and there were scenes that absolutely took your breath away. Though the show is dark in nature, there are moments when the characters experience levity and a sense of hope. Watch for standout performances by Jason Mitchell and Sonja Sohn. You may know them from Straight Outta Comptonand The Wire, respectively.
For the first episode, I give the show a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I will definitely keep this show in the rotation. The end of the first episode left me wanting. And that is a good start. The Chi begins January 7, 2018 on Showtime.
This review was written by Sharlotte Jackson, her details are as followed: