by Jasmine Sanders | via Vulture
With the end of its first season in sight, The Chi races toward closure for its myriad characters. While a number of major storylines get wrapped up, “Ease on Down the Road” serves up a few plot points that are intentionally kept unresolved — sure to be fodder for the show’s second season, which Showtime approved early into its run this year.
At the top of the hour, Reg delivers a bloody Trice to Quentin, after stuffing him into car trunk in last week’s episode. His younger brother Jake is, of course, in tow. Trice seemingly reveals to Quentin that he was the person responsible for shooting Quentin and Tracy’s son, Jason. It’s a confession that costs him his life: Quentin has Reg kill Trice, and then he makes Reg the new man in charge. Later, Quentin runs into Tracy, silent and staring at the mural painted in memory of her dead son. Quentin’s interaction with her, brief as it was, left me queasy. This is a woman he impregnated, by rape, when she was a teenager. Tracy says nothing to him. I took her silence to be that of a woman rendered wordless by the unsuspected interaction with her rapist.
One of The Chi’s most persistent issues has been its cumbersome pacing. The mystery of Jason’s murder could have been resolved long ago. The story line has been teased out for far too many episodes, becoming a bit improbable in its scope and detail as the weeks have progressed. And it’s not even quite finished just yet: Although Trice is apparently the murderer of Jason, later in the episode, Detective Cruz’s partner is revealed as the actual murderer. Trice shot Jason, then, for whatever reason, stalled. The detective stepped in to finish the job.
This scenario invites more questions than it resolves. The detective murdered Jason by stepping on his throat, cutting of Jason’s air supply with his foot. Wouldn’t Jason have sustained injuries that pointed to a cause of death other than his gunshot wounds? Also, why did Trice freeze? It’s not as if he’s spooked by blood or gore — he pummeled Reg a few weeks back. It feels like the show invested in an increasingly baroque plotline, which ultimately became both unnecessarily complicated and a little distracting.
Ronnie turned himself in last week, confessing to Coogie’s murder. Scenes of Ronnie being booked and entering Cook County Prison are spliced throughout the episode. It’s a sharp, necessary look into the nature of incarceration in one of the nation’s most overcrowded prisons, with meticulous shots of Ronnie’s body meant to underscore the dehumanizing reality of incarceration, even though it felt prolonged at moments. The final shot of Ronnie on the other side of a closed prison cell door is one of misery and helplessness. It was a nice way of bringing home the fact that Ronnie was the perpetrator of a violent crime, but this is ultimately a situation in which there are no victors.
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