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‘The Chi’ recap: Kevin is caught between social justice and his own freedom

The budding activist needs the trust of his mom Nina, who knows speaking out brings risk for a young Black teen.

Kevin, played by Alex Hibbert, has a lot on his mind during episode four of “The Chi.”
Showtime

SPOILER ALERT: This recap of Season 4, Episode 4 contains explicit plot details.

On “The Chi,” all’s fair in love and revolution, it seems.

Emmett (played by Jacob Lattimore) and Tiff (Hannaha Hall) are in the midst of their newly agreed-upon open marriage. Emmett seems to not enjoy Tiff being so open with things as he demands some ground rules, while Tiff reminds him of his role in creating their current marriage status.

Kevin (played by Alex Hibbert) is caught between brokering freedom and trust from his moms Nina (Tyla Abercrumbie) and Dre (Miriam A. Hyman), and being an accomplice in kicking off the revolution at his school. His girlfriend, Jemma (Judae’a Brown), and Jake (Michael Epps) are in his ear about whose side he’s on.

‘I feel like they’re all over me, you know.’

Kevin’s reluctance to join anything threatening the uneasy truce he’s achieved is a common lament for anyone who publicly joins a social justice movement. The lives — and deaths — of Ferguson, Missouri, activists and protesters show why the folks who get into that life often live a lonely one.

Nina’s fear comes from a place well-known to Black parents. A couple of generations ago, the brutal murder of Emmett Till, who was in Mississippi visiting relatives, sparked the civil rights movement — and became a cautionary tale. Anytime Kevin steps out of the house, Nina is worried she’ll get the call so many Black parents dread.

Kevin goes onto social media to tell the world he messed up with Jemma. While he’s on Papa’s Instagram Live-like platform, Jake and Jemma are hanging out and acting on their feelings as the two kiss.

‘Everything has to do with God.’

Kiesha (Birgundi Baker), who received a snide comment about her pregnancy amid an interview of a prospective family of her unborn baby, starts to realize that a two-parent arrangement isn’t the only acceptable type of family for the child.

She visits Octavia (Tabitha Brown) at her job, and sees a different side of her via her work and career. While she’s there, Keisha experiences pain and Octavia gets her to a hospital. While at the hospital, the doctor suggests inducing labor. Octavia, keeping in mind her past medical experiences, advises Keisha to hold off. Meanwhile, Nina shows up and advises Kiesha to listen to the doctor.

After it turns out Kiesha’s high blood pressure subsided, she tells Octavia that she would like her to adopt her unborn baby.

Octavia, played by Tabitha Brown, advises Keisha (Birgundi Baker) during her pregnancy.
Showtime

‘Welcome to politics.’

When Tracy (Tai Davis) attempts to leave Douda’s house after the previous night’s “entanglement,” Roselyn (Kandi Burruss) reminds her that things are a bit different now since there’s a protest outside due to her husband’s defunding of the police.

‘Where is she?’

Imani (Jasmine Davis) tries to break a girl — presumably a sex worker — out of the 63rd Street Mob. When the girl doesn’t show up for the meet, Imani fears the worst, and pushes Trig (Luke James) to find information. Later in the episode, Trig confirms Imani’s fears as he gives her the phone she gave to the girl as he tells her the girl’s body was found in the neighborhood.

‘Why you always know something’s wrong?’

Jada (played by Yolonda Davis) finally tells Emmett about her cancer diagnosis. On top of him cheating on Tiff, and his newly open marriage, he’s understandably emotional about what his mom told him.

The 1932 film “The Girl from Chicago” — which shares a name with episode four — was written and produced by Oscar Micheaux. The film seems to sum up all of the issues and feelings many of the cast are dealing with this season: racism, self-worth and finding one’s niche, among many others.

5 things we learned from Episode 4:

  • Papa’s podcast has a name —“Papa’s Pulpit” — and it has an audience.
  • Roselyn informs Tracy about how her relationship with Douda is going to move forward.
  • Jemma’s show was shelved indefinitely after Jake’s interview.
  • Emmett is resigned to the fact that his open marriage to Tiff isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
  • Kevin wants Nina and Dre to trust him.

Storylines to think about:

  • How will Jake and Jemma handle their kiss going forward?
  • Does Imani go after Nuck (played by Cortez Smith) for revenge?
  • Now that Emmett and Tiff set ground rules for their open marriage, how will things play out?
  • How will Nina continue to react after seeing how close Keisha and Octavia have grown over time?
  • When and how will Nina confront Dre after seeing what’s presumably Jada’s text?