Boob(s On Your )Tube: ‘The Chi’s Thanksgiving Finale Underwhelms But Sticks The Landing

As Pride Month lumbers towards a close, so does this week itself, and isn’t that fun for us all? Anyhow, this week on television we welcomed the U.S. premiere of Orphan Black: Echoes, which Valerie noted Is Not an Exact Clone of the Original — It’s Gayer. I (Riese) personally LOVED ‘Land of Women’ and guess what…. so did Drew, especially for its teenage trans lesbian character. She wrote all about it in ‘Land of Women’ Is Must-Watch Fun TV — Especially for Gay Trans Girls.

Notes from the TV Team:

+ Things have been a bit stressful on Criminal Minds, trying to get info out of Voit while trying to solve the mystery of Gold Star, which has sadly left our queer duo apart, until the veeeery end of this week’s episode when Rebecca says she doesn’t want to be alone after a particularly rough mission, and Tara joins her in the elevator. So maybe we’re getting the gays back together! Time will tell. — Valerie Anne

Criminal Minds: Tara and Rebecca

The Chi 616: “Thanksgiving”

Written by Natalie

LaPorsha and Nina embrace and raise a glass in celebration of their upcoming trip.

The Chi will always be Lena Waithe’s show. No matter how extensive or limited her involvement is from season to season, she remains the show’s creator and its executive producer (along with occasionally co-writing an episode). It’s considered her show and, as a result, Waithe shoulders a lot of blame when things on The Chi go awry.

A lot of that blame, particularly from online spaces, is unfair and I hope my critiques of the show never dovetail with those. Waithe’s just an easier, more visible target for fans’ ire than, say, Common, who also serves as an EP for the show. And, of course, some of the blame she shoulders is just repackaged homophobia: people mad at her for daring to remind them that queer black people exist in the world and are worthy of love.

That said, a Thanksgiving episode of a Lena Waithe show…given what that archetype has meant in her life, both personally and professionally? Naw, this episode had to be great…and if it wasn’t, I wanted to see the manager. To the show’s credit, though, they managed to stick the landing, for the most part.

The Chi‘s rainbow coalition does get the short shrift in this episode, though. Fatima’s given little to do, besides hosting Thanksgiving dinner with a motley crew of guests, including Papa and his mother, Jemma, Jake, and Victor. Despite their break-up, Tierra finds herself back on Marcus’ arm at Rob’s Thanksgiving dinner. Brittany doesn’t get a resolution with Jemma but she does get one with her brother: he promises to forgive but not forget her treachery. Roselyn and Serena are missing from the episode entirely…despite the fact the murder of Roselyn’s husband anchors the episode and stands out as the show’s “Who shot JR?” moment.

Nina, however, does an extended send-off. Does it make sense after learning her daughter’s car blew up and she’s about to have another grandchild? Not in the slightest but I guess this is what we’re doing. Nina announces to her family that she and Da Brat will be leaving Chicago together in a Winnebago. Keisha and Lynae are rightfully taken aback but are cajoled into supporting Nina’s midlife crisis. I get it, actors leave — Tyla Abercrumbie is part of the new NCIS spin-off — but at least try to make their exit consistent with whom the character has always been. It’s not clear that the writers on The Chi afforded that care to Nina and it tarnishes an otherwise strong episode.

All American 613: “Victory Lap”

Written by Natalie

Patience performs for the first time since her stabbing at Layla and Jordan's beach front wedding.

Back in April, the CW granted its flagship show a rare extension: two extra episodes to “flesh out [its] story and build toward a satisfying conclusion.” But based on “Victory Lap” — which should’ve been the show’s season finale — it’s not clear that any fleshing out was done. Instead what we got was a lot of story, compressed into one overstuffed episode, that did a disservice to all the characters. Moreover, it’s clear the writers’ interpreted “satisfying conclusion” to mean “appease the shippers.”

Only the straight shippers, of course…because this show would much rather devote its time to retconning a longtime romance between Jordan and Layla, than to give a satisfying conclusion to the show’s actual longest running romance: Coop and Patience.

But even though the lesbians aren’t hearing wedding bells, good things are still happening: Coop learns that she made the dean’s list and, for the first time since her stabbing, Patience is ready to perform live. What starts out as just a plan to sing her new song at Layla’s wedding changes when a friend from New York calls to offer Patience a small role in Broadway musical. Later, Patience tells Layla about the Broadway role but says she’ll likely pass on the opportunity to focus on her album. Layla shoots down every excuse Patience offers for not taking the role. When Patience admits that she can’t ask Coop to walk away from her life in LA, Layla reminds her that Coop’s home is wherever Patience is.

At the wedding, Patience’s performance goes off without a hitch and it restores her confidence enough to make her reconsider the Broadway gig. She mentions it to Coop and her girlfriend is dismissive. First, Coop points out that acting isn’t something Patience has ever done before, then she pivots to admitting that she just doesn’t want to lose Patience again. Frustrated that Coop is making this opportunity all about her, Patience angrily walks away. Recognizing her misstep, Coop follows Patience outside later and apologizes. She also insists that Patience take advantage of this opportunity and go to New York.

Patience won’t be alone in New York, though, because Spencer finds out he’s been drafted to the New York Bobcats. We don’t get to see any of that because the show fast forwards through Spencer’s first professional season just to get us to the point of him proposing to Olivia…but at least we find out that Coop’s a few months from graduating and ready to move onto law school.

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A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. You can follow her latest rants on Twitter.

Natalie has written 410 articles for us.

Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 573 articles for us.

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