At the start of this season, the characters of The Chi were determined to get somewhere — and they’re still very locked into fulfilling their personal goals and dreams.

“I think everyone is seeking this space to be seen and to be cherished, loved and protected,” Luke James told Blavity’s Shadow and Act in an interview. “I think that everyone is trying to find their footing in life with some sort of foundation. I think that stretches for me all the way through the adults, everybody, you know, regardless of what they’re after as far as power and that position where everybody’s trying to find validation and a space to feel valuable.”

He continued, “Victor, he’s searching for answers to find more about himself to do better than what he’s done before; to put peace and love into a community that he, in a sense, helped, in a way, in his early days; trying to be a better role model for his brother. He’s looking for another chapter in his life and a sense of purpose and, in a way, an identity — ultimately, just a safe space to feel loved and cherished and able to breathe freely.”

Within his desire for all of these things, James admitted that this is also a huge learning curve for his character as he navigates a new world, and one where he is forced to hang up the desire to save everyone else and turn inward to help himself.

“It’s an ongoing struggle, in a sense, it’s a new terrain, something he does not know,” James explained, speaking to his character stepping into his role as a community leader and the toll it takes on his relationship with his brother.

“He does not know exactly what he’s doing, but he’s accepting the challenge, and I think that’s the beauty in the show, that we get to watch him stumble and fall. Nothing is perfect,” he continued. “He doesn’t quite know how to say that, or understand how politics work with compromising for him coming from the streets. A lot of that compromising seems like compromising your integrity, who you are and your people. Watching his struggle with that particular new chapter and his identity as far as with the street life that keeps calling him and him fighting to answer that.”

Vulnerability is another key component of the makings of Victor in the second half of Season 6. It’s also the very thing that James said might take those watching by surprise, just as it did for him while he was bringing this chapter to life for his character.

“For Victor, the willingness to open up and, in his own way, to try to hold space for the things that he’s feeling, that he’s going through, when he’s the type of person that just preserves, survives. And he’s always had his head on the swivel and never taken a second to find that space to heal himself from his trauma, the past traumas, the current traumas of living the street life and not having his upbringing be rocked,” James said. “I love that the writers and Lena [Waithe], they’re just so brilliant in tailoring it for us to be able to take our time and express ourselves. I’m grateful to Showtime and Paramount for allowing us to have more episodes where we get to flesh these things out in a very cool, grounded way.”

Season 6 of The Chi is now available for streaming on Paramount+ with Showtime, with new episodes premiering each Friday.