When we last saw Issa, she had reluctantly returned home to the apartment she shared with Lawrence, her boo of five years, after hiding out at her friend’s Molly’s spot to figure out if she wanted to break up or not. She choose to stick it out a little while longer, and so here we are.
We open with them having an awkward night together, with Lawrence trying to initiate some booty and getting shut down quick. He tried to save face with an awkward joke but it didn’t land. It made me think that actually maybe Issa and Lawrence are perfect for each other. #AwkwardBaes
Lawrence goes to see a head hunter and gets a dose of reality: He might have to take an entry-level job while he works his way back up to the tech jobs he’s actually qualified for. Even though he’s struggling right now, I can’t help but root for him. I see why Issa could be turned off by his lack of focus (he even admits later in the episode that he hasn’t been his best self), but underneath all that, you can tell he’s got a good heart. Jay Ellis is doing such a masterful job with this character because he plays him juuuuust right. I love seeing this intimate look at the ebb and flow of a relationship. It ain’t all sunshine and candy.
Issa’s BFF Molly (Yvonne Orji) meets Rashida, the new black intern at her law firm and is excited to see another black woman working her way up the ranks. Rashida (who also goes by Dada) is actually just like Molly (smart, capable, cute) but purposefully chooses not to code switch in “mixed company.” When Molly pulls her aside to suggest that she tone down her vibe, Rashida reminds her that she’s gotten this far without compromising so she isn’t going to start now. Welp!
Back at work, Issa is working on taking her LA kids to the beach, someplace they’ve never been before, for a Beach Clean-Up day. Her coworkers don’t think she’s up to the task, and are “having secret white meetings and sending secret white emails” to discuss her impending failure behind her back. SMH. Issa decides the best plan is to just show and prove. I remember being the only black woman in my department and feeling like everyone was waiting for me to mess up and having to be super vigilant about everything I said or did. It was exhausting.
The heart of the show is Issa and Molly and I live for their one-on-one scenes. They’re just two women, working at life from opposite ends who know how to be real with each other in a way that they can’t often do with anyone else. There’s no masks. No need to front. So when Issa comes to Molly with her latest problems with Lawrence, Molly reminds her that she needs to be clear what her problems with him are. Issa tells her, “I love him but it’s hard to carry the emotional weight and the financial weight. Those are heavy as fuck.”
Issa just preached a word right there. How many women just raised a hand in solidarity and let out a strong “Yaaaaaas”? As women, we tend to be the ones doing the heavy emotional lifting — where is this going? Are we still happy? Are we still putting in the work needed to sustain this thing? Whereas men, as we saw in episode 2, just kind of keep that type of dialogue to themselves.
Later, the two of them head to a house party where we meet my new favorite character Kelli (played by Natasha Rothwell). We also meet Tiffany (Amanda Seales), one of those “frenemies” we all seem to have who specializes in passive-aggressive comments. Molly’s boo from the open mic night stops by and reveals that he didn’t go to college, which means Molly goes from “feeling him” to “I’m not looking for a relationship right now.” Girl, what are you doing?
Issa’s Beach Clean-Up day gets off to a rocky start thanks to some shady coworkers and cranky kids, but she ultimately pulls it off and feels good about being able to deliver. I’m not too sure about her coworker Freida but we shall see if she’s genuine in future episodes.
When Issa gets home she finds Lawrence has cooked dinner but she’s tired and not too grateful for the lamb chops. She just wants to watch TV, rebuffing his efforts to talk. I kind of wish they had the conversation they needed to have, but instead, we get a flashback through their relationship through the history of their couch and I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t tear up a bit.
That couch represents so much more than a place to sit. It’s where you lounge together, eat dinner, have arguments, have sex (yessss!), watch TV together. It appeared that getting rid of the old, stained couch represented a new start for Issa and Lawrence. We shall see how their story continues to unfold in the weeks to come.
Before the series premiered, Issa Rae said in an interview that “Insecure” was the prequel to #BlackGirlMagic. It’s the journey you take before you step into your womanhood, own your shit and realize that you’ve got the power to do whatever the hell you please, thankyouverymuch. Through these first three episodes, we are still very much seeing Issa shed that insecurity but hopefully not too soon, because it is so thoroughly entertaining to watch.
Insecure airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO. Catch it on demand on HBOGo and HBONow.