There was a quote this episode that was felt across the world. A statement so true that I had to pause, rewind and listen to it again just to hear it’s truthfulness in all it’s glory. If you’ve already seen this week’s episode of INSECURE, Hella Open, then you already know what I’m talking about. You’ve already seen Tasha take down Lawrence’s ole’ Drake, “I’m a good guy but still manage to be emotionally manipulative” self. Ah, this was a great week.
So before that epic take down, the episode starts catching up with Issa, who’s own sexual frustration has thrust her in the hands of some random (but cute!) dude named Ben for a potential one night stand. I mean after 5 years with Lawrence’s special brand of lovemaking, it’s clear that Issa’s struggling to jump back on the wagon (pun intended) and find another guy to preoccupy her time. Her encounter with Ben ends pretty badly, with her not feeling comfortable enough to seal the deal and ending with her fleeing his place.
After deciding that she needs to get back out there, she goes to the one person she believes can teach her the ways of the “hoe” — Molly, who agrees to escort her on a night out. Equipped with an embarrassingly stiff sexy walk, Issa isn’t able to find one guy to take her home. Molly, however, is approached by a dude who’s genuinely interested in her – and doesn’t seem insane! In fact, the next day, Molly ends up on a date with the guy and the two really hit it off. While it was sweet, I was just waiting for it all to go wrong because I KNEW it was too good to be true. Matter of fact, I tried not learning his name because I already knew he wouldn’t be around long *eye roll.
Anndddd of course, even after the two hit it off during the date, Molly isn’t interested in the dude. After running into some old friends who are deeply in love, Molly questions if she should follow through with her guy considering he came on a little strong about his plans for the future and his desire for marriage.
Back to Issa, turns out, she may have found a well to quench her thirst. After her entire complex is hit with noise violations, a cutie who lives in her complex catches her eye. When she finally approaches him, he hits her with the classic LA pickup line – you smoke? Determined to make this work, Issa makes the first move, and while we hope it’s going to be hot – it’s painstakingly awkward, with Issa having a hard time finding the right… position (literally) to enjoy herself. Don’t worry though, after a little finagling, she does. Go head girl.
So while Issa’s doing her thing, Lionel, the good guy hits up Molly with Sza tickets, of which she declines – stupid! Sza tickets are sold out, girl what are you doing??
At work, Vice Principal Gaine’s prejudice effects the demographics of Frieda and Issa’s program. While the program is booming, Frieda points out that the fact that no Latino students have been encouraged to come to he program which is troubling – especially considering “86% of their students are Latino.” Issa continues to sweep the matter under the rug, telling Frieda that she should just be happy with the success of their program.
Now… sigh… Lawrence…
So Lawrence is having some trouble in paradise – I’m pretty sure he’s slowly realizing that rushing into a new situationship right after a break up is… stupid to say the least – and using someone as your own emotional crutch will only last so long. After declining to go to Startup Satuday, with his work friends, he heads to Tasha’s family BBQ, where he’s immediately put to work as the family’s BBQ helper. He only stays for a few minutes before ditching the party to go the start-up mixer. Ya’ll….
So instead of doing a quick hi and bye, Lawrence ends up buying shots for the group, ignoring texts from Tasha asking WTF he is. Later into the night, Lawrence finally admits to Tasha that he went out for work drinks, breaking up with Tasha saying that he’s “not looking for anything serious.” She confronts him, calling Lawrence out for his foolishness, letting him know that he’s the worst kind of f*** boy – one that thinks he’s a good guy. Team Lawrence people you have to admit that truer words have never been spoken. But Lawrence ain’t sweating it, he’s already moved on to a new girl that he’s met at the mixer, someone who hopefully won’t have to carry the burden of Lawrence’s inability to cope with his feelings.
So first of all, since we’re already on the topic, let’s get this whole Lawrence discussion out of the way. I’ve maintained from the beginning of Insecure that no character totally represents good or bad. All characters represent, in my opinion, an accurate portrayal of dating, being in a relationship, and the mistakes we make that often hurt the people we’re with. I didn’t like Lawrence laying up eating cereal without a plan for as long as he was while Issa busted her butt, but I understood the angst of being a young 20 something trying to make it but feeling thoroughly discouraged.
However, now we’ve moved into a phase of accountability. Issa made a mistake, yes, and whether Lawrence should’ve broken up with her or stayed with her is irrelevant. However, from the first time he slept with Tasha, I feared that Lawrence had an inability to cope with his emotions, using sex or violence to avoid feeling hurt but thereby hurting others. And that’s where I end my career as a Lawrence apologist. From the get go, Tasha was an object Lawrence used to feel good about hisself, to have momentarily feel like “the man” again after Issa took away his proverbial manhood when she stepped out on him for someone… frankly a bit better than he. He led Tasha on, using her down to the last drop as someone that could carry the burden of his pain – but without her consent. Tasha did not consent to be the rebound chick, Tasha didn’t consent to be used until Lawrence felt enough self-confidence to meet other women. And nope! Before you say, “well, she should’ve known she was a rebound considering he was just with Issa” lets consider something. If Lawrence was truly not looking for something serious, then he should’ve had that conversation with Tasha before he slept with her. If he wanted someone to hold him during cold nights while he worries that his weak stroke game was the thing that caused Issa to flee, then he should’ve told Tasha. This is why “good guys” are considered dangerous, because they’ll convince you that you’re safe, and then swiftly remove that veil as soon as they’re done. I’m not sure where Lawrence will go, or if Tasha berating him will have done anything, but to be honest I for sure don’t want him and Issa to get back together. Shrug.
Moving on to something that I’ve kind of glossed over: Issa and Frieda’s storyline. Part of the reason I haven’t mentioned it is because I’ve been hoping it would resolve itself sooner rather than later, but considering Issa seems completely unbothered by the fact that her program has no Latino students in a school that’s 86% Latino students is problematic as all get out. What’s interesting about that is the idea of POC showing up for other POC even when it’s not convenient or about them. As a black leader, it’s her responsibility to show up of all of the students of color, even if it has nothing to really do with her. We still have to call out prejudice in our own communities and be accountable for standing up when our success is hurting other POC. Here’s another storyline where I’m unsure where it’ll lead to, but I hope it’ll lead to a confrontation with the VP Gaines, who’s ingrained hate or prejudice or whatever his problem is against is Latino students is called out and hopefully gets him removed.
Finally, Molly… you know, I understand her being picky and I feel like she might have it the hardest out of everyone on the show. Like her therapist said, as black women we often feel like we have to have it all, and that pursuit “having it all” can hurt us, pulling us away from something that could make us truly happy for something that makes us look good on paper. Do I think that she should’ve dated the nice guy at the bar just because he had it together? Nope. But I do think that Molly has a bad habit of letting her head tell her how to move forward, often preventing her from messing with guys who genuinely care about her. To be honest I don’t know if Molly knows what she wants, but hopefully her therapy storyline will help to bring clarity for her.
Also, the scene where Molly carried the bookcase down in heels was one of my absolute favorites. It pointed to the fact that we as black women have no choice but to get stuff done, often alone, because we feel like we have to – so help almost feels unnatural. I felt that in my soul..
If it’s not clear, I’m loving this season so far. For a thirty-minute show, it manages to get so much work done in each scene in such a clean way. I’ve clearly become very invested in these characters because through them we’re able to have a larger dialogue on relationships, love, work, etc. The good work continues this week, and undoubtedly will lead to another great episode next week!
Season 2, Episode 3 (S02E03)
Insecure airs Sundays at 1030PM on HBO
Writer based in LA. Just trying to write good stuff while deep conditioning my hair.
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Vanessa Jay | Contributor