‘Insecure’ recap: Reunited and it feels so … good?
Lawrence and Issa get back together. Sorta. And Molly runs into a glass ceiling.
Season 2, Episode 1 | Episode: ‘Hella Great’ | July 23
To quote the great Philadelphia street orator Beanie Sigel, Once again, it’s on. The cult-like anticipation for the return of Issa Rae’s Insecure is entirely understandable. Told from the vantage point of being young, black, ambitious and often hopeless, the comedy/drama is, based on this first episode of season two, still about finding your way in the world. And doing it during one’s late 20s, when you convince yourself you’re supposed to have it all figured out. You don’t.
That’s where we find our favorite flawed family members, Issa, Molly (Yvonne Orji) and Lawrence (Jay Ellis).
NxWorries’ “Scared Money” (an Aux Cord rooftop staple) bats leadoff in season two’s premiere as Issa sits through several soberly hilarious dates that lead nowhere. Issa also finds herself in the familiar personal-professional tug of war with a job she’s honestly built for but doesn’t provide the return on investment we all seek. She wants to change the world — her neighborhood, really — but she barely has the resources to check out of the grocery store. On top of all this lies the predominant theme of the series: the constant reminder of her own transgression with regard to Lawrence.
As for Lawrence (Jay Ellis)? The last time we saw him, he was moving out of his and Issa’s apartment after finding out she cheated on him with Daniel. Whence he proceeded to retaliate with the world’s most infamous backshots — and a decision that divided social media between #TeamIssa and #TeamLawrence.
Lawrence finally hooking up with Tasha (DomiNque Perry), and the ensuing debate, was the escape we all needed just weeks after a presidential election that changed the country in more ways than just politically. And now we find Lawrence up to his same tricks — only instead of backshots, he’s playing it from the side. But even from the first 10 minutes of episode one we can see where the Tasha/Lawrence thing will become a blinding dynamic as we can get deeper into the season. Tasha’s chill with the random hookups for now, but it’s written all over her face that she wants Lawrence … all of Lawrence. Meanwhile, he’s just attempting to navigate the next 30 minutes of his life.
This includes sleeping on a blow-up mattress at Chad’s spot (Neil Brown Jr., aka DJ Yella from 2015’s Straight Outta Compton). It’s beyond clear that Lawrence has his own issues to work through.
What hits home the most in the premiere is Molly’s work predicament. Yvonne Orji’s Molly is one of the more complex, revealing and relatable characters in all of Hollywood. Her vulnerability, when it comes to her career and her relationships, make her perhaps the most intriguing character in the series. Molly has it all professionally, or so it seems: young, black, intelligent, beautiful, personable and can command a room with the ease of an orchestra’s conductor.
The problem is, she’s a black woman who is a corporate lawyer. And the “glass ceiling” is a very real antagonist in her life’s daily routine. Molly’s dope at her job. Incredible, even. Everyone comes to her to solve problems. She accidentally opens the mail of a white male co-worker to discover he gets paid significantly more than her for doing the same work. The issue of wage discrimination is a very painful reality in this country, one Barack and Michelle Obama addressed repeatedly during their time in the White House. Molly attempts to bring the issue up at a co-worker’s going-away party but is met with the same misogyny that has her chasing the eight ball to begin with.
And then there’s the singles house party that Issa and Molly throw. Molly thinks the shindig is for them both to potentially meet new partners. But Issa, as she so famously always does, has an ulterior motive: to get Lawrence back. Issa is essentially the 2017 Charlie Brown. Everything that can go wrong for her absolutely will: in this case, local Bloods crashing the party — and there’s a fire. And Lawrence doesn’t show up; he’s on a sushi date with Tasha.
Only he does show up — long after the party ends. He gets his mail, but it’s when he says he left some items in the bathroom you realize how this is about to end. Issa and Lawrence end up smashing on the couch, although at least for the first 30 seconds you’re left to wonder whether Issa is experiencing one of her elaborate daydreams again. Jazmine Sullivan’s “Let It Burn” (which samples After 7’s 1989 classic “Ready Or Not”) cascades into the credits.
I want you to want me the way that I want you and more … Call me crazy, but I think I found the love of my life … as if life couldn’t get any more complicated. For Issa. For Lawrence. And really, for all of us at the same vantage point.