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Insecure considers Issa's life after Molly in a moving episode

Illustration for article titled iInsecure/i considers Issas life after Molly in a moving episode
Photo: Merle W. Wallace (HBO)
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After last week’s explosive ending, “Lowkey Done” is surprisingly quiet. It doesn’t dive into Issa and Molly’s feud. It doesn’t give us more insight into their confrontation. “Lowkey Done” is all about Issa and how far she’s come. And, when it comes to Molly, Issa is done. A lot in this episode makes the case that this is probably a good thing. Issa may not directly address her issues with Molly, but her actions do a lot to show us just how wrong Molly is about Issa.

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The episode starts with Molly’s words still echoing in Issa’s head. Is Molly right? Is Issa selfish? Does she use people? Did Molly have a right to go off like that? Rather than dismiss Molly’s criticisms, Issa actually takes the time to evaluate herself and her actions. She straight up asks Nathan if he feels used. She spends the majority of the episode trying to be selfless, even if she is still a bit naive.

This type of self-reflection is a characteristic of New Issa and it plays out that way with the mirror-version of herself throughout the episode. Instead of her reflection playing into her insecurities with jokes, she’s giving herself good advice. She needs to focus on herself. She’s always apologizing to Molly, but why beg for an apology from someone who doesn’t see you clearly? Also, let’s be real, Molly hasn’t showcased this same growth. Andrew is the one who had to point out she was being a bit of a hypocrite. It’s unlikely she’s reflecting on anything Issa said and is probably just adding this to a list of reasons she’ll hold a grudge against Issa. If Molly wants to be in Issa’s life, maybe Molly needs to show that can she take stock of her actions too and apologize.

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“Lowkey Done” is a great episode because it’s the first time in awhile the show has really acknowledged that Issa is aware of her growth. While a lot of Issa’s work this season has been played for laughs, she knows she’s on the right path. Her event was a success. She’s found her calling and she wants to be recognized for what she’s doing. Sure, that might make her attempt to awe a bunch of tourists a little selfish, but it felt good to see Issa finally articulate who she is and what she does. This isn’t the fundraiser we saw earlier this season, Issa doesn’t need Condola to explain things anymore. She doesn’t need Molly to help her figure anything out.

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So, it’s especially touching when Issa turns to her mother, Delilah (played by the amazing Wendy Raquel Robinson). I’ll be honest, I really did think Issa was headed to Lawrence’s apartment and I was ready to scream. I was so happy when her mom opened the door, but I was also worried. I thought this would be the definitive moment Issa vents about all of her issues with Molly. There is a universal rule in the black community: once you tell your mom about a fight with a friend, the friendship is over. There’s no going back. Your mom will never forget how that person slighted you and now they are also your mom’s enemy too.

Fran Richter’s script doesn’t play it that way, however. Delilah only hugs Issa and hints that she knows about the unfortunate end to her block party. Their actual conversation focuses on Issa and her mom’s admiration of her work. Issa isn’t asking for reassurance about Molly or their fight or to have her mom tell her she’s right. Issa wants guidance about her career and her future. It’s a beautiful moment. Issa coming home to her clean, grown-up apartment and smoking a joint with a smile on her face caps it off perfectly.

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Issa is doing it on her own and she’s proud of herself. She knows she’s a good person and not the selfish monster Molly says she is. Still, she makes mistakes and the first half of the episode spends a lot of time showing us that. While the pregnant woman and old man were funny, “Lowkey Done” wastes a lot of time up front with these bits. It pays off with Kyla Pratt’s baby shower, but the episode loses some steam as Issa drives a sexist old man around.

The final shot is one of Insecure’s best, however. Issa running into Molly at the Ethiopian place they’ve been to before. She looks at her reflection and knows she’s done. She doesn’t even want to casually or passive aggressively deal with the situation anymore. Issa’s energy is invested elsewhere. She walks away. And honestly? I’d rather see Issa go eat somewhere else too.

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Stray observations

  • I’m glad Issa and Nathan talked and cleared up the whole favor thing. She needed help, he wanted to help. Also, it means she’s not talking to Lawrence! Love that for Issa!
  • So Issa just went to a Paint and Sip event alone? Like, just to...drink wine by herself and hangout and meet people? As someone who loves doing things alone, I get it, but that seems like an activity people do in groups.
  • Issa is a cultural curator.
  • I knew those girls were gonna play Issa the second they started gassing her up. Come on, Issa!
  • Issa’s mom gives her great advice in saying she’s entering a new season and it’s going to be painful. Whether Issa inevitably decides to forgive Molly or decides to move on, it’s going to be painful either way.
  • I still don’t understand how Kelli is all, “What happened between y’all??” with Issa. Kelli and Issa talked about it at Tiffany’s house. Tiffany and Kelli have been there for all the passive aggressive comments. If we knew more about Kelli and her role in their friendship (is she usually the peacekeeper?), then maybe this would make more sense. The Kelli we’ve seen so far would’ve been way more observant of Molly and Issa’s rift though I think.
  • Molly was NOT at the Ethiopian place with Andrew....
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Ashley Ray-Harris is a stand-up comic and writer.

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