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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Insecure’s Alexander Hodge on why Andrew and Molly work, even when they don’t

Graphic: Natalie Peeples
Graphic: Natalie Peeples
Photo: Michael Loccisano (Getty Images)

Insecure’s intense fourth season appears to be documenting two things: the erosion of Issa and Molly’s friendship and the steadily budding relationship between Molly (Yvonne Orji) and Andrew (Alexander Hodge). Though the young attorney has had some trouble in the past finding a long-lasting, healthy connection, Andrew appears to establishing some roots and sticking around for the long haul. It’s a testament to the chemistry between Orji and recurring guest star Hodge, who joined the show back in season three as Andrew. What started as a hopeful hook-up has blossomed into two people learning how to make things work, despite very different approaches to love and romance.

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But the road to coupled bliss is extremely bumpy. Fans witnessed as much in Sunday’s explosive fifth episode of the season, “Lowkey Movin’ On,” when Andrew inadvertently lands in the middle of Issa and Molly’s rift with a mishap that causes the biggest confrontation in the series’ history. Still, Hodges asserts to The A.V. Club that the real madness happens in the season’s seventh, Jay Ellis-directed episode, which heavily focuses on Molly. “Things get pretty real,” Hodges shares without giving much else away. “You’ll see. It was the most insane fucking shoot. I never want to do it again, but it was amazing.” Hodges also shared his hopes for Andrew’s onscreen future as well as his character’s part in the series’ greatest conflict.


The A.V. Club: Molly has had a historically rocky love life throughout the series; Andrew has easily had the most staying power out all of her love interests. What do you think has kept him around the longest? 

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Alexander Hodge: I think he’s of two mindsets. One part of him doesn’t have time for any of her nonsense. But the other part of him is just as here for any real shit that goes on. Every now and then you get lucky with somebody who just gets you, somebody who knows when you really need some backup and when you really need to calm down. And I feel like Andrew is that for Molly. They have that kind of connection where he just sees her and he gets her.

AVC: They really have a push-and-pull dynamic in season four. They go from episode two, where Andrew is a little bit more closed off and it’s a point of contention between them, to episode four, where he’s now more devoted to spending time together, but she’s too wrapped up in her career. It’s a kind of back and forth that other shows might struggle with, in terms of keeping it fresh. What do you think keeps their dynamics from getting stale?

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AH: This season, every episode takes place a month after the previous episode. So between [episodes] three and four and then four and five, we’ll see the arguments happen and then we see what each character has done to try and fix those mistakes. And I think what we see is perhaps an overcorrection. I think that’s why it doesn’t get old in Insecure is because the writers do such a good job of keeping it as real as possible. Anyone who’s been in a relationship will understand what it’s like to overcorrect something. When you really care about somebody, but you don’t quite have the best toolkit, you sort of just do whatever you can to try and fix it. And I feel like that’s what happened between Andrew and Molly, in a way.

They come from different worlds. He’s just not used to talking about his past and his family, and obviously family is huge for Molly, as we’ve seen that throughout the seasons. That was the first point of conflict and the first time that Andrew was really pushed out of his comfort zone, and he handled it terribly by just walking out. By the end of [“Lowkey Distant”], he explains that it’s just never been something for him to talk about, but he wants to work on it. The following month, he’s almost gone a little too far by trying to make himself too available. A big thing for Molly is family and sharing , but she’s never really brought that up with Andrew. As much as they’re both trying to fix things and are trying to make the relationship work, there’s still a level of miscommunication there. And I think that’s real for a lot of us who don’t quite know how to communicate in real time, but it doesn’t mean we’re not enthusiastic to make things work.

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AVC: Was there a particular moment, either in this season or last, where you realized that Andrew might be around for the long haul?

AH: It was definitely a part of the conversation that we had when we were shooting season three. There was quite a bit of attention to detail with Andrew that made me think that he might reappear and be a bit of a mainstay. Obviously, in television, everything is subject to change, so it wasn’t really until a couple of months before shooting when we started talking about plans for the year when I realized that maybe Andrew might become a bit of a mainstay, if not for the run of the show, then at least this season. The character really started to gain a lot of depth.

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AVC: Molly has always wanted to feel grounded by a deeper relationship. Seeing her finally get that from a person who is visibly working through his own issues and isn’t coming in to “fix” Molly is kind of rewarding.

AH: For sure. I was talking to [showrunner Prentice Penny] about how these two people really support and challenge each other. This relationship is exploring what it’s like to choose to be in a relationship with somebody that challenges you as much as these two do. They don’t really back down from each other, and it’s really refreshing to see what it looks to see two ambitious people trying to make it work. In TV, we often see a career person versus a domestic partner; there are few shows that show two ambitious people in a relationship. So I think that’s also why it stays fresh because the challenges are relatable for anybody who’s trying to maintain their own goals and also support another ambitious partner.

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Illustration for article titled iInsecure’/is Alexander Hodge on why Andrew and Molly work, even when they don’t
Photo: Merie W. Wallace (HBO)

AVC: In “Lowkey Movin’ On,” ambition plays a part in the climactic blowout between Issa and Molly. During the block party, Molly discovers that Issa connects through Andrew to get the headlining artist that she needed after Molly expressed her hesitance in involving Andrew in Issa’s business dealings. There are two very different opinions on whether or not Issa and Andrew were in the wrong: Some don’t see an issue with Issa being resourceful and just as ambitious as we’ve seen Molly be in the past. Others feel like there was some boundary-crossing. How do you feel?

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AH: This goes back to what I was saying earlier about having the best intentions, but lacking the tools to execute can cause more harm than good. Andrew has the best intentions. Throughout the whole episode we can see Molly complaining about having to go to the block party and Andrew knows that she’s ultimately going to go, that she’s in her feelings right now, but she’s going to get over it and her and Issa are going to be good.

When you get into a relationship with somebody, there are certain things that you just have to take. Molly, for better or worse, is a two-part deal with Issa. You can’t be in a relationship with Molly without Issa being a factor. So when Andrew sees Issa and Molly falling apart, he also knows they’re going to eventually be best friends again. So he’s trying to figure out whether he should help her out now and possibly mess things up between him and Molly or play the long game and come through for Issa so that eventually—when Molly and Issa are good again—Molly can be grateful that he held her down and did the right thing. So that’s the dilemma he’s in.

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Did he do something wrong? Yeah, he definitely should have brought it up with Molly and communicated better, but I think his intentions were golden. He’s never seen this kind of behavior between the two of them, so when this really blows up and it’s kind of his fault without realizing it? That’s the worst feeling in the world because he wanted to fix things between them. And it blew up in his face. I don’t know about you and your relationship, but in mine I feel like 90% of the fights could have been avoided if I had just communicated better. So I’m looking at the episode like, “Damn, man, just talk.”

AVC: Is there a moment that you would like to see Andrew have in seasons to come?

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AH: I think it would be really interesting watching Andrew introduce Molly to his family. That’d be a big moment. I think I would also like to see Andrew’s long-term ambitions, what he wants from this relationship and for himself.

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