Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Issa can't plan for everything as Insecure turns a block party into a battleground

Illustration for article titled Issa cant plan for everything as iInsecure/i turns a block party into a battleground
Photo: Merle W. Wallace (HBO)
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.

If Molly and Issa have been on an irritatingly passive aggressive path towards dissolution, “Lowkey Movin’ On” actively escalates things. The episode brings us up to date with the intro we saw in this season’s first episode. We now know that Issa was telling Nathan she doesn’t fuck with Molly anymore. We also discover that Nathan has helped Issa with her block party. Issa forgiving Nathan is an interesting development, especially with the show’s renewed interest in Lawrence. Sadly, the season’s condensed timeline steals gravitas from the moment.

Advertisement

A lot happens in Insecure’s fifth episode, but it also feels like a lot hasn’t happened to make sense of the episode’s events. So far, the season has tried to hold Molly and Issa at equal fault for their friend-breakup, but “Lowkey Movin’ On” places almost all of the blame on Molly. It feels unfair to her character and it’s frustrating because the episode almost gives Molly a few moments of clarity before forcing her to prioritize a man for the sake of the plot.

Advertisement

Andrew has become Molly’s only source of reason. When Molly wants to skip Issa’s event, Andrew makes her see how silly she’s being. When Molly blames Issa for the distance between them, Andrew brings up the point that Issa has been busy putting an event on and Molly also pushes people off for work. So, when Molly blows up at Issa and ruins her event, Andrew is the one who sees things clearly: Molly and Issa are friends, so why would Andrew have an issue helping her, even if Molly and Issa aren’t on the same page right now?

Molly does have some legitimate issues with Issa, but having their central blow-up be over Andrew does a disservice to those issues they’ve had since season one. Molly never said Issa couldn’t find another way to reach out to Andrew, she just said she didn’t want to ask that favor. It makes Molly’s character seem petty; as though her issue wasn’t with Issa not taking her relationship seriously, but just that Issa was finding a way to succeed without her.

Advertisement

And sure, maybe that is one of Molly’s issues with Issa, but when the episode almost has the two reconnect over chicken wings and the Wobble, it doesn’t make sense for Andrew to be Molly’s breaking point. Kelli and Tiffany are able to see Issa’s growth, but Molly only wants to find problems and when she can’t, she clearly creates one. Issa didn’t use Nathan, he really was a last resort after we saw her call everyone in her phone. There’s also no reason Andrew should be immature enough to think he can’t help someone with a cool event just because his girlfriend feels weird towards them. Obviously Molly expected Issa to come to her work celebration. Molly expected them to go to Issa’s event. So why would Andrew assume she didn’t want him to help?

Even though this does feel like a disservice to Molly’s character, at least it does feel true to life. After months of passive aggressive distance, it’s usually a minor issue that causes a major blow up. The writers also try to give us a little insight into the escalating tension between Molly and Issa, but the throw away lines don’t feel like enough. Apparently, Issa skipped a celebration dinner Molly had and Molly was upset, but we don’t know if it’s because Issa was busy or uncomfortable with their situation. Kelli and Tiffany finally share a knowing glance that Molly is being antagonistic towards Issa. The thing is, their final confrontation would’ve felt more grounded if we’d seen this in prior episodes.

Advertisement

Instead, the show spent time with Condola and Lawrence. Time that doesn’t seem to pay off as Condola confirms she and Lawrence broke up. We also discover Lawrence never told Issa or anyone that they ended things. Condola continues to be an adult and shows up to help Issa finalize things for the event. If anyone should have an issue with Issa, it’s Condola and even she doesn’t try to ruin Issa’s event like Molly does. She genuinely seems happy for Issa and her choice to walk away from their friendship is just a healthy boundary. I think Old Issa would’ve been thrown off by the revelation that Lawrence is single and would’ve been distracted during her event, but New Issa isn’t phased. She asks Tiffany about it and moves on. Even with Lawrence back on the table, Issa ends her night with Nathan by her side, not in Lawrence’s DMs.

So, we’ve just seen Issa succeed at throwing an event she’s planned for seasons.Nothing goes wrong with her block party! She’s in charge! We’ve seen her responsibly handle a weird ex situation with grace. We’ve seen her forgive an ex-fuckboy and rekindle their friendship with maturity. When Molly attacks her, it feels entirely off base because it doesn’t align with the New Issa we’ve seen. New Molly on the other hand is everything Issa accused her of: prioritizing a new relationship and a man over their friendship and she’s just being a general hater. Maybe New Molly is more than that, but we haven’t had a chance to see it like we have with Issa. This makes their fight feel unfair rather than the groundbreaking moment it should be.

Advertisement

Stray observations

  • Nathan is back! Last week I said it didn’t make sense for Issa to ask Molly for a favor before Nathan or Daniel when we’d just seen her call everyone in her phone before Molly. I’m glad to see the show did the logical thing. Of course she’d ask Nathan if Molly says no!
  • Why would Molly even bring up this issue at Issa’s event? Like, if that’s your friend and you’re happy for your girl pulling this event off, why not say after, “Hey, I actually wasn’t cool with the way you did that”?
  • Kelli is in a funny British accent plot. Tiffany hates being a mom. I wish we knew more about their feelings on Molly and Issa so we’d know why Kelli went with Molly and Tiffany went with Issa to comfort them. They both know this has been building, so how can they act like it’s not a big deal?
  • This episode does succeed as a love letter to LA. The artists, the businesses - they feel like the show giving a shout out to the music and cityscapes that have built the show since the pilot. Vince Staples, SiR and SZA’s appearances feel special. Staples was also hilarious.
  • Thug Yoda, Issa’s Blood neighbor is back and in VIP! “Did you make up all those names?” was the line that made me laugh the hardest.
  • I like that the show blatantly called Issa out for mostly having white people at her event. Even though Issa “does it for the culture,” she’s very out of touch with the actual tenants and issues in her community. New Issa still isn’t perfect and definitely has some blindspots. How did she advertise the event?
  • Seriously, Molly...like...she’s supposed to be an adult. You’re telling me she went from getting Issa chicken wings and understanding that Issa had to work hard to pull off this incredible event to being mad that...Issa did what she had to do? Calling it backstabbing seems childish. Nathan and Andrew are roommates. How can Molly say Issa used Nathan when Issa has actively ignored him? Also, Molly lied last season to keep them apart and tried to keep it from Issa. That’s backstabbing!
  • I’m happy Lawrence wasn’t in this episode and I like that Lawrence hasn’t talked to Issa. Even though Condola isn’t right for him, maybe he realizes Issa is still a step backwards. I hope Lawrence is spending some time working on himself.
  • I wonder if Tiffany’s postpartum depression is just going to be a joke.
  • I loved Issa’s intern and the “I don’t pay her, I can’t police her” line.
  • Yvonne Orji had some incredible line deliveries tonight. For some reason the, “it’s a jumpsuit, Andrew” was hilarious to me. I can’t wait to see her comedy special.
  • Molly really came to the block party ready to start shit when she came out the gate with the “I’m your best friend, why wouldn’t I come?” line. Girl, calm down and go get some tacos, Issa just meant she thought you’d be busy.
  • The spoken word/ “Today is not about oppression” line was also hilarious.
  • Ahmal was great. I love his feud with Kelli and wish we could see more of it.
  • Please, Issa, see that Nathan appreciates your growth and give him another chance. Don’t go back to Lawrence!!
  • Issa used her network to make the event happen. She didn’t use Molly. I really am proud of how far we’ve seen Issa come since season one.
Advertisement

Ashley Ray-Harris is a stand-up comic and writer.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter