Issa Rae (left) and Jay Ellis

“Thirsty As Fuck” is a funny episode of Insecure, but feels as though it’s taking two steps forward and one step back. While Issa sees improvements when it comes to her dating and career prospects, Laura Kittrell’s script does little to add nuance to those conflicts. This doesn’t make “Thirsty As Fuck” a bad episode, but it certainly feels a bit stagnant after last week’s episode examined the complexities of code-switching for modern black women. The episode feels a bit repetitive as Daniel shows up to throw a wrench in Lawrence and Issa’s “leveling up” and the episode ends with her job threatened again. Luckily, the episode gives us more insight into Molly and Lawrence. If “Thirsty As Fuck” didn’t succeed at expanding the narratives of its secondary characters, it wouldn’t be as successful as it is.

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Molly’s narrative this episode is the most interesting. We finally get a glimpse of what makes Molly a difficult person to date. While past episodes have featured a line-up of horrific Tinder and OkCupid dates, here we see that she’s so desperate to start a relationship that she moves too quickly and can be suffocating. Lawrence hints at this in the pilot when he says she tries too hard and needs to settle, but this episode hints at a bigger issue Molly has when it comes to men. She’s on a date that seems to be going well, but quickly goes off course when she makes it clear that she’s upset her date didn’t text her the night before to tell her he got home safely. It’s a minor quibble; one that’s common in developed relationships.

Molly, however, is still in the “getting to know you” phase. They don’t even know each other’s top five albums. Even though they’ve only gone on a few dates, Molly is already talking “marriage eyes.” Issa’s imperfections and insecurities have been on open display so far, so it’s nice to see Molly get assigned a little blame for her dating issues. She quickly moves on, but doesn’t seem at all aware that her need to rush into something pushed Michael away. She goes on another date later in the episode (with the guest starring Jidenna) that proves more successful because she seems tired of the routine. Without trying so hard, she’s able to establish a better connection, but time will tell if she’s able to maintain the relationship.

The episode aligns Molly’s dating life with a stellar office plot. After talking to Rashida last week, Molly’s concerns prove to be true. A white senior partner awkwardly asks her to talk to Rashida because she isn’t “adapting to the culture.” Molly’s supervisor speaks in the most obvious double talk and there’s no doubt she’s asking Molly to speak to Rashida because they’re both black. Molly’s disgust at this is completely fair; she’s not here to be “house Molly” and she doesn’t allow herself to be a tool to encourage assimilation on the part of black people who don’t fit into “acceptable” white culture.

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It’s not just that Molly knows a talk from her won’t be fruitful––a white supervisor making the same request changes the entire context. Molly reached out to Rashida in an attempt at sisterhood; here she would be doing it for sinister reasons. Molly brilliantly flips the script and forces the senior partners to speak to Rashida without ever bringing up race. Molly’s ability to navigate largely white environments continues to be one of the best representations of the necessity of code-switching for black people on television. The defeated look on Rashida’s face is heartbreaking, but Molly knows this is the only way she’ll really learn this lesson.

This is also a great episode for Lawrence. Jay Ellis moves his portrayal beyond being Issa’s unemployed, lazy boyfriend. In “Thirsty As Fuck” he’s jogging, working and regaining agency. This has clear positive benefits for his relationship with Issa and they finally have a few cute couple moments as they shop for a couch and attempt awkward shower sex. While it seems as though they’re going to follow the trope of couples fighting in furniture stores, they end up making fun of another couple’s lotion pump argument and make it clear that their CVS fight is behind them. Lawrence even interacts with the same bank teller from last week’s episode, but doesn’t seem as desperate for her support or affection now that Issa is finally working on their relationship. If Issa is unhappy with her job, it’s even worse for Lawrence as he realizes his Best Buy position might be more than temporary. It’s still not a great sign that he’s having this conversation with the bank teller instead of Issa, but it lets us know that he hasn’t lost sight of his ambitions.

Seeing Lawrence really develop as a character is what makes it so frustrating that Daniel is re-introduced this episode. I mean, it’s not that frustrating. I could easily stare at Y’lan Noel all day and he has undeniable chemistry with Issa Rae, but it’d be nice to see Lawrence and Issa’s relationship exist in a good place for a full episode. But, just as we’re ready to really see why Issa is giving her relationship a chance, her interactions with Daniel make it undeniable that she wants something else. It’s so obvious that this episode’s mirror scene seems too repetitive and just re-romanticizes Daniel. We already know Daniel is Issa’s “what if” guy, but her crush finally has more of a basis beyond Daniel’s looks. Daniel comes off like an actual person this episode, but he’s still too perfect. Daniel knows the names of her students, apologizes for their previous run-in and steps up to the plate for Career Day. Molly makes a great point when she asks Issa if she knows she’s with Lawrence––it seems as though two brief run-ins with Daniel have made her forget recent lotion pump and new couch promises.

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Stray observations

  • It was nice to see Rita and Issa bond over their shared hatred of another coworker. Issa almost gets through this episode without any major career issues––that is until her students discover her “Broken Pussy.”
  • “My name is Greg, I am a student.”
  • “I was asking Siri where Malcolm Jamal Warner was born. It’s Brooklyn.”
  • Ty Dolla $ign saved this week’s mirror therapy session and I’d absolutely love to hear his song about Issa.
  • “The Rashida Situation” seriously, what a great, realistic plot. I cheered when Molly removed herself from the situation.
  • Daniel would be my Achilles’ Dick too.
  • This week’s episode featured musical direction from Solange! Loved the use of Vince Staples’ “Norf Norf” (of recent viral internet fame). Remember to follow InsecureHBO on Spotify to check out playlists from each episode.

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