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Tension is building this episode, and not even slowly; it's thick and it's real messy. Let's attend the messiest dinner of the summer!
Issa starts the episode still feeling embarrassed about her incident with Daniel; not about her reaction but about "what he did to her," and has a battery cranked up in her back per Molly, who is ready to go guns blazing and defend her friend! Issa says that she was trying to show Daniel that he's special to her but....really? She doesn't try to show him his special-ness, and doesn't talk about him as though he's special, any other time she's dealing with him. So this was the opportunity you chose? I wonder where Issa is learning how to show people what they mean to her. Issa questions Daniel on what happened between them, and he expresses guilt and even a little bit of shame, which surprised me. "I guess we're even now," & "Now you know how I felt." Wait....WHAT? Daniel, did you do this on purpose, dear? My good Daniel who I was rooting for? Say it ain't so! But I think it is so and again, Issa loses it. Hard lines set, and they seem over.
Molly admits to Issa that she is still sleeping with Dro. She's confused and feels judged by Issa likely because she's judging herself. Issa lends her support by eventually being quiet about it but I'm sure she's got a TON to say. And as she should! Molly out here giving keys to her home and buying expensive & thoughtful popcorn gifts for a man she's not committed to--someone needs to say SOMEthing! This low-key attitude about Dro attending a mutual friend's dinner with his WIFE really amazes me. And that, "We're still us" line from Dro--how will that look when you're an "us"--with your wife--at this dinner--in Molly's face? Good luck with that, Molly.
I'm kinda digging Lawrence and his coworker Aparna getting to know each other. Could end terribly of course, but I like her spirit and her honesty. She's a straight shooter and has a sense of humor. Lawrence even says, "I've made mistakes jumping in something too fast before and I don't want to do that with you." Say whaaaaaaaaat?!? I see that GROWTH, Lawrence! I don't fully trust it yet, but I see it! Didn't I ask for this in my last post?? Thank you, Universe, for looking out for me on this one cuz whew, I needed it. Lawrence's egregious misstep? Don't bring new partner to event with old partner, especially when this is the first time you'll see her since the romp! Who taught you this?
This actually might be another L receiving episode for Issa--yikes. Learning that Lawrence will be at Tiffany's dinner party for Derek is exactly what she doesn't need right now, but she'll get it. In these scenarios, I understand that it can feel unfair to not go to events you might see an ex at, to change your whole social life it seems; but for your own self care and emotional control, you can choose not to go! You don't need to be at all of the events, ever. Protect your downward spiral, because no one else will. Things are tense with Issa & Molly because she's disappointed in her, and then Lawrence shows up with uninvited Aparna, as if seeing him wasn't enough to send her over several deep ends. There was no way that Issa was making it through that dinner with everything in tow.
And even though I have so much to say about that...this part happens:
Issa and Lawrence's super nasty PUBLIC fight. NOPE. Big ol' NOPE. Who are either of you talking to like this? MOlly head nodding Lawrence to go after Issa when she leaves the dinner struck me as odd and...nah. This is not the time or place to finally talk about what has happened, and Molly could have gone to support her friend. You send Lawrence to be with her when you know she's on the edge? This argument came complete with the following: Low blows. Cursing. Name calling. Demanding and inappropriate questions. Accusations. Disrespect. Questions that were really just more accusations. More cursing. All team tew much and it shouldn't take Aparna coming outside to find you, to have stopped this trainwreck.
And cannot forget how Molly has been struggling this episode too. She feels disrespected at work when her efforts to receive a merited raise are redirected and stalled. Unfortunately, I don't anticipate this changing anytime soon and this might be the last thing that pushes Molly away from this office for good. I support it! Doesn't help her day when she goes to Derek's birthday dinner and has the awkward encounter with her friend, Candice, whom's husband she's having sex with. Candice, do you know? Something tells me that you know. Lemme know if you know when you can. Molly is feeling overlooked and ignored for a few more hours now at dinner, leading her further into insecure pastures, where she's frolicking with her panties down with Dro IN.THE.BATHROOM. Recent vulnerable Molly moments have all ended with Dro. I need you to remember all the coping skills you had before him, please. And now to return to dinner after you've fixed your dress & your hair. You are using the luck I wished you earlier and this didn't get worse for you with a public scene I saw coming. But, I remain hopeful. Something shifted that night, maybe the talk with her mother and feeling increased shame, but Molly ended things with Dro. For now at least.
Interested to see what's pulled together in the finale and where we Insecurers are left hanging! What do you think? Peep below for some more I couldn't fully get to --->
Also, and as well:
-I fell OUT at the way the principal looked at Frieda when she jumped in the conversation about including Latino children in the program. I need him completely out of positions of power that require couth. Out!
-I'm glad Molly talked to her mom. Asked really meaningful questions and her mother's answers were so human, so honest.
-Issa destroying her apartment is realistic. I've been seeing conversation swirl that "black people don't do this." But since when? People filled with emotions that are seemingly too big for them can quickly turn to rage, regardless of culture. Socially and in the media, we tend to hear these stories in white adolescence, so I can understand some of the confusion. We've seen Issa act out & lash out in many ways this season, so I'm not surprised at all that she begins taking everything out on inanimate objects that can't hurt her back.
Round 6! Blow. By. Blow.
Molly still hasn't recovered from the night at her parents' home, and is avoiding her mother while also hesitant about talking to Dro again. She's confused; wants him but doesn't want him like this. But fully & willingly engaged with him....like this. Oh ok. Of course Dro wants to see Molly "Mo" again like just old times because....why not? He's been upfront, Molly consented, & sex doesn't change things, duuuuuh. But Molly has buyer's remorse, guilt, shame and confusion. Even while processing everything with Issa (WHERE. IS. DR. PINE. THO?), Molly defends her friendship with Dro--"He was always there for me. I just don't have another friend like that." Key memory alert: He even took her to her prom! We never forget those people, do we? Well Molly, history doesn't change the present, and even though Dro has been a great friend to you, sex changes things biologically & emotionally, and you two are no longer benign "homies." Molly, you now have two narratives that you need to accept and here they are: 1) Dro took you to your prom and has been part of your childhood & adult support system and 2) Dro is a married man, in an open marriage and you are a woman having consensual sex with him, while he is in said marriage that is open. One narrative does not negate the other, as much as you try. The only way to stop being confused is to reconcile these narratives and choose a new narrative. But YOU have to make that choice. It's available and sounds like just what you said--"I value our friendship, this was a one-time thing and let's move forward as 'homies.'"
And if he was suuuuuuch the homie still, you wouldn't be stiff as a board and nervous sitting next to him and telling him where you are with things and what you want. Because, again, sex changes things, folks! I did not like Dro dismissing Molly's insecurities about their transformed relationship--it shows that he wasn't able to be a friend to her about this. Dismissing her leaves her in more doubt and confusion vs. validating that THIS IS CONFUSING FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE PRACTICE/KNOWLEDGE IN OPEN RELATIONSHIPS. And increases my suspicion of how open this marriage really is. But time will tell. Molly gets an important dose of the "marriage" part of "open marriage," when Dro leaves her to make sure that his WIFE gets what she needs. Girl, take those frayed bangs and sit down with this for a bit. Away from a bed or a tub or a bar with Dro.
Issa definitely takes the most blows this episode. I counted (5) total! Rough episode for her and not sure how she'll make sense of everything and recover. By the first set of scenes, she's already feeling rejected by Daniel and neighbor-bae. But let me say a few things about this neighbor-bae L--Issa gave herself this one, from start to finish. The audacity of her to show up at this man's apartment unannounced AND expecting sex?? Overconfident, arrogant Issa has resurfaced with a sense of entitlement to his time and his body, and has the nerve to feel slighted and disrespected because he's an adult who has full right to have sex with whomever he wants. Issa PLEASE. Save yourself. From....yourself. Bathroom Issa got you looking real disjointed out here. I mean, I'm glad your edges were right and you looked cute but...for what? for who? You don't respect him enough to even ask to come over and he should respect the way your insecurity is set up enough to be available when you show up? Issa needs a Derek in this very moment, but instead she has a Molly who isn't clear headed enough right now to be a better friend.
Issa's next and 3rd L is with Nico and this is another L that she gave herself. Again feeling entitled to someone's time and body, on her time, she aggressively flirts with him as soon as he shows up. Oh, Nico. You just didn't know. Sigh. He was so kind and gracious throughout, said and did the things indicative of someone who is interested in and HAS THE SKILLS!!! for deeper connection, but has no idea he's part of her "hoe-tation." Oh, Nico. You just didn't know. He soon sees what's up and I'm glad he just leaves. Please do not pass GO or collect $200.00. Just leave this one alone, because she's confused and acting out. Run, Nico, Run!
An interesting and important conversation creeps in while Issa & friends attend a "Sexplosion" event, invited by Tiffany. For a while now there have been been perceived social differences between black women's and white women's sexual interest, willingness & behavior. Oftentimes, black men are perceived as gravitating more towards white women, or even non-black women, because they are more accommodating, supportive and/or sexually explorative. This notion that black men can "get away with more" in dating non-black women, therefore they "chase" them, has ALWAYS been harmful to the conversation about the stability of black relationships and relationship needs in general. I have yet to see/hear really thoughtful dialogue about it. (ideas forming...) Additionally, black women often internalize messages of being "too difficult," and "not enough," further lending to what feels factual for many; that non-black women are "easier." Tiffany feels empowered when she can perform adequate oral sex on Derek--she even feels in control of him. Is this important to her because she doesn't feel in control in other areas of her relationship or her life? Sexual openness or skill often makes people feel better about themselves; to know that they can please a partner is a social badge of honor and increases your sexual capital. But it's also important to engage in sexual activity for your own needs or pleasures, and when those are only met through others, you're now playing in territory in which you actually are not at all in control. It's up to them whether you are pleasing them and it doesn't matter how many videos you've watched, classes you've attended or partner's you've had previously. Additionally, and contradictorily (I googled it so....), black women are also frequently characterized as being the stereotypical Jezebel, eroticized and fetished, hypersexualized and reduced to sexual parts and sexual skill. So...how can they both be true? Is it fair to call a woman's choice to not do something she's uncomfortable with a "hangup?" Where does this all come from? Have you been in conversations like this? Help me out in the comments please!
Next up to share the wealth and help Issa give herself another L--Daaaaaaaamn Daniel! With the empowerment still lingering from her Sexplosion tutorials, Issa decides to put her learning into practice. She directs and stars in this show, and Daniel is here for it. He's surprised, but here for it. Everything seems to be going well until the point of climax, and Issa receives something from Daniel that she does NOT take as a compliment. While I understand her shock and even embarrassment in the moment, Issa projected eeeeeeverything onto Daniel; lashed out at him, pushed him, cursed at him and stormed out of his place ashamed and alone. Issa did not know what to do in that scenario and relinquished this knowledge by not asking questions beforehand and not setting up some ground rules for this part of the play. Though Daniel gave minimal warning of climax approaching (understandably), I'm not exactly sure what Issa expected next, or if she had even thought that far. Poor planning & lack of communication can unfortunately lead to extremely awkward sexual experiences. Some can laugh them off (together) and set new rules, some vow to never go that route again, and others, like Issa, completely lose it. Daniel is so confused by her reaction (as I imagine a lot of viewers were). She feels victimized, maybe even exploited? And to make matters the absolutely worst for her (again, self-inflicted because you don't HAVE to walk around with a tissue on your eye like this girl, come on), she's now piling into an Uber pool with a driver in a playful mood and a micro-aggressing white women next to her. Issa, it's naptime, boo. L. L. L.
What L's are in store for next episode? I'm getting a bit weary of all this drama and no growth, but I'm tuning in. See next post for the last breakdown before the finale!
And S2E5 just keeps coming for us! Here's my weigh-in:
Issa & Daniel like....why are you two like this?!? LOL. The familiarity between these two, like many of us, is chartered but dangerous territory. They're back like nothing has happened or changed between them, and it's actually even pleasant to watch. Not forced, easy going and they look like they can have a really good time together. Issa knows it and even says, "Daniel and I have history and we always bounce back." No awkward getting to know each other phase, learning likes and dislikes, worries about disappointment, because they're friends, right? #RelationshipGoals right? Friends who just must both be inhuman because feelings don't exist in the "friends who f*ck" space........right? I've seen word that quite few want Issa & Daniel together because of their sexual chemistry and because Daniel's a GOOD guy!
....so why don't we want the "good" guy(s) to win, too? I know he's not a main character but where's the Tasha-like support for Daniel, who's canoodling with a woman who's using him AND IS MEAN TO HIM? With Issa's only concern right now being "adding to her roster," Daniel is getting close to a fire I'm not sure he knows is burning. He's been cool and calm under all the before relationship pressure, but this go 'round seems a bit different, no? It's been a few months, Issa is fully out of a relationship, and they get along so well, right? TUH.
On the flip side, I'm VERY here for Issa adding some plot twists to her roster with dating a Latino man. Not because I'm interested in her awkwardly messing things up with him, but to see her expand her romantic interest criteria and increase her knowledge of what's available to her. He's older, seemingly more stable, interested in her, can call her out directly on things and appears capable of taking care of himself--methinks that whatever happens between them, will be a good data to collect. And hilarious data.
While I want to address the impact of Molly experiencing new energy and more support/encouragement while in the Chicago office, which is extremely important in light of how she's feeling in LA, I just have/want to talk more about Molly and conveniently open-marriaged Dro & Molly's family secrets. There was so much going on for Molly to process; I can understand her breakdown near the end of the episode. Here she is, trying i.e. forcing, Lionel to be THE one for her because he checks off all the "right" boxes (except for her being interested in him, attracted to him, care about him, know what he does for a career, ya know, the not-so-important factors in a love relationship), and the news of her father's infidelity, particularly given the way that she heard this, really shook her up. Molly has spent her life idealizing her parent's marriage, without knowing the ins & outs of their commitment to one another and YEARS of hard work to stay married and to repair trust after infidelity. What we saw was not only Molly being upset, we saw her expression of a sense of betrayal and confusion about her mother's decision to "stay" (which, socially, and unfairly, is believed to be an assumption of low self worth and passivity). Their ability to appear stable, happy or in control throughout Molly's life and into her adulthood instilled a sense of stability, happiness, and control for Molly as well. She internalized these messages and now feels as unstable as she perceives he parents to be.
Molly reeeeaaaaallllly wants to stick to her guns about not dating or sleeping with married men. But Dro is not just any ol' married man. Dro is a friend; a place of emotional safety and nuanced familiarity. So of COURSE, Dro is at the intimate family get together. Of. Course. Oh Molly, relationship problems with no relationship. #BeenThere. It makes complete sense that Dro would be the person to console her when she faces a family dilemma. He's accessible, reaches out to her in support, and don't forget...he's familiar! I firmly believe that in this moment, Dro's greater motive is to comfort Molly & be there for his friend. But in addition, here is his chance to make a play on her emotional vulnerability, and get what he also wants--sex, often seen as a way to comfort, console, distract from what doesn't feel so nice. And unfortunately for Molly and the way her emotional & relationship needs are set up, i.e. lonely & single, she sees it this way too right now. Buh Bye Lionel! I'll miss you much.
Meanwhile, we see that Issa isn't the only one caught up in curiosity & jealousy in the age of social media. Lawrence is having himself a fit coming across Issa on Facebook, and soon locates Daniel too. I imagine his mind revisiting ruminations about her cheating with him, and we see some more of his vulnerability. I appreciate the show writers showing that men also engage in behaviors that women are often vilified and shamed for, when no one is free from these thoughts or feelings when we are feeling insecure. Showing the same poor social media etiquette that MANY people show daily, this information does not help him grieve their relationship and refocus on himself. The only part I can appreciate and support about this scene is that he decides to block Issa. Eliminating triggers where possible and making his urges to search profiles and obtain information that isn't helpful to him is CLUTCH right now, even months later. Proud of you, Lawrence! Question: How often do you find yourself browsing profiles and feeling worse afterwards? Feeling jealous or envious? Feeling inadequate? Less attractive or successful? The downward spiral that can come with a scroll of social media posts has contributed to a general spike in depression, anxiety and interpersonal conflict.
And finally....the moment I've been waiting all (clap) season (clap) for (clap). Lawrence ACTUALLY has someone in his life who can be honest and direct! Who knew Derek had all of this tucked away? The only person who has (healthily) held Lawrence fully accountable for his role in the undoing of his relationship with Issa--not only had he not worked for two years, which is difficult for even the healthiest relationship, he was "letting her (Issa) take care of you." Please come all the way through and say more and more and more! But he didn't. I guess this was enough for now, but Lawrence could really use a fuller read of his shenanigans and irresponsibilities. Note to you, Lawrence. Get rid of your "friend," Chad, and stick with Derek. He's been through some things in his own marriage and could help you with a thing or two about relationships and emotional maturity.
And...the final scenes, I honestly don't even want to address. But in light of Issa's downward spiral in trying to be someone she's clearly not-------the distracting salacious text & the car crash happened. I wish they didn't, but they did. And it showed viewers again that Issa has no clue what she's doing and needs to give this persona back to whoever she got it from. But with all of this, I can't continue to be THIS mad at her. Shaming her, blaming her, doubting her, yelling at her (and the hers of your past and the hers who we know in real life) does not help and certainly doesn't create insight or healing. I still have empathy for Issa; the parts of her that do not know ny better, the parts of her that aren't developed enough to know that this is not healing, and the parts of her that were never taught any different. I'm annoyed with her, but I can't place her in a bubble and hold her accountable to doing better or being greater in a scenario she's never seen before. Now, would it be great if Issa would slow down so that she could learn the things she wasn't taught, and stay away from people instead of harming them more? Sure. But we all know that the universe doesn't work instantly, and Issa will need to take a few more losses before something else clicks.
Insecure shows us again, as I started this post with, that Daniel is really more than and better than Issa can appropriately deal with. He offers to show up immediately, follows through no question, and reinforces security and reliability. And Issa can't reciprocate. Something gets activated, and Issa launches into pulling away emotionally and pushing Daniel away. When insecure people meet security, it's often too.much.like.right. Self-sabotage is a real thing, folks. And we know by now what Issa does with good things.
-Characters from Awkward Black Girl are reprising their roles on Insecure! Yay!
Til next week, Insecurers (made up, keeping it) - Dr. A
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