One of the things I love most about HBO’s hit comedy Insecure is that it portrays each of its characters in all of their messy, complicated glory. Fans may have taken sides and pledged allegiance to a particular “hive,” but show creator Issa Rae and her team of writers refuse to pick favorites. Instead of elevating one character over the others, Insecure’s stars are allowed to be flawed and fabulous and real people.
And tonight was no exception. After sending an extremely straight-to-the-point booty call request at the end of the last episode, this week’s show opens with Issa (Rae) and her Tinder boo Ben, played by super sexy and talented singer, Luke James, making out on his couch. After learning that Lawrence (Jay Ellis) isn’t open to reconciliation, Issa has decided to dive head-first into the sexually gratifying but emotionally vapid world of hook-ups. But of course, things don’t go according to plan. Every time Ben touches her she laughs nervously, freaking him out and throwing cold water on any plans for a hot night. While Issa may want to get over Lawrence by getting under someone else, being touched by someone new feels weird. Instead of being honest with him and letting him know it’s been a minute since she’s had a new partner, Issa cuts the evening short and retreats to her house… alone.
At least work seems to be finally looking up for Issa, sorta. After being unable to get students to sign up for her tutoring program, We Got Y’all, Issa and her coworker Frieda (Lisa Joyce) start to have some success after appealing to the Vice Principal. Unfortunately, Mr. Gaines (A. Russell Andrews) is a problem. He has a host of offensive things to say about his Latino students who make up 86 percent of the school and only sends Black students to the program for extra help, which makes Frieda uncomfortable. Still, Issa forges ahead, because while it’s not ideal, her once-struggling program is finding its footing. The question is: for how long? Like everything else in Issa’s life at the moment, the ultimate success of the program and her relationship with Frieda is up in the air.
The same could be said for Molly. While she’s on a mission to kill it at work and get paid what she’s worth, her dating life has calmed way down from season one. This season, Molly seemed to be ready for some serious change, but after kicking yet another therapist to the curb, it’s unclear if she’ll finally work through the issues complicating her personal life or fall back into her old unhealthy habits —which led her to therapy in the first place. There’s one thing that’s not in doubt, though, Molly’s love and dedication to Issa. After she asks Molly to “teach me how to hoe,” the pair head to a local bar to meet some men. Issa is awkward as hell and trying way too hard to find Mr. Right for the Night, but Molly easily meets a handsome brotha named Lionel, played by This Is Us star, STERLING K. BROWN!
Molly is peak Molly, though, and hits Lionel with her business card instead of her digitals, but the pair decide to go out anyway and (surprise, surprise) they hit it off. There’s only one problem. Unlike Molly, Lionel knows what he wants and she seems to be it. After running into a couple of old friends, Molly decides to put Lionel on ice because he’s “good on paper” but she feels something is missing (or just too good to be true). The move feels like more self-sabotage (I mean, Molly spent the whole first season trying to find a good, successful dude to share her life with), but who knows, maybe she’s finally content to do her own thing by her own rules. If so, more power to her. If not, I hope she gives Dr. Pine a call.
While Issa struggles to find the right guy for her one night stand (she ultimately finds him in her downstairs neighbor Eddie), Lawrence is beginning to realize Tasha (Dominique Perry) wants more than he’s willing to give. After agreeing to attend her family cookout, Lawrence acts like he’s never been to a Black barbecue in his life —I mean, did he really ask if it was legal to play music in the park?— and ditches Tasha to go hang out with his work pals, though he tells her he’ll be back soon. Trifling, we know.
When he doesn’t return, and finally decides to answer her call after hours of ignoring her messages, Lawrence decides to let Tasha know what the rest of us have known since he was blowing her back out to get over Issa —he’s just not that into her.
Here’s the thing: In his mind, Lawrence felt he didn’t owe Tasha an explanation for his disappearing act because they were “just kicking it.” But after he muddied the waters by taking her out on dates, agreeing to go to her family cookout and binge watching her favorite shows at her crib, Tasha thought she and Lawrence were actually building something real. And Lawrence did NOTHING to disabuse her of this notion. Add to that his apology for sleeping with his ex–something he didn’t actually have to do if they were just friends with benefits–and it’s easy to see why Tasha thought something could come of their situationship.
But Lawrence pulled the rug out from under Tasha —and not by letting her down easily either. After showing up to her family’s picnic bearing chairs and agreeing to help, he ran out and never returned AND ignored her calls. When they finally spoke, he dropped the “I’m not looking for something serious” bomb, but Tasha has some harsh truths of her own.
“Quit acting like you give a f–k about what I want,” she says, finally seeing the light. “You don’t think I knew what this was? I knew it wasn’t nothing serious, but see you fronted like it was, apologizing for sh-t you wasn’t even sorry for.”
After Lawrence half-heartedly tries —and fails— to convince her that he actually was sorry about ghosting her, Tasha delivered the line of the night: “You a f–k n–ga. You worse than a f–k n–ga. You a f–k n–ga who thinks he’s a good dude.”
Tasha’s words definitely sent the #LawrenceHive scrambling, because she was right.
Lawrence isn’t a bad guy, but he isn’t an honest one either. Had he explicitly told Tasha what it was from the beginning —that he was recovering from heartbreak and in no shape for a relationship— AND (and this is a biggie) that his words matched his actions (i.e. no dates, no family picnics, no apologizing when he’s not truly sorry), then Tasha would have no room to be upset. But that’s not what happened. Lawrence wanted to be “the nice guy” and ended up being super careless with Tasha’s feelings, losing a friend and all of her beautiful benefits.
As my mama alway says, “Tell the truth, shame the devil.” Maybe next time Lawrence will listen and spare the next woman’s heart.