When you’re very young, your 30s are purely an abstraction — an impossibly far off time, when you’ll have your proverbial shit together. You’ll own a home, have realized your dreams, and settled into love, shaking off the insecurities and outright mess of the years prior. For women especially, who are more susceptible to ageism, and general anxieties related to aging, the pressure to have it all together in your 30s can be enough to stifle. What Insecure captures is the ways in which your 30s can often feel like a drab continuation of your messy 20s. With this in mind, I decided to recap the sixth episode with a focus on its major plot points and revelations, the story lines that seem to be guiding the season’s focus on where Issa and her friends are at this point in their 30s, and questions I have for each.
To my confusion and dismay, Lawrence is back. Issa ran into Chad, then Lawrence, at the 7-Eleven at the close of the last episode, and I’d hoped that it was a fly-by-night story line, but nope. Lawrence, for now, is fully back in the fray. If you do the math, from last season’s close, when their relationship ended, to now, Issa and Lawrence have only been broken up for six to eight weeks. It doesn’t even feel like he’s “back” because he was only gone for four episodes.
Lawrence and Issa didn’t interact too much this episode, briefly exchanging pleasantries at the two public group outings, Coachella and, later, Tiffany’’s baby shower. It doesn’t make sense to feature Lawrence as a major character — especially so soon after such a perfect, clean-cut departure — and the romantic back-and-forth with Issa is dull. Was this a sensible plot development or the show capitulating to the desires of its fan base? The male romantic leads on Insecure are given too much country, for my taste.
It’s also hard to get a real sense of Issa & Co.’s larger friend group, of which Lawrence is presumably a member. When Issa asks Lawrence what he’s been up to, a flashback montage reveals that he’s thrust himself fully into sex-crazed bachelorhood, and picked up an STI along the way. Lawrence staggers and stammers his way through the dreaded phone calls (though he doesn’t have to; the CDC or even the clinic which provides a diagnosis is usually willing to make anonymous phone calls to your sexual partners to inform them that they may have come in contact with an STI).
A couple of seasons back, the shows fans chided Insecure for failing to show condom use in its plentiful sex scenes. I don’t care whether characters on an HBO show use condoms or not, so I have no dog in the fight, but I did think that this season’s inclusion of an STI story line was the show’s way of reckoning with the criticism of seasons past. It also felt like stereotypically juvenile behavior from Lawrence, an accurate depiction of the second boyhood/coming of age experienced by some after ending a long-term relationship. Lawrence, just like Issa, spent a sizable chunk of his party years paired off; fitting that he’s back in the fray now.
This week also brought a baby shower, held in Tiffany’s honor. Last episode, as well as the week prior, have broached the topic of Tiffany’s looming motherhood, and the impact it could have on their dynamic. A friend becoming a mother can throw friendships into disarray, but I can’t help feeling like the other girls have been inconsiderate and a little immature. Is Tiffany their first friend to have given birth? Why did it feel like this was the first baby shower Issa, Molly, and Kellie had attended? I couldn’t tell whether their obvious discomfort was to be attributed to the reminder that they were so far away from marriage and motherhood, the pending reality of “losing” their friend to a baby, or because it was inhabited by Tiffany’s snobby friends.
The last two episodes mark the first time I’ve felt sympathy toward Tiffany. Between pressuring her to drink, and not really looking out for her at Coachella, and now failing to plan or really contribute to her baby shower, I can’t shake the feeling that her friends are lacking. But also, most of my friends have already had babies, so I’m familiar with the routine. That childbirth is somehow more of a disruption to their friendship than say, Tiffany already being married, or Molly’s dedication to her career, rings a little untrue to me. Their handling of it feels immature. The show also attempts to pull apart the friends’ relationships with each other, revealing that Kellie and Tiffany were closer, as Molly and Issa are.
Freed of We Got Yall, Issa decides to make good on her high conversation with Nathan, and pursue her own independent nonprofit/charitable venture. This is obviously easier said than done, and it becomes apparent that Issa has bitten off more than she can chew, but Nathan seems supportive. Their romance is progressing quickly, until he kind of disappears. Recall that a few episodes ago, he’d revealed that he’d never had a real relationship. By episode’s end, Nathan is still MIA, and the possibility that Issa may have been ghosted seems likely. How she handles such a hurtful, maddening romantic situation should be interesting.