According to some dream interpreters, repeated dreams in which one’s teeth fall out suggest a subconscious fear of speaking out, of the power and destruction inherent in your own voice. In this week’s episode, “Obsessed-Like,” Issa is repeatedly jolted awake by such a dream. Morning after morning, she awakens, worries for her teeth, and shifts her focus to Nathan, who seems to have disappeared. This episode was a realistic, and frequently comic, exploration of the perils of our over-connected lives, the ways that social-media makes some connections possible, and even unavoidable, even as intimacy remains elusive.
At the close of last week’s episode, Issa was a little paranoid, and more than a little vexed by Nathan’s unexplained absence, and understandably so. The two had shared what seemed to be a genuine connection, including the tryst on the Ferris wheel and the days together afterward. This week, the paranoia has been cranked up, and Issa’s justifiable curiosity has frothed into mania. It’s a familiar tango: As the days between communication pile up, the desperate need to know can consume.
The ethical question of “ghosting,” or disappearing on a lover without an explanation, warning, or good-bye is a fraught one. What did Nathan “owe” Issa? What are the barriers between Instagram stalking and stalking stalking? The insertion of a voice-over in the form of Issa’s inner monologue is a new addition, and an experiment. I found it cloying and a little pedantic, but also an effective demonstration of the psychic exhaustion wrought by being ghosted. Issa is completely out of her element and behaving and thinking in a manner unfamiliar to her, and us. Professionally, she seems a bit more stable, if unsatisfied. She’s still a lackluster property manager, and also driving Lyft for extra cash. She’s decided to independently establish her own nonprofit endeavor, a noble but challenging pursuit.
In the middle of the episode, Issa heads to Nathan’s place with Molly, who is dating his roommate. Under the guise of dropping off deserts, they enter, and Issa heads to his room to snoop. If the gender roles were reversed, the inappropriate, and possibly criminal nature of the low-key home invasion can more easily be seen as disturbing. If a man were creeping around the bedroom of his ex-kinda lover/kinda casual fling, I think we’d all be advising her to file a police report. It also made me realize, again, how little I know of Issa, much less understand her. She hadn’t seemed paranoid before the Nathan episode, nor manic. She’s not a depressive. She isn’t hypersexual, or incredibly interested in men. She mostly just dandles about from one to the other, because she’s searching for something, and she thinks this is what she’s supposed to do. I think the episode was a great engagement of the topic of ghosting and the madness it invites.
After snooping around Nathan’s bedroom, Issa heads back to her own spot. She undergoes the familiar actions of a person trying to forget, deleting Nathan’s number and social media. She takes a cleansing shower, and hopefully, all memories of him are washed down the drain.
After last week’s slight debate over the intricacies of interracial dating, Molly goes on a couple of dates with Andrew, Nathan’s friend she was introduced to at Coachella. Andrew is handsome, kind, and with at least a veneer of being normal, so naturally Molly must sabotage it. Her first date with him is cute and promising. The second goes nuclear when Molly makes a playful dig and Andrew bites back, responding with his own jokey quip about her sleeping with a married man. Too far. She clams up and leaves him on the date alone.
I understand feeling that Andrew went too far, but I also thought Molly’s response was more indicative of her still missing Alejandro than actual wrongdoing on Andrew’s behalf. It’s Molly’s romance with Andrew that grants her and Issa the opportunity to go to Andrew and Nathan’s apartment and let Issa snoop through his things. Downstairs, Molly attempts a half-assed apology, and Andrew doesn’t seem receptive. It was a refreshing occurrence, Molly not being able to worm her way out the consequences for her shitty behavior. Again, I also have little recollection of Issa and Molly’s background as friends. They often feel like college friends who should no longer be in each other’s lives, or grade school buddies who’ve known each other too long to toss the friendship now.
At work, Molly is her usual striving self. Recall her therapist asking “why do you always need to be star?” Her workplace dynamics are intriguing but a little confounding. Has Molly been fully accepted into the boys’ club? Has she made her peace with the all-black firm’s differences from her previous gig? What happened to the two black women co-workers? WHAT KIND OF LAW DOES SHE PRACTICE?? Molly decides to “pinch-hit” and do the presentation she had worked on with her partner … by herself. She does well, but it earns her no favors with the partner, who ices her out when she idiotically smiles and says how well she did. I’m on his side.
It makes no sense for Lawrence to be back. His presence is honestly so grating and grinds the show’s momentum to a halt. I can’t believe that one-third of this episode was dedicated to Lawrence going to church and then on a date with a random curly-haired churchgoer. Did contracting chlamydia whirl him into a spiritual crisis? Chad is back as well, and eager to attend church, for his own carnal purposes. Hilariously, Chad is saved and heads to the pulpit when the hokey pastor calls for those who wish to be saved. Later, Lawrence meets with Issa, after she attends a workshop to help establish her nonprofit/block party. Their rapport is nice, but all I could think was, “Why is he here?” He doesn’t feel like a staple character, and his sendoff was so perfect last season. With only one episode left, I am wondering about Issa and Lawrence’s future, which I’m sure is the point.