If last week’s reveal that Issa and Lawrence are done for good because of Condola’s pregnancy wasn’t enough to show you that Insecure doesn’t plan to hold back in its final season, the opening of “Growth, Okay?!” might do the trick. The episode starts with a time-lapse of Molly and Issa’s lives in Los Angeles, their apartments and calendars filling up with the detritus of their lives. Then, out of nowhere, we get a title card: One Year Later. We in the future y’all!
Here’s the new status quo: Molly has a cute new haircut and a new zen approach to her life. She’s killing it at work (in an absolutely stunning all-blue number) and finally getting along with her work nemesis Torian. Issa’s finally seeing real success with her company The Blocc, with the help of assistant Quoia. And she’s even hosting a book even for Britt Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, to the delight of one, particularly overeager fan. But the headline news is that Molly and Issa are back to their old selves and their friendship is back on track. They’ve reintegrated themselves into each other’s lives — Molly even spends the night at Issa’s place so frequently that Issa’s bought her her own pillow — “If you gon’ keep spending the night, I want you to be comfortable. Also, your head kept deflating mine.” It’s the thought that counts.
Elsewhere, Issa and Nathan are still very much in each other’s orbit. They’re working together to plan an anniversary event for Nathan’s barbershop and dancing around their obvious attraction to each other. A work dinner suddenly becomes a date when the mood lighting kicks in, but neither is brave enough to go for it. There’s obviously more to come for those two, but it’s nice to see the equilibrium they’ve achieved between them.
Molly, on the other hand, is wholly focused on herself. She’s getting her mind right and her parents’ affairs in order by (aggressively) nudging them to call an estate planner and sort out their will. Their shortlist written in pencil on a notepad page isn’t cutting it. But Molly’s parents have other things on their minds. They want grandbabies or at least a wedding, and they’re not quiet about it. Her mother tries to hook her up with a dorky old family friend who “reworks trap songs for the Lord.” Molly isn’t impressed. She tells her mother that she’s not pressed to be dating at the moment, and for once, it actually seems to be true. We can only assume that she stuck with therapy in the year that we missed, so it stands to reason that she’s been doing the work to make sure she’ll be a good partner when she’s ready.
Big things are happening for Issa and The Blocc. She and Quoia are presenting to partner with water brand NBW to sponsor a community fashion show for a formerly incarcerated designer named Crenshawn, played by the dazzlingly attractive Kofi Siriboe. His fashion comments on the prison system, and he employs other formerly incarcerated artists. Issa’s passionate about Crenshawn’s work, but the conservatively minded executive Seth is a little gunshy about spending so much money on an untested artist. They initially want to replace him with more established designers who feel like less of a gamble to them. But Issa insists that they stick with Crenshawn because he’s from the community, in keeping with the ethos of The Blocc. It’s an awkward little scene reminiscent of Lawrence’s Woot Woot pitch from a few seasons back. Everyone knows what’s really happening, but no one wants to say the words out loud. And now, there’s the added hurdle of acting as the interlocutor between a black artist and a white corporation. Thankfully, Issa doesn’t plan to let it stand. She meets Molly and her place for dinner and updates her on all things related to Nathan and The Blocc. And Molly wisely advises her to go over the white exec’s head to his boss to address her concerns. With that out of the way, Molly introduces Issa to Herbet, the trap gospel preacher her mother is trying to set her up with. “His daddy cute. Show me him.” Let’s just say Issa is not impressed!
Prompted by her mother’s nagging, Molly decides to rejoin the dating world via apps. When she reopens her old profile, she realizes that her previous list of “qualifications” really was too restrictive. As she tries to update the app for where is in her life now, we’re treated to a cringeworthy little montage of her past relationships, right up to last year’s breakup with Andrew. Molly’s relationship foibles have been a topic of conversation for as long as Insecure has been on the air. As harsh as it is to see them all lined up next to each other like that, it’s good to know that Molly’s finally reached the point in her personal growth where she can reflect on her mistakes and see herself for the way she really was. But it remains to be seen what she’ll actually do about it.
Taking Molly’s advice, Issa reaches out to Seth’s boss Nadia about keeping Crenshawn in the show. But, Nadia surprises her by inviting Seth to join them. Issa makes a case for keeping Crenshawn in the show, fighting hard to keep her vision intact. But in service of keeping the partnership going, she agrees to “notes” from NBW that amount to gutting the soul of Crenshawn’s presentation. Performance artists? Gone. Low riders? Gone. Drummers? Also gone. Crenshawn isn’t pleased, but Issa manages to talk him down off the ledge.
On the other side of town, Molly calls her mother to apologize for bugging her about her estate planning. She tells her that she knows she’s been intense and wants to address her behavior when she recognizes it. Her mother says that no apology is needed but promises to give the estate planner a call. It’s a nice little scene that shows how much Molly has actually grown. She was so resistant to therapy the first time around, but now it seems like she’s actually implementing the lessons she’s learned and making meaningful changes in her life. It’s long overdue, but it’s nice to see.
The day of Crenshawn’s event arrives, and Issa is setting up at the California African American Museum. Things are going well until Quoia alerts her that Crenshawn has put all parts they cut from the show back in and didn’t bother to give her a heads up. Issa is pissed because she’s afraid it will endanger The Blocc’s partnership with NBW, but Crenshawn doesn’t want to compromise his vision to answer to a brand and accuses her of being a sellout. When the show starts, it’s a brash, beautiful, in-your-face presentation with a political message. Sitting in the front row, Seth looks deeply uncomfortable, and Issa is sure that her career is over.
But, plot twist: Seth is blown away by Crenshawn’s vision. He thanks her for pushing him out of his comfort zone and says he’d love to be part of future projects with The Blocc. Issa is relieved, but she knows that the win isn’t hers. Her guilt is written all over her face. Is she a sellout? Or did she make the smart choice by asking Crenshawn to take the notes? It’s pretty clear how he feels about it, but now Issa has to figure out how to navigate situations like this in the future. This won’t be the last time she’ll have to choose between an artist and a brand. But at least Molly is having a better night. After the show, she goes on a date at a gorgeous restaurant. Fingers crossed it goes well.
Unwinding from the tension of the night, Issa invites Nathan to come over to her place to hang. When it gets late and he makes a move to leave for the night, Issa invites him to stay the night wink wink. But after they climb into bed and Nathan leans over for a kiss, Issa bursts into tears. He consoles her as she cries, but when she wakes up later in the night, he’s gone. Awkward. So much for that, it seems. There’s no telling where things between them will go next.
Week’s Best Woot Woots
• “Y’all wrote y’alls will in pencil?” — Molly
• “You can take it from day to night with a blazer. I mean, it’s day right now, but it’ll be night later.” — Quoia
• “How many bitches make a bevy?” “Seven.” — Issa/Molly
• “Bitch have you lost your mind? Dasani? We NBW gang now.” — Issa
• “Why ex-cons gotta be so fine. I mean, I knew, but I didn’t know know. I mean lock me up and send me to his jail.” — Quoia
Join Insecure stars Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji for a live pre-union at Vulture Festival on Saturday, November 13, 2021.