“Little girl be fair, show yourself care”
[as seen on Issa’s wall] from ‘Girl Blue’ by Stevie Wonder
Apologies are in order. In my review of S4E1- ‘Lowkey Feelin’ Myself’ I prematurely criticised the writing on Insecure for centring romantic relationships far too much, and they have spent the entire season proving me wrong. There is something to be said for the slow build-up that has been simmering only to peak the way it did. Shit hit the fan in episode 5, but it was a long time coming, as evidenced by all the receipts we have been pulling from previous seasons on who is at fault between the two friends. Shoutout to the writers, they did that.
This bottle episode gave us a much-needed reprieve after two incredibly fast-paced episodes. The focus was on Issa as she went through the aftermath of the block party. Self-care Sunday takes a little detour when she attempts to help an expecting woman pay for her baby products (spoiler: her card declined) and then offers an elder back man a lift (spoiler: George takes the piss, literally). In between the unfortunate store incident and George’s hilarious shenanigans, it becomes obvious that Issa is going out of her way to confirm- mostly to herself- that she is not a user. The words Molly said to her the night before keep echoing in her head and she is trying her hardest to dispel them.
It’s the day after, which means Issa (and probably Molly too) is still at the “keeping score” phase of the hurt. It seems far too soon for any of them to reach out to the other, but like Kelli, I too am worried about how long they’ll wait and what that means for the future of their friendship. Molly’s words were harsh, and delivering them at the tail end of an event that was a culmination of Issa’s hard work the last few months (years if you count her time at We Got Y’all) was cruel. That scene bore a heavy sense of “how did we get here?”
Over the four seasons, the two friends have gotten comfortable calling each other out in incredibly insensitive ways. It’s rarely the case that what they say to each other is untrue; it is just delivered in a way totally devoid of any benefit of the doubt. And perhaps one of the traps with knowing your friends the best is that you also know them the worst. You see so much of the mess so often; it can begin to cloud your judgment of them in a way we don’t often admit to ourselves.
Now that both women are growing in their own ways: Molly through her relationship with Andrew and Issa through figuring out her professional ambitions, the old way of communication just can’t run anymore. Growth is too much of an uncomfortable journey for your friendships not to hold a safe space for you while you go through it. They’re getting to know and love themselves better and there is no way that can exist alongside a friendship that has not evolved to accommodate better communication and more grace. In this episode she finds grace from her mother, with a big ol’ hug and she finally lets herself cry about how sad it all is.
With a little encouragement from mirror Issa, she decides to get drinks with her newfound girlfriends, one of whom was played by our childhood fave Kyla Pratt. We know how that ends, unfortunately, but before they dine’d and dash’d her, it was lovely to see the girls gas Issa up for throwing an incredible event. Even more heartwarming was how she openly accepted the praise and confidently dubbed herself a “cultural curator.” A moment for all my fellow black girls out there who are jacks of all trades; who shudder at “wait, so what exactly do you do?” because you haven’t yet come up with a neat answer that encompasses all of your passions. Issa Dee sees us; we’ll be aight.
I’ve seen Issa and Molly go through so much individually as well as a unit through the show; I struggle not to root for their growth even when they have massively fucked up. And as someone that has seen myself in both women at different parts of the show, I cannot help but extend the same hope I’d have for my friendships to theirs.