'Insecure' Season 2, Episode 3 Recap: "Hella Open"

August 07 2017

If nothing else, ‘Hella Open’ taught self-presumed stand-up dudes two very important lessons: Jay-Z isn't their only hero who’ll fuck up a good thing if you let him, and not all apologies for said fuck ups ring sincere.

After stalling until the worst possible moment to tell her he's not looking for anything serious—after spending every weekend in her home, apologizing for sex with Issa that he had every technical right to have, implying exclusivity with that apology, then finally attending and then bailing on her family barbecue — Lawrence earned a charge from Tasha so booming in its delivery, the core of his body collapsed.

“Quit acting like you give a fuck about what I want.” “You a fuck nigga.” “You worse than a fuck nigga—you a fuck nigga who thinks he's a good dude.”

With righteous and valid might, she swung straight for his ego, and he withered under every blow.

Photo: Justina Mintz / HBO Photo: Justina Mintz / HBO

Perhaps there were arguments to be made in his defense. Not everything is excusable, but nothing happens without reason. Maybe weekend sex was all he could offer while trying to catch hold of his spiraling life, lost without love or a home. It's possible the guilt he felt over sleeping with Issa had more to do with that downspin than whatever he felt for Tasha at the time. That might explain why he briefly appeared then ghosted the barbecue—in search of stability, nothing feels more unstable than being somewhere you don't belong.

However, when forced to speak for himself, to be the man he thought he was, none of those points were made. Instead, he cried out “what,” “Tasha,” and “come on” like a child on the other side of a leather belt. To him, her words weren't assessments. They were punishments.

The chiseled, imposing 6’2 frame Jay Ellis provides as an actor folded into itself when called out on Lawrence’s bullshit.

In that moment, meddling in their ruse, Tasha yanked the mask off #LawrenceHive to reveal #GoodGuyTwitter. Anyone native to the treacherous, hellish landscape that is Twitter is familiar with its supposed “good guys”—passive misogynists who hide their aggression in gaslighting, mobile goal posts, and obtuse posturing. They’re small, boring men who try to work around the fact that men are trash by leaning on their “honesty.” They lack the emotional intelligence to know the truth is worthless if it's told as a consequence of your failures and not a forerunner to your actions. They're Chis Rock—they’re as faithful as their options suggest they should be.

Lawrence became a thing of good guy legend when he originally turned Tasha down in season one, while we all knew Issa had an itch to scratch with Daniel. It affirmed the battle cry every woman has heard screeching through her mentions — "not all men."

But in the interest of honesty —the currency good guys claim to trade in —let’s keep things stacked at a hundred. When he curved Tasha that one day, Lawrence was a college graduate working at Best Buy after spending several years on the couch working not a damn thing but Issa’s nerves. He would have been a full blown fool had he cheated on that woman.

Fast forward to season two, now that he's a web developer with a haircut and a new lease, he's bold enough to ditch a date he didn't have to go on in the first place to attend an office party. 

Lawrence is kind, Lawrence is unassuming, but Lawrence is corny — Lawrence is trash.

Insecure wouldn’t be what it is if he were the only character making poor decisions, though. Issa somehow found the dimwitted courage to leave a shirtless and shameless Luke James on the couch, only to clumsily hook up with her big headed neighbor played by Leon Thomas. But she got hers.

Photo: Justina Mintz / HBO Photo: Justina Mintz / HBO

In a character played by Sterling K. Brown, Molly met the male iteration of herself, and was apparently off put by her reflection. She did not get hers. She might not ever get hers.

This third installment of season two was strange, but we needed it. Every character on this show is resonant in some way we’d hate to admit. Some of us were once Lawrence, others were Issa, and a few were Molly. We’ve all been Tasha, though. That much is inevitable.

People are selfish and unaware. They’ll occupy entire sections of your life, bewilder you with their actions, plead with you once you cut your losses, and then tell you none of it meant a thing. The truly cruel will then make you feel delusional for having thought their presence was real in the first place. Next week, we’ll find out if Lawrence is that cruel. Maybe he will be, or maybe he won't be—maybe he is a “good guy.”

 

by Austin Williams on August 07 2017

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