Aesthetically and creatively, the sixteenth episode of Insecure —its season two finale —achieved as much as the first fifteen installments did combined. While its story left a bit to be desired, the show’s direction, vision, and song selection saw new heights in ‘Hella Perspective.’
Artistically, the episode was cinematic and daring. It discovered its name in a unique series of narratives, telling three sides of the same thirty days through three different perspectives —Lawrence’s, Molly’s and Issa’s — before colliding about midway through the episode.
Throughout those thirty days, the wheels fell off Lawrence and Aparna’s romance as his emotional baggage got in the way of the first good look he’s caught since Tasha, allowing him to feel threatened by his new partner’s friendship with her ex.
Molly spent those same thirty days flip flopping on whether to give Quentin, her modest-looking co-worker with a “pastor’s body,” a chance. She eventually does, and not a single limb quivered, nor was her back the least bit blown.
Issa’s thirty days were scored by the screech of tables turning on hardwood floors, as she's now the ex without a spot to call her own. Atop those tables are plates of crow for everyone who had homeless jokes for #LawrenceHive at the start of the season.
Deeper into the episode, though, the notion of claiming hives and tallying points felt a bit trite as the show’s two leads kept it all the way real with each other for what felt like the first time in eight hours and fifteen minutes of television thus far.
While the popular belief that Lawrence should somehow apologize for having been depressed always was and always will be troubling, the most notable event of the episode is when he does just that.
“Sometimes, I set these expectations for myself,” he explains in a turtleneck sweater unsettlingly similar to that of Carl Thomas on the cover of Emotional. “And I just shut down if they don’t go how I…” he trails off.
“I’m sorry for not being who you expected me to be—who I expected me to be.”
Photo: Justina Mintz/HBO
Issa responds with a confession of her own, breaking down something more than a handful of men who watch this show have always wondered—why was Lawrence’s unemployment such a sin it lead her to cheat?
“I wanted to be better for you—because of you,” she explained. “But somewhere along the way, I depended on you to be better for both of us. And when you were going through what you were going through, I just didn’t know how to handle it.”
That moment, as draining as it is to see these two characters together in the same room at this point, felt like a pay off—one of the few times fanservice ever proved palatable to critical taste. But by the end of the episode, fans (who at times, have been accused of unfairly nitpicking the show) felt shortchanged by the rest of its storylines.
Much like its HBO counterpart, Game of Thrones, Insecure hastily tied some loose ends — and left too many undone altogether. The biggest let down was Dro and Molly’s storyline not progressing in the slightest. In fact, as Dro showed up to Molly’s door in one of his patented H&M all-over print button ups, despite her hesitation to engage in his open marriage, it can be argued their storyline regressed, as that description reads like it belongs in a recap of episode five instead of episode eight.
Also, all of Twitter is wondering where Tiffany was during Issa’s ‘Due North’ watch party. For whatever reason, Derek told Lawrence she’d be there, and she wasn’t.
While we’re on the subject of “the perfect couple,” upon the finale, fans were hoping to find out why Derek lived in a hotel for those six months, as Tiffany revealed way back in episode two of this season. Instead, we got an oddly quiet pregnancy announcement, and a creepy moment wherein Derek alludes to making a dude disappear at Tiffany’s job.
Is that dude the father of her child? Was she with him during ‘Due North?’ Will we find out next time on Dragonball Z? These random odds and ends felt too clumsy to be cliffhangers for season three—especially when placed next to a frustrating, head scratching, brow furrowing cliff hanger like Issa opting to crash on Daniel’s couch instead of Molly’s or her brother’s.
As narrative tools, couches were big this episode—as big as Tyler, the Creator’s “Boredom” playing each time we entered a character’s POV, and as big as that dream sequence scored by Daniel Caesar’s “Blessed,” wherein Lawrence and Issa get married and have a child together.
Once a symbol of their rekindled love in season one, Issa was forced to get rid of the couch she and Lawrence bought together—the one they had awkward “I still love you” sex on during an earlier episode, before they could actually say the words aloud to each other this episode.
After admitting what she did to Lawrence “was the worst thing” she could have done to him, Issa curiously decides the couch belonging to Daniel, the man she did it with —the couch that ended their friendship with benefits —was the couch for her during this financial rough patch.
As reported, Insecure, in its brilliance and its resonance and its unrelenting ability to be both enjoyable and insufferable, will return for a third season in 2018. I’m sure we’ll be back to discuss just how bad this living arrangement will get.