Insecure’s second episode of its third season, “Familiar-Like,” plops its audience right into Issa’s (Issa Rae) cubicle and deep inside the various hardships of adulting. From wrestling with the Herculean effort to maintain the “black voice” at her place of employment, We Got Y’all, to trying to find her digs in L.A.’s real estate jungle, the concept of adulting is undoubtedly the sharpest thorn in Issa’s neck this season.
(But we must also acknowledge the happy highlights of the episode which include Daniel’s niece exclaiming her occasional desire to hear “ratchet” music over “make you think” music and Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) who slayed her scene as she quoted her grandmother’s adage, “Don’t look a gift horse in the d**k” and gave Issa the realest financial advice she needed to hear.)
During Shadow and Act’s on-set visit with the Insecure crew this summer, Rae confirmed that as we see the characters embark on new journeys, adulting will be one of the central themes this season.
“They kind of just don’t have an excuse anymore,” Rae said. “I think the first two seasons we just show them kind of living life and making lots of mistakes and they’re in their 20s, so in some ways it’s forgiving, but you get to a certain point where you know better.”
Know better and do better. That idea is turned on its head in the second episode of season 3, but not just for Issa.
As the series’ titular concept hints, “insecurity” is the main theme for each main character’s arc, and this time, Daniel’s (Y’lan Noel) is on full display. A passionate up-and-coming music producer, Daniel wars with chasing his dream in a world where such goals get less and less “cute,” the older one becomes. And Daniel feels every bit of that pressure in this episode. “Familiar-Like” was an all-too-familiar display of the unique insecurity that rumbles through the guts of creative souls. Every dream chaser knows what it’s like to feel the pressure that makes it seem you have climbed the ladder only to have slipped off the rung when you see you’re not as far in your dreams as your peer (in Daniel’s case, high school colleague Khalil).
“I got good, Khalil got famous,” Daniel poignantly uttered as he reflected on his journey (following a random shootout at the club). Through his woes, Issa kept him going and even pushed Daniel to toss his ego aside and follow-through on a promising opportunity with Khalil.
Issa faced her insecurities with asking Daniel to crash on his couch for a few weeks longer while she got her finances in order. It was a dilemma he eventually gave in to after noticing that having Issa in his life was better than letting her live elsewhere, and it shows that even though Issa is struggling with her problems, including those at work, her friendship still matters. Daniel realizes he shouldn’t continue enabling her.
But we’re still left with questions. Toward the end of the episode, Issa receives a callback regarding the property manager position to which she applied. Daniel catches her smiling at the phone, yet she keeps the news to herself. Why doesn’t she tell him?
The next episode, “Backwards-Like,” is looking to be a sort of Dawson’s Creek conundrum for Issa and Daniel platonically sleeping in the same bed. What’s about to pop off? We don’t know for sure, but we do know this is HBO, so… we shall stay tuned.