‘Insecure’ Recap, Season 5, Episode 2: Pick Up Your Feelings

Busy with their careers and friendship, Issa and Molly forget to turn back to themselves.

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Season 5, Episode 2: ‘Growth, Okay?!’

In the last episode of “Insecure,” we left Molly and Issa intentionally thrusting themselves forward in life. The ladies decided to move past their tiff. They stopped relying on exes and pining for past versions of themselves.

So it is apropos that we start this second episode of “Insecure” in fast-forward. In a rapid montage we can see Issa working on The Blocc and spending time with Molly, who is sporting an icy fade. By the time the montage ends and the action starts, a year has passed.

The Blocc has reached 10,000 followers on Instagram and Issa is celebrating — where else? — in front of her bathroom mirror.

“The block is hot, the block is hot, ha-ha” she raps like Lil Wayne did back in his No Limit days. Molly is doing yoga and volunteering for extra tasks at work. The girls seem centered and in love with one another.

In this episode, we get to see the beauty of Issa and Molly’s friendship. Issa takes care of Molly, providing her with a pillow during a sleepover. When Molly starts dozing off while watching TV on Issa’s couch, she simply decides to “go lay down”; Issa’s home is also Molly’s. These are our girls. It was their sisterhood that survived the deepest troubles on the show and it is their love for one another that remains.

In this Issa- and Molly-focused episode, I am reminded how gorgeous and lush Black skin looks on “Insecure.” The perfect tones on Molly, Issa and Molly’s mom come alive on the screen. It’s more than just make up — Issa Rae and the “Insecure” crew illuminate Black skin with a sumptuousness that has rarely been seen on TV.

After the sleepover with Molly, we find Issa with Nathan. Yes, the same Nathan that had our girl slightly breaking and entering to figure out his whereabouts back in Season 4. (He had a valid excuse for ghosting her back then but … yes, him.) The current situation seems platonic — Issa appears to be working on an event with Nathan — but the chemistry between them is so thick, you can practically spoon it with a ladle.

We also find out more about The Blocc, which seems to be a consulting company that helps put on Black cultural events. Issa’s main client is a designer named Crenshawn who is utterly committed to his vision for a fashion show Issa is helping him put on. The character seems loosely based on Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, who has a cameo. Crenshawn got into fashion while he was incarcerated and hires former inmates in order to give them professional experience. For the show, he wants a live band and motifs of the L.A. lifestyle, like models on lowrider bicycles and a drumming performance, but the sponsors think his vision is too ambitious for them.

Issa fights for her client but eventually decides to compromise. Crenshawn isn’t happy about the changes and ignores them. On the day of the fashion show, Issa watches in horror as lowrider bikes, thundering drummers and other performers surround the uptight sponsor in the front row. But a twist: The sponsor ends up enjoying the spectacle, and he thanks Issa for sticking to her guns. Which she didn’t actually do — it was Crenshawn who remained firm in his vision.

It is a lesson for Issa, who is clearly trying to walk the thin line between the corporate world and her natural activism. At the fashion show, Crenshawn calls her a sellout and it enrages her, because she has been working so hard on his behalf. It isn’t clear if she understands that what she considers support may seem different to someone else.

One person who has gotten better at supporting Issa is Molly. She stands with her at the fashion show taking in the cringey performance with her friend. The girls have been spending a lot of time together in the year that has passed. So much so, that Molly’s mother tries to set her up with a member of her church who turns trap songs into gospel.

But Molly has a plan. After hesitating to join the dating app, The League, throughout most of the show to this point, she finally to begins to fill out her profile. But she is stumped by the “Dating me is like …” question — she has flashbacks to many times when past paramours have told her she was acting poorly. It was a clever use of past snippets from the show — it’s as if Molly has internalized everything we’ve seen ex-partners tell her. She isn’t able to complete the profile.

Issa also thinks she is ready to venture out into the dating world. After the fashion show, she invites Nathan over for drinks and support. Tired, she begins to doze off. Nathan prepares to leave and she asks him to spend the night. In bed, when Nathan moves in and starts to kiss her, Issa moves away and starts to cry.

“I’m sorry, I thought I was … I thought I was ready,” she says.

“It happens,” Nathan replies.

He sticks around long enough for Issa to calm down and fall asleep, and then he leaves. The sound of the door shutting wakes Issa, who is left in bed alone.

At the beginning of the episode, it feels like the girls have healed — they have been spending time on their friendship and on their professional endeavors. But by the end we see a consequence of those choices: They have been distracted by one another.

Molly and Issa have yet to fully process their past heartbreaks because they have been too busy hanging out and focusing on their careers. But those buried feelings don’t stay buried — all it takes is a romantic encounter or even just filling out a dating app profile for them to re-emerge.

The girls need time to rehab the damage from mistakes of the past. They’ve already forgiven each other now they must extend that courtesy to themselves.

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