Sunday, October 30, 2016

REVIEW: 'Insecure' - Issa's Past Actions are Exposed While Molly Struggles at Work in 'Thirsty as F**k'

HBO's Insecure - Episode 1.04 "Thirsty as F**k"

Although things are better than ever with Lawrence, Issa turns to Daniel for help during Career Day. Molly finds herself in a tough position when a partner asks her to give Rasheeda a talking-to. Facing disappointment at his new job, Lawrence bonds with a surprising confidante.

Issa has relaxed back into her normal life again after her big freak out in the series premiere. Her twenties are almost over. She was worried about this life being hers for a long time. She has the stable career and boyfriend. But she wasn't sure if that was enough for her. She broke out with that performance on stage. And yet, she still chose to go back to Lawrence. Plus, she has had to work harder than ever before at work. This life may be routine but it can still be challenging and full of hard work. Anything worth living needs to be. Otherwise, it is too easy and not worth the struggle. However, it can still be too easy to dream about the "life not lived." Issa is happy with where her life is at right now. But she can't keep herself from dreaming about what possibly could have happened if she made different choices. Her actions at the club when she broke up with Lawrence are starting to reappear and affect her life. She's happy but these new obstacles are rising up that are challenging her perception of happiness. She's fantasizing about love and what could have been. Nothing happens but it's still a tease that not everything has worked itself out. Her life doesn't need to return perfectly to what it was. People need to continually keep growing and challenging themselves. People can't just expect to devolve and have things back to how great they were before. Things have changed. And now, it's up to Issa to figure out what these changes actually mean to her.

Daniel shows up at Issa's workplace looking to apologize for what he did. It's an awkward dynamic where Issa doesn't know what to expect from him. He opens the door for friendship again. They almost hooked up. That could have dramatically altered her life. She couldn't have gone back to Lawrence so easily if something happened with Daniel. Nothing did. But now, he's popping up in her life again as a constant reminder of how things could be different for her. He has a career that she is actually proud of. She is still supportive of Lawrence. She respects his decision to get a job at Best Buy in order to help make ends meet while he searches for his dream job. She loves that he took that step in order to help their relationship. She appreciates that he did that for her. But she is also allured by the job that Daniel has. He has a successful music career. At least, it seems that way. He is able to come through and talk about his job on Career Day at the school Issa and Frieda are working at. He has something to show off to the world. That's impressive. But with that also comes the exposure of some of Issa's secrets. Daniel being more important in Issa's life runs the risk of exposing her fantasies about him and what that means for her life.

In the classroom, Daniel tells the students that Issa is a great freestyle rapper. That's a part of Issa's life that is very private. She's still just performing in her bathroom mirror. It's an escape to her. It's a way for her to express her feelings in a healthy way. They have been fun sequences throughout the first season so far. But again, they largely exist in Issa's head. This is what she dreams of being able to say whenever any given situation hits her the wrong way. She has only had the courage to get up and perform once. That performance was in front of Daniel. She did it to appeal to him while potentially ruining her friendship with Molly in the process. Issa rapping about "broken pussy" was a fantastic sequence in the series premiere. It helped highlight the comedic tone and sensibilities of the show. But now, it highlights one of Issa's deepest insecurities. It's becoming a weapon that can be used to hurt her. She didn't know that freestyle was put online. She still saw it as a private thing. It happened when she let loose for a moment. But now, it's out there for anyone to find. It's no longer this self-contained thing. It will forever change the way the students look at her. They may see her as cool now because she was rapping about broken pussy. But that's not why Issa wants them to respect her. She wants to make a difference in their lives through hard work. The day at the beach was a success. But now, this rap will be the only thing that defines her to the kids.

It's a moment of fear that washes over Issa's face when she realizes the kids are rapping along to the song. It's no longer a fantasy to her. She loves being able to dream of a life in the recording studio with Daniel as he works with Ty Dolla Sign. That remains this tantalizing dream to her. It's still a possibility in her mind. She is still attracted to Daniel. That's only slightly complicated because she's back together with Lawrence. She makes sure that that is clear to Daniel. But he still shows up and impresses Issa with all of his talk about his career. She loves listening to him talk about his job while the kids are disappointing he doesn't work with Drake. And yet, Daniel's talk is the highlight of the Career Day. He's the only speaker of importance in the episode. Issa isn't sure if Molly will show up or not. So, she is able to keep these separate parts of her life spinning. She can still be best friends with Molly, in a relationship with Lawrence and be friends with Daniel. They are separate parts of her world. And yet, they start crashing into each other all at once. Issa's dream of Daniel and Ty Dolla Sign in the bathroom is disrupted by Molly showing up wondering why Daniel was there. Meanwhile, Issa's performance being online is destined to only put more complications in her life with so many people. She can no longer contain these elements of her life. What she decides to do next should be very interesting.

Meanwhile, Molly is still trying to grow at both her job and in love. She's going on a bunch of dates through this new elite service she is on. She's finally found the dynamic that she wants. She wants a relationship. This service works for that sole purpose. It's not a hookup app. The people she's meeting want a relationship as well. And yet, it's clear that Molly has more problems than guys not wanting to date her. She goes on a number of dates with a few guys throughout this episode. Everything is fine at first. But after awhile, she says or does something that ruins the connection. She can get attached very quickly. One prospect is turned off by her being upset he didn't text her that he got home safely. She was overly invested in him which was too much, too soon. Meanwhile, another guy has advice on how best to handle a situation at work with the partners wanting her to talk to Rasheeda about turning things down. That opens up the connection between them. And yet, Molly still ultimately feels bad about what later happens at her office. She decides not to talk to Rasheeda which then leads to a bunch of powered, white people descending on Rasheeda and calling out her behavior as wrong - even though it's a part of her personality. Molly really isn't confident about a whole lot of things in her life. She gives off the impression that she is. She seems like she's great. That's just a first impression though. Once you dig deeper into who Molly is, she's just a woman still trying to figure things out about why things still aren't happening for her as easily as they are for seemingly everyone else. That's a powerful story that has just gotten more and more nuanced as the season has gone along. It should be interesting to see if she ever does find a relationship. Will it come from someone on this dating site or will it be Jared who she blew off a week ago?

Some more thoughts:
  • "Thirsty as F**k" was written by Laura Kittrell and directed by Kevin Bray.
  • A friendship may finally be forming between Issa and Frieda. It's something that Frieda clearly wants and has been pushing to happen. But they only truly bond once they both start complaining about another co-worker who always backs out at the last minute and takes a half-hour break immediately after lunch every day.
  • Lawrence didn't exactly walk into his job at Best Buy with confidence but he did pride himself on knowing a lot about computers and helping people there. But then, he had to accept that he would have to work at every corner of the store and with appliances he has zero knowledge about.
  • Is something going to happen between Lawrence and his bank teller friend? They share lunch at a food court. Plus, he drops that he has a girlfriend. But things still seem pretty flirtatious between them. So, the possibility is there for either Lawrence or Issa to do something outside of their relationship.
  • It's great that Issa and Lawrence's couch is still on the sidewalk just waiting for someone to take it. They go shopping for a new one which shows how strong their relationship is now. But the couch still being there could serve as a reminder of what they use to have as well. The relationship has changed but it can still be great. It is now but it may not be forever.
  • Molly had a talk with Rasheeda about toning it down at work last week. Rasheeda was able to explain how she didn't think she needed to do that because of all of her accomplishments. But it's still devastating to see her in a room with the partners and not being able to say that exact same thing because they are so numerous and powerful. She shrinks down into the chair and probably won't have the same confidence that led to her succeeding as she used to.
  • That opening scene with Issa and Lawrence trying to take a shower together was hilarious. It perfectly gets at how a potentially sexy experience could be ruined by such a confided space.