Sunday, November 13, 2016

REVIEW: 'Insecure' - Issa Keeps a Secret from Lawrence as Molly and Jared Connect in 'Guilty as F**k'

HBO's Insecure - Episode 1.06 "Guilty as F**k"

Issa tries to keep things together while hiding her guilt, as Lawrence doubles down on his commitment to her. Molly embraces a new relationship, but after learning more than she wants to about her new beau's past, struggles to focus on their future.

Issa gave into temptation last week by sleeping with Daniel. She was spiraling over the potential consequences the "broken pussy" video might have on her life. Daniel was the one there to comfort her. Lawrence believed the video wasn't that big of a deal. But then, both he and Issa had to go to their jobs. They were apart for the day which allowed Daniel to come in and be the man Issa needed right now. He was the wrong man. She should not have slept with him. Issa was unsure about her relationship with Lawrence at the start of the series. But now, she has realized just how good she really has it. The audience has seen that as well. We know that Issa and Lawrence are a great couple. But now, they really are looking at different futures. Lawrence wants to be shopping for an engagement ring. He's ready to take that next step. Meanwhile, Issa is agonizing over what she has just done. She's unable to move forward because she's wrapped with guilt. It's crippling to her. It does more damage to her than the video ever did. The video was the cause behind all of this. But Issa's actions still carry consequences. She tries to keep everything bottled up. But it is abundantly clear that cheating on Lawrence is having a huge effect on her.

Issa worries how Lawrence will react once she tells him the truth. She isn't able to lie to him. He is able to tell that something is off with her right away. And yet, she fears that he will react violently. That he will assault her if she tells him about cheating on him. That doesn't seem like something Lawrence would realistically do. After six episodes with these characters, it would be easy to say that he would never hurt Issa. However, that's what she imagines his reaction to be. It's startling to watch that play out. Of course, it's all in Issa's head. She's propping this bombshell up. She's making it worse and worse in her head. She's agonizing over every single detail. She can't do anything with Lawrence that is exactly like what she did with Daniel. That's tough. It makes it difficult for her to be intimate with Lawrence. Issa loves Lawrence. He is able to get the "broken pussy" video removed from the Internet. He had a friend who could do that for him no problem. He was able to do what Daniel couldn't. It's still not a big deal to Lawrence but it's life-changing to Issa. That's what makes it even more difficult to carry the burden of this secret.

Overcompensating will only help Issa avoid the truth for so long though. She chooses not to tell anyone about what happened between her and Daniel in the recording studio. It's a clear decision she makes. In some cases, that's easy to do. She doesn't know anyone at her work well enough to open up about cheating on her boyfriend. Plus, it really doesn't get in the way of her job all that much. She isn't given the opportunity to share the news with Molly either because she's too distracted about the latest twist in her romantic life. Molly and Issa's friendship is great but Molly can overwhelm the conversation a lot of the time. It's so hard for Issa to keep this news from Lawrence. She tries showing her love to him by putting even more work into their relationship. She makes him a special breakfast, makes plans for a date night and makes sure he knows just how much she loves him. To him, this is her simply being appreciative for taking the video down. But everyone else is keenly aware that Issa is doing all of this just to avoid having this difficult conversation. And yet, that gets in the way of planning a future with Lawrence. She would love to be have the marriage discussion with him. She is overjoyed when he takes her into a store to look at rings. But she's just not in the right headspace for that at the moment. She's too distracted by her guilt.

All of this is boiling up inside of her. She finally bursts when she's out scouting locations for a work fundraiser. She had the great idea to look at spaces outside of Malibu for this event. She had a clear idea of empowering the kids she works with by showing them the beauty of the neighborhoods they live in. It's a great idea. She and Frieda even find the perfect space for the event. But that sequence is much more about Issa's poor reaction to learning she's getting a parking ticket. She has an epic blowup at the officer writing the ticket. This is so frustrating to her. She doesn't believe she did anything wrong. She's lashing out at this officer for simply doing his job. It just comes at the worst possible time for her. How much more can go wrong before she finally cracks? Again, not everything is going wrong for her. Lawrence has a promising new interview at a tech startup. His career could finally be taking off. And yet, she is incapable of being genuinely excited for him because of the weight of her guilt. It's become way too crippling for her. This episode needed to end on a release of sorts for her. It's just very telling who she decides to tell and who is still in the dark.

Issa tells Molly the truth about what happened with Daniel. It's something she needed to do. She could no longer keep it to herself. Plus, there was an opening for her to share it as well. Molly was so excited about her relationship with Jared finally getting started. She turned him away because he didn't go to college and she was accepted onto the online service of professionals looking for a relationship. That hasn't been going so well for her so far. Her connection with Jared has been the most real and genuine relationship so far. She has gone out on plenty of dates this season. And yet, Jared always seems to be the right answer for her. And here, they finally get together. After she wakes up from passing out on his couch, she realizes she needs to apologize for how crazy she has been. Then, they just have sex. It's passionate and exciting for both of them. They are now willing to give this relationship a chance. They share intimate details of their pasts to each other. Molly is more open with him than any of her previous dates. And yet, she ruins this one as well because she can't get past the fact that Jared let another guy go down on him once. She knows that he's not gay and that believing so reinforces a stereotype. But it's how she feels nevertheless. So once again, another romance gets tossed aside because of Molly's actions.

And yet, all of that chaos in Molly's life doesn't keep her from being there for Issa during her time of need. Issa needed to tell someone the truth about Daniel. She was too afraid to tell Lawrence. So, Molly is the next logical choice. Issa was able to keep up a good face for awhile too. She listened to Molly's problems with Jared and laughed at them. She still supported Molly in the end after the relationship with Jared ended. But it's also clear her own guilt is predominantly on her mind. She tells Molly the truth in a matter-of-fact tone. She slept with Daniel. Molly doesn't have an over-the-top reaction. She does not judge Issa for what she did. She knew that it was a possibility given how much Issa and Daniel have been hanging out later. She warned Issa about this exact thing happening and ruining her relationship with Lawrence. But in this moment, she needs to know if Issa wants to do it again. That's the clear sign that Molly is a good friend. She wants to know what Issa is feeling in this moment. She needs to know that if she's going to help her deal with all of these complicated emotions. Things aren't suddenly better because Issa told Molly the truth. But it is a release that will help Issa accept what she has done and the consequences of her actions.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Guilty as F**k" was written by Amy Aniobi and directed by Debbie Allen.
  • Once again, it's clear Issa's co-workers don't care about any idea that she pitches, Frieda is overeager to show her approval and the boss really is indifferent to all of this but capable of seeing a good idea when she hears it.
  • It's also amusing to watch Issa curse out the officer writing her a ticket while Frieda is incapable of harassing him. This is a big deal for Issa. Frieda wants to be upset too. But all she can come up with is telling him to get back home to his kids safely.
  • Issa and Molly go see a play about Jesus because one of their friends' cousins is in it. It's a very weird play. One that has two intermissions - one for going to the bathroom and one for getting snacks. But it really doesn't add a whole lot of pressure to the internal conflicts Molly and Issa are going through.
  • At first, Issa was incapable of being intimate with Lawrence because it was all happening too soon after being with Daniel. But then, she turned away just because Lawrence said something just like Daniel did. So, it's clear this isn't going away anytime soon.
  • Issa is supportive of Molly and her dating life but also thinks she's being silly for lingering on this idea of Jared getting sucked off by a guy. If the situation were reversed, she wouldn't care because Lawrence is already pretty gay. It wouldn't surprise her or change her opinion about him.
  • The show really does have an insightful conversation about the double standard of two women kissing versus two men kissing and how that is then amplified in the black community.