Sunday, September 2, 2018

REVIEW: 'Insecure' - Issa Contemplates New Relationships and Career Opportunities in 'Fresh-Like'

HBO's Insecure - Episode 3.04 "Fresh-Like"

Issa tries to let go of cherished mementos. Molly vents to her therapist about work.

This really is proving to be a season of change and exploration. New relationships and new jobs are very much on Issa and Molly's minds. They are seeing what else is out there. At times, they feel comforted by the old and familiar. It's the life they have always known. Taking risks is incredibly scary. They may not even pay off in the long run. They believe they know what they are feeling. They may absolutely be right to leave certain relationships and jobs. And yet, there is always the uncertainty of whatever comes next not being a whole lot better. It may be completely impulsive for Issa to quit her job at We Got Y'all. That has been a source of consistency in her life for a long time. But now, she is feeling the pull to get out of these longterm relationships. She stuck with Lawrence and this job for a long time. She committed so much work and time to them. She's just now starting to think that there is something better out there for her. So far, this season has focused on her relationship with Daniel. She yearns for him while also being completely aware that their past mistakes haven't completely been forgotten. They are still working on themselves. So, any relationship between them was bound to have the same problems as before. They still weren't comfortable talking about what was going on in their lives. And now, Issa is just completely open and honest with this new guy. She's willing to share her past relationship with Lawrence and her own discomfort at her job. She is coming to these realizations now and willing to put things into action. She doesn't want to waste any more time if she isn't happy. And yet, she was happy with Lawrence. It took betraying him for her to truly realizing that. Similarly, she has been happy at We Got Y'all. She is great friends with Frieda. But now, she's intrigued by other opportunities that could better utilize the unique skill set that she brings to this specific work. She is very excited about those opportunities for her.

Of course, Issa quits without having a new job lined up. She has been working three jobs this season. She's been trying to save up enough money in order to rent her own apartment again. She has finally moved up the social ladder in that regard in "Fresh-Like." She is moving into her own place. It comes with her also being the building manager. She's still uncertain about what to do whenever one of the tenets comes knocking on her door asking for help. In fact, this episode highlights the crazy requests that she has to deal with. She doesn't know how to help a person who believes squirrels are in the walls and having babies. She also doesn't know how to argue with a woman who says that her locks have been changed. Issa isn't putting the work in to really make managing this building her passion. It's just something she has to do in order to have a place to live. It offers her a sense of independence. Daniel and Molly help her move in. She has a place for all of her belongings. They aren't scattered across town being looked after by her friends and family any more. Of course, she's realizing her friends didn't always do the best at storing her items. In fact, Molly may have broken a number of her glasses. As such, this apartment is still just coming together for Issa. She only has an air mattress. But she also gets some wine from Molly. So, it still represents a chance at a new life for her. It's an opportunity to embrace new experiences. This can be her fresh start. Of course, there is still so much that connects to her past. She can't just completely abandon everything that has happened to her and accept that things will just naturally be different no matter where she goes. That's completely insane. Issa isn't falling into that trap though. She is still holding onto some of these keepsakes from her past because they still mean something personal to her.

Issa doesn't want to throw away her old high school journal of her raps or the mix CDs that Lawrence made for her after their first date. They are sweet reminders of what she has been passionate about in the past. In fact, they help her reconnect to her roots. She feels inspired to rap in front of the mirror for the first time in awhile. She feels that confidence because she is moving into a new place. It's the potential for a whole new identity. It seems like things are starting to break her way once more. She has a place to live that is hers. She is inspired by another nonprofit that is doing the work that she actually feels passionate about. Frieda comes to her saying that Joanne is finally ready to let Issa back out into the field. She is no longer being punished with desk duty. She represented the organization well during the job fair and subsequent interviews. Issa is seemingly getting what she always wanted from this nonprofit. She is no longer the sole women of color who has to be the voice of an entire demographic whenever something about race comes up. She didn't always feel like she had to speak for all people of color. She welcomed diversity into the job pool. She went into the job fair with a specific mission. She walked away realizing that she could be better and happier somewhere else though. Now, she is busy researching the studies that support music education in schools actually helping students succeed. That's the work she would like to be doing. She would be giving back to her community while also embracing her artistry. It would allow her to evolve into the woman she has always wanted to be. These are grand ambitions. She doesn't have that other job though. She hasn't even applied for it. She is just envious of what another organization is doing in this particular line of work. She's inspired but she doesn't leave with a game plan whatsoever. As such, she leaves Frieda completely blindsided because she thought she knew Issa better than this.

This decision is also fueled by Issa spending the day showing off Los Angeles to Nathan, the hot guy who punched the other passenger during the party Lyft. There seemed like a spark between Issa and Nathan when he first appeared. And yet, that seemed defeated right away because of this massive action that he took. He got into a physical fight. It didn't matter that he gave her a good review. He still showed his true colors. And now, he just happens to run into her on the street. That easy chemistry is once again allowed to define their dynamic. In fact, it's easy to get swept up in the moment too because Nathan also represents a new opportunity for Issa. She has been so focused on her past relationships. She is still agonizing over the ways she messed up things with both Lawrence and Daniel. She's had a loving and long-lasting relationship. She knows what she is looking for. She just doesn't know how to actually obtain it. She could try to make things work with Daniel. They could continue to explore what their current relationship has the potential of becoming. But Daniel mostly just shows up here in order to help Issa move. He is helping her get started with her new life. He is encouraging this because he knows it's what she wants. It just means that they won't be getting as close as they were when they were sleeping in the same bed together. Things are awkward between them. Molly is cold to Daniel as well when she runs into him. She doesn't want her best friend making the same mistakes again. That's how she views Daniel completely. She doesn't know anything about Issa's day with Nathan or the decision she makes at work. And yet, it seems like she would encourage both of them despite the uncertainty involved. The excitement of something new is very invigorating at the moment.

Nathan does force Issa into becoming okay with letting go of some of her cherished memories she's desperately holding onto in the new apartment. He makes her realize that sometimes it's better to appreciate a clean slate. It's impossible to ever start completely fresh. Our lives define who we are on a daily basis. Right now, Issa is choosing to just leave work to spend the day with Nathan. They are just walking around the city. It's very sweet and charming. Plus, it builds to seeing each other naked. That's unexpected. Plus, it's attached to trespassing. They visit the house that Issa grew up in. She laments not being able to enjoy the pool because her parents got divorced shortly after building it. And so, they naturally just decide to break in and go skinny dipping. It's all completely ridiculous. It was always inevitable that they would be forced to go on the run because the new owners of the house would come home and see them out there. But it's still so awkward yet sensual watching the two of them grow more intimate with one another. Issa learns more about Nathan. He came to LA from Houston after a hurricane flooded his apartment. He always wanted to move here but needed that push to actually make it a reality. And now, he has made this big move. He is hanging out with Issa. She invites him back to her apartment. All of this does lead to a hot kiss between the two of them. It doesn't go anything further than that. But the sparks are definitely there for Issa to continue exploring. It's nice because it's a dynamic without any previous strings or history. Yes, there was the awkward Lyft encounter but Issa seems to get over that really quickly even though it could foreshadow some anger issues. Right now, it's just suppose to be charming and sexy to see the two together.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Fresh-Like" was written by Dayna Lynne North and directed by Stella Meghie.
  • Molly continues to struggle at work. She felt like she was going to walk into this new law firm with the respect she has earned after a career climbing up the ladder. She didn't want to believe that she would be knocked down because of this move. She wants her co-workers to value what she has to say immediately. She lacks the clarity to know that she has to actually prove her value in this new environment by showing that she deserves that respect.
  • Of course, it's also very telling to see Molly repeat the same problems over and over again during her therapy. She keeps going to these sessions even though she doesn't seem to take the advice. In fact, she's not even telling her therapist everything that is going on in her life. She never told her about Dro. Molly was trying to apply some of these ideas onto that relationship. And yet, she didn't discuss what could have happened with her therapist beforehand.
  • And now, Molly is potentially stretching herself too thin at this job. She wants to find her place to fit in with this new business landscape. She is eager to prove her worth. However, her being eager may only continue to build on her problems. She may still be alienating herself from her coworkers because their minds are already running about the various ways she will try to get respect in this business.
  • It's also nice to get a peek into the life Issa grew up in. The show has spent time with Molly's family. They have their own problems as well that Molly has had bad reactions to. But it's also so stark to see the house Issa's parents put every cent into. It shows that she had a far different upbringing even though she's barely making enough money now to afford an apartment. That too is starkly different than all that Molly has.
  • A new job probably won't come easy for Issa. She will still keep busy as a building manager and Lyft driver. She just won't be doing the work she wants to be doing. This job she is envious about could have some serious competition. As such, she may have to adjust her expectations. Or maybe it will inspire her to try to do her own thing. The future is full of possibilities for her. It will just come with more struggle as well.