It can be a risk when a show takes a significant time jump in its final season, but Insecure pulls it off this week. “Growth, Okay?!” features a brief montage before dropping us off a year after the events of “Reunited, Okay?!” Issa has been incredibly busy: Her apartment is now dominated with calendars and planning materials for The Blocc. She’s quit working for Lyft. She has an assistant who makes her breakfast (even if it is just frozen waffles in a bag!). This time jump mostly works because it allows Issa’s career to be a central story again. Phil Augusta Jackson’s script isn’t about the weeks or months Issa probably spent wallowing over Lawrence; instead, it focuses on how Issa is moving forward.
Since Issa left We Got Y’all, there haven’t been a lot of opportunities to see her in a work-focused space. Issa’s career seemed lost amidst her choosing between Lawrence and Nathan and her fights with Molly. A seed was planted last season with Condola and the block party, but even that was derailed by drama. Early seasons of Insecure did a great job capturing the comedy of workplace dynamics for women of color. “Growth, Okay?!” brings this perspective back in a way that manages to feel both new and cyclical. Issa is forced to deal with another white person who doesn’t trust her vision. She tries to appeal to the woman of color on her team (Sahan Srinivasan, who was on the panel with Issa last week returns—proving that Issa can network!), but she isn’t able to speak openly.
What this moment mostly reveals, however, is that Issa still doesn’t trust herself. The opening montage might show us the technical ways Issa has grown, but the notes and criticism she receives are enough to make her cave immediately and give up her vision. It’s not that Issa even agreed with the guy, she just didn’t seem to think she had the power or ability to stand up for Crenshawn and his ideas. She doesn’t even try to negotiate. The workplace has always been a space that makes Issa doubt herself and that pattern is repeating here. She’s rightfully called out by Crenshawn and the event happens to be a success, but her reaction to this situation down the line will be real evidence of growth.
Last week, Kelli spoke to Molly about the long road back to normal friendship. This season’s time jump doesn’t waste any time in that space. Molly and Issa are back to sleepovers and pasta nights. There are no awkward interludes, the two just pick up right where they were. Rae and Yvonne Orji are, of course, able to sell the rekindling of Molly and Issa’s friendship. Jackson’s script doesn’t rush these moments of friendship and it does genuinely feel good to just see the two reunited. Issa making fun of Molly’s head for denting her pillow is hilarious. They’re able to make fun of each other again, the surest sign they’re back to normal. Molly didn’t even bring a gun to Issa’s event (there are so many great jokes in this script!).
Orji also pulls off some excellent work this week with Molly. It would be easy enough to show her doing Kelly Rowland meditation rituals and creating a new dating profile, but Jackson’s script takes a deeper approach by bringing L. Scott Caldwell and Gregg Daniel back as Molly’s parents. As horrible as Molly was last season, she’s not given enough credit for the family situation she was also dealing with. She found out her father cheated on her mom and her reaction was a bit immature, but it was the beginning of something that shattered her preconceived notions. Now that Molly is “embracing the change,” she’s able to forgive her parents and let go of that resentment.
Molly’s dating flashback was also a wonderful collection of her worst moments. Sure, Molly can be supportive of Issa and her parents, but has she really changed when it comes to romance? It’s easy enough to stop dating for a year and focus on yourself, but just like Issa falls back into old patterns when she’s in the workplace, Molly can’t help but be Molly when it comes to relationships. Molly might know who she is now, but that doesn’t mean she knows who she’ll be when she’s in a relationship. It might be too much too soon.
Mo Marable directs some great segues between Molly and Issa that remind us just how connected the two are. From Molly’s vibrator to Issa’s toothbrush, this is an episode that really focuses on the show’s core duo. If the two are mirroring each other’s stories (and it’s interesting that we don’t get an appearance from Mirror Issa, instead Issa sings about The Blocc hitting 10,000 followers), Issa getting overwhelmed with Nathan is probably an indication of where Molly could be headed.
Issa clearly likes Nathan, but she wasn’t ready to sleep with him. Rae is able to pull the scene off with just enough tenderness and genuine emotion to make it both hilariously awkward and heart-wrenching. It also doesn’t help that Nathan, who has a reputation for ghosting Issa, ghosts her in the middle of the night. Time will tell whether those feelings were Lawrence-fueled or if it was something else, but Issa’s career is honestly more interesting than anything with either guy.
- Kofi Siriboe had a wonderful energy as Crenshawn and also he was very hot. Great casting choice.
- Another full moon leads Issa to making romantic decisions.
- “You can have snacks too, man.” This was maybe one of Insecure’s most joke-filled episodes.
- Issa is better at event planning and brand consulting than she ever was at mentoring kids.
- I see you, Issa, rocking that olive Telfar. You know what that is? Success.
- The scene with Molly, her mom and Herbert was hilarious. “Herbert plays the organ and you listen to music.” Herbert becoming a deacon at 15. Just perfect.