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Women still run a male-centered episode of Insecure

Lawrence is almost the most interesting part of a Lawrence episode of the HBO dramedy.

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Keke Palmer
Keke Palmer
Photo: Merie W. Wallace/HBO

I said I would be nicer to Lawrence this season, but “Pressure, Okay?!” makes it hard to keep that promise. In a recent interview, Jay Ellis revealed Lawrence wasn’t a character who was intended to stick around. Instead, Ellis turned Lawrence into a relatable and charming character and, well, the #Lawrencehive was born. For fans of Lawrence, “Pressure, Okay?!” is a brilliant setup to his final arc. He’s gone from Best Buy to a tech investment firm. He’s moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco. He owns real furniture. Lawrence has grown in all the ways Issa wanted to see him grow and that’s great.

Except… Issa walked out of his life and that’s where this episode begins. Lawrence is still trying to be the man Issa wanted when he needs to become the father his son needs. “Pressure, Okay?!” takes us back to the full moon we saw in the premiere and fills in Lawrence’s side of things. If viewers needed more evidence that Ellis is as much a lead as Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji, this episode is it. We don’t need Molly or Issa here to make “Pressure, Okay?!” feel more relevant to the final season. Lawrence, Kelli, Tiffany, Chad and Derek have proven themselves as an ensemble and they carry some of the best moments in one of the show’s best Lawrence-centered episodes.


It’s just, well—and this isn’t Lawrence or Ellis’ fault—but an incredible combination of guest stars upstages him in his own episode. I loved seeing Derek step up as a father and take Lawrence away for a stern talking-to! I enjoyed seeing the evolution of Chad and Lawrence’s friendship! We’ve been given satisfying glimpses into this male friend group’s growth over Insecure’s five seasons and Jason Lew’s script is perfect in tone and depth. Every dynamic is played to its fullest—from Kelli’s shady “Everyone I associate with is thriving in abundance, limitless” comment to Ciara’s “Ashy Larry” nickname—there’s just so much to enjoy in this episode that doesn’t involve Lawrence.


Christina Elmore does wonderful work as Condola, reminding us why she was so engaging as both a friend to Issa and a love interest. It’s also incredibly easy to feel sympathy for her when Lawrence is being a jerk for most of the episode. When Lawrence returns to his apartment after Issa breaks up with him, his things are already packed. He’d already decided Condola’s pregnancy wasn’t going to change his plans. He wasn’t really willing to make sacrifices to be near his child, so how can Condola really trust him? He was only willing to be a father when it was convenient.

I mean, Lawrence knew this baby was coming and he didn’t even buy a crib or set it up until his son was already born. Sure, the kid came a little early, but he knew she was pregnant before he moved. Clearly, a nursery wasn’t on his mind when he was ordering all that other expensive furniture. This is why Elmore, Keke Palmer, and Lela Rochon dominate this episode. Palmer and Rochon guest as Condola’s sister and mother, which is great casting. In the few moments we get with them, we learn so much. Lawrence hasn’t met either of them. Rochon has a wonderful moment where you see the maternal instinct switch on as soon as Lawrence enters the room.

Palmer’s “So, that’s why the baby looks like that” comment is even more blunt. Lawrence is on the outside; it’s his own fault and he knows it. He wants to blame Condola and her family, but he’s the one who moved away. He’s the one who blames her for blowing up his life. He’s the one who said, “Just keep me posted” to Condola when she was pregnant. Of course they’re making baptism plans and naming the baby without him—they couldn’t wait for Lawrence to get his shit together.

All I wanted after “Pressure, Okay?!” was more of Condola and her mother and sister. I wanted to see them coming together to support Condola during her pregnancy. In the dual montage between Condola and Lawrence, her life has the one that had to change. She has the more interesting and sympathetic narrative. Lawrence has the job of his dreams and is still going on dates and sleeping with random women. It takes an actual act of God for Lawrence to even realize things aren’t working with Condola and Jah and he’s making it worse.


Lawrence isn’t a stranger to Kelli, Tiffany, or Derek, either, but they treat him as coldly as Condola does. Everyone realizes Lawrence is trying to evade responsibility and the consequences of his actions. If he wanted to be there for Jah, he wouldn’t have moved away and at the end of “Pressure, Okay?!” that seems to be Lawrence’s realization: This long distance, peek-a-boo father stuff isn’t working. This probably means we’ll see Lawrence back in Los Angeles and back in Issa’s orbit sooner rather than later.

Stray Observations

  • It’s hilarious that Keke Palmer got this role by tweeting about beating Condola’s ass and in a way, her character does! Call your sister’s baby daddy Ashy Larry! I love it! I know she’s been making fun of Lawrence with Kelli, Condola and Tiffany.
  • “That’s Pepper Pig with a hard R,” “...and there’s a full baby with both of your faces,” and “You know I’m already high!” are all amazing lines. Never change, Kelli.
  • Lawrence really wanted to man up and fight with his baby momma at a child’s birthday party! Knocking over presents! Chill out!
  • I wonder if Issa decided to end things with Lawrence because he was moving and not because of the baby. If he moves back… well… that could be interesting. I guess. Honestly, I won’t be mad if it means more Keke Palmer and Lela Rochon.
  • The way Lawrence said “I’m here!” to Derek when he was trying to defend himself was so pathetic. Are you there, Lawrence? Are you?
  • “Beyoncé in a movie, I wanna see Beyoncé, you know?” Never change, Chad.