INSECURE HBO SEASON 4 EPISODE 2 RECAP: “LOWKEY DISTANT”
In “Lowkey Distant” Issa surprised Molly for the first time.
If we’re all being honest a lot of us don’t like change. You might think you do, you might have managed to even trick yourself into believing that you are amazingly flexible but you’re not. Humans crave structure and repetition because it detonates a feeling of stability and control. It’s why it can feel so shocking when a person you’ve known for years suddenly seems like a new person to you— at least that’s what Molly ( Yvonne Orji) discovered in the recent episode of HBO’s Insecure.
The relationship between Molly and Issa (Issa Rae) in episode two of Insecure is just so typical for them. As usual, Molly is upset with Issa for distancing herself from the depressive/ subordinate position that she’s limited her to and it’s taking a toll on their friendship. Plainly, Issa is changing, she’s becoming more confident in her abilities and path and it triggers an insecurity within Molly.
Since the beginning of the series, Molly has always been the most secure one in their friendship. She’s had a better job, an apartment, and felt in control of every part of her life including the relationship script between her and Issa. She was the mentor and successful friend and Issa was her fool; the fun but loser friend who reminded her of her greatness and who helped to prop her up. But in “Lowkey Distant” Issa surprised Molly for the first time. Issa had secured a location for her event without her help, had managed to find a good artist to headline for her and even maintained a professional relationship with a woman who was involved with her ex. Her success provoked a repositioning of their dynamic and it made Molly uncomfortable.
The fact that Issa was finally succeeding while she felt that she was flailing within her own life (given that she is now struggling to build relationships at her new job and with her current partner), caused a dramatic tension. How was she, the Molly Carter, struggling to get a grip with her life while dysfunctional Issa had managed to find a friend who uplifted her, a new passion that actually had potential, and was now the one giving her advice. It was outrageous. It was as if, her power and luck had moved on to Issa and in turn Issa’s dilemma ridden life was becoming hers. You could see that thought crossing her mind when Issa suggested that she was always looking for problems with her partners. And if we’re being honest, the fact that Issa was undermining her by going against her advice and leading her own separate life instead of dropping everything on demand, irked her.
Look, Molly doesn’t respect Issa. She never did. Her role is very true to the legacy of Mara Brock Akil’s Toni (Jill Marie Jones) in Girlfriends and so like Toni, Molly is especially selfish, self-centered, and overbearing. Molly is as selfish as any teenager who’s never learned about the mundane pleasantries between adults and who has misunderstood friendship to mean getting unrestrained support without realizing that they are reciprocal relationships that can end at any given moment. That’s why she takes Issa for granted.
Molly carries the spirit of Toni, her essence, and even some of her mannerisms so, it’s understandable that Issa and Molly’s friendship is eerily similar to the friendship between Toni and Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross). Like their predecessors, Issa and Molly go through a cyclical relationship where they become slightly estranged because of an event that sobers them to the reality of their toxic friendship, then they reconcile before actually repairing their issues. But this time the factor that might stop this sequence is Condola (Christina Elmore) because even though she is dating her ex Lawrence (Jay Ellis), she uplifts Issa and makes her comfortable in her identity. Condola threatens Molly’s position. She reminds us that Molly inspires a feeling of shame in Issa while she brightens her. That’s addictive for a person like Issa who relies on external stimuli to feel confident and positive.
Since the season remodelled the Molly and Issa routine, with a rewind from Issa’s explanation of their estrangement, I was excited to finally see who Issa was independent of Molly. I mean Molly sucks as a friend, she’s increasingly spiteful towards Issa and she never really likes to see her succeed beyond her. But I am beginning to understand that realistically, the foundation of the show is built off of their association so it’s very unlikely that their friendship will end. But maybe that’s not entirely a bad thing because if Molly can learn to be more forgiving to a random guy she just met, perhaps there’s hope for her to become a better friend right? (It’s probably a reach though.)
Still, here are the predictions for the show moving forward. Molly will sleep with her colleague because there is obviously some kind of sexual tension there (then she’ll grapple with whether she wants black love or an interracial relationship). Issa will betray Condola with Lawrence somehow and Molly will continue to hide how unassured she feels within her friendship and act out, instead of communicating that she needs more attention. This season feels a bit predictable. What do you think?