The Season 1 finale episode of Issa Rae’s Insecure aired on Sunday, Nov. 27 on HBO — and left many fans gasping for air. As we’ve done before, several fans at BGN got together to a discussion.
Here’s our chat recap for Episode 8: “Broken as F**k” and as well as our thoughts on the season as a whole and our hopes for next season.
(The chat transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.)
Our Insecure geeks includes:
Afiya Augustine: Afiya Augustine is an eternal student and dreamer from Brooklyn, NY. On the occasion she’s not trolling for her blerdy pleasure, she’s a freelance writer, a crafter and jewelry designer for her online shop, Pretty Poet Ink.
Jamie Broadnax: The founder and managing editor of the pop culture online community Black Girl Nerds. Her Twitter personality has been recognized by Shonda Rhimes as one of her favorites to follow. In her spare time, she enjoys live-tweeting, reading, writing, and spending time with her beagle Brandy.
Leonardo Faierman: Leonardo Faierman was born in Buenos Aires, raised in Queens, on the playground was where he planned most of his schemes. He writes video game and music reviews, poetry, comic books, bad dreams and good copy. NYC is his serpentine loa. Check out his website Snow Daze
Caron J: Caron J is a writer, artist, activist and the host of The CARONISMShow on 100.1 The Heat and a writer and co-host of BlackGirlNerds and BGNPodcast. In her spare time, she is a lover of all things beautiful, a hot granny and a pimp.
Leonardo Faierman: So, I think everyone in this chat probably wants to talk the big talk about 8. But before we do, I wanted to first speak about Jered (Langston Kerman), because we missed that dude and what’s happened to him. How do we feel about how his character was treated, and about his comeuppance to Molly (Yvonne Orji)? Was this a satisfying character arc?
The way he exits the picture, I feel like that’s it, he’s out of the show now
Caron J: I would have liked to see her have some sense, but you know, she’s Molly. Can’t see 5 minutes in front of her face
Leo: Molly at the door sober is, somehow, STILL Molly.
Jamie Broadnax: I respect that Jered is not here for games and set Molly straight on her attitudes towards his sexual fluidity, and the way she handles her relationship with him period. And I don’t believe that’s the last we’ll see of Jered.
Afiya Augustine: I was really hoping for more Jered this season, and when he was brought back JUST to be dismissed, I’m glad he was able to shut Molly down in a way she’s probably never experienced.
I don’t think it’s the last we’ll see of him because, hopefully, Molly will seek therapy, and have to resolve her problems with him.
Caron: Yeah, because every man wants to hear “I should’ve been happy settling for you.”
Leo: It was like the most nega-Cusack moment ever. Molly was the anti-Cusack.
Jamie: I think Molly is going to try to win Jered back again after she gets a therapy session.
Afiya: I concur.
Caron: I don’t get that reference, Leo?
Leo: Haha okay, so, in lots of bullshit John Cusack love movies he wins the girl at the end by like, chasing her, finding her in the rain, running to her door, and telling her how he feels. And she’s like “awwww wow this dude really gets me.” Molly, on the other hand, faceplanted that move.
Caron: I’m glad he wasn’t having it. She needed that. And an ass whoopin’.
Leo: Agreed. And whether she knew it or not, she gave him a sense of closure. Which he deserved. My thought was that it might be character closure, but I hope that yall are right. I thought he was a great character and had plenty to offer Molly.
Jamie: LOL it just dawned on me a lot of John Cusack movies are like that.
Leo: Hahaha yuppppp. That’s his shtick. It should be mentioned that I hate Cusack, by the way.
Afiya: LOL except Must Love Dogs. The woman chased HIM in that.
Jamie: True! But it’s a huge 80s trope in general, too.
Afiya: But yeah, I hope Jared comes back into the picture after Molly gets some therapy. Maybe helps her to resolve some issues.
Jamie: Me too. He’s definitely not out of the picture.
Caron: I ain’t chasing no man… again. Don’t judge me!
Leo: Okay so, moving on from one dude who got hit-and-quitted, to another: Daniel (Y’lan Noel). I felt like he got done pretty dirty. Was it a justified comeuppance? Should he not have expected more from Issa (Issa Rae)?
Caron: What about DustUp Daniel?
Leo: Do you think he came to the event to start shit, or did he plan on being on his best behavior?
Jamie: I don’t think he was done dirty. I mean what did he really expect?
Leo: He thought shit was real between them.
Afiya: I think Daniel came to support… and start something on the sly. If he didn’t care about Issa, he wouldn’t have showed up to the event period.
Jamie: Daniel’s low-key stalker behavior was a major turn off to me. Hell, it was high-key to be honest.
Leo: Her exact words were: “You were just an itch I needed to scratch.”
Caron: No, he was the one who proclaimed he didn’t want a relationship. He set that up. He just got a taste of his own medicine after he got that good-good.
Leo: Hahahaha damn that is really true! Yeah, I guess he played himself unknowingly.
Jami: Issa’s words were cold, but that was her most honest moment this whole season.
Afiya: I don’t think he was done *especially* dirty, because when Issa first approached him during her break, he told her he wasn’t ready to be in anything. Then, all of a sudden, he’s ready when she’s on good terms with her boyfriend. No, and NO.
Caron: Jamie, so true! Low-key stalker for sure. Not like my gentle-stalking method at all.
Leo: So Jamie, you think he DID come to the party for some business. That’s in-line with the low-key stalker M.O.
Caron: He showed up so he could show out.
Leo: He didn’t know homey was gonna be on his Eddie Murphy Boomerang. Probably thought he could slide up next to a shlub.
Jamie: I think he decided to be assertive and come face-to-face with Issa. He’s probably not used to being the one doing the chasing.
Afiya: He showed up to probably schmooze, and then pull Issa to the side for a quick convo.
Caron: Daniel wanted to hit it and quit it, but she quit it first. Game recognize game.
Jamie: I don’t think his intention was to cause a scene
Caron: His intent was to confront.
Afiya: I don’t think so, either. I think he came looking for closure SINCE – as he said – she’d been dodging him for three weeks.
Leo: I didn’t consider that at first, but it does sound right.
Caron: He simply was unaware he was an itch. Or a scratcher of said itch.
Afiya: He probably thought she would let him hit whenever he wanted and be OK with him being the side dude.
Caron: Or that thang was better than he remembered.
Leo: I really loved the scene when Lawrence (Jay Ellis) is with him at the valet. Lawrence isn’t a dummy.
Caron: He is. Why is he acting like he wasn’t a bum for the last four years?
Jamie: Lawrence is the most complex character of this entire series next to Molly.
Afiya: I saw the showrunner say they wanted the valet scene to happen in a bathroom. I can imagine how AWKWARD that would’ve been.
Leo: OH that would’ve been interesting. I liked it at the valet, because it was poetically sound. The man is leaving. Lawrence knows that, but he’s not getting away just yet
Caron: That is poetic
Afiya: I honestly don’t think Lawrence was a bum for four years. I think Lawrence hit a wall when his app didn’t work, and that’s when he slid into bum tendencies because the boy had money… as Tasha made sure to mention during his stop at the bank.
Leo:Okay okay, I know we want to talk 8, but I wanted to talk about one more thing before we leave the dinner party…and that’s therapy. Which becomes the kind of specter that haunts the rest of the season. Molly’s words were “Therapy: who wants to get broke paying for a fake friend?”
I interpreted their entire argument, and resultant rift regarding this topic, as a commentary on mental health, which is a loaded concept when it comes to people of color especially.
Afiya: I like how they wanted to make people hate Lawrence for seeming like a low life, when in actuality, he’s part of the emotional center of the show. #Never4GetBouch
Jamie: Did you also notice how the bouch deteriorated towards the end of the season?
Leo: YES. Missing a cushion, bloods chilling on it.
Caron: The cushion…ain’t nothing padding it now.
Jamie: The bouch was a damn metaphor!
Caron: That damned bouch!
Leo: Okay okay waiiiiiiit. We’ll talk bouch. We’ll talk episode 8.
Afiya: LOL Leo wants to talk therapy. I think it was funny that Molly – the friend who got out of the hood with the amazing job – would fall into that stigma of therapy.
Leo: Two things struck me: 1. I realized what yall were talking about, regarding Molly’s problems, which I misinterpreted. I saw Molly as a strident go-getter, too busy for the real. But there was more going on and 2. I think this concept of mental health and self-care is one of the things that really distinguishes Insecure from The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl (ABG). Whereas ABG was more specific, but overall quite irreverent, in its humor, Insecure is about self-care and self-improvement.
Caron: They both are.
Leo: Tell it. It’s been a while since I watched ABG, but I don’t think the therapy conversation and resultant conflict would’ve played out in that show like this.
Caron: Insecure is as much about the characters coming to terms with their relationships with themselves as it is with others. Every one of them is in processing and examining how they treat themselves, treat others and allow others to treat them.
Jamie: I do agree with Leo on the mental illness story arc. That wasn’t explored in ABG to my knowledge.
Leo: I was remembering how yall were like “Molly has mad issues”. And I was all “No, not really… does she?”
Caron: Mentioning therapy and exploring mental illness are not the same thing. They are not mutually exclusive.
Leo: I agree. They are not synonymous. But I’m extrapolating their mention and the digressions on therapy as being a somehow centralized commentary in the show.
Afiya: I liked the idea that Issa wasn’t afraid to say “I would go.” Knowing her issues with cheating on her boyfriend, I’m glad that she’d admit to talking over things to with professional. Molly feels she has things so together, but she doesn’t. And her scoffing at therapy shows her lack of grasp on reality.
Caron: Molly is a mess and it’s not a secret.
Leo: Right. Like, this would’ve been a jokey bit in ABG. But in Insecure, it informs so much about the last two episodes
Jamie: Molly is also very prideful.
Caron: So full of pride.
Jamie: She doesn’t think she needs it and feels that it’s beneath her.
Afiya: It’s like Issa said, she never noticed that ALL her problems with men stemmed from HER: he’s too gay, he’s too thirsty, he’s not thirsty enough.
Caron: Issa put that thing down, didn’t she?
Leo: Random question: do you think Issa admires Molly?
Afiya: I think Issa admires Molly’s success… maybe not Molly’s hangups.
Jamie: Good question Leo. I think she admires Molly’s success. Not the relationships and emotional baggage she deals with tho.
Caron: I know so many women who are professionally a success and personally a wreck.
Leo: Agreed. And the convo they have behind the catering section is maybe their realest convo in the season.
Leo: Okay okay, all that being said, episode 8 OMFG. I kinda don’t know where to start, but I think someone here mentioned how Lawrence ends up being the most intricate character in the show. First off: is there ANYTHING you believe Issa could’ve done to make shit right?
Leo: Would coming clean to him early on even helped? Or did she just Shaq the whole thing?
Caron: Cheating is a symptom, not the disease. The relationship was broken, even before the cheat.
Jamie: It wouldn’t have helped. Cheating isn’t something that can be timed accurately and delivered gently. Cheating will still hurt all parties involved no matter what.
Afiya: I don’t think Issa could’ve done anything to make things right with her and Lawrence – even if she admitted it. I think what she SHOULD’VE done was tell Daniel she was done with him as soon as he started texting. That probably would’ve prevented him from coming to the event. I thought she took TOO long to put Daniel in his place and kick him to the curb.
Leo: I also can’t fathom how that might’ve played out. Because, beyond the cheat, the central lie of their relationship was something Lawrence repeated a lot. “I’m IN this” he’d say. She pretended that she was always in that same boat, but maybe this didn’t end up being true.
Jamie: Seems to me Issa had to get this out of her system. She was very unhappy with the relationship. Nothing could be done to salvage it.
Leo: Afiya, I fully agree. I don’t know if that would’ve fixed things, but her simply avoiding Daniel was a definite mistake.
Afiya: I also think Issa didn’t give Lawrence time to relax post-cheating reveal. When she ran away to Molly’s for a few days, she didn’t want him to come around or talk to her, however, she wouldn’t leave him alone to come around on his on.
Leo: Wow, that is really true. I didn’t realize the flawed reflection of behavior there.
Caron: Lawrence broke a trust in the relationship and never acknowledged it. Issa made too many concessions and there is a point of no return.
Leo: You mean with his “job search?”
Caron: It wasn’t about a job search, it was about taking care of things – taking care of her. Once a woman feels like she is carrying a man and he does nothing to take the pressure off, it’s trouble. He had money. He had a good woman by his own admission, but he didn’t take care of her.
Leo: Good point. If anything, her separation is partly what compelled him to start shooting straighter. To take care of his business. Which is somewhat ironic, I suppose.
Caron: He let her carry the weight of his emotional state, the relationship, the decisions… And without sex? Maaaaaaaan….
Afiya: Granted, Lawrence did mess up, but the fact was he tried to fix things. And on top of him trying to fix things, she AGREED to give the relationship a second chance — but in the middle of that, she cheated.
Caron: You cannot fix what you don’t confront
Leo: Now THAT’S probably the central theme of the show, right there, Caron.
Caron: MESSAGE! Loving a woman is so much more than paying for things (wait, did I say that?).
Caron: He kept saying he was in it, but they were just words.
Jamie: No lies detected.
Caron: He treated her like the bouch.
Jamie: A bouch with missing pillows
Caron: It was old, worn in, but still comfy in the right position.
Afiya: But what about going ring shopping? I saw him as making an effort. I mean, that’s just me, though.
Caron: Taking a woman to a ring store is not effort. C’mon son!
Afiya: He took a bummy job at Best Buy – after he made it clear it was beneath him.
Leo: He was scared. He made the right move doing that, it got his ass in gear.
Afiya: And he seemed to be more in tune with her at home. And he got the video taken down?
Caron: No, he didn’t make the right move and it got nothing in gear.
Jamie: I do think he was making an effort… but was that about Issa or about him?
Leo: I interpreted it as about Issa.
Caron: He was a nice guy, but supremely selfish as shit.
Leo: It got his ass in gear, by shoving in his face the fact that he had to make better moves (also: Caron with the harshness right now!).
Caron: The only evidence of a man’s ass in gear is movement, sir.
Jamie: I get the sense that at times he wants to do the right thing, but wants to take the easy road to get there. Like I said he’s a super complex character. So much to unpack.
Caron: Yes. He has issues of his own.
Afiya: If he wasn’t devoted to Issa, then why turn down Tasha when she came with the girls all out in Best Buy?
Leo: The T-word appeared.
Caron: Committed and devoted are two different things.
Jamie: I think he is devoted to Issa. I also think he doesn’t listen to her.
Caron: Lots of men clearly miss cues from women when they are not checking for them. Lawrence does what suits his interests.
Afiya: I can see that. I dunno. Like I can understand both sides, but at least from my POV I saw him as trying.
Jamie: I don’t disagree with you Afiya.
Caron: It was always about him. It always took a shake up for him to even consider there was another person in the relationship
Leo: I think I’m with you, Afiya, on Lawrence. I believe that he was supremely comfortable at the start of the show. And discomfort was able to dislodge him into actually doing something.
Caron: They both have a lot to learn, but isn’t that what relationships are for?
Leo: Like, the conversation they have in this episode, where he’s like “Shit, maybe I shouldn’t take this job.” I’m surprised he didn’t get smacked.
Caron: OH, that set me off!
Jamie: Yeah… that’s the part of Lawrence that needs fixing.
Caron: OMGosh, I was like, is this dude for real?
Jamie: He wants to take the easy road (or what he thinks is easy for him).
Caron: And he is arrogant, in that respect.
Leo: Indeed. In the job interview, where he’s commenting on the flaws of the company. Let’s just say… that probably doesn’t result in a successful job as often as one might think. Even for startups, and I’ve worked for a few.
Caron: In his defense, they did ask what he would change or do differently.
Leo: Oh for sure. But that was a bit ballsy all the same.
Afiya: I agree with that. He was feeling himself a bit too much instead of taking baby steps towards getting back in the swing of things and wanted to land himself in the same hole he just got out of.
Caron: This is where dudes think we are supposed to pick up their slack and “support” them.
Leo: So, how did we feel when Issa got back to the apartment after the weekend with the girls. Did yall see that coming?
Caron: Yes. Absolutely.
Jamie: Not at all.
Leo: Threw me for a loop.
Jamie: I thought Lawrence was gonna be in bed nekkid waiting for Issa.
Afiya: I was feeling the motions with Issa. I saw the keys and thought… maybe he’s in the apartment, but I also thought he was prob in there getting a BJ from Tasha…
Leo: OMG damn.
Afiya: I was fearing the not-so-worst.
Jamie: Tasha didn’t even cross my mind.
Caron: As soon as she told him she would be gone for the whole weekend and he could stay because she wouldn’t be there, I knew.
Jamie: At first glance, I thought it was the stripper he was bedding.
Caron: Ironically, he bounced for the same reason Molly did with Jered.
Leo: How do you mean?
Caron: Just can’t get it out of his head. The act itself. Men respond differently to women cheating.
Leo: I hear you, and can confirm. Incidentally, to paraphrase the John Cusack movie High Fidelity (based on a Nick Hornsby book): “No one is having better sex, than the sex your ex-girlfriend is having with their new boyfriend, in your mind”
Afiya: Damn. That’s cutting it deep.
Leo: It’s so. Damn. True.
Caron: Women are expected to forgive and move on when they are cheated on, but men cannot get past the act of another in what he considers his “space” in her body.
Afiya: Yeah, when they spoke about him being there the weekend, I thought he was going to take that weekend to do his dirt and then they’d talk this over.
Leo: Right. Like, “get even” or whatever. I considered that as a likely outcome, which would not leave them in good shape, by any stretch. But I expected something more along those lines.
Afiya: But I was bracing myself for the worst. When I saw homie took everything BUT the Best Buy shirt… I was like… damn.
Caron: I knew he would bounce. It was the perfect opportunity to do it without (again) having to confront it.
Leo: The Best Buy shirt was deep af.
Caron: I hated the begging. Issa’s begging drove me nuts. Button up, buttercup, you did it, own it.
Leo: We can wrap on final thoughts here, and expectations for season 2. Any ideas?
Caron: A new apartment for Issa.
Leo: A new bouch.
Jamie: Hope to see Molly get some needed therapy.
Afiya: I want Molly to go to therapy, and Issa navigate life in the singledom she so desired after the pilot episode.
Leo: Prediction: the first scene in Season 2 Episode 1 is Molly on a therapy couch.
Caron: Issa may get promoted due to the success of the fundraiser.
Jamie: I hope Jared takes her back and gives her a 2nd chance.
Caron: I hope Jered dates someone else first and she sees it, then they reconcile.
Leo: I really hope we see more of him.
Caron: I want to see more naked men.
Afiya: Yes. Don’t waste his cuteness.
Jamie: Nekkid men is always a pleasure.
Leo: LOL okay then, first scene is Molly banging her male therapist.
Jamie: LOL…I hope not. Molly is so much more than just thirsty all the time.
Caron: One thirsty girl is enough.
Jamie: I can envision Issa finally gettin the kids in check. They won’t railroad her anymore.
Leo: I also want more Tasha. But I don’t know if that’s going to be a rebound fling or not.
Jamie: Tasha is gonna be Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.
Leo: I really loved this show overall. And I think Issa Rae has just arrived, and the world is better for it.
Caron: I want to see Issa wash that car.
Afiya: I think Lawrence will be with Tasha, but there’ll be something “missing,” and that’ll lead to their demise.
Jamie: I don’t want to see Lawrence and Issa together yet in season 2. Wait for season 3 for that. They need a whole season to work out their issues separately.
Leo: I like the idea of a single Issa, maybe because it will recall more of the wonderful parts of ABG. And I totally agree, Jamie. I want them to explore the lives of those characters, but in a different setting.
Afiya: Yup. Issa wanted to be single again in Episode 1 and get her shit together before turning 30. Prime time to do that now.
Caron: Nobody gets their shit together before turning 30. That’s sci-fi.
Jamie: Season 2 will all be about therapy. Healing AF.
Afiya: This is true, but she can try…and we can watch her *cough* fail *cough*
Leo: I can’t lie and say that I’m not looking forward to the perils along the way. Thanks everyone! G’night!
Afiya: BYEEEE. See yall for Season 2! It’s ???? so faarrrr away????!
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Afiya Augustine is an eternal student and dreamer from Brooklyn, NY. On the occasion she’s not trolling for her blerdy pleasure, she’s a freelance writer and editor. She’s also a crafter and jewelry designer for her online shop, Pretty Poet Ink. In Afiya’s spare time, she enjoys listening to music, live-tweeting TV shows, and writing on her blog, Alja the Writer, Follow her on Twitter at @LaJoliePoeta and get to know her.