Written By: Mekeisha Madden Toby
Welcome back to week five of Season 4 of HBO’s Insecure.
Insecure Season 4, Episode 5, titled “Lowkey Movin On,” begins with Issa (Issa Rae) looking stressed. After that demoralizing conversation with Molly (Yvonne Orji), in which the woman she thought was her best friend told Issa she wouldn’t help her make her dreams come true, it’s easy to understand why she’s crestfallen. Not one to wallow, Issa gets up, goes to the kitchen and makes a microwave quesadilla. While waiting for her instant snack, Issa jumps on Instagram and checks her Block Party page. Issa notices Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) has posted a message saying he can’t wait for the event. So she messages him and asks what he’s doing up.
Nathan responds that he “can’t sleep.” And Issa says she can’t either. After a little back and forth, Issa calls Nathan. He asks if he will get VIP treatment at the Block Party, and Issa says of course. Nathan then says that he gave her the idea, and Issa tells him to calm down. Why Issa thinks it’s a good time to bite into her microwave quesadilla is beyond us but she does and promptly burns her tongue. Oh Issa. She thanks Nathan for his help with the Block Party, but we won’t know what she means by this until much later in the episode. He asks how she is feeling about the big day, and Issa says she’s scared something will go wrong. Nathan comforts her and mentions that he has the house to himself (Is this a booty call?) because Andrew (Alexander Hodge) is at her girl Molly’s place. “I don’t know if I’d call her my girl,” Issa says matter-of-factly, shutting down any and all booty call intentions. Nathan pivots and asks if she and Molly are okay. And then that infamous line from episode one makes perfect sense: “Honestly, I don’t f*ck with Molly anymore.”
With that, the stage is set for what is arguably the most explosive episode of Insecure ever—and that’s saying a lot considering the way Issa and Lawrence (Jay Ellis) broke up. The next scene takes place at Molly’s apartment. It’s the day of the Block Party, and Molly is complaining to Andrew about what she should wear and if she should even go. Apparently, Molly’s mad at Issa for not attending her celebration dinner after she won her big case. Really, Molly? You didn’t help Issa when she needed you but you thought she’d come kick it with you and share a seafood tower? Clearly tired of hearing her complain, Andrew calls Molly’s bluff and says they shouldn’t go. Molly concedes and says of course they’re going and adds, “I love her, but I don’t really like her right now.”
Cut to the Block Party. Issa is moving and grooving like a lowkey boss. And now she has a real assistant/intern named Sequoia (Courtney Taylor) assisting her—no more imaginary support staff for our girl. Sequoia even helps Issa nix the not-so-great spoken word poet (played hilariously by Syreeta Singleton, who wrote the episode), who is performing a piece on oppression. And then Issa spots Condola (Christina Elmore)! Back on the job it didn’t seem she wanted anymore, Condola cheerily tells Issa that a sponsor is running late but will be there soon to hand out freebies. Issa thanks Condola for the heads up and the interns but can’t help but wonder why Condola has been ghosting her. “Did I do something wrong?” Issa asks Condola, even though we all know the answer. This is when Condola tells Issa that she and Lawrence broke up. A slightly stunned Issa apologizes to Condola, who in turn says she is there to check on the vendors. Condola also says everything looks great. This is the relationship messiness Molly warned against. But then again, who else was going to help Issa? And even with that little bit of messiness, Condola came through in the end.
Kelli (Natasha Rothwell), Tiffany (Amanda Seales) and Derek (Wade Allain-Marcus) arrive and mug for photos at the step and repeat. A group of nearby teenagers heckle them, and Derek curses them out and then apologizes. Issa confesses that she is bummed more Black people aren’t at the Block Party yet, which sparks a chain of honesty. Tiffany confesses that she wants to leave her baby at the grocery store—she is joking, right?—and Kelli confesses she didn’t understand Issa’s Block Party dream but she does now. Kelli even says she’s proud of Issa but the moment is corrupted when Kelli switches to a not-too-bad British accent. Turns out her new boo (played by rapper Amine) thinks she’s British so Kelli is British now and the laughs ensue. Oh Kelli. While Sis does her best Mary Poppins, Issa asks Tiffany and Derek if they knew Lawrence and Condola had broken up, but they didn’t. Tiffany is on maternity leave and out of the loop, and Derek says he is offended that Lawrence, who usually overshares, didn’t tell him.
Issa gets pulled away for an on-screen interview. A Los Angeleno through and through, Issa does the interview near a Nipsey Hussle mural. Too bad the interview, in which she mentions Black excellence amid a sea of white people, turns out to be for a reporter named Shannon’s (Dayna Dooley) nonexistent YouTube channel. The camera cuts to all the Block Party merchandise (we want a T-shirt or at least a water bottle). Molly then arrives, and she and Issa share a tepid hug. Remember hugs before the days of social distancing? Sigh. We’d even settle for a fake hug right about now.
Anyway, back to Issa and Molly. Issa says she’s surprised to see Molly, and Molly says of course she’s there. She is Issa’s best friend. Issa responds with an incredulous “of course” but before things can get any more awkward, Ahmal (Jean Elie) shows up and breaks the tension. He asks Issa if she’s worried it might rain, and she tells him to shut up and dips. Ahmal then proceeds to ignore Kelli, and they bicker as per usual and Ahmal outwits her. Rapper Derrius Logan takes the stage, but Kelli and Ahmal aren’t done. He attempts to expose Kelli’s fake accent, but her new boo ain’t bright and misses the cues. New boo also tells Kelli comically terrible misinformation about the United States’s governmental branches, and Kelli is gobsmacked. But at least she finds a way to outwit Ahmal.
Cut to Derek talking to Baby Simone’s babysitter. She can’t be consoled, and Peppa Pig is to blame. Derek says they have to go home, but Tiffany doesn’t want to leave. So Derek leaves, and Tiffany stays and dances with Ahmal to the hype tunes of Inglewood’s finest rapping twins, Cam & China. Lowkey, Tiffany might have postpartum depression, y’all. Andrew and Molly are seated nearby also enjoying the show. Andrew says that Issa’s hard work to make the Block Party dope is probably the reason the two have grown apart. Molly agrees before Andrew jokingly says, “Remember when you kept dodging me for work?”
Next we see Issa back on the job. As she waves at sponsors, Trina (Elle Lorraine) and her son Benjamin (Anthony Carr Jr.) come to harass her. Trina makes a quip about “tap dancing for white people” and when Issa tries to defend herself, Trina points to the stage and there is an actual tap dancer. Comedy gold. Trina says the white people think the Block Party is a farmer’s market and saunters off with Benjamin. Then Nathan arrives, and he and Issa hug awkwardly. She thanks him for coming, and Nathan says it’s good to see her in person. Oh really? But Issa is preoccupied. She wonders where all the Black people are, including her headliner Vince Staples. Nathan tells Issa to chill. The Block Party is here, and it’s happening. He reminds her of when they were at Coachella where Issa conceived the event. It’s so nice to have people remind you where you were, so you can realize how far you’ve come.
SiR and Zacari hit the stage next and their song “Mood” perfectly sums up how Issa appears to feel as she leans against the wall and smiles proudly at the success of her Block Party so far. Black people finally start to arrive en masse, and Molly comes over and offers an olive branch in the form of extra chicken wings. She figures Issa hasn’t eaten yet—and she’s right—and Issa is appreciative. But before the two can really talk about their friendship or even eat, Issa’s assistant tells her Vince Staples is there and Issa has to go yet again. Please eat, Issa! Meanwhile, Molly looks like she finally understands Issa’s professional journey. Issa and Quoia go to meet Vince and his manager, Leonard (Jermaine Williams), and Quoia is so excited and nervous, her nose bleeds. This concerns Vince and Leonard but they move on and so does Issa when she sees her old neighborhood buddy Thug Yoda (Tristen J. Winger). Why does Thug Yoda think Issa is a lesbian and does he know everyone in VIP? We may never know.
Back on the stage, a local dance off between an elderly man and a child gives way to the DJ spinning V.I.C.’s “The Wobble.” It’s an infectious dance song that has Molly playfully asking Andrew if he needs her help and Andrew playfully asking Molly if she needs his. They dance and Quoia convinces Issa to relax for a minute and Wobble, too. She relents and in true screen-magic fashion, Issa and Molly find themselves Wobbling together and laughing and high fiving like they haven’t since Episode 1. The music stops, and it’s time to introduce Vince. Issa goes on stage and thanks the crowd for supporting her dream, but they don’t care. They want to see Vince and start changing his name. He arrives and delights the crowd by performing his hit song “FUN!”
Sadly, the fun Vince raps about doesn’t last long. When Vince’s manager Leonard comes over to thank Andrew for the hookup, Molly asks what hookup. This is when Andrew tells Molly he helped Issa secure Vince as the headliner. Nathan asked him for Issa and Andrew simply sent an email. Although Andrew says he doesn’t think It was a big deal to help Molly’s best friend, Molly does and she flips. “What’s the issue?” Andrew asks, echoing the sentiment of a lot of us. But Molly sees red, red like the blood that’s still coming out of poor Quoia’s nose. Nathan and Issa walk Quoia to her car and urge her to go to the hospital. She says she doesn’t have insurance and drives away.
Not skipping a beat, Molly approaches Issa and asks to talk. She asks Issa if Andrew helped her get Vince, and Issa says yes. Molly says Issa defied her boundaries, and Issa says Molly was willing to let her best friend fail for a random relationship rule she invented. Molly pulls out the big guns and accuses Issa of incessantly using people. “N*gga, you stay needing one little a** favor.” But for real, Molly, why are you doing this here and now? But Issa takes it a step further and says if things don’t work out between Molly and Andrew, it won’t be her fault. The hood inside Molly gets the better of her, and she pokes her finger in Issa’s face. A bystander sees the argument and thinks Molly has a gun. Revelers freak out and start running and screaming and just like that, Issa’s beautiful Block Party ends in a blur of panic and rain. Can Issa and Molly bounce back from this? And if they do, will Issa’s career? We’ll have to watch and see.
Insecure airs Sundays on HBO at 10 p.m. ET/PT. See you again next week!