Issa awakens with a jolt. She’s fresh off another dream that her teeth are falling out. She lets out a sigh. Frustrated and anxious, she reaches for her phone. He still hasn’t texted her. The rest of the latest episode of HBO’s “Insecure” shuffles between everybody else’s moderately pressing issues and Issa’s deep obsession with Nathan ghosting her.
She spends the episode attached to her phone — snatching it as soon as it vibrates, hoping it’s him, and relentlessly checking his Instagram. At one point, she tries to send him a message from her friend group’s stalker account but accidentally sends it from her own. (She deletes it before it sends for real.) Issa is on deadline to finish her block party pitch, but she can’t detach herself from the idea of Nathan.
Her internal monologue, like Benjy’s chapter in The Sound and the Fury, provides viewers with a voice to the disoriented, unhealthy thoughts that run through people’s minds after they’ve been ghosted for what they feel is no reason. We learn Issa’s dreams and her hopes. We see how she tears herself apart and blames Nathan’s departure on her own actions.
Meanwhile, Molly decides to give Andrew a chance. The first date goes smoothly, but on the second one, Molly jokes about Andrew kissing his best friend’s girlfriend. He responds by pointing out that she had an affair with a married man. She immediately acts as though the shot was uncalled for — and in a way, it was — and leaves him alone at the bar.
They reunite when she and Issa arrive at Andrew’s house in Burbank. The unannounced trip was Issa’s idea. Nathan is living with Andrew, and she wants answers so badly that she devised a plan that involves Molly pretending to make up with Andrew while she sneaks upstairs to snoop in Nathan’s bedroom.
It’s messy, but it shows us that Nathan walking out of her life is deeper than losing a potential relationship. As she reveals later to Molly, Issa can’t move past the idea that she’s a fuck-up. Nathan encouraged her to quit her job and organize her block party. But she’s mistaking Nathan’s encouragement as the impetus behind these changes, all while refusing to credit herself for making them.
On this edition of “Run That Back,” Taryn Finley and Julia Craven get into the culture of ghosting, wonder why the hell Lawrence is the only one acting like an adult and split on the subject of Molly for the first time ever.
Julia: This week and everything about it is ghetto. But more important, a new Stunna color is here.
Taryn: Which is about to look great on me, might I add.
Julia: RT. I literally just ordered it.
Taryn: Rih is such an icon. We don’t deserve.
Julia: Her career trajectory is unmatched. Musical savant. Fashion icon. Beauty mogul. Lingerie entrepreneur. Ambassador to Barbados. She’s truly an icon in all senses. I know we love Beyoncé, and I’m not putting them against each other, but even OUR fave could never. This “RTB” isn’t about Rih, but I want to give credit where it is very much due before I start murdering niggas.
Taryn: It’s only right.
Julia: But this week’s episode was part triggering, part concerning, part Molly is stupid.
I just ... I guess we can start at the top. And drag Molly, once again, a bit later.
Taryn: Molly is doing that thing again where she Mollys shit, but I wasn’t as upset with her this episode as I was with the men around her.
Julia: I feel like this is one of the rare editions where we’ll disagree. 😭😭😭
Taryn: Maybe. I wanna hear what you think first!
Julia: I’ll tell you later! I wanna talk about Issa dreaming that her teeth falling out because I, too, have that dream. And I, too, have never bothered to look up what it means.
Taryn: I’ve had that dream one too many times. It’s supposed to signify some type of anxiety in your life. Whether that’s anxiety from a lack of control, change or a fear of getting played depends on what’s going on in your life. Judging by Issa’s current situation, I’d say it’s all of the above. She’s trying to get her block party planned, meanwhile, but she can’t really concentrate because Nathan went MIA without giving her any type of communication or closure about the situation. On top of all that, her friend group is on shaky ground.
Julia: Mm-hm. And Nathan ghosting her sent her off the rails. It was relatable to an extent. I do like that the show exaggerated most ghosting situations to portray just how crazy — and I hate to describe people that way — it can make you when somebody peaces out with no explanation.
The internal monologues were a nice touch throughout the episode too. It walks you through how we tear ourselves down and blame ourselves for the shit other people do to us.
Taryn: That was everything to me because I think all of us can relate to that self-doubt and internal self-deprecation, especially women. We tend to place a lot of stuff, even the actions of men, on ourselves when it’s like, he ghosted because of some internal shit he ain’t resolved and projected onto you. But we forget that oftentimes the reason people ghost when it’s going seemingly well instead of letting you know has more to do with them than you.
Julia: Mm-hm. Have you ever ghosted a nigga?
And before anyone wonders, you know I have.
Taryn: I have. And I don’t regret it. He was being mad disrespectful and unreceptive when I checked him on it. Then I realized just before we were about to get into an argument that I didn’t owe him or the situation energy, so I blocked him without so much as a word. I’d do it again too. That’s why I think ghosting isn’t bad all the time, but when you lead a person to believe you really rock with them, then just dip, I think it can sometimes be fucked up.
Julia: See, in my situation, I was in the wrong. We went on a few dates, and as much as I tried to match his level of interest, I couldn’t. And instead of telling him that, I disappeared.
He didn’t Issa me, thank God, but I remember getting a text about how fucked up it was that I just quit responding after a few genuinely enjoyable dates. And he was right. It was fucked up of me to do that. I don’t beat myself up for it these days, but I did feel bad.
I’ve also been ghosted, so — like most people — I’ve seen both sides.
Taryn: I really could fight Nathan.
Julia: I could too. And yet I also get why he ghosted. It feels weird saying that. There’s no excuse. I just get it, as fucked up as it is. And watching Issa spiral when she should be focused on her block party was tough to watch. Almost as tough as watching Chad get saved.
Taryn: I still don’t get why he ghosted. I really want to know because we really don’t know much about him other than he got good dick. According to Issa, at least.
Julia: He made her feel like she was more than a fuck-up. Something she hasn’t been able to do for herself lately.
Taryn: Right, but that still doesn’t explain WTF is going on. Shit, I feel almost as crazy as Issa looking for answers. Being good for someone just isn’t good enough when your actions fall short. I like how the writers put us in Issa’s POV for some of the shots. It really does send you on a trip to find just what caused him to up and leave without a word. Is he felonious? Does he have a wife and kids? Is he just an ain’t shit nigga? I’m really in my feelings about what’s happening.
I also want to know if older generations had a version of ghosting. I’m sure they did, ’cause it’s easier to disappear with no internet, but was it super-common like it is today?
Julia: Probably. Ain’t shit niggas are as old as time, and I’m sure their tactics are as well.
Taryn: See, you right.
Julia: And I agree. The way she was tearing herself down felt so familiar. When her internal monologue went to her blaming herself for sleeping with him after he bought her “some tacos,” skinny dipping with him, etc., it really hit home. I think most people reduce the strength of a connection in their head and blame themselves for being open with someone after something like that is over.
Taryn: And I hope this doesn’t hinder her growth. She’s so motivated and optimistic with him, and I don’t want her to lose that just because he’s not in the picture. I also hope that she gives herself permission to be more open. It was really refreshing seeing Issa be as vulnerable as she was. I don’t want her to shield her thoughts and feelings too much because of this. But if she does, I totally get that ’cause so many of us have been there.
Molly seems genuinely happy on her first date with Andrew. They laugh, joke around and schedule a second date for the next night. That’s when shit hits the fan. When the two were high as all hell at Coachella, they both revealed some grimy things they had done. Andrew disclosed that he had kissed his best friend’s girlfriend, and Molly admitted to her relationship with Dro. After a joke about Andrew auditioning to be in B2K, Molly jokes about his dirt. He responds with a joke about hers, adding, “Grime recognizes grime.” She doesn’t take it well, insisting that he doesn’t understand the situation and that Dro led her to believe their situation was something it wasn’t. Andrew pushes back, inquiring whether a married man can really lead someone on. He apologizes and tries to pivot by insinuating that they could hook up. Molly then gets up and leaves him at the bar.
Later in the episode, Andrew asks Molly why she’s really at his house. (We know we’re jumping ahead; calm down.) She notes that their dinner the night before was tense and says she wants to forgive him. This causes Andrew to lay into her. He isn’t sure who the real Molly is, he says, but wonders, “Are they all this fucked up?”
Julia: Speaking of hindered growth, is Molly ever going to do better?
Taryn: Judging by this season, no.
Julia: She and Andrew had such a good first date. Then she Mollyed it up. I’ll go ahead and tell you why I’m upset with her now.
She made a joke about Andrew kissing his best friend’s girl at dinner. He made a joke about her sleeping with a married man. And while I completely understand that the level of joke is different … she started the joking about grimy things they’d both done. He apologized to her and tried to make the best of it, and she fled. I also don’t feel like Andrew said anything she didn’t need to hear. She needed somebody to shut down her idea that a married man led her on. As much as I hate Dro, he never led her to think he’d leave his wife for her. It was a messy moment, and I understand that the wound is still fresh. I understand that Andrew may have hit below the belt. I didn’t appreciate the way Andrew tried to pivot either. But, Molly, girl … you needed to hear that because you not the victim in this.
You made a dumb decision to mess with Dro. It happens. Forgive yourself but don’t play victim, because …. the deepest of sighs.
Taryn: I agree, and I think that’s where my issue is with the way he handled this situation. We can tell that Andrew is very forward, but I do think he should’ve stayed in his lane with that. Molly still had a good hand in sabotaging their high moment, but her problems aren’t for Andrew to dissect. He doesn’t owe her an explanation of her fuck-ups. They still barely know each other. And just ’cause you do drugs with someone once and like who they were in that moment doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to show the other parts of themselves too. They were both very prideful in the two scenes where we saw them argue, but that low key makes me feel like they would be a force together if they got over themselves and gave what they could have a shot. I know it’s premature, but I do like Andrew for Molly so far.
Julia: I love him for her. He’s throwing her off in a good way, not a Nathan way. When they were in the kitchen, this lil’ comment had me SHOOK: “I don’t know who the real Molly is, but are they all this fucked up?”
These are things she needs to hear. And as much as I think Andrew is stepping over lines, staying within the boundaries wasn’t working with Molly because she dictated those lines. She needs somebody who tells her the truth.
Taryn: See, I was mad at him for saying that. I really just thought that was mean and kinda unfair. Molly is very fucked up, but also, who are you to tell her that her shit can’t be messy? I know this probably sounds crazy, but that level of comfort to criticize her so boldly after kicking it twice just didn’t sit well with me.
Granted, her shit is fucked up, and she needs to hear it, I just didn’t like the way it was packaged. That said, it’s spilled almond milk now, so maybe it’ll prompt Molly to do some soul searching.
Julia: Like my granny used to say, “Sometimes the only thing people understand is mean.”
Taryn: Wow, my granny used to say that too. They right, though.
Julia: Andrew also doesn’t have anything on the line with her, so I think it’s easier for him to be that bold with her. And you’re right: It was mean as hell. It was a drag for the ages. It was a drag she really needed because why ain’t nobody else telling her she’s fucked up?
We all fucked up, but damn.
Taryn: I will admit, somebody else (besides us) really did need to drag her ass.
Molly and Taurean have a presentation planned for the partners at Molly’s law firm. Taurean wants to postpone it, since he got called into court early. Instead of expressing her desire to go through with it alone, Molly stays silent. She later presents their research to the partners without Taurean and without telling him that she did so.
Meanwhile, Lawrence and Chad go to a church service where Chad — of all people — ends up getting saved. Lawrence meets a woman but slowly backs out of any further communication with her after realizing that he can’t be with someone who is traditionally religious.
Taryn: I was also mad at her for not communicating with Taurean that she wanted to do the presentation alone. That was really unprofessional of her, and it’s the second time she’s either neglected a commitment or gone behind someone’s back in the office.
That said, I still don’t fuck with Taurean and the way he talks to her. IDK if he talks to everyone like that or just black women, but judging by what the other women in the office said earlier this season, I’m gonna say more so the latter. He’s a dick.
Julia: We’re really split on Molly this week. Wow. This is NEW. 2018 is different different. LMAO.
Taryn: LMAO. Talk to me. What’s your #take?
Julia: This was my Molly praise. I am SO HAPPY she did the presentation without Taurean. In any other context, I’d be calling her an unprofessional brat, but something had to be done about that nigga. He been out of pocket for too long, like you said. And I want to say he only talks to black women like that. The way he talks over her doesn’t strike me as being equal opportunity.
He took the L he has long needed to. And in the previews, Taurean looks so SICK that the partners want Molly to take the lead with him.
At the same time, though: Why do black women have to act unprofessionally and go over somebody’s head to be seen and valued? Why? And I didn’t make this clear, but I agree that should have communicated that she wanted to do the presentation when it was originally scheduled.
Taryn: See, that’s a valid question. I just wish Molly would’ve put her foot down when she was on the phone with him earlier. Like, I want her to use the same energy she had with Andrew at work. And I understand it’s a different setting, but to me, at work, communication is key.
And I know Taurean is a bad teammate, which makes it hard, especially for women, to use your voice. I’m so, so, so, so proud of Molly for finally being able to take center stage. I just don’t want her to become Taurean 2.0. Because of her unhealthy relationship with being on top, that really makes me nervous. I think that’s why it bothered me so much that she didn’t say something ahead of time. That said, once again, I’m glad she finally took a window of opportunity.
Also, fuck Taurean.
Julia: It’s so complicated. I didn’t even consider her relationship with being on top and how that might make this one solid move the beginning of a series of bad moves. Molly def ain’t keeping that same energy at work. It’s hard as fuck, but you gotta put your foot down with folks. Like when I went off over people leaving shit on my desk. This isn’t the same, but I was fed the fuck up, and I finally said something.
Taryn: Right. I’m just praying for her at this point. Chad probably is too.
Julia: Chad went to church to meet bitches and met Jesus. The Lord moves in mysterious ways.
Taryn: Especially after your fiancée leaves yo adulterous ass at the altar. Who else can you turn to?
Julia: This is hella fucked up. But I’m shocked he can turn to God after that. I guess the Lord is far more forgiving than me. That’s why she’s God and I’m me.
Julia: Meanwhile, Lawrence is trying ... I think. I’m just mad that he’s back and finer than before.
Taryn: Yeah, he’s working out his faith journey and trying to figure out what is and isn’t for him. I think this is his way of trying to heal. I applaud him for it. I also applaud him for not settling for a basic sermon to solve his problems, like Chad did.
Wow. I’ve praised this man two weeks in a row. WTF is going on?
Let me tell you something about Jay Ellis, though. That man is an entire meal.
Julia: I know, don’t it make you wanna bleach yourself? He’s searching for healing and growth — not a sermon about how Jesus is the damn plug.
I’m sure Jay Ellis is a three-course meal.
Taryn: I’m pissed. And he thriving. I’m still gonna bring up the fact that he still ain’t shit every time I can, though. Especially if he tries to get back with Issa.
Julia: Is it me, or does it appear as though we may be heading down that road?
Taryn: I guarantee you we’ll get there before this season is over.
Julia: I’m exhausted, and we haven’t even talked about Issa going into Nathan’s bedroom.
Taryn: Wow. We haven’t at all. Deep sigh.
When Molly and Issa arrive at Andrew’s house with pastries, Issa claims she needs to use the restroom and runs upstairs — past a first-floor option. She has persuaded Molly to ride with her to Burbank and distract Andrew while she does some snooping. She smells his cologne, goes through his drawers and is eventually stopped by Molly as she’s trying to crack into his laptop. (She also thought his password was either “Houston” or “Issa,” which ... baby girl. Whew. What is you doing, baby??).
Taryn: You ever pulled an Issa?
Julia: Hell to the fuck no. Not to that extent and not while I was grown. When I was a teenager, I’d pull up but never broke into someone’s room or things. I’ve also never had a burner account, though I do think it’s a good idea. (I’m so trash.)
Taryn: My girl was really in these streets searching high and low in her headscarf. I have, but I lost the password, so that’s the only reason I don’t have it now.
Julia: HIGH AND LOW.
Taryn: She really was about to go through Nathan’s trash too. Like, wow. Was the dick that bomb?
Julia: It was really something to watch. I felt really bad for her. I know people are expecting a drag, but I ain’t got one. I felt bad for her. Truly, deeply bad for her. I’m still trying to process what the fuck happened. I get that it’s an exaggeration of stalking after you’ve been ghosted, but SHIT.
Taryn: Same. She wanted answers. Not only for where he was but WHO he truly is. She had become so attached and saw him as a part of her plan to pursue her dreams. Meeting him was the catalyst for her to make that decision to leave her job and then start her block party project. She leaned on him to find confidence in herself. So the stalking is about him, but it’s also about her wanting that piece of stability or control over her path that his support gave her. And even though we’ve seen him and Issa get so close, he’s still a mystery to her. That’s frustrating that she let him in yet she doesn’t really know him. I think that’s why she went through his stuff.
Julia: Wow, how does it feel to be the smartest bitch in the world?
Taryn: Like, I need a raise.
Julia: You deserve it. But the whole episode, I was wondering when she would say what it was that he did for her. I was happy when she finally told Molly in the car. She’s internalized the idea that she’s a failure so deeply that she can’t stand not having the one person who saw her beyond that. Nathan was her fresh start, her next chapter — and when he dipped out, she combusted.
Nathan was her win. And then that got taken from her too. It’s a dark place to be in.
Taryn: It is. All those anxieties intensified. When you have similar dreams each night, that’s your body telling you to listen.
Julia: Recurring dreams are real as fuck. I have two, and when they pop up, I know I need to start re-evaluating some things.
Taryn: Yup. Ain’t it funny how the universe prompts us to tighten up even when we don’t see we need to.
Julia: It surely is hilarious.
After lying in bed mourning Nathan for at least four days, Issa gets up and makes it to the entrepreneur workshop Lawrence recommended in the last episode. She grabs coffee with Lawrence afterward, and we’re reminded of why they’re good together — all while hoping they don’t get back together.
Julia: Lawrence and Issa getting coffee is the last thing on my docket today. I hate to admit this but, upon a second watch, I thought it was cute.
Runs and hides.
Taryn: It was cute. I won’t lie. Wow.
Julia: Who are we?
Taryn: I feel like this is where it needs to stay. In this lil’ safe friend area. But you and I both know better.
Julia: And you know it’s not gonna stay in the friend area. They gonna get back together, and I’m so angry about it.
Taryn: Legitimately pissed. I don’t even wanna think about it.
Julia: And I think we’re gonna end up being fans. I’m so mad.
Taryn: Ugh. I wanna throw something.
Julia: Issa Rae got me as fucked up as Andrew got Molly and Chad got the Lord.
Taryn: Whatever. They can have it. I’m bout to snack on these dried apples and mind my business ’cause I’m tired of the stress these people put me through.
Julia: I’m taking a nap. Fuck all this shit.