Insecure takes on completely different views in a rushed finale

Justina Mintz/courtesy of HBO
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Quite a lot of exhibits save the motion for his or her penultimate episode and let issues settle through the finale. Final week’s “Hella Disrespectful” felt like that. A lot went down–Molly decided to leave Dro, Issa told Daniel and Lawrence to fuck off forever, Issa destroyed her apartment. But, “Hella Perspective” doesn’t really let us settle into any of these changes because it briefly explores them and drops us off right back where we started. Molly is back with Dro and Issa has found it in her heart to forgive Daniel and Lawrence. Sure, these are things we could’ve assumed would happen anyway, but the episode feels oddly stagnant after the explosive, emotional moments of “Hella Disrespectful.” It’s a beautifully shot and hilarious finale, but it also takes a lot of shortcuts.

Photo: Justina Mintz/HBO

“Hella Perspective” looks at a month in the life of Issa, Molly and Lawrence. I’ve mentioned in the past how great it would be to have an entire episode dedicated to Lawrence’s perspective, but here, the gimmick doesn’t quite work. Molly’s plot suffers the most from the episode’s shifting perspectives. Molly has gone back to therapy, but we don’t really see what forced her to make that decision. Yes, we can assume it was her relationship with Dro, but it would be more interesting to see her grapple with that choice. Instead, the therapy session comes off as merely another surface-level interaction. It doesn’t even seem like Molly has told her therapist about Dro.

We also see her take interviews at other law firms, but the finale provides no closure after her firm disrespects her and refuses to give her a raise. In a finale that’s about choosing to move forward or stay in the past, ending the season with at least a hint that Molly is definitively going to leave her firm would’ve been a more rewarding development. Molly going back to Dro still plays with the theme of staying in the past, but she just ended things with him last episode while the show has been dealing with her career difficulties since the premiere. It felt like this was Molly’s chance to really move on or get the respect she deserves, but she doesn’t get either outcome in the episode.

Justina Mintz/courtesy of HBO

Lawrence, however, is served by the increased attention on his situation. We finally get to see how deep Lawrence’s insecurity runs since Issa cheated on him and he lost Woot Woot. He ruins things with Aparna, but it’s not a replay of Tasha. Lawrence has baggage and emotional issues he needs to work on just like Molly and Issa and Aparna thankfully had the courage to call him out on that and bail. Still, we only saw Lawrence and Aparna together in one episode, so their relationship (and breakup) just feels rushed. It wasn’t enough time to believe the relationship actually meant anything to Lawrence or that it forced the growth necessary to get to the conversation he has with Issa.

“Hella Perspective” does offer a lot of growth for Issa, but by the time the episode gets to her month, it needs to start moving the plot forward. Issa decides to leave her gentrified neighborhood and start over. Her apartment stands as a literal blank slate and she’s able to stand in it, apologize to Lawrence and admit her faults. The fake proposal and marriage montage are incredibly moving. Issa finally knows what she really, truly wants and it’s not the ho life or Molly’s career ambition. Issa started to realize this after Daniel’s infamous shot, but the closure she gets with Lawrence confirms it for her. I still think Issa needs to be single and focus on herself, but at least she has romantic aims now instead of sleeping with random neighbors and men she can’t take seriously.

Photo: Justina Mintz/HBO

Well, maybe. Because of course, the big twist at the end of the episode is that Issa is staying with Daniel. Insecure is about imperfect black women and Molly and Issa’s two steps backwards for every step forward is a fair representation of that. They’ll sleep with people they shouldn’t sleep with. They’ll go back to people they should leave in the past. They’ll make mistakes. But, trotting Daniel out as a big reveal just felt gimmicky after her scene with Lawrence. Daniel and Issa have never hit the emotional notes she had with Lawrence, so the scene simply made me roll my eyes and wonder how things were going to go wrong between them this time.

Last season’s finale was stellar because of its focus on female friendship and the undying support Molly and Issa have for each other. The events that took place in Malibu were so important it became a catchphrase for the two characters this season. In Malibu, they were forced to be honest with each other and hold each other accountable. In this finale, we’re given “Morocco.” The two friends aren’t being honest with each other at all as they laugh and eat in a completely fake environment. Dro comes over the next day, but Molly isn’t talking to Issa about him. Issa goes to Daniel’s the next day, but Molly is still under the impression that she’s living with her brother. The scene tries to replicate the friendship and support of Malibu, but these two friends are too dishonest with themselves and each other for it to read as anything but fake.

“Hella Perspective” is still a good episode of Insecure and it does a lot of what the show does best. If anything, the issues with the episode only point to the need for more episodes of the show. An eight-episode order simply can’t contain the levels of character development and plot momentum the show wants to examine. Hell, there are a hundred other things that happened in this episode that I haven’t even touched on yet. Tiffany is pregnant. Kelli’s weight loss. Molly sleeping with her colleague. Frieda getting the promotion and Issa possibly losing her job. For a finale that had a lot of loose ends to tie up, “Hella Perspective” does an amazing job. But, for a show that excels when it takes time to let its characters grow, the episode feels like a disservice.

Finale grade: B-
Season grade: A-


Stray observations

  • No, seriously, so much happens in this episode. Why? So many plot points could’ve happened earlier in the season.
  • I think we’re going to see a big focus on Tiffany next season. Her pregnancy after she mentioned the difficulties in her relationship with Derek and his issues with her male co-worker friend point to way more drama.
  • I am officially #TeamAparna and #TeamTasha and I’d watch a show where they just go around calling dudes out. Or they just keep calling Lawrence out, every week.
  • I didn’t like how Issa’s job issues were handled. I do think it’s fair Frieda got the promotion, but Issa didn’t really have to face any consequences. She also didn’t really get a chance to explain her side of things. But, holding segregated learning sessions was a horrible idea.
  • Molly, you should’ve stuck with Lil Rel, girl. Dro is going to ruin you. I thought we’d get to see that plotline mirror Waiting To Exhale and the movie’s character Robin exploring a relationship with a larger man she didn’t completely find attractive, but realizing they had a deeper connection. Instead, she just wasn’t feeling it and that’s that.
  • Oh hey, we got confirmation within the show that Issa’s brother is gay. He said no dudes at his house unless he’s fucking them.
  • I honestly feel like I’m leaving out 20 other plot points. Molly should’ve quit her job right there. This episode was beautifully shot. The music was amazing. I could go on all day.
  • Thank you so much for joining me this season! I can’t wait to see where the show goes next year.

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