The HBO comedy “Insecure” is back for it’s fourth season and it’s filled with tension and angst within the show’s core relationship between Issa and Molly. While Issa and Molly’s friendship has always been central to the series, this season, it drives all the story. During previous seasons, the two women often had conflict, but were always able to work out their differences. This season is different. Everything is boiling over as their bad communication has the women rethinking their relationship. As viewers watching the first four episodes have seen the slow disintegration of their friendship.
At the very top of the premiere episode, set in present day, we learn from Issa, talking to someone on the phone that she doesn’t “f*ck” with Molly anymore. This was a jarring and unexpected way to start the new season. The show then takes us back to months before the block party that Issa is planning. This device is used at the top of each subsequent episode so we see how the tension between Issa and Molly continues to build over time and leading up to what I’m suspecting is a big blowup at said block party. “Insecure” has been so effective at giving us big and small moments where we see the cracks in the foundation of their relationship. Although some of the sniping between the two of them is meant to be a joke both are so, dare I say it, insecure, about choices they’ve made in the past that the remarks sting more and more each day.
The most devastating moments in their friendship came in episode 3 titled “Lowkey Thankful.” Set during Thanksgiving, Issa and Molly continue to miscommunicate with each other leading them to finally address the elephant in the room…that something is off with the two of them and they need to talk it out. The agree to talk on Thanksgiving night when Issa goes over to Molly’s for their traditional Thanksgiving pie. When Issa gets delayed and needs to push back when they meet up, Molly is visibly annoyed. But when Issa ultimately cancels on Molly that night, not only is Molly annoyed, she’s disappointed that her best friend would bail so easily on their yearly tradition.
This moment was like a punch in the gut. We saw how disconnected these two women had become from one another that holding up one of their time honored traditions was disposable. This moment cut so much deeper than when Issa and Molly make snide remarks about each other’s love lives or other life choices. It felt like a knife being plunged into the heart of their friendship and now in subsequent episodes we’re left to watch it slowly bleed out which is more painful than if they just called it quits and walked out of each other’s lives.
We’ve been watching “Insecure” thinking the big love story was between Issa and her ex-boyfriend Lawrence. Our training watching sitcoms like “Friends” and “Sex and the City” has been to expect a “will they/won’t they” thread to carry throughout the series, ultimately concluding with a happy ending for the two lovers. We never thought Chandler and Joey’s friendship would end. We can’t imagine Carrie Bradshaw’s life without Miranda. Even once Rhoda left Minneapolis never to return, we never doubted that she and Mary would remain friends.
But, “Insecure” has been bold enough to go there. And, we’re left to wonder – who is Issa without Molly and vice versa? And we might just get to find out. This is very relatable for so many people. As we navigate our lives, careers and romantic relationships we’re often forced to figure out where some of our friends fit into our life as it evolves. The central theme for Issa and Molly over the course of the series has been watching the two of them struggle to grow and in many ways they have. But, we never expected that their individual growth would also mean them growing apart.
There are still six episodes left this season so we’ll see if Issa and Molly can turn this friendship around. To its credit, even with all the drama between Issa and Molly, “Insecure” still delivers big laughs and a lot of heart. If the titles for the next two episodes ( “Lowkey Moving On” and “Lowkey Done”) are any indication, we and the characters are in for more drama, heartbreak and disappointment. That’s what makes great tv and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.
Here’s a preview for this week’s upcoming episode: