After an action-packed block party episode, “Insecure” took down the energy levels for “Lowkey Done,” a episode all about Issa Dee (Issa Rae) processing the fall out from her block party, specifically a knock-down drag out fight with her best friend, Molly Carter (Yvonne Orji).
The fifth episode is in part a circle back to the first episode, which, according to show runner Prentice Penny, was written from the perspective of Issa. While we briefly hear from and see other characters, the episode is about Issa and her interactions with friends, family and strangers all of which takes place over the course of a single day.
In an opening scene, Issa is lying in bed with Molly’s parting words ringing in her head: “Nobody has more drama than you, Issa. You’re still the same selfish bitch you’ve always been. You need to figure out your shit and stop using people.” Harsh language that hits home enough to consume much of Issa’s decision making throughout the episode.
Issa was really wrestling this episode with making sure she wasn’t a user like Molly said. Do you believe her? #insecureHBO— Prentice Penny (@The_A_Prentice) May 18, 2020
After half listening to voice mails and having a good talking to herself in the mirror, Issa (wearing an adorable pair of Coogi shorts) swings into action by literally getting her own house in order. She takes her first call from Nate Campbell (Kendrick Sampson), who lauds her for pulling off a successful event. While taking in the compliment, she’s so focused on finding out whether or not he sees her as a user she barely acknowledges his birthday. Nathan brushes off her concern letting her know she was happy to help and she quickly responds, “And you know I’d do the same for you.”
While waiting in line at a grocery store, Issa offers to help a pregnant woman looking for help paying for the cost of her basket of groceries. Issa’s attempt to be generous is upended when she’s told her card is declined.
Thwarted in her endeavor to help at the grocery store, she waves down a stranger named George (Brent Jennings) who’s just missed his bus and offers to give him a ride.
While George initially is uncooperative, Issa’s patience is on 100 and eventually he starts to open up. A bearer of pertinent messages, George begins to discuss the dissolution of old friendships and tells Issa, “I guess I should have seen the signs that the shit wouldn’t last. There’s always a sign. Always.” In another friends gone wrong moment, George spots a friend on the street who pretends not to know him and waves him off.
Notably, George needs to refer to an old photograph to confirm he’s arrived at the correct house. While Issa drives off, the viewer sees George has arrived at the home of his son, Khalil (Aaron Jennings), who is clearly surprised to see his father at the front door. As it turns out the son is the music producer friend of Daniel King (Y’lan Noel) from season three. Clearly this is one of those Easter eggs the “Insecure” writing team is very fond of dropping into episodes though perhaps it’s also foreshadowing the eventual return of Daniel.
Free of George, Issa rushes off to a paint and sip event. In search of new and improved friends, Issa generously offers to share her jug of wine with a table of three women visiting from Washington D.C. The trio is visiting Los Angeles as a last hurrah for Dina (Kyla Pratt) who is about to get married. Once again, the conversation is centered around friendship with one of
Dina’s friends stating emphatically, “We’ve been through it, but we always have each other’s backs.”
In one of the saddest scenes in the history of the show, poor Issa gets punked six ways ’til Wednesday when the girls dine and dash and leave her hanging with the bill as part of their bachelorette scavenger hunt. Sad!
It’s the lowest of low points for Issa, but in a sign of progress she reaches out to her mother, Lila, (Wendy Raquel Robinson) rather than take the easy escape route with Nathan. Poor Issa, we don’t see her break down very often but in a heartfelt moment she lets go of the weight of the world she’s been carrying and sobs on her mothers shoulder. The moment opens up an exchange in which her mother clarifies a conversation Issa overheard as a child (which Rae explains below).
Following the one-on-one with her mother, Issa finally returns a call to Kelli (Natasha Rothwell), whose been calling her throughout the episode. Having processed the worst of her self loathing, Issa returns home where she smokes up and spends some time reveling in the positive feedback the block party is receiving on Facebook.
While feeling good and ready to plan her next block party, Issa runs back into unresolved friendship issues when she heads to her favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Merkato, for some take out. As it happens, this is the same restaurant Molly took Issa for her birthday in the series’ debut episode.
Y’all remember Merkato restaurant from episode 1, season 1?? #InsecureHBO— Yvonne Orji (@YvonneOrji) May 18, 2020
As Issa approaches the restaurant doors, she spies Molly happily texting while sitting at the bar. She stops, sees her (suddenly silent) reflection in the mirror and turns around and heads back to her car.
As for any resolution in Issa and Molly’s friendship, it likely won’t be happening in next week’s episode. In an episode shot in Hawaii, the show’s point of view is handed off to Molly, who’s on a baecation with Andrew Tan (Alexander Hodge).
Check out the preview below.