“Insecure” has long been a show where people with moderately good intentions and a reluctance to do better make incredibly bad decisions.
When we last saw Issa and the gang, each character was facing a pivotal point in their life. Tiffany’s perfect facade of a life was falling apart at the seams. Kelli was taking control of her health and fitness. Lawrence was finally starting to confront the residual trauma left over from Issa cheating on him. Daniel was fine as hell and, well … he was just fine as hell.
But things were most real for Issa and Molly. As Molly shopped for a new job after receiving a “Rising Star” award instead of a raise that would have equated her pay to that of her white (male) colleagues, Issa was being priced out of the apartment she previously shared with Lawrence. She got banished to desk duty after her boss, Joanne, discovered her role in hiding Principal Gaines’ prejudice toward Latinx students. The episode ends with Molly opening her door in lingerie for Dro, whom she had allegedly cut off, and Daniel opening his door for Issa, who is crashing on his couch ― of all the couches in LA.
The third season of Issa Rae’s sitcom-meets-telenovela begins two weeks later with Daniel in the midst of a very loud smash session. Like, sis was singing at the Grand Ole Opry, okurr? At first, it appears to be Issa who is on the receiving end but, alas, she is laying across a couch in the next room, listening to her ex have sex with another woman. (Daniel is definitely a Petty King, like, wow.) Meanwhile, Molly is back from a two-week vacation with a new job at an all-black firm and Dro is still in her life.
The characters often put themselves in predicaments where what they want is at odds with what they get, while any viable moves to achieve their desires are quashed by a litany of piss-poor decision-making. But that’s why we love it so much. The poor decision-making is what makes it real. On this edition of Run That Back, Taryn Finley and Julia Craven talk about horrible relationship calls, being a black woman at work and light-skinned men who love to fight.
Julia: I think my favorite thing about the episode is the Popeyes that we saw during the opening scene.
Taryn: You think you me. That was my favorite thing only second to the fact that this is the introduction to a Lawrence-less season. Let the church say amen.
Taryn: Issa is really dumb. Like deserves all the Ls she takes before opening credits dumb. I’m rooting for her, but she makes it hard when her homeless ass moved in with her ex after playing the entire fuck outta him last season. I understand that life really comes at you fast but Issa is really gunning for a world record here.
Julia: I hate Issa but I love her and I hate her because I love her so much. If that makes sense.
Taryn: Total sense, sis.
Julia: I thought that Daniel was piping Issa down in that opening scene but then when it flashed to Issa on the couch, I screamed louder than ole girl getting her back blown out did.
Taryn: I screamed, then said, “THAT’S WHAT YOU GET BITCH,” while still feeling a lil sorry for her, especially after a passenger threw up in her car. My feelings are complicated and she doesn’t make it easy this episode. There was just a lot of headassery at work from everyone.
Julia: I didn’t feel bad for her, just because she could be with Daniel! As we see later, he’s clearly willing to drop his new girl for her. But we can get to that later, because I felt some kinda way about that and I wanna build up to it. One thing I thought was #telling was when she was in the bathroom staring at the medicine cabinet.
Taryn: Just like a nigga to have no door on his medicine cabinet. Smh.
Julia: LMAOOOOOOOO! THAT’S PART OF IT! And it was super symbolic and shows that Issa is very much out of her element right now. So when she turns her head to look into the lil dollar store mirror he got hanging on the wall, it’s like, damn, she’s STILL twisting and turning and adapting herself to someone else’s bullshit instead of doing what she gotta do to survive.
Though I do wonder why you wouldn’t just reattach the damn door. But niggas.
Taryn: Both Daniel and Issa playing games and I was sick of them this episode, but especially Issa. Daniel is just on his nigga shit acting like he don’t give af about Issa. He wanted Issa to hear him fucking ole girl because #petty prevails every time. And Issa is holding on to hope that she and Daniel will get back together but she’s afraid to admit it to herself, let alone him. Their dynamic is weird but not uncommon.
I’m still wondering how tf she ended up at his house. Like damn, NOBODY else could’ve looked out? You don’t like living with Molly that bad?
Julia: I would have just had to deal with living with Molly.
Taryn: Issa is also a bad friend, so they probably would’ve fell out living under the same roof.
So Molly comes back from vacay and gets back at Issa making a song about her “broken pussy” by giving her a bottle of sand to match her dry-ass pussy. If this isn’t petty friendship goals, idk what is. I love their relationship. They’re just fun.
Julia: See, if someone gave me a jar of sand to match my pussy … I’m giving you a curb so that you can stand on it, hail a cab and find your own way home. Then I’d back up and laugh and let my friend get back in the car. I love them, too. Some people see their dynamic as tense, but I don’t. They’re fun and obvs very comfortable in their friendship! What’s a friendship if y’all can’t crack on each other? I know everybody don’t rock like that but it’s comforting to see a dynamic on-screen that does.
Taryn: And they aren’t afraid to call each other out on their bullshit. Like Issa knew damn well Molly wasn’t about to be blippin and bloopin too much when it came to her newfound boundaries with Dro. I really just wished that they would heed each other’s advice more often.
Julia: Absolutely. It’s like if they listened to each other, they’d be better off, but alas. Here we is.
Taryn: Sometimes you just gotta bump your head a few times before you see the light, I guess.
Julia: Issa has fallen off the couch and hit her head though. Sis is concussed.
Taryn: I’m convinced her head is just extra hard. I feel a breakthrough coming though. For them both. If they let me down, Ima have to throw hands.
Julia: Get ready to square up because the way she looked at that call from Dro ……..
Taryn: Chile. Not even halfway through episode one and her thirst levels are on 10.
Julia: Dro is fine so I get that part of it, but what I don’t understand is why you’d stay in an unfulfilling situation. Molly wants a committed relationship ― not to be a nigga’s Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday fuck buddy while his wife is with her side nigga.
Taryn: Is Dro fine or just 6′7″?
Julia: DRAG ME BITCH! WOW!
Taryn: No shade to him but I just can’t sit here and let folks call a heart a spade.
Julia: Can I renege or nah?
Taryn: Do it but ya score dropping if you do.
Julia: Wow. Tbh that’s fair because I been playing spades too long to not know better. But since Dro is 6′7″, doesn’t that make him the Big Joker and thus a spade?
Taryn: You know what I’m not bout to do with you today?
Julia: I’m just establishing the rules before I start cutting hearts.
Taryn: Fair enough. But Dro can’t be the Big Joker here cause that’s already written on Molly’s forehead.
Julia: LMAOOOOOOO. One last thing, why ain’t Molly and Dro on here? I’m pissed.
Taryn: YOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I’M SCREAMING!!!!
Julia: Everyone is trash which is why I love the show so much. No one is perfect and no one gets to be perfect. They even knocked Daniel down off his pedestal this episode.
Taryn: Yea, all these Lawrence Hive leftovers who migrated over to Team Daniel finna be big mad when we start dragging him, too.
Julia: Who is Lawrence? Is that a type of laxative?
Taryn: It’s a rash, actually.
In this episode, Issa is driving Lyft to help save money for her own spot and is dealing with backlash at work. Her former work-friend Frieda has been promoted while Issa was demoted. Another co-worker asks Issa to call up schools that are no longer working with them to see why they dropped the partnership with the nonprofit. Joanne sends Frieda to spy on Issa and ensure she doesn’t mess up a task as simple as making phone calls. Issa asks her former friend when she’ll be back in the field, and Frieda claims that she doesn’t know. She doesn’t want to “rock the boat,” she says, since she was just promoted and Joanne has been stank ever since her falling out with Issa.
Taryn: You know what else causes outbreaks? The toxic ass work environment Issa’s ole settling ass has found herself in.
Julia: The way black women get pushed aside for mediocre white women is something.
Issa at the desk making calls meanwhile ole girl just got promoted and Issa was CONSTANTLY saving her ass when they were in the field together. Now shorty “don’t feel comfortable rocking the boat.”
OK, Rebecca. I see you.
Taryn: Ain’t it though? It’s really wild because one bad decision cost Issa her position in the field while all of the good work and value she brought got discounted. It’s fucked up but extremely real.
Julia: Black women get penalized all the time over one thing. We don’t get the benefit of the doubt. We don’t get to mess up. We have to be overly calculated and cautious, which can also cost us our careers because we may not take the risks required out of fear of being docked if we fail. It’s a fucked-up Catch-22.
Taryn: It really is. Like, fuck her expertise, her experience and the common cultural knowledge she shares with the students We Got Y’all serves (a knowledge that her white co-workers lack, at that). She’s disregarded and Joanne feels like she has to send Frieda to “spy” on Issa to make sure she doesn’t cause any more trouble. That’s why so many black people, women especially, feel like they can’t speak up in the workplace. It’s really wild.
And the way Frieda’s energy shifted when Issa simply asked her about getting back to the field was really telling of the kind of “friend” she is to Issa. You would’ve thought Issa asked her what her daddy mouf do. I’m sick because Frieda wanted to be this extra woke bitch last season but now that she has the power to help someone being discriminated against, her scary ass is QUIET. I’m over her ass.
Julia: Frieda is exhibiting the behavior most white women do when it’s time to actually do something, tbh.
Taryn: It’s not surprising, unfortunately.
Julia: These women don’t actually look out for people of color. They just wanna call themselves allies so they don’t feel bad about the fact that their racism looks different.
Sure, they not out here slurring people of color. But they ain’t helping either. They play ally. They play friend until it’s time to potentially compromise they privilege. Now it’s “I don’t feel comfortable saying anything.”
This is why I don’t believe in the concept of allies, fwiw.
Taryn: Allyship is synonymous with almost doesn’t count 9.5 times outta 10. Your well wishes, good intentions and hashtags don’t do shit unless you translate it into action. Frieda lucky Dawn Richard and her patent leather pants stopped me from jumping through the screen to beat her ass.
Julia: Falls out.
After leaving a squeaky, patent-leather-filled studio session, Daniel visits Lillian, his sister, to pick up his guitar. When Lillian tells him that she needs to bring her daughter, Jada, to his house, he reminds her that Issa is still living with him. Lillian points out that, of all places, Issa chose his crib. That prompts Daniel to question Issa about it later, ultimately leading him to get in his feelings. Meanwhile, Molly is busy trying to mask her feelings by setting boundaries in her relationship with Dro, a habitual line-stepper. She tells Dro that if they’re going to keep smashing, dates and phone calls and pancakes aren’t allowed. Molly asks Dro for her apartment key back and his real feelings about her new boundaries surface. Shit gets tense.
Julia: “Baby, baby, baby.”
Taryn: I need that shit in my Apple Music, bruh. “No means hell no, don’t touch me.”
Julia: The sound of her pants will haunt me forever. “Lies, nigga” shall be tatted across my face.
Taryn: I LIVED! Niggas stay gassing women in the studio they wanna fuck. How long before Fashion Nova start selling those pants?
Julia: She was so bad and I appreciated Daniel for being a professional and saying that she was bad. I have a lot of thoughts about my mans in the Astros jacket though.
Fashion Nova don’t already sell them?
Taryn: I only saw em in regular leather, not patent leather. 😞
Julia: They failed leather pants just like they failed the men’s line.
Taryn: You know who else failed?
Taryn: Molly’s dumb ass for leaving that good vacation dick to fall back into the arms of a nigga she can’t have.
Julia: I was trying to avoid talking about Molly and Dro in depth but the devil has found me. You go first, I’m gonna collect my thoughts.
Taryn: Molly is the worst kind of delusional. She thinks she’s in charge and has control of her situation with Dro when she just doesn’t. She’s too emotionally attached at this point and her trying to ignore those feelings is only fucking herself up. I’m just really sick of her fronting like this. She loves that man. She needs to set her sight on greener pastures ’cause that open relationship shit ain’t for her. She wild for forcing it.
Julia: I’m glad she’s trying to establish boundaries with him, but it would be easier if she admitted to herself that she loves him. Because that’s why she keeps going back to him. She knows that shit ain’t for her and that’s why she feels some kind of way whenever his wife calls.
Molly also felt bad when Dro defended Candice in a way he doesn’t defend her. But, while I get how it feels to be feelin someone who ain’t feelin you ….. that’s his wife, so obviously Dro is going to defend her, and Molly has to realize that she can’t talk about Candice. Period.
Molly feels like and is acting like a side chick in love with a man she can’t have. So she really needs to just cut Dro out altogether because the open shit ain’t working for her.
Taryn: Molly really needs a reality check. You can’t set boundaries with someone you have a deep history with after said boundaries have been crossed time and time again. Like, you mad cause Dro and Candice’s relationship isn’t what you view as a healthy relationship. But baby girl, just ’cause you’re fucking him DOES NOT mean you’re in their relationship. If anything, YOU messy because you the one who came into this without boundaries for yourself. The married couple already had their boundaries. WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF, MOLLY. Worry about not giving your key out to niggas who don’t pay your bills. She acting brand new with old shit.
Moving on is hard, but that’s exactly what her pressed ass needs to do. It ain’t a boundary if you’re there every time he calls, sis. Wake tf up.
Julia: The married couple already had their boundaries. Whew, chile. The sermon.
Taryn: She finna get hurt like we haven’t seen before this season if she keeps this shit up. I just had to drag her real quick cause I want her to TRULY want better for herself. I know I jumped the gun here but it was on my spirit. I’m also black and you know we always eager af to spoil a plot.
Julia: I just …. I want more for Molly. I do. But Molly gotta want more for Molly first.
Taryn: Can’t wait for her to reach her breaking point. I think the only person who didn’t get on my nerves this episode was Jada. Sitting there getting her hair braided watching “Kev’yn” in grown folks’ business.
Julia: She kinda got on mine because she didn’t keep her head down.
Taryn: Jada was me. I never kept my head down. Always being nosy, head moving every damn where, making my mom mess up.
Julia: That “OOP!” took me out and the messed-up braid triggered me a lil bit.
Taryn: That scene was v triggering.
Julia: I think the most triggering part was seeing how much Daniel still loves Issa but then tried to kiss her and got mad when she shut him down. It’s complicated and all that but it made my skin itch. I know he has feelings for her but they ain’t on that right now and she’s living with him. So, of course, it looks and feels like he want sex in exchange for his couch.
Even though I don’t get the sense that he does. It just comes off that way and for him to be frustrated over it seemed a bit strange.
Taryn: So I think a few things got into Daniel’s head here. He’s been suppressing his true feelings toward Issa, outwardly at least, so when his sister hinted that she thought Issa came over there because she wanted to be close to him, he took it to heart because nigga. He gets drunk and Issa comes in with some light flirtation, he sees it as an invitation and gets mad when she shuts it down.
It was genuinely horrible to watch because you get this sense that Daniel feels like he’s owed something. Issa may owe him rent, but not pussy. Surprisingly, Issa made a good decision here. But she isn’t being honest with herself either. She has feelings for him, too, but they aren’t on the same page because they’re never on the same page. They could work, but not under the same roof.
Julia: I wonder if one day they will get on the same page but knowing Issa and knowing Daniel’s tendency to deflect …..
Now that I think about it, all the men on this show feel like they’re owed something. Lawrence felt like he was owed loyalty. Daniel feels like he’s owed love (I’m guessing, idk.) Dro feels like he’s owed time (which I can’t 100 percent blame him seeing as how Molly gives it to him).
Meanwhile, the women just want love and companionship and stability. Idk how I feel about that. I wish Molly and Issa would both stop dating/dealing with niggas for a bit.
Taryn: Meanwhile, I feel like I’m owed an explanation about how everybody got so headass.
Issa invites Molly to ride along with her while she waits for Daniel to finish having sex with Vanessa. Her car is the “Party Lyft” tonight, equipped with Fruit Frenzy-flavored Capri Sun and a playlist that includes City Girls and Cardi B. They pick up Nathan, a fine ass, light-skinned man with a southern drawl. He’s clearly not from Los Angeles, so Molly and Issa redirect him to where he can get good food. Shortly after, Suge Knight Jr. joins the ride and starts rolling up. Nathan chucks Suge’s blunt out the window after he refuses to put his weed away. They throw hands. Nathan beats Suge’s ass in the back of the car and takes off running. Issa’s awkward ass didn’t get his number, but hey, at least he left her a $50 tip.
Julia: Wait, I know who didn’t get my nerves. That light-skinned man who fed that nigga HANDS in the Lyft.
Taryn: You talkin bout fine ass, country ass Nathan?
Julia: Eye am. When he said, “The lady asked you not to do that.” I knew that that man was ready to brawl.
Taryn: He a fine light-skinned nigga so I know how they do, but I felt like risking a one-way flight for him. He looked short though, so fortunately that saved my time and money.
And before y’all try to drag me for body shaming, I’m 5′11″, so save it.
Julia: I’m 5′4″ and I don’t give a good fuck. Men get to shout their “preferences” about women and the shit we can’t readily change all damn day so here’s mine: Get your short ass out my face. We both can’t be strugglin to reach the top shelf.
After seeing how Nathan stood up for Issa, I really can’t wait til they start fucking.
Julia: So this scene proves an important theory to be true. Light-skinned niggas LOVE to fight and a lot of them can fight. Colorism will have you thinking that light-skinned men can’t throw hands but that isn’t true.
Taryn: Especially light-skinned men from the South. They’re the first ones to square up, if we’re being real. And Nathan was already sizing Suge Lite up when he got in the car. My guess is that he knew he’d be fighting somebody before the night was over.
Julia: Suge Lite.
He seemed ready when he got in the car with his attitude. Though, to be fair, I think Southerners are just liable to swing. Idk if it’s the food, the sweet tea or the blatant racial oppression but something is just ON about us as a demographic.
Taryn: I think it’s the pollen.
Julia: Yooooooo, the pollen is so bad in North Carolina that my allergies have cleared the fuck up in D.C. Niggas be walking around here sneezing and I’m taking deep breaths, thankful for clean air. The cars don’t even be green up here. I love it.
Taryn: Living in those conditions, not to mention the humidity, I’d be on ready all the time, too.
Julia: I wanna say the heat isn’t that bad but it is. I’m just used to it. I get cold when it’s under 70 though so I’m clearly cut different.
Taryn: First time I visited my people in Alabama, everything was sweating. Even the dominos on the table.
Julia: My folks live in Southern Georgia and boiiiiiiiiii you wanna talk about hot? Feels like the crack of Satan’s ass. It’s so hot you can wear long sleeves to keep out heat. Shit wild. I miss home. And home is full of niggas like Nathan.
Taryn: Untrustworthy light-skinned men?
Taryn: Yeah, I don’t have time to mess around and fall in love with green-eyed tricksters.
Julia: LMAOOOOOO bruh. Green-eyed tricksters that will cut you.
Taryn: Getting stitches while getting attacked by pollen is the last thing I need. Y’all can keep it.
Julia: Sigh. You don’t even know if that’s how it happens!
Taryn: And I don’t need to find out. I’ll keep the Midwest where we can still get cut but Mother Nature has the decency to leave us alone to get our stitches a few times out of the year.
Julia: Oowee. Also why is Issa driving Lyft? Have we discussed that on its own?
Taryn: We haven’t so let’s. Issa is a Lyft driver who doesn’t thoroughly clean her car after passengers puke in it, brings her best friend as a ride along, has free Capri Suns and plays City Girls. How many stars are you giving Ms. Dee?
Julia: Five but only because she’s black and I support black businesses.
Taryn: I’m giving her 4 because funky Lyfts automatically get deducted a point in my book. My nose and stomach sensitive as hell. Only thing that saves her, for real is cause she playing City Girls and her hair cute. My grown ass could give a damn about a packet of drinkable high-fructose corn syrup and if I’m in a Lyft Line, I expect other niggas in here anyway. I’ll give her a nice tip though so she can go to the damn car wash.
Julia: She was offering people a Capri Sun. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t drink that shit.
Taryn: Because you have bills to pay.
Julia: A whole Capri Sun.
Taryn: The things that come in Lunchables. Not water. But Capri Suns.
Julia: YUCK A LUNCHABLE.
Issa, in a lot of ways, is very childish. But she’s also trying to do better so I guess that means something to somebody. Not me, but somebody!
Taryn: To somebody. Idk how she hit rock bottom like this but I think she needed to get this low to realize her pattern of self-sabotage. I think this is a turning point for Issa and I think she’ll learn a lot as she digs herself out. We kinda see her maturing when she’s telling Daniel the real reason she came to his house. I just hope she doesn’t regress. I also need her to move out sooner rather than later.
Julia: That part. Speaking of regressing, she reminds me of Earn from Atlanta which has me thinking that maybe we’re attracted to broken TV show characters. What does that say about us?
Taryn: OOP! Listen. I’m broke, not broken. And that’s only til that direct deposit hits. Issa and Earn, on the other hand? Broke, broken and broker. I’m praying for em though.
Julia: Broke (Issa) & Broker (Earn).
Taryn: Wouldn’t want either of them in my circle. They like using people. And I got too much to lose.
Julia: Sis, you be preaching! But nah I think Issa will be fine. She’s starting to see the ways she did this to herself. She also needed to hit rock bottom, which fucking sucks.
Taryn: Shit, SpongeBob had to hit rock bottom, too. Shake that shit off, Issa. You’ll be straight.
Julia: Idk why some ppl hard-headed like that and need to see the bottom. Eye don’t need to see homelessness to learn shit. (And, for our lovely readers, I’m speaking solely on Issa and Earn ― not people who are homeless because American capitalism has fucked them over.)
Taryn: All I need to see these bills to know that I don’t want to go any lower.
Julia: Dear Taryn Finley,
Bills are Julia Craven’s trigger word. She is asking that you refrain from using the term again. Otherwise, we will alert the appropriate authorities.
Taryn: Let me go before I end up with a boot in my neck.
Julia: That made me think of this.
Now, before you drag me, let me explain the thought process that got me here.
Julia: When you said ” boot,” I started thinking about Woody’s lil catchphrase “There’s a snake in my boot!” Then I remembered this meme. And I shared it. The end.
Taryn: I hate that Woody looks like Kevin Gates in this meme.
Julia: He looks like someone Kelly or Issa would date.
Taryn: Kelly would be doing it for the D. Issa would be tryna become missis like sippi on the low.
And fwiw, I hate that weak ass bar but it applies.
Julia: Is that a Nicki Minaj lyric in the wild?
Taryn: Exactly. Forgot, we gotta put asterisks in her name before she finds it and tries to get us fired. I’m still mad, but I’ll save my two cents for another day.
Julia: Unlike Karen Civil, this is a real news org so I doubt we’d be fired. 🌚
Julia: I stand with Wanna okurrrrrrr.
Julia: Before we go, I wanna add one ting to the Molly part.
Taryn: Gon’ head.
Julia: “Can I have my key back??” kajbhfejfuvwgehvf.
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