Every Monday, Very Smart Brothas Senior Editor Panama Jackson and Contributing Freelance Writer Shanelle Genai break down the latest episode of season 5 of HBO’s cultural flashpoint show, Insecure. Okay?! Spoilers ahead.
Panama Jackson: It has probably been said before but Insecure is like Drake. Every time Drake drops a project, he seems to have hit on some pop cultural moment (or created one, really), causing convos for days about how great he is (or isn’t), and then people can’t stop talking about whatever he did for weeks on end. I say this because while Insecure is never going to be considered the best show ever (nor do I think it’s worth debating this), it is probably better at drumming up immediate, urgent conversations than any other show.
This latest episode is proof-positive why; we’ve all been waiting to see what was going to happen with Lawrence and Condola’s post-baby situation and whew shit, is it probably hitting close AF to home for waaaaaaaaay too many people. This shit was REAL LIFE. Co-parenting is already a beast of mountain but co-parenting when you aren’t together and clearly haven’t worked shit out or even thought about it is the worst—trust me, I’m a blogger. I watched this episode cringing and stressed out for both Condola and Lawrence the whole time. What were your overarching thoughts of “Pressure, Okay?!”?
Shanelle Genai: I would definitely have to agree about the seemingly immediate visceral reactions this show always seems to spark. It’s gotten better (or worse?) with each season, I feel, and last night’s episode for sure got the people going once again.
Since I’ve had some time to simmer and scroll through reactions—which were equally wild and accurate af online—I’d have to say that I think both Lawrence and Condominiums were at fault. Yes, Lawrence was hella disrespectful for how he came at her during their argument and doesn’t deserve a cookie for doing the bare minimum but also—he was highkey trying to abide by the boundaries Controlla set. “You can be as involved as you want to be.” Remember that? Condolences should have been more honest in how she really felt about Lawrence’s future involvement with their child and her expectations.
Panama Jackson: Let’s jump right in: Look, as somebody who has been in this high pressure cooker situation before (and I’m not bragging about this) a lot of very emotional things get said that you wish you could take back almost immediately. On both sides. It’s hard to give grace when you’re in the thick of it but they are in a very, very difficult situation. Now, Lawrence has to learn how to check his shit; NOBODY is going to thrive in this situation and Lawrence has to realize that Condola is doing the lion’s share of everything and that is going to breed resentment. Time will fix that and as Elijah becomes bigger and as long as Lawrence is still present, I imagine the coldness will thaw.
But Condola is mad as fuck at Lawrence and is treating him like an uncle who she has to speak to sometimes. Lawrence is the father and maybe he could try harder (?) but given their distance situation it seems like he’s trying. He’s letting her lead and trying to get in where he can fit in as much as possible. I have to say watching him build a crib that Elijah is never going to sleep in broke my heart.
Oh, let me say this, too: Lawrence cannot blame her for “blowing his life up.” That was some bullshit.
Shanelle Genai: That was absolute bullshit but it speaks to exactly your earlier point of two people who don’t really fool with each other like that who suddenly find themselves in this high pressure situation that, for right now, is not looking and feeling ideal for either one of them. Not to mention, Lawrence said this to her while she was more than likely dealing with a level of postpartum struggles so for him to lash out and try to make himself a victim was bold af.
Hopefully with time, these two can work past it, but words like that can cut deep. They’re both going to have to try really hard to keep their issues from becoming their child’s. Also, can we get into the name: Elijah Mustafa. The power that has. The kid has to be destined for greatness with a name like that.
Panama Jackson: Perhaps, but if I’m Lawrence I’m salty about not having any input into his name or any decisions, really. It’s a good name but little things like that are the continuous paper cuts in their situation. Lawrence not coming down when he said he would; Condola deciding that she makes pretty much any and all decisions for him. They both need help and I sympathize with their situation greatly. They can get past it—that much is for sure—but it will not be easy and they will have to do a better job of communicating.
I do think men need to stop saying shit like, “he’s my son/she’s my daughter” in the midst of disagreements when looking the mother in the face if she’s up all night and dealing with the colic-y phase and trying to make it day-to-day on what feels like the longest day every day while he’s banging chicks’ backs out in San Fran on a Tuesday night. Again, grace.
Shanelle Genai: Yeah. The name, the baptism, him trying to be daddy of the decade even though he’s barely on part-time diaper duty, her changing her mind at the last minute and not letting Elijah go with him—it was all a lot. And the crazy part is: it doesn’t have to be! What’s really wild to me is the fact that when they were together last season, it seemed like they knew how to communicate (kinda) and how to gel together. But now, this baby comes and neither one of them really know how to be an adult about it. You literally have nine months to put some things in place, make arrangements and have some crucial conversations before the little bundle’s arrival. The fact that they hadn’t considered all the shit they needed to consider before the baby got here is really a miss on both of them.
I also don’t believe and didn’t like Lawrence’s excuse to Derek at baby Simone’s birthday party about Condola trying to “make him look bad.” That just made me wonder, like, do you really wanna BE a good dad or just act like one? Because there’s a HUGE difference.
Panama Jackson: As Chad said (paraphrasing Mike Tyson), “everybody’s got a plan until you get punched, my guy.” I doubt they haven’t had any convos, but clearly they didn’t have enough or the important ones. And somewhere along the way the words “keep me posted” were said, and that shit struck a nerve with Condola—rightfully so. I do think Lawrence wants to be a good dad; I also do think that in this situation, as it’s currently constructed, that maybe he can’t be. He shows up when he can but this is a newborn, the most stressful time for raising a baby. And look, there are mothers who are like, “here take him,” when Daddy shows up, but there are also mothers who feel like, “you can’t just show up when you’re free when I’m establishing XYZ, etc.” Again, communication.
Alright, so where do you think they go as a unit? Not a couple, but a unit? Do you think they figure it out? I hope they do and I think they can and will, but they have a lot of work to do. A lot. And it is work that NEVER stops because they aren’t even at the point where they’re introducing new boos into the picture. I will send a prayer up for their future.
Shanelle Genai: Because they’re both smart and will ultimately (read: hopefully) put the best interests of their child above their own feelings, as a unit, I think they’ll be fine. They have to be. As a couple, I don’t think there’s any going back because Lawrence’s heart belongs to Issa no matter how cool he tries to play it. But Lawrence and Contraceptive have got to put on their big boy and big girl pants respectively, and figure it out. Life is happening and things are only gonna get more real and more complicated from here. They say pressure can bust pipes, but it can also produce something beautiful if you let it. Only time will tell, I guess. Until next week…
New episodes of Insecure premiere Sundays at 10p.m. ET only on HBO and HBOMax.