The VSB Group Chat: Insecure Season 3, Episode 1, 'Better-Like' Recap

Illustration for article titled The VSB Group Chat: Insecure Season 3, Episode 1, 'Better-Like' Recap
Image: Merie W. Wallace (HBO)

Has there ever been a show that ignites as many discussions on your timeline as Insecure? Thanks to Issa Rae and team, Insecure has given many the platform they’ve been looking for, where they finally have their Facebook status post lighting up with engagement.


Men found hope in the #LawrenceHive, taking comfort in one of the most well-developed characters on the show. Women exhausted themselves pointing out that if men can find themselves in Lawrence then they should also see their flaws. Group texts lit up as we debated, discussed, rolled our eyes (especially at Molly) the morning after each episode. And now Insecure is back at it for Season 3.

Lawrence has been booted because as last season’s finale showed, he and Issa finally found their closure, post-breakup. This is in line with the ritual of blocking your ex across all social media. Molly is walking into a new job and Issa is still awkwardly fumbling through life.

We’re jumping into the debate and discussion that Insecure inspires, with a weekly discussion between Jouelzy and Panama Jackson.

Jouelzy: The budget has clearly gotten better this year. The music, which has always been good, is hitting and I don’t know if it’s necessarily the camera quality or just the overall cinematography but the shots in this first episode are beautiful. Daniel is a lil’ short for my tastes but that pan across his backside in action? Magnificent! HBO is never going to relent on how much they love a good sex scene. There was a lot of sex for a 30-minute episode but that laugh I let out the moment I realized that wasn’t Issa getting a piece of Daniel’s work. Whew!

Panama: I too assumed Issa was catching that work and laughed out loud at the intentional shade when I realized it wasn’t her. Like, that apartment walkout was so sincere. She was in her whole ass bag on that one. I also laughed hard AS THE FUCK at dude tossing his cookies as her first Lyft pickup of the night and the quick cut to the title sequence. Issa’s life is awesome in its misery.

Jouelzy: For me, the overarching theme of the episode was boundaries and who has the right to set them. I get that Issa feels some type way about Daniel bumping pelvic bones with other women in her presence, but does she have a right to put that expectation on Daniel?


Panama: Hellus no-us she does not. She needs some ear plugs and to run the midnight to 8 a.m. shift on Lyft with a safety-rider.

Jouelzy: He is far too kind, letting Issa stay on his couch and agreeing to notify her of his hookup schedule. Then the overstepping of Issa asking if he was done yet as if she has a right to put a time limit on it. Especially when Daniel isn’t the one asking her to leave the house while he has company.


Panama: Issa has no fucking clue what she wants here. How she ends up on Daniel’s couch is nonsense to begin with, but like wanting it to be one way when it’s the other way (shouts to Marlo Stanfield, who has to be dead by now ... HBO should do a The Wire: Where Are They Now? episode ... but I digress), is just messy. She’s out here Molly-ing.

Jouelzy: I’m trying to think through if people have a point about how Issa has become like Lawrence. She’s sleeping on the couch, bringing nothing to the table. Is her little brother that annoying that she couldn’t stay with him? What I can say is Issa clearly has a problem with her vulnerability and it’s hilarious because it’s relatable. “I don’t know nigga, both!”


Panama: Exactamundo.

Jouelzy: Dro’s open marriage confuses me. Am I closed minded because I just don’t get how this is supposed to be a nonmessy amicable situation? We’re making pancakes and investing emotionally in open marriages? I thought that was polyamory?


Panama: Dro is eating his cake and having it too. I also don’t understand how that works so well. If I were Molly I’d be out on that. Somebody always ends up cut in this situation. Always. That’s why she needs her key back because my man shows up in the hiznayee like he owns the place and Molly can’t help herself.

Jouelzy: Can Molly help herself even with the key in hand? We’re already in too deep and while we know Molly will be hurt, I’m now interested to see if Dro’s wife pops up. Is it gonna be a sorority fight? Osceola versus Ethel? My petty is ready because are we to believe that his wife is really down with this setup? Something in the milk ain’t clean.


One of the best representations on this show is the honest friendships between black women. That they aren’t perfect or always pretty, but it’s an intimate connection that is unmatched in shade and love. But I’m curious about the career or financial gap between Molly and Issa. There has to be a reason Molly hasn’t offered to help Issa with finding a new job? We haven’t seen that conversation.

Panama: No shade, but what exactly is Issa’s skill set?

Jouelzy: Weeeeell, damn. I do not know. Now I don’t think I’m 100 percent right in this sentiment, but I am onto something, that our social circle evolves through our career and finances with some sort of continuity, with the exception of entrepreneurs and folks in the arts. Sure, there can be some disparity, but this wide miserable gap between Issa and her other friends doesn’t add up for me. She doesn’t like her job, she’s miserable and she’s been there for 7 plus years. It’s odd to me.


Panama: You’re not wrong, but I actually think it’s fairly common.

Jouelzy: I don’t doubt, particularly for black people, that our social groups have diverse economics but I’m foiled at Issa being at the same miserable place for so long at this age with no kids. Maybe I’m connecting this with Awkward Black Girl because it is a holdover in the storyline. But if Issa works for an education nonprofit, a bourgie black person like Molly definitely knows people in that sphere. Tiffany is the only one I might excuse because everything about her reads as a lie, but doesn’t goofy-ass Kelly have clients, a network, something to help Issa level up?


Panama: You can’t really help folks level up until they’re ready. I’m not sure Issa is ready. Sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes you’re the windshield. Issa has made it a practice of being both at the same damn time, which to me, is a fairly impressive feat. I’m guessing that if Kelly could get her in somewhere, she would, but maybe nothing fits.

Jouelzy: I’m not even thinking of direct help. But you ever trace out how you got an opportunity to realize that somehow, indirectly, your friends benefited you? Like they were a reason you got into an event and it sets off a chain of events. But yeah as you said, maybe Issa’s best skill is her ability to self-destruct.


I HATE getting into a Lyft/Uber and the driver has their friend cruising with them. Is that a thing? Do we endorse this?

Panama: I’m fine with this in the wee hours of the morning. In their case, it works. Until it hilariously doesn’t. That fight? That fight is the reason WorldStar was (is it still?) such a thing.


Jouelzy: What boundaries can Molly and Issa set and actually uphold?

Panama: I think they both suck at boundaries and maybe that’s the key to them both getting their shit together. Molly has the job and the money, but she’s in a relationship with a married man. Issa has no clue what she wants and is trying everything on for size, not uncommon for a person trying to get somewhere without a plan. I expect many more shenanigans out of them before either of them get to where the gettin’s good.


Jouelzy: Absolutely, even as they both have a distinct way of doing the most, their shenanigans provide plenty of moments for viewers to gut check themselves. Like damn, was I really that pressed and foolish?! Why yes, sis, you and I both were. So in this folly of Issa and Molly figuring out their boundaries, how active do Dro and Daniel have to be in helping to maintain said boundaries?

Panama: I think Dro needs to respect Molly’s wishes, but he also knows she’s not about to walk it like she talks it and he has zero reason to cut it. Daniel though, he’s interesting. I think Daniel does a fairly decent job of setting boundaries but he keeps getting swept up in the moment, and because he still really likes Issa, he loses himself at times. In many circumstances, that could be considered fuckboy behavior, but she’s living in his house. He is her sponsor right now. He gets a pass. Plus, she ain’t exactly making it easy on him either. We’ll just have to see where that lil’ love fest goes. Maybe she’ll get to catch that work in an opening montage next time.



I have to ask: what’s with folks still thinking Dro is lying about his and Candace’s open marriage? It’s been confirmed by the writers, but ya’ll (some of ya’ll) still want to believe it. Are we holding on to the myth that open marriages/polyamory is some ‘white people ish’?