The season 3 premiere of HBO’s Insecure opens with Issa writhing and screaming beneath a sweating, thrusting Daniel, the ex-boyfriend/plaything introduced last season. It turns out that Issa is imagining the hookup; Daniel is actually nailing another (very vocal) young woman, and Issa is forced to listen from her spot on Daniel’s couch. The interplay between what these characters desire and what they end up with has been a constant theme throughout Insecure’s history, one which continues with this season’s opener.
Last season ended with Issa making the incredibly daft decision to move in with Daniel after she was priced out of her own spot. This season, Issa is still sleeping on Daniel’s couch, flailing a little in her professional life, and working as a Lyft driver to pick up spare cash. After Daniel’s hookup, which Issa was forced to listen to from her post on the couch, the two encounter each other in the bathroom and neither seems sure of how to conduct themselves around the other.
While Issa is couch bound and dejected, Molly has treated herself to a tropical vacation, with the turquoise waters and immaculate beaches of her surroundings a stark contrast to Issa’s. Issa and Molly have noted their hesitation to live with each other, which is understandable, but with Molly on vacation, why wouldn’t Issa crash at her place while it was, presumably, uninhabited? The dynamic between the two women has always been prickly, even antagonistic, but it’s hard to imagine that Issa legitimately believes that rooming with an ex will be somehow less volatile than staying with Molly.
At work, it’s revealed that the nonprofit organization Issa is employed by has been dropped by a number of clients. Issa is encouraged by a co-worker to investigate, calling the school’s to inquire about their decision to end their contracts. The decision later blows up in Issa’s face, with her superior chiding her for overstepping her bounds within the organization.
The series has decided to cut Lawrence, Issa’s boyfriend for the previous two seasons. It seems like they’ll be shifting their focus to Daniel as a placeholder. He’s a musician on the rise, whose feelings for Issa have yet to fully be revealed. He spends time in the studio (with a tone-deaf female vocalist, played by Dawn Richards) and some of his family dynamics are shown.
Just as Issa’s last season romance continues to effloresce in season 3, so does Molly’s. Molly is back involved with Alejandro, the married man who is, allegedly, in an open or polyamorous relationship. Once she’s back in LA, we learn that Molly and Dro are still an item. I hate to be a contrarian, but the sex scenes of Insecure have become formulaic, and a little bothersome. When people have sex on the show, it’s rarely a plausible, messy act performed by two (or more) people taken by the urge. Insecure frequently uses the act of sex to signify the ways that the show’s characters are stratified, especially as it pertains to women. Think of the fully nude, down and dirty, onscreen pounding of someone like Tasha, in comparison to Issa and Molly’s always clothed or tastefully lingerie-wearing scenes. This episode features yet another sex scene with a fully clothed Molly, who is atop her kitchen counter receiving oral from Alejandro. The show’s season 2 explainer on the reticence of some black women to perform fellatio is, presumably, why the scene cuts away before Molly can be expected to return the favor.
Molly also tells Dro that she would like a bit of breathing room. They have decided to be mostly associates who have sex. When Dro invites her out to dinner, Molly gets caught up with Issa, accompanying her friend for that night’s Lyft duties. The Lyft excursion turns sour when a hulking male passenger insists on smoking weed in Issa’s car, and another male passenger incites a fight. Molly finally makes it home and she and Dro meet and talk. She asks for her key back, though it’s unclear whether she’s cutting him off permanently or just putting some space between them.
Back at Daniel’s, he and Issa are engaged in a similarly terse, but necessary conversation. Issa admits that she has a soft spot for Daniel and feels disrespected by his constant hookups. Daniel is hard to read but does go in for a kiss, which Issa dodges. The show ends with Daniel giving her the apartment for the night.