Obviously, the biggest draw to “Ready-Like” is Lawrence’s return and what it means for the Insecure. This episode suggested a clear desire to return to his storyline outside of Issa, but the re-introduction of Lawrence via a chance encounter at a 7-Eleven in the last episode feels a bit cheap considering they were going to reunite at Tiffany’s (Amanda Seales) baby show anyway. This is just Insecure Insecure-ing.
This episode serves as a sobering reminder that the show desperately needs to escape the morass of love connections among the same characters. Nathan’s (Kendrick Sampson) story arc is great, but this episode seems to suggest that it might very well be over, while Lawrence is back again, firing off sparks with Issa. These two need not get back together, though – if the series ends with Issa and Lawrence living happily ever after on some Carrie-Big shit, I’ll think it was all for naught.
My favorite thing about this episode is the criminally underexplored rivalry between Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) and Issa’s brother Ahmal (Jean Elie). Here are a few other things of note from “Ready-Like:”
1. Dude don’t know how to open up to each other
As Lawrence, Chad (Neil Brown Jr.) and Derek (Wade Allain-Marcus) shoot the shit at a bar, Chad postures hardcore for his boys, acting “unbothered” by his lady leaving him for cheating when he’s very clearly pained by it. Insecure has always done a good job of depicting straight Black male friends — it’s very difficult for us to surmount the macho bullshit expectations of masculinity in order for us to truly open up without some level of fear that we’ll be made fun of by even our close friends. Even when Lawrence says “hey daddy” to the soon-to-be father Derek, he catches himself and promises to never say it again because it sounds “gay.” This is why we fellas tend to do well with (for-real) platonic female friends.
2. Molly is the patron saint of bad decision-making
When it comes to her relationship with men, Molly (Yvonne Orji) has spent the duration of Insecure sprinkling miniature marshmallows in perfectly good mac n’ cheese. I pretty much hit my wit’s end with her this episode, in which she needs to get her jacket back from Asian Andrew (Alexander Hodge) from last episode’s dalliance at Coachella. He’s looking to get on, but she clearly rebuffs him and expresses to the homies that she’s not interested in dating a non-Black dude. Seeing Lawrence and Issa’s sparks at Tiffany’s baby shower – in addition to encountering Dro (Sarunas J. Jackson) and breathing in the general love and family in the air – motivates Molly to call Andrew to set up a date that is designed to crash and burn. Someone recently said that Molly is not fully realized as a complex character and is instead a caricature of the Black woman who can’t keep a man. I agree, and it’s getting a bit old.
3. There’s always that other group of friends
Tiffany has always been the outlier of the foursome friends – the AKA to everyone else’s DST. Their differences are underlined in this episode when the crew discovers that Tiffany has other friends who are seemingly more aligned with her personality who threw her baby shower. They feel some type of way about this and confront Tiffany, who reminds them that they never offered to throw the shower that everyone knows they would’ve f—ed up anyway. Just about every woman I know well has a good friend who has another set of friends that she doesn’t really f— with…not every friend can give you everything you need, which is why we typically have several.
4. So many people pull what Nathan does, it’s not even funny
That look on Issa’s face at the very end of the episode is the crushing realization that her dude Nathan might have gone ghost after spending the first half of the episode being the perfect new dude. His behavior might be the most ridiculously sad depiction of modern-day dating I’ve ever witnessed on television. I’m not sure if I’ve done the 180 on a woman like Nathan did, but I’ve sure as shit had it done to me. We’re obviously carrying this arc into the next episode of Insecure, but Issa should already know that breaking patterns and not responding to text messages when you’d normally get responses within 30 second is Faces of Death for a budding relationship. As mentioned above, I’ll be quite annoyed if Nathan pulling a Casper is the one thing that allows Lawrence to get back in the cut.
5. Lawrence getting chlamydia is interesting. And layered.
We learn in the episode opener that Lawrence has essentially been basically working and f—ing couchloads of randos after his breakup from Issa, which isn’t uncommon from a man who leaves a long relationship and gets his life shit together. We also learn that he’s contracted chlamydia from all of that sexing. Lawrence calls all of his partners to tell them, which is the responsible adult thing most people wouldn’t do. But why was he having unprotected sex with all these women? Is the disease the writers’ way of punishing him for not working things out with Issa? Are we praising him for owning up to his status in a sexually reckless society? Is this the showrunners’ way of acknowledging the condom controversy last season? If this were an 18th century novel, a whole lesson could be devoted to analyzing Lawrence’s drippy wang in an English class!
Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. Miraculously, people have paid him to be aggressively light-skinned via a computer keyboard for nearly two decades. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at his own site, wafflecolored.com.