Politics

Why Issa and Lawrence’s Ending Was Realistic


  • Warning: Spoilers ahead for the series finale of HBO’s “Insecure,” which aired on Sunday. 
  • The show’s final episode uses time jumps to show where the main characters end up.
  • Two character’s “will-they-won’t-they” love story concludes in the most realistic way.

HBO’s hit series “Insecure” follows the lives of Black millennials as they struggle to juggle life’s intricacies with a deeper level of introspection than normally seen on comedy series.

But one particular “will-they-won’t-they” situation captivated and divided viewers for all five seasons. Issa (Issa Rae) and Lawrence (Jay Ellis) are introduced in the pilot of the series as a long-term couple struggling with their own personal growth while trying to maintain a relationship.

In that first episode, Issa’s reflections during her birthday dinner with her best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji) lead her to toy with the idea of leaving Lawrence to rekindle a flame with her ex.

The decision of that night causes ripples in both their lives over the span of five seasons – from hook-ups, parenthood, serious relationships, to new jobs and cities. The two called it quits after Issa cheats, go their separate ways, and finally get back together (more than once) to finally end up engaged on Issa’s birthday in the series finale.

The show focuses on the growth of Issa and Lawrence in a realistic way – no matter how messy

Lawrence and Issa in "Insecure"

The intense chemistry between Lawrence and Issa was always present.

Merie W. Wallace/HBO


“Insecure” masterfully portrayed how growth requires letting go of the linear path our minds can force us to subscribe to. 

Lawrence showed the realities of how a college degree and a game-plan doesn’t always ensure a desired outcome and how


depression

(though unspoken of) shows up in subtle ways.

Issa proved how her vision and creativity was stifled by a job she wasn’t happy at and things wouldn’t change until she bet on herself. She took a big risk by quitting We Got Y’All without a clear plan but that choice paid off.

Both Issa and Lawrence found themselves curing bouts of loneliness with temporary fixes while they continually struggled to find their purpose in life. But, the lesson in that proved that there’s a consequence for every choice.

What makes the storylines in “Insecure” so potent is that it delves deeper into the affects of those decisions, even if it’s just on a character’s mentality.

Issa’s cheating caused Lawrence to go into hookup mode rather than confronting his feelings. Issa fumbled her relationship with Daniel and casually dated. Lawrence finally came to terms with his part in the demise of Issa and him – just to find out he was fathering his ex-girlfriend’s child.

As Issa and Lawrence move through different phases of their lives, the one constant seems to be that the universe (or the fact that they run in the same circles) always puts them back on each other’s minds. 

Both Issa and Molly had the ultimate agency in choosing what’s best for their lives from romance to jobs 

Molly (Yvonne Orji) and Issa (Issa Rae)

Molly (Yvonne Orji) and Issa (Issa Rae).

Merie Wallace/HBO


The pressure of having it all figured out plagued Issa and Molly throughout the series, so much so that it often caused a rift between the two several times and left viewers wondering if their friendship was ever repairable. 

The beautiful lesson that’s reached in the final season is that Issa and Molly ultimately took control over their lives, personal growth, and professional pursuits. “Insecure” gave women the spotlight for a change, something that isn’t often depicted for Black women.

Viewers got to fall in love with the version of Molly that emerged after her journey to self, and the Issa that finally stopped listening to Mirror Bitch’s doubts.

In the end, it was never about the thrill and passion that comes with uncertainty. The story showed us that the romantic and realist in us could coexist. Sometimes the choice is to surrender to the “yes” that makes most sense with our heart – no matter what our mind tells us.

What makes “Insecure” different is there wasn’t the idea of “settling” for the sake of love for the Black women. It was about accepting that the journey (even when it comes to who we’re meant to be with) often isn’t as linear as we think – life happens in curving pathways and the in-between spaces.

‘Insecure’ did away with the trope of a big romantic gesture, and instead made the love story a smaller series of moments and choices

Issa (Issa Rae) and Lawrence (Jay Ellis) on "Insecure"

Issa (Issa Rae) and Lawrence (Jay Ellis) on “Insecure.”

“Insecure”/


Both Molly and Issa (whose friendship was the real heart of “Insecure”) found their path in the end. By the series finale, Molly was happily married to the kind of guy who will send wings to her apartment when she’s going through it. And Issa was once again celebrating a birthday — but this time with Lawrence as her fiancé

We never got to see Molly swept off her feet by Taurean in romantic grand gestures, but instead their love was established with small moments of communication and caring. 

And when Issa chose Lawrence, it wasn’t the same dramatic moment he decided to impose on her while she was dating Nathan. It was a quiet, intimate speech wrapped in metaphors about giving something a try – but the telling part about that was that Lawrence knew what she was implying. Lawrence’s romantic gesture was that he simply understood Issa, from her corny jokes to her feelings deep down inside. Their true form of intimacy lies in seeing one another.

“Insecure” asserts that Black women can have their happy ending – no matter how messy – if the love is real. 



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