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HBO’s Insecure Season 3 Episode 3 Recap: “Backwards-Like”



Oh, look! All of our Insecure recaps are in one spot. Read them all!

If you didn’t already know, Insecure is back. The show follows late 20-something-year-old Issa, the namesake of real-life show creator and writer Issa Rae, as she tries to maneuver complicated relationships, challenging friendships, and a fizzling career in rapidly gentrifying Southern Los Angeles. The most recent episode finds Issa getting even more comfortable in Daniel’s space, Molly having a difficult time adjusting to her new job, and several of the main characters’ career dreams fizzling out and onto the floor.

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The most recent episode of Insecure is tilted “Backwards-Like,” likely because all of our main characters take massive steps in the wrong direction. With the misguided boss of her current job breathing down her neck, Issa develops a growing interest in a company called The Beat Crew, which exposes music and dance to disenfranchised youth. Not only does The Beat Crew combine all of her passions (music, helping children, and giving back to her beloved community), but they are hiring too! Sending in an application would seem like the obvious choice, but instead, Issa settles for a part-time gig as an apartment manager and the discounted apartment that comes along with it. Regarding her relationship with Daniel, Issa has thrown all of those boundaries we mentioned in episode 1’s recap, completely out the window. Every interaction between the two oozes of “coupledom,” from their intimate pillow talks to their joint laundromat dates clad in cozy sweatpants, to their formal dinner date. In true couple fashion, this date quickly digresses into a very personal argument. Daniel, once again, has missed out on a great professional opportunity because of his ego. He is given the chance to play music for a popular producer but resists the producer’s criticism of his art and the entire opportunity ends up falling through altogether.

As a creator myself, I completely understand this battle between ego and pride, but a lot of my sympathy for Daniel flew out the window the second he took his frustrations out on Issa.

As artists, it is perfectly natural for us to be sensitive or even borderline defensive about our craft, but making room for feedback should not be seen as a weakness, only as an opportunity to grow stronger.

I wish I could say things are going much better for Issa’s best friend Molly, but they most certainly are not. In this episode, we see Molly on her first day of work at her new all-black law firm. This opportunity is a long-time dream come true for her, but she can’t help comparing everything about this new experience to “her old firm.”

Her continual expression of discontent at this new job leads her coworkers to start talking behind her back. In a team meeting, the issue is brought up when one coworker mocks her continual use of this phrase. For the first time in the season, outspoken Molly is embarrassed into silence. While I am never a fan of gossip in the office, I can easily see how Molly’s obsessive comparing could make the rest of her team feel underappreciated. By harboring in the past, she is making little room for a successful future at this company.

Sometimes, we do have to move backward before we can take a step forward. Navigating transitions can be a slippery slope. Is it better to stay in a secure job that we aren’t passionate about, like Issa, or leap into something shaky and new that we love? Should we be open to criticism from others, or always stick to our gut, like Daniel? What do we do after taking a new opportunity that doesn’t meet our expectations, like Molly? How do we ever know that we are making the right choice? The truth is, we don’t. And, until time travel is possible, we can’t. All we can do is continue to lead with great intentions and try not to hurt anyone along the way.