There’s a moment in Insecure’s first season when Issa (Issa Rae) is greeted by a chorus of children who, having found a video of Issa displaying her amateur rapping skills online, gleefully parrot their instructor’s lyrics back to her: “Maybe it’s really rough/Maybe it had enough/Broken pussy!” The series may navigate the less raucous aspects of work and romance, but its this adherence to the risqué—and, at times, the downright gross—that’s helped cement the show’s silly, sometimes absurd tone. It also proves that a little raunch doesn’t necessarily diminish earnestness.
In a very sex-forward season like this one, “Hella Blows” seems more sex-forward than usual. Issa desperately attempts to keep her hoetation in line, Molly (Yvonne Orji) and Dro (Sarunas J. Jackson) sleep together again, and the women attend a sex expo called “Sexplosion,” where they load up on free condoms and partake in an oral sex tutorial. But rather than help reinforce the realism of the characters’ sex lives, the episode’s sexual candidness only serves to highlight Issa and Molly’s clumsy decision-making.
While Issa’s newfound frank sexuality was initially a source of humor this season, her “hoe phase” escapades are beginning to feel strained. Even her mirror raps and self-talk, a highlight of the series and gateway into her inner monologue, are becoming more cringeworthy than clever. “Fuck gin, I want the horchata,” she said to herself on a date in last week’s “Hella Shook.” “Easy on the ’chata,’ heavy on the ’whore.’” This week shows Issa becoming even more myopic in her pursuit of casual sex, as indicated by the bluntness and simplicity of her mirror talk: “Who’s gonna get that dick? You.” Later she pretends to address her neighbor, Eddie (Leon Thomas III), doing away with any rhymes, raps, or wordplay: “Are you ready to get fucked?”
Also gone from Issa’s dating repertoire is any sense of hookup decorum. Rather than texting or calling “neighbor bae,” she shows up at Eddie’s front door uninvited. She’s then deeply offended when he turns her away. “It’s my hoetation! I make the rules!” Issa complains to Molly later. “So when I call you, bring over your dick.” Even for someone who was in a relationship for five years and may feign ignorance of the ins and outs of dating, this is a wildly unrealistic standard to hold anyone to.
We know Issa to be flawed—that much the series holds her accountable for—but it’s hard to believe that an emotionally intelligent woman would have such little regard for other people’s space or decisions. And it’s this sort of desperate behavior that leads her to ditch her handsome Tinder catch, Nico (Diego Serrano), later on. When he’d rather take things slow, she angrily kicks him out without explaining her intention of keeping things casual.
The most explicit moment of “Hella Blows” comes at the end when, in a bid to master a skill she expressed contempt for at Sexplosion, Issa goes down on Daniel (Y’lan Noel), resulting in a graphic cum shot. Issa is hit squarely in the eye, and she’s incensed. Here, as in other moments this season, it’s not clear if Issa is truly enjoying her single-and-loving-it lifestyle. Does she truly want casual sex, or does she just want the idea of it? Based on how often Issa experiences anger in “Hella Blows,” it’s at least evident (though perhaps not to Issa herself) that she should put her “hoe phase” to bed.
Just as “Hella Blows” reiterates what we already knew about Issa and her hoe phase, it reinforces a few things about Molly. One, partaking in an open marriage isn’t a good idea for her, and two, that girl should really be back in therapy. The latter is especially important given the state of things between Molly and her family. Since the fallout in “Hella Shook,” she’s avoiding calls from her mother. And even though she felt uncomfortable about her hookup with Dro, the two are quick to hop back into bed. It’s only this week that Candice’s existence becomes a road bump: Dro has to leave Molly high and dry in the bathtub when Candice is locked out of their house.
Up until now, this plotline has been dancing around the potential of someone catching feelings or a love triangle rearing its ugly head. “Hella Blows” leaves some time to explore the intricacies of operating within an open marriage, but it’s a matter of time before a more concrete conflict arises in the season’s final two episodes. Ultimately, “Hella Blows” begins to set up the pieces for end-of-season drama. One can only hope that Issa and Molly learn to do some work on themselves along the way.
For more Insecure recaps, click here.