Season 5, Episode 5, “Surviving, Okay ?!”

Yvonne Orji

Yvonne Orji
Photo: Glen Wilson / HBO

Until now Insecure‘s final season has centered on Issa’s career decisions and Lawrence’s experience as a new father, but until “Surviving, Okay ?!”, Molly’s latest arc had not really been established. She was worried about reconciling with Issa and re-entering the dating world after Andrew, but she shaved her head and adopted a new worldview so these things could happen naturally. Molly may not be focused on finding her next husband, but she’s definitely having fun, as this week’s very sexy introscene shows us.

It seems that Molly will have to consider the importance of her career versus her family. She refuses to postpone work, but Molly’s emotional state has always been closely linked to her family. Issa puts some distance between herself and her parents’ lives, but Molly began to spiral as she found out about her father’s affair. It will be difficult for her to maintain her workload while dealing with her mother’s stroke. We also know how much Molly’s family depends on her mother, which adds even more weight to the events of “Surviving, Okay ?!” While most of the hospital scenes are played for laughs, Molly has to consider what it would mean if she lost her mother.

Molly’s new haircut may make her more relaxed when it comes to relationships, but she still does not play when it comes to her family. Molly immediately becomes Dr. WebMD and takes over everything. She finds out that her parents have hidden things and understandably goes out, but it does not feel like the old, judgmental version of Molly. She wants to make sure her parents have everything in order. Her father is overwhelmed and her brothers are more preoccupied with peppers and girls.

Fortunately, Molly does not have to wonder if she and Issa are back to normal during all this. Any issues of persistent awkwardness between the two are resolved when Issa makes it clear that they will always be there for each other. The scene where they change clothes is particularly intimate. Instead of a brightly lit public bathroom, Kerry Washington’s direction brings them into a small, dark room. Of course, it’s funny that they change clothes they both had sex in, but there’s also a nod to Issa and Molly finally stepping into each other’s shoes; resolve the judgment and jealousy that caused their friendship to dissolve.

Molly, Issa and her family could happily take over the narrative in “Surviving, Okay ?!”, but the episode also gives us a look at where Nathan and Issa stand. Issa says she wants to take things slow, but also hurries to say “I love you” to a confused Nathan who can’t say it back. Issa comments that her mother does not know what she wants and Nathan seems to think that this also applies to Issa, but I do not think that is the case.

Issa knows what she wants. She saw it in a vision seasons ago: a husband, a child, a family. The thing is, that vision had Lawrence in the lead role. Issa tries to force Nathan into the role she saw for Lawrence, and it does not work. That parallel becomes apparent as Issa literally runs into Lawrence, Condola and the future she wanted in the hospital. Although it’s unclear if Lawrence and Condola are together again, it’s enough that Issa and Lawrence see each other, to shake Issa. Maybe it will make her realize that she’s really rushing with Nathan.

Although I’m not a fan of their relationship, I’m glad Nathan had enough sense not to say “I love you.” The two can hardly have a straightforward conversation about whether or not to spend the day together. Nathan is a nice guy who gives you a ride to the hospital and helps you look for your friend’s dog, but the two just do not have a spark. When Nathan told his boring story about the dog he lost growing up, I just wanted Issa to run back to the hospital and be there for Molly. After Issa saw Lawrence, I just wanted her to make a loop around the floor and run back to Molly so they could scream about this discovery.

Molly and Issa are still Insecure‘s best love story and “Survive, okay ?!” is a wonderful chapter in the development of their friendship. When it comes to romance, I’d rather see Issa spell her name on TSA Bae’s face or quarrel with Crenshawn than what happens to Nathan. Nathan’s character is built around how flighty he is, and it’s hard to put emotional effort on him when it feels like he could be joking at any given time.

Roaming observations

  • As someone with a best friend who has a dog that I rarely recognize, I understand that Issa says “Oh, she loves that thing” and “Isn’t that a house dog?” about Flavor Flav. It’s just not a responsibility Issa has ever bothered with!
  • I loved the pictures that introduced Nathan’s bedroom. Everything felt very “modern man in a temporary apartment,” from the bare walls to the lamp of the thrift store.
  • “Lord, why are you trying to call her home?” This line was fun. They found some amazing comic moments in the hospital scenes.
  • Issa introduced Nathan to his mom, so I guess they’re really dating or whatever.
  • I think Molly is afraid to tell her colleagues about her mother because she thinks they will see it as a weakness? Girl, stop worrying about it and take some time off.

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