‘Insecure’ Recap, Season 5, Episode 6: Dreams and Ghosts

Season 5, Episode 6: ‘Tired, Okay!?’

This week’s episode begins with a fever dream that ends with Issa recreating a viral meme. She is fantasizing about talking to Lawrence and Condola at the hospital. In the clouds of her animated mind, she shoots Elijah toward a trash can after kicking Condola into a laundry pile.

We emerge from that hilarious day dream to find Issa in her living room, where she learns, via Instagram, that Lawrence has moved back to Los Angeles. In many ways, this episode revolves around dreams — the aspirations of young professionals, a hallucinated haunting, the dreamlike confusion that results from a wild night.

Issa Rae has always said she wants to showcase regular Black people in the most fabulous way on “Insecure,” and this episode is a great example of that. Here are four adults figuring their way through life and its messy entanglements. They are fallible, and learning that lesson might look like cracking your veneer of invincibility and control at work, like Molly had to do. Or it could be learning that wherever you go, there you are, like Nathan needs to do.

Molly is at a retreat with her colleagues, who reveal how they really felt about her when she arrived at the firm. As the drinks flow, the happy hour turns into a revelrous night, one that Molly does not remember the following morning. When she wakes up, there is a strange man’s watch in her bed, and later her co-workers show Molly a video of her dancing the previous night. It doesn’t seem to jog her memory but her embarrassment is apparent.

In the video, she is seen twerking and being more playful, like she is around Issa. Molly wants to seem rigid and stoic at work, which is why she did not mention her mother’s health emergency. But when so much of her life is out of her control, she needs a release valve. We cannot tell exactly what is going through Molly’s mind, but the strain of trying to keep it all together, in an incredibly stressful time, clearly has been taking a toll. She needs to learn how to give herself the permission to let down her guard and to accept, like the prayer says, the things she can’t change or control. It would be a difficult task for someone like her. You know what it would also be? Growth.

Meanwhile, Issa is having her own struggles with The Blocc. She pitches to the Anthology Collective, which seems like a crew of artists, and they turn her down; the hate tweets Crenshawn pressed send on in the last episode seem to be affecting her image. She visits Crenshawn and tries to apologize but he does not relent, claiming that his latest piece, a crew neck that reads “Integrity” across it, was inspired by her.

Issa wants to promote community and opportunity in her neighborhood but she also has to feed herself and pay her assistant. The mechanics of how she is going about that at the moment do not seem to be working, as we have seen in her dealings with Crenshawn. But Issa hasn’t quite figured that out yet.

She is smart, so I am sure she will learn how to adapt, which might include going back to the drawing board with The Blocc. In its current form, it might be overwhelming her. (I’m almost starting to hope that she and Lawrence will get back together and that he will help her blow up, but that’s a secret.)

At home, Issa spent the episode fishing for an “I love you” from Nathan. It’s sad to see that he cannot show up for her in the way she needs him to, but he is dealing with his own issues at work. He finally found a barbershop that feels like a good fit but his colleague Shug, who was hasty with Nathan at the beach party as well, is extremely volatile toward him.

Shug calls Nathan out for picking up one of his customers when he was late, and then he gets personal, calling him “crazy” and “bipolar.” A fight seemed imminent but Nathan eventually walked out. Nathan, who has been identified as a runner by family and friends, tells Issa that maybe Los Angeles isn’t good for him and he might move, daggers to a heart eager for reciprocation. He may be taking his anger from work out on her, but he also may be sabotaging himself.

Meanwhile, Issa is being haunted by Condola (who is probably actually at home with Elijah). She pops up like a ghost while Issa is waiting for food, mocking Issa mercilessly and voicing all of her meanest thoughts about herself. The apparition disappears but not before kicking Issa into a heap of trash. It’s hilarious but it also illustrates the power of negative self-talk, a force potent enough to conjure your ex’s child’s mother while you’re trying to get dinner.

Issa has been angling to see what is going on with Lawrence and now that she knows, she may be starting to spiral. I wonder what this means for both her relationship with Nathan and her relationship with herself.

Maybe “Insecure” fans will get a fever dream-like ending, with Lawrence and Issa back together. But hopefully Issa chooses herself.

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