Insecure-A Reflection (no pun intended, Mirror Issa)

From left to right: Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, and Jay Ellis. From Insecure HBO.

Last night marked the end of an era. The series finale of Insecure aired. Quite honestly, I have told myself that it’s not the end and that Season 6 will be with us in the summer. But I guess that just demonstrates how much this show has been part of my routine for the past few years.

While watching the finale, I couldn’t help but reflect on a few recurring themes which I felt were finally resolved.

Forgiveness of friends

From Insecure HBO

For those who watched the series pilot episode, you know that Molly and Issa’s friendship picked up some turbulence after the broken p&%#* song. Overtime, they had their quarrels but for the sake of their perceived peace, they swept it all under the rug. That is, until everything blew up in their faces at Issa’s long-awaited block party in Season 3. Personally, I had no idea how the two would overcome their passive aggression and make amends. But for what it’s worth, I think their time apart trying to figure life out helped develop them as individuals who were better prepared to be friends together. The emotional admission of gratitude for one another in their shared moment during Molly’s wedding more than speaks to this new reality.

The other friends in their group had a different relationship, and I think that is reflective of real life. We all have varying levels of closeness to people in our friend circles. As long as we can come together in times of need and celebrate each other, that’s what makes life all the more interesting.

Forgiveness of significant others

From Insecure HBO

Issa infamously cheated on her boyfriend Lawrence in Season 1 after feeling neglected for so long. Forgetting her birthday and opting to watch tv instead did not make matters any better. Lawrence was of course battling depression while on an extended post-graduate job search.

However, all the antics that soon unfold from that point onward further prove how complicated, frustrating, and confusing love can be when you don’t know who you are. Distance always brought Issa and Lawrence back together, only to encounter more BS and reminders of why they broke up in the first place. After unsuccessfully dating other parties and Lawrence having an unplanned child, it was unclear if they had a even smidgen of a chance. So, it was interesting to see them end up together after all. Once again, the theme of forgiveness rings true for a pair who were undeniably crazy about each other and never stopped loving one another.

Forgiveness of self

From Insecure HBO

Issa had frequent reflections with her inner-voice, personified as “Mirror Issa”. In retrospect, this character was the epitome of the insecurity that many of us feel when finding ourselves in this world. Constantly questioning our every action, thought, and desire. Issa finds strength as well as weakness through these reflections, a balance that undoubtedly tips the scale towards the former by the series finale. Of note, Mirror Issa is no longer seen in Issa’s final look at the mirror in the closing scene.

Adulting

From Insecure HBO

If this show did anything, it was to relay the many trials and tribulations of stepping into and owning adulthood. Lawrence deals with the reality that your dream job can make your undergraduate experience look like it was a waste of time. Issa searches for her place in the corporate world, only to find that she was holding herself back from being her own boss. And Molly, who seemingly had it all together as a lawyer, faces workplace discrimination with salary as well as difficulties fitting in when she transfers to an all-black law firm. Post-partum depression is explored by Tiffany’s character in perhaps the most realistic way possible. Normalizing therapy and being aware of one’s mental health via Molly and Nathan, especially in the black community was one that I found crucial and inspiring. And while many argue that Kelli was simply included for comedic relief, that fact that her character arc lands at feelings of not being taken seriously by her peers is one that is relatable on many levels. I do wish that Molly’s mother’s death had not been included so abruptly during the finale because it was difficult to process in such a confined period of time. Nevertheless, I believe they purposefully included this tragedy in that manner to reflect the unpredictability of life (call me cliche but just playing devil’s advocate here). At the end of the series, these characters who we have followed for 5 seasons have stepped into and assumed the role of their God-given talents. They are confident and successful in executing their business plans and simply thriving!

Happiness

From Insecure HBO

Finally, the theme of happiness was a major one throughout the series. These characters struggled not so much with knowing what made them happy, but having the audacity to own it in front of the whole world. Issa and Lawrence likely never stopped loving each other, but knew that from a societal standpoint they were not supposed to work out. They realized this at different stages throughout the series. First, when Issa cheated on Lawrence, then when Lawrence got Condola pregnant. Why were their feelings for each other never jaded even though they hurt each other so much? Was it simply a toxic relationship turned good? In my humble opinion, I think this just goes to show that the heart wants what it wants. Whatever makes you happy in life and keeps you up at night when you don’t have it, is probably worth pursuing (take that with a grain of salt). Both Lawrence and Issa were willing to stay in unhappy relationships with Condola and Nathan, respectively, rather than pursuing each other once again. But that love never died, and in the end they ended up together. We have no idea how long this will last or if it truly is a “happily ever after” scenario. But one thing that Issa said pertaining to being willing to find out if she and Lawrence will work speaks to true to the idea that happiness is a journey and not a destination. It fluctuates, and that’s okay.

Final thoughts

From Insecure HBO

Insecure changed the way that people view black people in the media. POINT BLANK PERIOD. It’s not the only show to have done this in recent years, but it’s one of the most prominent ones. It was so relatable at times it was scary. From the cinematography to the soundtrack which inspired much of what I have listened to in the past few years, Insecure has left a huge impression on my perception of the world and my place in it. While I secretly hope that spin-offs or a movie will tie up some unanswered questions (i.e. Does Tiffanny ever fully adjust to Denver? What does Kelli’s child look like? What happened to Nathan, Condola, and all the other exes? Why did Kelli and Ahmal have so much animosity towards one another?) I will say that if this is the END end, then I am content with it because as art imitates life, we don’t always get all the answers. So until the next great show comes out, thank you for hearing me out on my reflection for Insecure! If you watched the series, let me know in the comments what you thought about how the series ended. I would love to hear your perspective.