Season 3, Episode 5 / HBO
***Spoilers abound like feather headdresses at Coachella.***
Woooo! Been looking forward to this episode for a couple weeks now. And it’s a biggie — amazing how much story can fit in 30 minutes.
Since Issa quit We Got Y’All, she’s Lyfting like a mofo. Which means a rotating cast of characters all up in her backseat: some fratty-looking dude on the edge of barfing, a lonely senior citizen, a cute queer couple, and — WHOA! — her old neighbor, Thug Yoda.
She’s racking up all these rides because, as alluded to last week, she and the girls are heading to Coachella! She comes to visit Molly at her office and to drop off a few things for their trip. Since she doesn’t have a full-time job, she’s running errands for Molly like a Girl Friday. Anything to make sure they get to the desert to see the queen Beyoncé without misshap. They are looking forward to this trip, and it’s Tiffany’s last hurrah before her baby comes.
As Issa is waiting for an elevator to head out, she gets a text from Nathan Nanceford and side-eyes it. Seems this is the first time she’s heard from him since their impromptu date that ended with eating tacos and kissin’ on the mouth. She almost sends him a slightly salty response, but instead doesn’t reply at all.
Meanwhile, Molly’s still trying to impress her new firm. She’s been helping Taurean with a case, and the partners want to file by Monday. Even though she’s supposed to be going to Coachella, she volunteers to take care of the filing herself. MOLLY!
And with that, it’s about time to go. Back at her spot, Issa sticks a OUT FOR LUNCH sign on her door and is just about to bounce with her overnight bag when she gets hit with a “WHERE YOU GOIN’?” Ahhh. It’s Trina, this time complaining that she has bed bugs. Issa is so ready to be out that she just straight tells her there are no bugs, she’s hallucinating, and in fact, “I’m not here either. I’m a ghost.” And that’s enough to send Trina back into her apartment. I’m going to need to try this at some point.
Tiffany and Kelli are waiting for her outside when Issa comes out, but wait a minute. Why isn’t Molly in the car? Yeah. Issa is not going to let whatever brief this is come between her and her girl getting their “Formation” on, so she hops on FaceTime and successfully guilt-trips Molly into coming. Don’t know how she’s going to get the “quiet time” Issa is promising here, and the promise to leave early also sounds unlikely, but this is going to be a long weekend.
Beyoncé or bust.
Kelli, Issa, and Tiffany get to their fly-ass AirBnB in Palm Springs, and it has a bidet, y’all. Molly’s on her way and should be there in time for SZA, and everything’s coming up roses. Well, sort of. Kelli and Tiffany give Issa a little shit for her new career, driving a Lyft, but she’s not trying to hear that right now. She came to party with her girls. Except Tiffany’s got pregnancy fatigue and wants to take a nap, and Kelli’s being…weirder than normal. Oh. She took an edible on the way, thinking they’d be at Coachella by now, and she’s high AF. Issa tells them both they have 15 minutes to get it together while she gets dressed. Alas, by the time Molly shows up, everybody’s in dreamland: Kelli has fallen asleep at the dining table with her face pressed against a box of Popeye’s, and Issa’s curled up on the couch in her going-out clothes. Welp. Here’s the quiet time Molly needed to work on her filing.
Early the next morning, Issa is on one, skipping through the house banging baking sheets together and telling everyone to wake the fuck up. Molly, who got only three hours of sleep, is murderous. Issa reminds them they came to party and to celebrate Tiffany, who also doesn’t seem to get that not everyone is enraptured with her forthcoming spawn. “And the baby.” But Issa gets her together right quick. “No, not the fucking baby, Tiffany. Just you.” She finally rallies all the girls to climb aboard the Beyoncé or Bust Express, and when Molly gets a thumbs-up on the brief she submitted in the wee hours, it’s definitely on. Right then Issa gets a text from Nanceford. Seems he somehow happened on a ticket to Coachella and is at a hotel party nearby. Oh, word? Change of plans, ladies!
The party is lit. When Nanceford calls out to Issa, though, the jig is up. Molly’s like, oh, of course you bring us to a party so you can see your “almost-man.” But Issa needs this, and the dudes he’s with are very much not ugly, so. While their friends are getting acquainted, Issa hits Nanceford with the, “I hadn’t heard from you, so…” but before his fine ass can reply, his Julian wants to know if anyone wants some actual Molly. Bruh’s brought the party favors, that’s for sure. He pulls out a bag of edibles and even tries to convince Tiffany to eat one. Uh, no. Everyone else is down for the Molly, though, and Issa says she’ll take it if Nanceford will.
Later, he and Issa sit by the pool. He’s amazed at all the Black folks actually swimming, since back in Houston, people showed up at pool parties wearing jeans. Issa’s feeling the effects of the pill she took earlier, and when Nanceford realizes it’s her first time taking ecstasy, he gently strokes her arm. “Your touch is so…touchy.” Yeah, she’s rolling. They start making out, like you do.
At the bar, Molly and Julian are hanging out. “I’m Molly, and I’m on Molly. That means I’m Molly squared.” She is so high. She starts talking to Julian about how she’s been alone for a long time and hasn’t been with anyone since she slept with her “married friend.” The ghost of Dro lives on. Julian gives her the side-eye, plops his friend Andrew down on the bar stool, and smoke bombs his way out of there. Molly confirms he’s “the Asian one?” and continues her tale of woe.
Okay, okay. I’ll call him “Nathan.”
Thankfully, Tiffany is sober, so she can get them all out of there on time to get to the festival and into a good spot near the stage for Bey. They polish off the edibles, and soon are all cuddled up in pairs. Tiffany looks around disgusted; she left her husband at home, after all. “Is this Couples-chella?” She’s standing there pregnant, alone, and totes not on any drugs. And now, as the couples disappear to get water or food or whatever Kelli’s going to do to Julian, she has to single-handedly defend their place near the stage. Yeah, okay, that does kinda suck. Sorry, Tiffany!
Issa and Nathan wander away to get some water. Even in this state, she still hasn’t forgotten that Nathan took hella long to hit her up after their day together. He points out that she didn’t text him, either, but also says he was afraid he’d come on too strong and was trying to play it cool so she wouldn’t think he was pressed. Issa starts rapping like his face is a mirror without realizing it, but he’s into it, just like he was when they were in the pool at her childhood home. They are so cute, y’all. Seriously, this is one of my favorite scenes in two and a half seasons of this show. Issa has the idea that there should be a similar, local festival in Inglewood called Cocoa-chella, and you know? Drugs aside, it’s not a bad idea.
The two of them take a ride on the Ferris wheel, but Nathan doesn’t mention he’s afraid of heights. On the scared front, Issa admits that she quit her job and is terrified of what comes next. He’s encouraging, though, asking if she’s going to do something with music and telling her that leaving her job was brave.
Suddenly, the Ferris wheel gets stuck. Looks like they may be up there for a while. Well, maybe all that nice, supportive talk and his fear of tumbling to his death and the MDMA have sent Issa over the edge, because the next thing we know, they’re joining the Mile High Club, so to speak. One thing about this, tho. Spontaneity is great and all, but so is safe sex, and that’s not what they had. Curious if this is something that will be addressed later.
And that’s when the fight started.
Back in front of the main stage, the only ones holding down the spot are Tiffany and Molly, who’s still leaning on Andrew, trying not to pass out. Kelli returns, waffle in hand, with Julian, and seems shocked by how much larger the crowd has gotten and specifically the white people who are now standing in front of them, including a blonde riding on some guy’s shoulders. Kelli tells them they’re in their spot, but gets dismissed, “as a first-timer.” Oh, dear. Tiffany knows what’s about to happen, but it’s just too late because Kelli yanks homegirl off that dude’s shoulders and slams her onto the ground. Ouch. The other white girl spins around and swings on Molly, and all hell breaks lose. Tiffany’s pouring water on people and trying to get them to stop fighting, but here comes security.
Issa and Nathan are enjoying the afterglow and the view when the ride finally powers back on. Time to get dressed, but then her phone rings — huh, she has cell reception way up here. It’s Tiffany, telling Issa where to meet them.
At the gate, security is cutting the wristbands off everybody and ejecting them for fighting. Molly’s phone is getting service, too. Since that initial thumbs-up, she’s gotten a bunch of notes from her boss requesting edits to that filing. Have I mentioned that she’s still really high? Kelli is still angry and gets in a guard’s face, pointing out that all the white folks got to stay. Just as he snips her wristband, the drums signaling the start of Beyoncé’s set begin to play, and Kelli loses it, charging back towards the festival. Unfortunately, Coachella security guards apparently packs Tazers, and that dude fells her like a tree. As they all finally leave, Tiffany admits to taking a bit of the weed brownie.
We’re all mad at me.
By the time Issa gets back to the house in a full-on shame spiral, feeling guilty for abandoning them, her three friends have completely lost their minds. Kelli is sitting in the corner in a Taze rage, Molly is energetically typing a whole bunch of nonsense in an attempt to edit that brief, and poor Tiffany, now high on that pot brownie, is hiding in the closet crying, talking to Derek about how she just gave her baby some sort of birth defect. Issa, being Issa, can’t help but make this all about her, wanting to talk about how they’re all mad at her for changing the schedule and disappearing with Nathan. She finally loses it and says the heat and the drugs are making them all crazy, and they should just go to bed.
The next morning, they wake up passed out all over the living room. Issa, Molly, and Kelli take one look at each other and just bust up laughing. Kelli’s like, “I was so high I thought I got Tazed,” but doesn’t notice how quiet her friends get.
Issa and Tiffany go to a convenience store for bottled water. In the parking lot, she mentions that the night before is just another example of her feeling like she’s being left out since she got pregnant. Issa tries to comfort her, but Tiffany’s not buying it. Things have changed, and once this baby comes, they’re going to keep changing.
Issa heads inside to get water, and gets a text from Nathan asking how she’s feeling. Hungover, obvs, but look at him, reaching out this time? Issa is wandering towards the counter asking about some fancy kind of water when who should she run into but Lawrence’s friend Chad…and Lawrence. Oh, come on. LAWRENCE?! Guess it really has been, as Molly called it, a freaky weekend.