Season 1/ Episode 2/ HBO
**put the spoilers on ya, like I told ya**
We start with Issa in the bathroom mirror doing her rap thing, psyching herself up and giving a head nod to Game of Thrones with a Daenerys Targarean reference with a side of shade. “Is you Khaleesi or that other…. who’s name I don’t remember?” Bruh. That was some mezzo-soprano Petty Labelle type shade right there. Next thing you know, Molly is yelling and telling Issa to come on so they can grab some food. Ah. Issa’s right where we left her at the end of episode one. She’s still at Molly’s crib.
Cut to Molly and Issa having brunch at some posh little patio restaurant while Molly tries to get Issa to spill the tea on her Daniel. Molly still isn’t completely Issa getting up on stage and going all Dej Loaf putting her
broken poonany business out there at the open mic night, but to do it, play her, leave to see Daniel and never even get out of the car? Nah. Molly’s not having it.
Issa explains that it wasn’t even about Daniel, it was abut her finding herself. That stage act and everything that happened that day was about Issa finding Issa again. The Issa that was a bad ass and took chances, or as she put it “No F*cks” Issa. Being the good good girlfriend that Molly is, she let’s Issa know that she supports her, but still needs her to keep her business out of her mouth. I mean, basically. Issa genuinely apologizes and then Molly takes account for her
broken poonany own mess, as well. She decides it’s time to give it a tune up (bruh). We get an all appropriate “How Sway” from Issa and Molly explains that it’s maintenance day. Let me insert myself here by saying that “maintenance day” is some of the realest ass Black women shit ever. As Molly put it, “hair done, nails done, everything did.” Yep. A fancy day. A day to take care of herself which in part takes care of her, ummmm…. inside parts.
Right after that conversation, Lawrence aka sweatpants-bae, starts blowing up Molly’s phone looking for Issa. It’s getting real in these streets. So real, that after Lawrence gets no answer, he hits up one of his homeboys.
Cut to a sports bar in Pasadena, Lawrence’s homie answers the phone and immediately tries to get him to come out and hang with the boys. Lawrence passes, but checks to see who’s all out and homeboy starts going in on one of their other homies who has picked up a little weight. Dude seems mad shady to me, but Lawrence keeps trying to find that shoulder to cry on for a second. I mean, his girl left him. He needs someone to talk to and instead of his homie being on some #yougoodman he’s on some passive ass #yougoodright. Dude basically seems uninterested when he realizes that Lawrence is about to get deep and is pretty much in the same financial place that he was in the last time they spoke. He just tells Lawrence he needs to find a way to fix it after Lawrence tells him that he messed up Issa’s birthday and then leaves him hanging. I hope Lawrence knows that ain’t his real friend. I’m sure his momma told him that some years ago, cause momma’s be knowing.
After Lawrence catches that good dial tone, Dam Funk’s Burn Straight Through You begins to play as we meet up with Issa and Molly in the nail salon picking out colors. Molly is good for the questions with a punch and she straight up asks Issa if Lawrence has ever sucked her toes. Realness meter on 10. Issa said they gave it a try but it made them both awkward and all I can see is that scene in Don’t Be A Menace when Ashtray is sucking Dashiki’s toes with hot sauce.
Toe sucking or nah, Issa makes it clear that she’s questioning her relationship with Lawrence. Molly is all #teamLawrence and it’s not that Issa isn’t, she makes it very clear that she loves Lawrence, but maybe Issa is becoming more #teamIssa in this scene. The conversation moves to the things that Issa is missing and would like to explore sexually. If you’re not about women being sexually liberated then I am here to let you know that this conversation and this show is not for you. This is some of the realest pro-woman talk that I’ve ever scene on screen and I am all the way here for it. Issa gets the tea on online/app dating via Molly’s world. These dudes were so wackamole and cheese it’s not even funny. From the broke dude on some “bootleg and chill” to the infamous “hotep” brother. Molly is trying to let her know that all of the men that she’s run across just want to hit it and quit it. Molly’s looking for something more and more seems to come with a 3 month wait list on an elite dating site. Issa is begging to see what it all looks like and soon hands Molly back her phone after realizing exactly how real it is in these streets. Molly is still holding out hope. She’s got a date the next day and is really hoping this one is different.
The girls leave the salon and we see them walking down the strip. Issa’s looking for something to do and Molly let’s her know that she is continuing on with the next phase of her maintenance day. The phase that includes a “vagacial.”
Yes, a “vagacial.” A facial for her vagina, you know… to help fix it. Issa’s ass does not care how personal this is. She’s just not trying to go home yet and Molly know’s what the deal is, so she “invites” Issa to come along (all side eye included). Issa finally decides to go home. Good. I’m thinking that phase of maintenance day was a private session.
Next we see Issa pulling up in front of her apartment complex. She starts her pep talk rap in the rear view mirror. She’s the baddest. She’s Solange’s sis. She’s bossing up or backing out. She’s….pulling off.
Cut to Rite Aid and we see Lawrence picking out party favors and Drake/Beyonce themed birthday cards. He settles on a Drake themed musical card that says “If You’re Reading This Then Happy Birthday.” We pretty much figured Issa was a Drake fan last episode, so this is another nod to that. Lawrence checks out and gets ready to leave the store only to turn and spot who down the aisle? Issa. Aw shit. He heads over to her and starts asking her what’s going on. Issa tries to dodge the question about ignoring his phone calls by saying that her phone was on airplane mode. Dude is not having it, then he realizes Issa is buying a 6-pack of panties in the local Rite-Aid. Shit gets real. Issa’s all “they not even the cute kind” and Lawrence is pissed, because Issa is clearly not planning on coming home yet. Things get a little loud and Issa tries to shut it down.
Lawrence is pissed. I’m not even mad at him right now. He tries to apologize for messing up Issa’s birthday and she shuts him down because it is way deeper than that. She just doesn’t want to get into it in the store, so she walks away and leave him and his damn sweatpants in the middle of the aisle only to come back after he walks away and ask for his rewards card. Wait? You don’t want to talk to me or come home but you want a discount on your 6-pack of panties, tho. Girl bye. He leave her standing right there.
We cut back to Molly’s place. It’s dark now and Issa is laid up on Molly’s sofa with the dog named Flava Flav watching some reality show called Conjugal Visits and this inmate is posting picks of her bae on the wall. Molly walks in surprised to see Issa. Issa acts like nothing wrong and goes right into asking Molly about her “vagacial.” Apparently, it only involved someone blowing bubbles and everything is still broken.
Molly asks Issa about her not being at home and Issa asks to crash for another night. Molly finally gets to the root of Issa’s avoidance behavior. Issa kissed Daniel aka ex-bae in the last episode. It was small, but she’s feeling some kind of way. Molly knew something was up. They have a glass of wine and chat. The chat includes Issa seeing Lawrence, Issa still being a “no effs to give” woman and Molly asking her about her work presentation. That gets brushed off with an “I got this.” Molly let’s Issa stay and tells her to take as much time as she needs, which also seems to include something to wear to work.
Next, we see Issa walk into work like a BOSS with a bomb ass classic navy pants suit and zip front ivory blouse. Her hair is smoothed into a luscious frohawk and she is serving on these folks. Her coworkers are all watching her with mouths ajar. Issa is feeling herself. She came to slay.
Her coworker who is on her presentation team tries to get with her about what their going to say, but Issa is too gone. She didn’t read an email, she didn’t think about the project, but she’s Black in a room full of white folks talking about Black kids and in her mind she already has this one in the bag. Oh. Ok. You fly, tho. Her coworker keeps trying to share ideas and Issa’s ‘no effs to give’ subconscious is on fleek. In her mind, she is checking this girl left and right. She shuts down every idea as stereotypical, which they are even if they are well thought out, and assures her that everything will be alright. When Issa gets in front of everyone and she’s on some “Let’s show the inner city kids the arts” her co-workers hit her with a million questions that she is completely unprepared for. She doesn’t know what type of arts, she doesn’t know the budget. CeCe from ABG is up in their grilling her and she pretty much loses it.
Even when her partner tries to step in her dashiki wearing boss, who still isn’t as Rachel Dolezal as Rachel Dolezal, shuts her down. Everyone else in the room completely takes over. They are just yelling out anything like “we can watch Lemonade and then take them to Lemonade and we eat.” You’ve got the white dude who took African dance in college volunteering, drum circles are brought into the mix and Issa has a mini breakdown. Yeah. It got real, really quickly. Her boss calls for a recess.
For what looks like a complete shift in the atmosphere, we’re taken to Molly’s office where she is describing another amazing success with a major client while her co-worker looks on in awe. We’re quickly reminded that this is the co-worker who is newly engaged when some higher up admins come in to congratulate her and to ask her about wedding planning, leaving Molly feeling low once again.
We leave Molly and head back to Issa as she walks into her bosses office for a true heart to heart on not only how she dropped that entire presentation, but how her heart isn’t in the work. She gets the “this may not be the place for you” speech, but asks for another opportunity to get herself together. She’s given an Kenyan proverb to help solve her problem and I begin to wonder if this is how Rachel Dolezal got on with the NAACP. Was she just spitting African proverbs to folks?
Issa leaves the room, confused and in her feelings. She’s thinking about Lawrence and the music suggests that maybe she’s even missing him. To text or not to text. Not.
The scene cuts to Lawrence taking out the trash. Wait, that’s all of the birthday stuff from Rite Aide. He’s shoving everything into the trash and then takes that singing Drake card out to look at it one last time. Lawrence is in his feelings, too and starts cramming that thing so hard into that trash can that his neighbor looks up and hits him with the #yougoodman? This conversation turns out to be some of the realest shit ever. Lawrence is in them damn sweats talking to a dude who, because of his extracurricular activities aka gang affiliation, won’t even use the letter “C” when talking. Like, dude has an entirely different linguistic discourse whose rules replace the hard c phoneme in every word so that “Care Bears” becomes “Bare Bears”. That’s some higher order thinking level type shit. Lawrence, on the other hand, doesn’t speak that way.
This means that these cats are talking about sex, love, money and everything else that Lawrence called his homeboy to talk about earlier, while maintaining separate vernaculars and fully understanding one another.
Oh, this is all happening while the neighbor’s daughter is standing there so he also full out spells an entire sentence when he disses her mom. Lawrence walks away with the advice that he was searching for and this shit couldn’t be more brilliant.
We see Issa at work again, going over student surveys with her coworker and trying to get her life. They come up with an idea, based on Issa’s earlier conversation with Molly that included finding out that Molly grew up in L.A. and never saw a beach until college. They combine the kids need to just get away from the blocks where they live with a community service component that the coworker had suggested earlier and decide to do a beach cleanup. Issa did some quick growing up on this one.
Cut to the evening and we’re at a cute little restaurant with Molly and her date. He’s seemingly cool and good at small talk. He orders amazing wine and shares his food. This dude and Molly really seem to be hitting it off. They even share horrible dating stories and get into interracial dating. At the end of the date, the two step outside and Molly asks him if he’d like to have coffee. Apparently this dude is on some Luke Cage type caffeine hits, because when they go in for the hug he asks Molly if she’s trying to “get coffee.” Bruh. She takes dude down and calls him and every other dude like him on his shit before he bounces.
We move from their to seeing Issa, still at work. She’s in the bathroom when she gets a text from Lawrence about coming home. Issa stands in that mirror and goes to work running lines on every possible way the conversation with Lawrence could go. She plays his parts and hers. She even throws in some pop culture humor in between awkward pauses and laughs. “It’s like a jungle sometimes…” The conversation before the conversation ends with the fact that Issa really does love this dude.
Issa stands wilted in the mirror and we cut to Molly walking Flava Flav while slamming on some kind of sandwich and wearing leggings, a sweatshirt and glasses. This all seems totally out of character for Molly, but it’s such an honest and true statement of her night and how she feels. She ends up running into cutie from the club and he calls her by Issa’s hook to her rap song. Ugh, but ooh, because dude seems genuinely cool after such an awkward night. Molly being Molly calls him out on just leaving her without a goodbye and he takes it while offering a joke about her dog. This is cute and I’m hoping we see more of him.
From there, we find Issa strolling into her apartment in the dark and climbing into bed, hesistantly, beside Lawrence who is wide awake on his phone. They sit in a pregnant pause before Lawrence tells Issa that he has an interview the next day. She seems sincerely happy. There’s another awkward pause and then Issa apologizes for ignoring him the day before. The two share a laugh over their neighbor with the Blood accent and the continue to sit with a less awkward silence and slight smiles that end this episode.
We’ve got some rekindling that could be possible next episode, along with a budding friendship. The only way to really find out what Issa will be rapping about next is to stay tuned and I hope you plan to do just that.