Y’all. Y’ALL! I cannot tell you how long I have waited for this moment. THIS is what I’ve been waiting for! What we ALL have been waiting for! Lawrence and Issa… ALL Lawrence and Issa, ALL episode! For this entire season, we’ve awaited a couple “come to Jesus” meetings, but for the ENTIRE SERIES we’ve been waiting for THIS one in particular. And we FINALLY got it! Whether you’re part of the #LawrenceHive or not, you have to admit that it was so satisfying to see Issa and Lawrence together, for an entire episode with no interruptions! So, let’s get into it! This is long af and idc idc idc. I had a lot to say about what we saw. Read it or don’t read it, it really makes no difference to me, but I had to get these thoughts out one way or another, beloved!
1. The episode opens up with Lawrence waiting at the bar of a restaurant for the person he called at the end of last episode after he ran into Molly and Andrew at the airport. Because we saw the preview for episode 8 immediately after we saw episode 7, the questions we were left with seemed to have been answered when we saw that he was going to meet up with Issa in episode 8. But, hear me out y’all, what if it really WAS Conditioner that Lawrence called in episode 7? I mean, given the way that Condi was blowing up Lawrence’s phone all night, it’s clear that they did talk at some point to set something up. According to Con Artist’s text, she had plans with Lawrence for Tuesday. Maybe he’s doing a “exes tour” before he sails off to Frisco and he contacted them both! Just an alternate theory that maybe doesn’t even matter. The fact remains that he asked someone to meet him for drinks in episode 7 and then in episode 8 he meets Issa… for drinks. And she did say “I’m glad you called,” sooo… it was probably her on his line.
2. I already knew that something was bout to pop off with them when I saw Lawrence do a breath-check and nearly choke on an Altoid, lol. He was so nervous and it was so cute. Also, I like that he got to the restaurant before her. Gotta love a punctual ninja!! Issa walks in, easy breezy, looking fresh and glowy and chocolatey and then… face plants right in the middle of the restaurant. Y’all!! Why was this soooo relatable!? Mainly because your friend (me!) is clumsy and something like this ABSOLUTELY would’ve happened to me to ruin a good damn moment! Ughhh. I love how Lawrence just helped her play it off, though, and gave her the space to get herself together. That’s the kind of man you need on ya team when you’re a klutz!
3. So when Issa finally gets to the bar, Lawrence already has her drink ordered (more cool points!), but finds out that her signature cocktail has changed since they’ve been apart. Symbolism, y’all! She’s changed!! Note, that his drink is the same. Does this mean that he has NOT changed? Only time will tell! Btw, are prosecco + whiskeys a thing? What about prosecco + vodkas? These are new to me, but they’re on my list to try. Stay tuned!
4. The guy being annoying at the bar about to knock Issa and Lawrence over when Lizzo’s Truth Hurts came on… why is this really a thing? I will never understand why people don’t get the concept of personal space, especially at a bar! Maybe coronavirus will change that. I guess we shall find out once the outside opens up! Also, when the bartender said the drinks were on them because Issa busted her ass when she walked in, lmaoooo. The lawyer in me said “Lawsuit, girl. Lawsuit! Tell them to run you your monies!” But I guess free drinks are a reasonable outcome as well, lol.
5. Because the bar got a little rowdy, Issa and Lawrence decide to make their way downtown to a Latin spot that “we always wanted to try” (Lawrence’s words). Okay, so first of all… I liked the “we” and also that he remembered it had been on their list of places to hit when they were together. Remember, they haven’t really been “together” since season 1 and we’re now in season 4, so it’s kinda deep he’s still holding on to those details.
6. Lawrence orders a Lyft for them and hilarity ensues. Issa immediately starts talking about her experience as a Lyft driver and how she hates a “talky” driver. Me too, girl! Like, I’m not trying to have conversations with you about my life, just get me to where I’m going… and please don’t have a funky car, that’s all I ask! Lol. But anyway, I digress. It was in the Lyft that we find out that Lawrence bought a ring for Issa when they were together. Or… at least that’s what he said, but they also lied and told the Lyft driver they were visiting from Alaska. So was he really serious or nah? Maybe it was part of the rouse. At this point, we don’t really know, but the information seems to throw Issa for a loop… as it would have done me. Like, boy you bought a what?! And I ain’t know about it?! Sir! When the Lyft driver shined her flashlight on them like “Do it now, nicca!” I screamed! LOL! I know that’s right! The time is now, so JUST DO IT! LOL!
7. Lemme just say that yesterday (Sunday) was a big day for Brother Kirk Franklin. First off, he and Fred Hammond gave us a Verzuz on IG Live that was truly anointed. Then, he got a shout out from Issa on Insecure. “STOMP!” Go head, King. Just had to throw that in there, lol. I love that a gospel song has become a cultural reference. Yes, lawd!
8. I am so proud to say that, in this episode, we see a different version of Issa. I’m willing to jump out there and say this is a version of her that we’ve never seen before… and that’s a good thing! She is confident, assertive, but not aggressive, comfortable, at ease even after she was embarrassed twice (we’ll get to the second embarrassment in a second! LOL!)… THIS is the Issa we’ve been dying to see. Even at the restaurant, she took control of the ordering situation. And can I just say that she was ordering A LOT for somebody who couldn’t even pay for groceries a couple episodes ago? I was wondering whether this was “a date” and it was apparent she expected Lawrence to pay, so imma say that it was, lol. Also, the waitress was either a great actress or she is a waitress IRL because she had the tone and cadence of a server down pat. And no, bih… we do not want a “signature sauce presentation”. Servers stay doing the most! LOL!
9. Lawrence discovers Issa has actually been to the restaurant before after all and he asks her why she didn’t just tell him she had already been. First, it’s funny he assumed that she wouldn’t have gone to the restaurant without him. Negro, we been apart for three seasons… of course I’ve already been! Did you think my life stopped after you left? Nope, I was still checking off restaurants on my list… with other dudes! LOL! I hate it when people act like they don’t wanna go somewhere because you’ve been there before. Everything doesn’t have to be a new experience, boo. It’s okay, lol. But anyway, Lawrence does use that part of the conversation as an opportunity to rib Issa about whether she’d been there on a date.
10. Okay, listen y’all. Issa and Lawrence’s chemistry is INSANE! I love Issa and I watch her in pretty much everything she’s in, but let’s admit she’s not the best actress. (EEK!) HOWEVER, the chemistry between her and Jay Ellis leapt off the screen in this episode! That is not acting. Issa and Jay clearly have a chemistry off-screen as well. It may not be romantic, but they’ve got a connection that translates to the show. Anyhoo, the looks they share, the inside jokes that they have without even saying a word… they just exchange a glance, and they be knowin’! The way they play off of each other’s corniness… that whole Bourne Identity exchange as they’re going through the Art Walk, Man… that’s the kind of homey/lover/friend relationship we are ALL striving for! Their energy made me giddy!! I was smiling and my heart was soaring the entire episode!
11. Finally, we get to “the talk”. I want y’all to realize something. This show is only about 26 minutes when you take out the credits, etc. A LOT happened in under 30 minutes. “The talk” was only a few minutes of the episode, but OMG… they covered it all! I love words in general, in case you haven’t noticed, and the fact that they hit all the points and addressed all of MY questions in like a 5 min conversation… the wonders of language!! This proves that it doesn’t take a lot of words to say what needs to be said. Their conversation was so satisfying for me! IRL, most people don’t get the opportunity to have this kind of “lay it all on the table… no eggshells” nitty gritty dish session with their exes. So I’m sitting there like ohhh… so THAT is what it would feel like! I loved that Issa didn’t back down in this moment. In previous recaps, I have taken shots at her for being so passive. Her spine was steel in this episode. She was looking Lawrence in the eye, speaking clearly (no mumbling), answering honestly. YESSSS to grown up conversations!
13. How sad is it that Issa reveals she was so miserable in her relationship with Lawrence that she would drive around after work just to avoid going home? Jesus! Issa admitted that she sought solace in Daniel because he was paying her the attention that Lawrence wasn’t and was making her feel wanted. She told Lawrence she was scared they would “fall back into old patterns” and she ends with: “You didn’t want me, Lawrence.” Ouch! But his face when she said that! He said “It’s not that I didn’t want you.” And launched into a VERY vulnerable monologue about how dejected he was about being unemployed and admitted that he didn’t really know how to communicate that. He told her that when it all went down it was easier to blame her because “then I would have to deal with my own shit”. Whew chile! That one hit home! But what does this all come down to y’all? COMMUNICATION!! It’s key! And they get it wrong so many times on this show!
14. When Issa heads to the bathroom, we see that Conjunctivitis is blowing up Lawrence’s phone. In my opinion, we are here in this moment BECAUSE of Contraction and her insecurities… if she hadn’t asked Lawrence that triggering ass question at Friendsgiving about whether he would’ve stayed with Issa if Issa hadn’t cheated, I don’t think Lawrence would’ve thought to seek out this opportunity. Anyway, as I said before, her text (if you were able to read it) said they were supposed to meet on Tuesday, but she wants to move up the time and meet tonight instead. Again, idk if Lawrence is purposely trying to revisit all his relationships before dashing off to Frisco but somehow both Condo and Issa are on his agenda. I’m not sure whether it’s just a coincidence that Condi all of a sudden *has* to speak to him or… maybe she knows he’s with Issa? Either way, she texts and calls him several times throughout the night. Why? Some folks online have speculated that it’s because Constitution is pregnant. Chile, I’m not okay with that storyline. Initially, when Lawrence said he needed to tell Issa something at Tiffany’s house, I assumed it was that Contraception was pregnant, but then I was like… nah. I will be very disappointed in the writers if they go in that direction, but I’ve been disappointed before, sooo…
15. Outside of the restaurant, they run into… #TSABae! (I shouted when I heard that “Brrrdap!” LMAO!) When Lawrence asks Issa how they know each other she looks like she could’ve faded to black in that very moment! “Please don’t…” she said. LMAO! I cringed for her! This is her second time that night being embarrassed af, poor thing. But #TSABae had no shame at all. He says, in front of Mazda (whew, chile… that name! And she got a friend named Bermuda!! LMFAO!), “Oh, we used to get it in…” Well… alrighty then! LOL! Lawrence was right… that run-in was perfect! I was glad to see #TSABae back (I like him! *shrug*) and that was indeed the moment for him to reappear!
16. It’s obvious that Issa doesn’t want the night to end, so when she picks up on something #TSABae says about the Art Walk and invites Lawrence to go along, Lawrence looks at his cell phone and is like “Okay, well, tell me how it is because I got somewhere else to be.” He walks off and Issa looks like she needs to pick her face up off the floor. Chile… me too! My heart sank and I yelled at the TV! Negro, where you going?! You gotta go meet up with Constipation’s crusty azz?! I think tf not! But then, we hear “Brrrdap!” (in the immortal words of #TSABae LOL!), and Lawrence returns on some ol’ “sike, I’m just playing”. You wanna talk about relief… I was RE-LIEVED! Like I was seriously gonna have to wring Lawrence’s neck if he was really gonna walk away like that. No, sir… we are not doing this on tonight!
17. At the Art Walk, Lawrence and Issa display more openness and vulnerability by discussing “happiness” and what it means to them. As we’ve discussed before, the titles of the episodes tell us something about the storyline and the title of this episode was “Lowkey Happy”… and it was allll about Issa and Lawrence… #MESSAGE! Anyhoo, in their conversation, Issa tells Lawrence that she’s realized the key to life is creating happiness for herself! Amen to that! She says it’s a choice. Listen y’all. I say that ALL THE TIME! Happiness is a choice! You can choose at any time to be happy. But okay, this is not a coaching session, so lemme get back on track. In this conversation, Lawrence says about Issa “I like you like this… it’s a good look.” It IS a good look. In the words of Kelli: “You know what that is… growth!”
18. I noticed Issa had a difficult time articulating what she’s doing careerwise. With the girls from DC at the paint and sip, she seemed confident about her choice to be a Culture Curator (or whatever she called herself), but here, Lawrence asks her about this “thing” she’s working on and she says that maybe she’ll be “organizing small events around black shit”. Um… sure, Jan. What?! LOL. But Lawrence seemed much more convinced by what she said than I did.
20. Lawrence’s comments about liking to be on teams at work resonated with me. He said he likes executing other people’s visions… and I felt that so hard. I often say I would make a good “#2”. I don’t want to be the leader, but I would do damn well leading behind the leader, lol. Issa was surprised to hear him say that because apparently in the past he always *thought* he wanted to run his own thing, but time teaches you what you think you want and what you actually want are two different things. It also could be that Lawrence was saying all that to save face because he hasn’t been given the chance to run his own shop, because people DO do that — downplaying what they want because they think it’s out of reach — but for now, that remains to be seen…
21. When Issa calls the Lyft (just a regular Lyft because WHY would you ever order a black car except if you’re tryna flex like Lawrence was doing, lol), she finds out that all this time Lawrence lives just a few streets over from her and she didn’t know it. We keeping secrets now, huh!? LOL. They get to Lawrence’s place first, which is interesting – usually if I’m with a guy I would expect to be dropped off first, but okay… for the rest of the story to play out like it did, him getting dropped off first had to happen, I guess, lol. And when they pull up, Issa and Lawrence find a very clever way to get her inside the apartment, lol. She’s been making fun of his bachelor pad and he invites her up for “five minutes” to see the inside of his apartment. “She’ll be right out.” Ummm… yeah, no. LOL.
22. And Lawrence’s apartment is grown, y’all! Their “relationship couch” is smack in the middle of the room and Issa notices it immediately and comments on that being a “good place” for it. Did y’all see that? The remnants of their old relationship are right there in the room with them and Lawrence has found a place for it in his home! SYMBOLISM.
23. Also, when Issa walks in to the apartment for the first time (remarking on how clean it is – and Lawrence has a cleaning lady, y’all… GROWN!), she walks over to the bar. And for most of their conversation, she’s on one side of the room away from him. The tension!! I have been there before… you can’t be too close because you don’t trust yourself about what’s going to happen if you get near him. Lawd! Keep your distance, girl. Don’t fall for the trap! And she *almost* makes it out the door unscathed, but then…ISSA FINALLY ASKS FOR WHAT SHE WANTS. Straightforward, looking him dead in his eyes, a bit out of breath, she says “What if I wanted to stay?” Like she said (and I said!), she doesn’t want the night to end. And… well, Lawrence ain’t gonna turn down some trim. Plus, let’s be real, he wanted it, too. LOL. SHE takes several steps toward HIM and… they kiss! Ahhh! I shouted! For a second I honestly wondered whether this was all a dream sequence and either Lawrence or Issa was going to wake up in bed alone realizing they’d made up this whole night. But, nope… THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING! OMG!
24. We move to the bedroom and we see that Lawrence has a grown-up bed AND grown-up sheets. Go ‘head, L Dawg!! We are just maturing over here! And I am pleased to say the love making scene between them actually didn’t want to make me vom. They have a natural easiness between them and the scene seemed really intimate and romantic. I was kind of touched by it. And it made me wonder… was that closure sex, or was it a new beginning? Even if you’re not #TeamLawrence, this reconnection is important for the script because in my opinion it actually makes Lawrence a viable candidate for a long-term role in Issa’s story. A lot of growth had to happen in order for them both to be open to this opportunity and watching them together in this episode proves they’re both in the place where this could be a feasible recoupling.
25. The next morning, they wake up and Issa is wearing a shirt… where did it come from?! (HBO replayed the episode again immediately afterward the premiere and I saw that Issa bought the shirt at the Art Walk, but I missed it the first time around!) But more importantly, why is she wearing a shirt in bed?! LOL. Their morning-after conversation was so comfortable… THIS is why some of us have wanted them together for so long! They don’t put a label on what happened the night before. They define nothing. Issa doesn’t even let him take her home. And we see her walking through LA, this very specific part of LA that is almost as much of a “character” on this show than Issa or Lawrence… and there is nothing shameful about this “walk of shame”. She looks confident and comfortable with her decision to spend the night with Lawrence. I understand the desire to walk home by herself, though. Even if there’s no shame in the walk, sometimes you need that walk to help you get your thoughts together. Her satisfied smile at the end put the cherry on top of a PERFECT episode!
Look y’all, this episode was BY FAR the highlight of the season. One, because the extended uninterrupted interaction between the two of them, with no influence from external characters (except #TSABae, but he doesn’t really count! LOL!) was long-awaited. Two, the writing was IMPECCABLE!! Natasha Rothwell aka Kelli wrote the episode and she DID THAT! There was the perfect amount of dialogue and everything that needed to be said was said and it was said in the “right” way. (Lawrence’s: “Tonight made me happy.” Issa’s reply: “YOU make me happy.” Yes, lawd! Simple, elegant, to the point. Let’s cut to the chase!) Three, the cinematography was EXCELLENT. We got close-ups of beautiful black faces… LA was on full-display… the lighting! I just love the way they light black people on this show and that’s so important… and for some reason, so many people miss that key detail. I mean, just look at the photo I chose to accompany this write up… that shot is PERFECTION. Four, the soundtrack was bomb (as always). I mean… whew!
This episode was everything I needed it to be… and more. It’s been quite a week… and this lifted my spirits in a way I didn’t even know I was craving. Thank you, Issa & Co. for letting us see (slightly less than) 30 mins of beautiful black people loving on each other at a time when love is what we need to see. What did y’all think of the episode? Let’s talk about it!