Episode 3 of ‘Insecure’ Was a Total Set Up.

Insecure Racist as F*ck

The third installment of Insecure transforms the show’s seemingly awkward and often halted pacing into an unusual stride.

“Racist as F*ck” opens with a beautifully shot sequence that depicts the trials of a relationship full of love, but lacking in passion, as we watch Issa and Lawrence toss and turn in bed. The fact that they are still sleeping next to each other, but haven’t “made up” is a sign of the inner conflict that both characters are experiencing. Another montage later on in the episode shows how the two characters are both to blame in many ways for their stunted relationship.

Also on the relationship front, Toni Childs’s Molly’s “Broken Pussy” suitor makes another appearance. We learn he never attended college and that he works at an Enterprise car rental office, a fact that causes Issa to crack lighthearted jokes, nicknaming him “Rental-Boo.” “Rental-Boo” aka Jered plays an important part in a scene that brings up a classic conundrum for modern black women in the world of dating. While among a larger group of friends, Molly engages in yet another “black women are too picky” and “black men are too entitled” debate. The conversation will likely be a running theme for Molly who, just in time, receives word that she’s been accepted on a super exclusive dating app. The big news prompts her to dump Jered with the same “it’s not you, it’s me” line that she was hit with in the first episode of the series.

Career woes are also woven throughout “Racist as F*ck”. Lawrence establishes himself as the first “slacker” boyfriend in history that makes viewers secretly root for him. After weeks of struggling to find a job, he settles for a sales position at Best Buy. Molly and Issa both battle with codeswitching and the implications of blackness in a white workplace. Issa’s “secret white meetings” line manages to be hilarious while hitting home a little too hard. A new black coworker, Rasheeda, but you can call her “Da Da,” causes Molly a bit of race-related anxiety with her loud, carefree attitude and refusal to change it up in mixed company. When Molly tries to pull Rasheeda aside in an effort to tell her to tone it down, she’s understandably put in her place. Of course, Molly’s intentions were not completely pure — she’s clearly worried about how Rasheeda’s conduct and manner will reflect upon her. A preview for the next episode reveals that Molly’s worries weren’t unfounded. She might be bourgie, but she’s definitely aware of how race permeates every aspect of her life.

Save for a callback at the very end, “Racist as F*ck” was low on outright laughs and instead functioned as a big set up. The entire episode was peppered with both subtle and major plot points. We probably aren’t going to see the last of the flirty bank teller that Lawrence interacted with. And Molly’s dating life is headed in an exciting direction. The workplace conflicts that both Molly and Issa are facing will likely reveal more about their backstories. I’m secretly hoping for a reveal that Molly’s full name is actually Malisha.

The writers are also letting us know that Issa and Lawrence will continue to be a messy affair. And, while I trust Rae & Co. to really push the envelope when it comes to depictions of romantic relationships for black millennial women, I can’t shake the fear that we’ll end up with a Tyler Perry-esque conclusion to their discussion about dating, race, and income. Also, it would be nice to see Molly happy in her new dating endeavour — but obviously that would be too easy. Her confident strut to meet her new date in a skin tight white dress at the very end of the episode serves as a sign that big things are on the horizon. “Racist as F*ck” essentially mastered the art of the subtle, stylish cliffhanger.