“Insecure”: Season 5, Episode #3 – “Pressure, Okay?”
Finally! We get to see what Lawrence is up to in this latest episode of “Insecure”. Last we saw him (“Insecure”, Season 5, Episode #1), he was picking Issa up from the airport, asking a mind-wandering Issa what she wanted to eat, and then gets dumped as he dropped her off at home.
That’s where this episode of “Insecure” opens, as Lawrence is sitting in his car, looking sad, and likely thinking about, not how he was just dumped, but also what his future looks like given that he’s about to move to San Francisco and has a baby on the way, which we know from the final episode of Season 4.
We Get to See How Lawrence Is Living
From there, I think the episode fast forwards a few months ahead, and we see that Lawrence is now living in San Francisco. To start things off, he’s in a meeting, listening to a pitch, convincing his colleagues they should do something they didn’t want to do, and ultimately winning the argument and coming across as a really confident professional. I must say, from the looks of it, Lawrence seems to now be doing venture capital, which isn’t something I recall him being tied to before. But then again, venture capital is kind of like becoming a trapeze artist–there’s no background required, you just have to be ready to land on your face.
Socially, Lawrence appears to be doing well–after all, he’s a good-looking, affable guy. We see him on a date, going through the awkwardness that is meeting someone romantically for the first time. But then his date is interrupted by a text from Condola–she’s given birth to their child!
It’s clear that the text and interruption to Lawrence’s date were meant to signal a sudden change in the wonderful professional and social life that Lawrence appeared to be living. And when Lawrence walks into the hospital room, with Condola’s Mom and sister ice-grilling him, it’s clear that the life he’s been leading has actually been really fucked up in comparison to what Condola has been going through for 8 or 9 months (it’s suggested that the baby was born early) of living in a completely different reality. Lawrence is shocked and insulted when they tell him the name of the child includes “Mustafa”, but he just has to swallow it.
Moments come when Lawrence is just left out of the picture. First there was the naming of the baby. He doesn’t know how the baby is eating. He isn’t involved in the planning of the baptism. He doesn’t get a say in when the doctor appointments are even though he has to travel from San Francisco to make them. Frustrated with this role, despite his own lack of initiative, he asks our boy Chad for some advice. Usually, Chad is hilarious and a horrible person to get advice from, but he does say that “everyone has a plan until they get punched, my guy”. And that’s fitting, as Lawrence got punched in the face during that date, and now he needs an entirely new plan.
However, he doesn’t come up with a new plan. When he gets back home, he just begins setting up a crib for the baby to stay at his place–as if that’s something Condola is going to be comfortable with given their current relationship. Then on one weekend, perhaps his first weekend away, Lawrence tells Condola that work is crazy and he can’t make it home.
In the words of Chad: “that’s a fail, my guy.”
What follows is a montage juxtaposing Lawrence’s work-hard-play-hard lifestyle in an entirely different city against Condola struggling to sleep and having to take care of a baby all day and night in her home.
While the #LawrenceHive will make the point that Lawrence is trying, the fact is that he has to try harder. He can’t not make it home to see his kid because of work when he only sees his kid maybe 2 days out of every week. This is of course depicted against the life of Condola, who is at home, frustrated, tired, overwhelmed, and with her sister, who doesn’t like Lawrence at all–likely because he wasn’t around during Condola’s pregnancy. In fact, Condola’s sister, played by “Insecure” lover and frequent live tweeter of the show, Keke Palmer, says Lawrence is more like an Uncle than a Daddy.
My two cents is that Lawrence messed this all up. While Condola did tell him that he didn’t have to be involved, clearly, Lawrence should have paid that statement no attention–even if it meant making Condola mad. Because forgetting the sake of the argument of who is right and who is wrong, he should want to be able to look his kid in the eye 10 years from now and tell him that he did everything he could to be a part of his life–even before he was born. If you asked me, he should’ve moved in with Condola during the pregnancy–and if she didn’t allow it, he should’ve moved next door. And now with the baby born, he should definitely move-in, and really beg Condola to allow him to do that for at least 3 months. Obviously, he can’t force that, but you need to put in the effort–and not come across looking like the Uncle.
After a fight at Tiffany’s baby’s birthday party over how little Lawrence feels involved and Condola feels like she’s doing all of the work, the two have an even bigger blow-up in which Lawrence foolishly says that Condola made a decision without him about having the baby. That’s a hard no-no. I’m not an apologist, but we’ll chalk that up to the heat of the moment. That being said, in that same moment, Lawrence tells Condola that he’ll do anything he has to in order to be closer to his son–insinuating that he’ll take her into a custody battle.
However, during his flight back home, there is some very aggressive turbulence, and the look on Lawrence’s eyes, and the eyes of other passengers, is a feeling of true fear, followed by relief when everything settles down. Seemingly reflecting on how quickly everything could have ended for him, Lawrence calls Condola, hat in hand and apologetic, ready to figure something out.
For all the hate Lawrence’s character got on Twitter as this episode aired, it ends well, no? He’s been a bad first-time father for a few weeks, and he and Condola are both failing at communicating with one another. Yes, Lawrence wholly fucked up by not being a part of the pregnancy, and not ultimately, doing everything he could to be a daily presence in his son’s life. However, Condola did not make it easy. She told him that she didn’t really want him to be that involved, making him feel unwanted, and let’s be honest, that’s going to let ego play a part here–for both of them. Condola also never really expressed her true feelings about how hard things were for her. But if things go how they appear to be headed-which in my estimation involves Lawrence moving back to LA and figuring out how to coordinate with Condola, then you can’t make Lawrence out to be a bad guy just because he didn’t know exactly what to do with his first kid right away. Could he have done better? Should he have gone to his own father or other fathers for advice? Yes. Yes. But he can come back from not doing that.
I think parents get the frustration depicted in this absolutely intricate and emotional episode of “Insecure”. I’m married, and I can’t imagine how much harder it would be to help with a child if I didn’t live at home and wasn’t on good terms with my baby’s mother. And while I’m sure it’s mentally much harder on the mom to be in that situation, most first-time moms tend to be very protective and macho, for lack of a better term, when it comes to taking care of their kids–even with the husbands that they love! So when we’re talking about two people doing this parenting thing for the first time, doing it poorly, and (hopefully) learning from this experience to do things better, is actually a pretty common occurrence.
I was about to say that “Insecure” did a poor job illustrating the prevalence of the things that occurred in this episode, but given what they showed us with Tiffany’s journey last year, I think viewers should have already come to terms with the fact that raising kids messes us all up. That, however, doesn’t make us good or bad people–just people who learn from their mistakes, and those who don’t.