Male fragility made a cameo on 'Insecure'

Meanwhile, a new boyfriend displayed the maturity we all wanted to see.

Photograph by Merie Wallace/HBO

Love doesn’t equate to ownership, but Nathan and Lawrence clearly missed that memo. In the penultimate episode of Insecure, Nathan and Lawrence show their childishness by getting into a fight at Tiffany and Derek’s going away party, while Molly’s new boyfriend Taurean shows the exact level of maturity you’re supposed to exhibit when going after the woman you care for.

For five seasons, the dating world in Insecure has largely been seen through the eyes of Issa and Molly. Polyamory, interracial dating, depression, ghosting, and bisexuality have all been explored through the individual romantic relationships of these two. Last night’s episode was fitting, then, with both of their dating pasts coming face-to-face with their current love interests, though resulting in polar opposite responses by those men. To be fair, maybe they would’ve been more similar had Lawrence and Nathan dined on the same delectable cannabis treats as Molly and Taurean.

Regardless of the THC courage coursing through Molly and Taurean’s blood, their interaction with Molly’s ex-polyamorous sex buddy Dro may go down as the most mature confrontation with an ex in the history of the show. After Molly and Dro catch up about everything from his divorce to each other’s dates at the party, Taurean surreptitiously saunters into the conversation. That prompts Molly to nervously, brazenly summarizing the full extent of her relationship with Dro. For a woman who had an existential crisis catalyzed by a dating app earlier this season, that level of comfort in her truth is the type of growth you hoped to see in the final season. Still, Taurean’s nonchalant and non-confrontational acceptance of being in the presence of someone with a deep sexual history with Molly is a welcomed sign of stoic maturity.

Meanwhile, Lawrence and Nathan were high on ego and insecurities when they came into contact at the party, fully knowing the other’s romantic history with Issa. While Taurean calmly chalked up his chance encounter with Molly’s ex as everyone having their own past, Lawrence and Nathan’s acrimony seeped into every interaction they had, to the point of a coded, nonsensical debate about the quality of Los Angeles’ and Houston’s respective barbecue. Nathan has never been a fan of Lawrence, but his insecurity in the stability of his relationship reared its ugly head when he confronted Lawrence’s private conversation with Issa. But it was actually Lawrence who masked blatant disrespect as a love pledge, making him look like an immature brat in comparison to Taurean’s mature understanding. The argument led to one of the rare physical altercations on Insecure.

Taurean’s unprecedented calm wasn’t just a result of cannabis-laced edibles; he’s always exhibited a level of pragmatism, even if it wasn’t always mature or emotionally competent. At times, the Morehouse graduate’s unemotional, business-like behavior has worked against him with Molly — he constantly cut her off during work meetings, and held a season-long grudge after she handled their joint presentation by herself behind his back. In this week’s episode, Molly revealed her fears around him getting tired of her as her ex-boyfriends have. The previous version of Taurean may have dismissed her worries as illogical self-sabotage — but instead, he provided pointed reassurance, a stare that could melt the coldest heart, and a pantry full of sexual tension to put her mind at ease. In that scene and the one with Dro, Taurean clearly demonstrated how a man who is confident in his connection with the woman he desires doesn’t let their truth throw him into a rage.

Lawrence and Nathan, on the other hand, aggressively tried to protect their view of how their relationship with Issa should be. Lawrence develops this knight in shining armor complex after his erratic friend Chad makes him feel bad for respecting Issa’s wishes to end their rekindled relationship by not chasing after her. The trope of never giving up on the one you love has been romanticized by pop culture, rarely hitting on the fact that such a view of love is inherently possessive. Lawrence rambles about being a different man since their breakup and not wanting to live with the regret of not trying to get her back, but he doesn’t even acknowledging Issa’s current relationship until posing the emotionally manipulative question of “Are you happy?” He’s asking to get the answer he wants, instead of wondering what she actually has to say — and only looking in terms of his own growth instead of acknowledging hers. Nathan is similarly possessive when he confronts Issa and Lawrence, who for all he knows, were simply having a conversation. Juxtaposed with Taurean’s calmly inserting himself into Dro and Molly’s exchange, Nathan looked like he was owed an explanation from Lawrence as to why he was talking with his girlfriend.

By the looks of the fight between Nathan and Lawrence in this penultimate episode of the final season, Issa could end up with neither one of them by the time Insecure wraps up, and it’ll be their own immature fault.