'Insecure': Issa Rae on How the Big Block Party Blow-Up Sets Up the Rest of Season 4 (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
Merie W. Wallace/HBO
Season four of Insecure began with Issa (Issa Rae) declaring, "I don't f**k with Molly anymore" -- but we didn't know how bad it really was until this week's episode.
Sunday's episode, titled, "Lowkey Movin' On," showed Issa's "opus," the Block Party, coming to life. She managed to book Vince Staples, people actually turned out and she and Molly (Yvonne Orji) seemed to put the past behind them. That is, until Molly discovered that Issa went behind her back, asking her former fling, Nathan (Kendrick Sampson), to ask his friend -- and Molly's boyfriend -- Andrew (Alexander Hodge) to book Staples for the event... after she had already told Issa she didn't want to involve him.
That led to a huge fight between Issa and Molly, whose blowup battle was only broken up by the threat of a gun at the Block Party. Within the span of a few minutes, Issa was left personally and professionally devastated -- but it's all to set the stage for the last half of the season, Rae tells ET.
"I'm going to say that the second half of this season is very different than the first half of this season," she shares. "And there's going to have to be a lot of reflection on both sides."
In an interview with ET, Rae opens up about how Issa and Molly reached this point, what's in store for their friendship and what Sampson's return means for Issa's love life.
ET: Issa was doing so well. She put so much into this Block Party, which was a huge success. Why end it all in such a devastating way?
Issa Rae: It was something that we had been building towards in the writer's room, where we knew something was going to go down at this Block Party. It's Issa's opus. She finally gets this thing done that she's been talking about for two seasons, and it's moment of pride, but the most important relationship in her life, arguably, is dismantled in this moment because of the choice that she made.
She had to decide like, "OK, Molly has set these boundaries for me, but this is all I have, at the end of the day. This is what I have been working towards, and if that means that Molly is going to be mad for a couple of days or whatever because I did it, who the f**k cares, because this is what I want and this is what I need. I need this to happen, and I need this to go well." And on Molly's end, this is the straw that's breaking the camel's back. Like, "You don't respect my relationships, you don't respect my boundaries. In some cases, I feel like you use me... you're selfish!" And to have these moments come to a head at this event that Issa worked so hard to make happen just felt appropriate. They've never had a blowout like this in front of their other friends too, so I think that also makes it all the more serious.
Both Issa and Molly had so much building before this fight -- who is in the right here?
To me, it feels complicated. It feels like they're both wrong. And so much of this season has been about paper cuts deepening, and if you don't talk about it, if you don't confront those things when they're happening, they just have the potential to get so much worse. So, I'd like to think that they're both wrong, but I'm sure people will find ways to blame one more than the other.
The Block Party was dismantled during this big fight. What was more devastating for Issa -- the Molly blowout or the way the Block Party ended?
I think it's a little bit of both. I think it's like, "This is my biggest accomplishment to date," and she's already going into it like, "I don't f**k with Molly anymore. So, this event is kind of all that I have." But then there's that glimmer of hope, like, "My friend is supporting me, she's here. Everything's right at this moment and everything's going the way that it should." And then not only is her friendship destroyed after this, but now there's this terrible taint. Like, her event is tainted now as a result of this fight, and people leaving this Block Party. Maybe their last memory won't be, "Oh, that was everything. That was the sh*t." It will be like, "I went to that sh*t and somebody pulled a gun out." And that's not what Issa was aiming for with an event like this.
All that drama almost overshadowed Kendrick's return as Nathan. What went into the decision to bring him back?
We thought we were going to bring him back significantly earlier. In writing the third season, we thought, "OK, this is how the first half of the fourth season is going to be." And then the more and more we started planning, we were just like, "Eh, he doesn't really fit in right now in Issa's life, and I don't know that Issa, given the timeline where we're picking this up, that she would be engaging with him again." So, I think we started pushing him back further and further, and once we figured out why he would make an entrance back in her life, why she would decide to reach out, it felt like the natural step would be to help out with this Block Party that she came up with while she was with him. And, of course, the complications that would ensue as a result.
Is there a romantic future for Issa and Nathan? They seemed to connect at the Block Party, but we've also seen glimmers of maybe Issa getting back together with Lawrence (Jay Ellis) this season -- and, of course, she had TSA Bae (Reggie Conquest).
Well, TSA Bae is gone! She cut him off after that condom scare! There's nothing like a good, "Do I want to have this man's baby? No, I absolutely do not" to end a relationship. So, who knows [if Issa gets back with Nathan]. I know, but I won't tell you. (Laughs)