'Insecure': Jay Ellis on Condola's Big Question -- and If Lawrence and Issa Will Get Back Together (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Condola (Christina Elmore) gave Lawrence (Jay Ellis) a lot to think about on Sunday's episode of Insecure.
All was seemingly well between the budding couple on the HBO comedy, but then Thanksgiving happened. The series had hinted that Lawrence's ex -- and Condola's new friend -- Issa (Issa Rae) might come between the pair, and while she didn't physically insert herself, this week's episode, "Lowkey Thankful," revealed that Lawrence and Condola weren't able to move past that shared connection.
"I mean, if anybody should be worried about an ex, it should probably be me," Condola shot at Lawrence after he asked her if she was truly over her ex-husband. "You and Issa have little jokes, and you have the same friends. How do you think that makes me feel?"
Lawrence reminded Condola that he was the one who broke up with Issa after she had cheated. "But if she hadn't, would you still be together?" Condola asked honestly, forcing Lawrence to really think about it.
Would Lawrence and Issa still be together if she hadn't cheated on him in season one? ET's Melicia Johnson asked Ellis what he thought.
"I don't think [they'd be together]. I still think they were too complacent," he insisted. "The problem for me about season one is I think [Lawrence] was trying to make himself better for Issa, not necessarily make himself better for himself... which is what I think he ultimately found in season two."
"So, I think even if she had not cheated on him, they never really had a conversation about what the problem really was. I think they would have fallen back into a rhythm of complacency, and I think ultimately, they would have found themselves just going through the motions," he added.
Whether Lawrence and Issa could get back together -- as some fans are hoping (and others are dreading) after Lawrence messaged her on Sunday's episode -- is another story.
"I think Condola raised a question to Lawrence that I think he never thought about or considered himself," Ellis shared. "I think he wants to figure that out."
Rae agreed. "I think episode three is specifically centered around Lawrence's POV... the third episode is really Lawrence, and he's never really faced this question before, that Condola poses to him," she told ET. "I think it's more for him to digest and decide what that means for him and his way of life, his choice in relationships. So, that has to do more with what he wants than what Issa wants."
Then, there's that other factor of Issa revealing that she thinks she made Lawrence into a better man for someone else -- and isn't getting credit for it.
"That's the real sh*t!" Rae said with a laugh, when asked why that line was included in the episode. "You can think that you're over someone, and you can still be over someone, and still feel like, 'Man, I made you better. I made you better for the next b**ch, and I'm not even going to get any credit for that.'"
"That's the frustrating thing, especially if you feel like you're not where you're supposed to be, then that resonates even more so," she added. "So, I think for me, it was just about expressing that sentiment for Issa, because she gets to witness not only Lawrence move on, but to move on with someone who she respects so much and she admires and she wants to be like. And I think that that's even more hurtful in a way, of 'Wow, so you've leveled up without me, but also because of me.'"
Ellis, meanwhile, was a little defensive of his character. "That's horrible," he joked of Issa's statement.
"Here's the thing, Lawrence would not be who he is today had Issa not cheated. So, whatever work Issa had done up in to that point of her cheating clearly didn't yield the result that she wanted," Ellis argued. "[After he and Issa were over], he had to go mess up. He had to figure out his work life. He had to go ruin relationships... I think he had to figure out who he was in L.A. without this relationship."
"I think he had to figure all that stuff out to be confident in the man that he is, in order for her to now say in season four that someone else is reaping the benefit for what she created," he added.
Whatever lies in Issa and Lawrence's future, Ellis said for now, they're "friends," and that's a victory.
"When you think about it, how many exes get to be friends? That in itself is a massive feat. To be friends with your ex is massive, that doesn't happen. Not in L.A., no way," he cracked.
Insecure airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. See more in the video below.