'Insecure': Jay Ellis on Lawrence's Struggles With Condola and Breakup With Issa (Exclusive)

The 'Insecure' star teases his character's emotional encounter with Issa and co-parenting with Condola.

[Warning: Spoilers for Insecure season 5, episode 3, “Pressure, Okay?!”]

Lawrence is feeling the pressure, but where does he go from here?

On Sunday, Insecure fans witnessed Lawrence (played by Jay Ellis) attempt to balance a booming career and life as a long-distance father. The traveling back and forth between San Francisco and Los Angeles proved to be quite the burden for the new dad, who ended up stressed, exhausted and lashing out at his ex-girlfriend, Condola (Christina Elmore).

After a fiery exchange between the two, where they admitted that co-parenting wasn't working out, the final question at the end of the third episode was, "What do we do?"

"Lawrence definitely says some things that are hard to come back from and I know that words can really push you back," Ellis tells ET about where Lawrence and Condola go from here. "I think he's going to have to really decide, does he want to be here? Does he not want to be here? Is this working? Is it not working? And I think he has to really wrap his head around that. Is he going to be present and what is the best thing for Elijah? Not for him."

Calling it a "bumpy" road ahead for the two, Ellis says that as the season progresses, Lawrence and Condola will "figure out what co-parenting is going to look like or not look like."

Last season, Lawrence and Issa (Issa Rae) rekindled their romance after having a mature conversation about what went wrong between the two the first time. However, Lawrence's baby news put a damper on their relationship and, as fans saw during the first episode of the fifth and final season, they went their separate ways. The third episode explored Lawrence's life outside of Issa and embracing his newfound responsibilities as a father.

Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Ellis admits that it never crossed Lawrence's mind to not be part of his son's life, noting his character builds a crib and buys toys for Elijah at his San Francisco home. The actor believes Lawrence went through "a bit of depression" and had "blind spots" when it came to fatherhood.

"There were so many things that he didn't consider and so many things he didn't think about," Ellis explains. "He wanted to be with Elijah. But I think because he wasn't there, there were all these blinders and he never thought about Elijah not being in his life, and him not being in Elijah's life. I think he thought Elijah was going to move up to San Francisco to be with him or this baby was going to go back and forth weekly from L.A. to San Francisco like he was traveling for work. I don't think he really considered what it meant to either be a long-distance father and/or not be a present father at all."

Real life kicks in when Lawrence experiences major turbulence on his way back up north, which shakes him to the core. When he returns home, he calls Condola and apologizes for the insensitive comments he made to her.

"I remember the first flight I took after my daughter was born," recalls Ellis of his work trip to Mexico. "I remember taking off out of L.A., completely fine. Everything was good, I definitely closed my eyes and was like, 'Please, God, let this flight get to where it's gonna get to safely.' But as we pulled into Puerto Vallarta, we hit turbulence and I remember myself just being like, 'Oh my god!'"

"You're just so not in control at the moment and so many things start to go through your mind, like, 'Am I going to hug my kid again? Am I going to kiss my kid again? What is my kid's life going to be like if I'm not there? Have I done everything to provide for this child in the event that I'm not there?,'" he explains. "I think that's what was going on with Lawrence. In Lawrence's case, I've also said some stuff that was just horrible. I could have communicated better with Condola and I could've seen it from her point of view better, and understood what she was going through because she was there doing it every single day while I was in San Fran killing it at work because I didn't have to be up in the middle of the night all the time."

Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Ellis' hope is that Lawrence realizes that he "can do better and be better." And that translates to his wishes to be with Issa. Ellis believes that Issa and Lawrence are meant to be and, after last season's intimate moments together, understand one another better than ever.

"I actually think they're at a place where they just know each other and understand each other so well. That conversation at the end of the season 5 premiere, it's a three-word, four-word conversation," he recalls, noting that so much is said with few words. "These two characters fully understand everything about each other and so I think what Lawrence understood, especially in that moment, is, 'I love this woman with all my heart and I know that this is not something that is easy and I don't want to force her down a path and make her unhappy. I can't push her into this thing.'"

With that level of love, Ellis says "that although Lawrence's heart may be broke, he also wants what's best for Issa." And that might have to include seeing her with another man -- notably, Nathan (Kendrick Sampson).

"Nathan is out here! Nathan is out here waiting!" Ellis laughs. "Kendrick Sampson had the best meme ever at the end of episode one that he tweeted. It was brilliant. And Nathan is coming up! 100 percent, like, he's having a moment!"

"I don't know how much Lawrence knows about Nathan. I don't know if we ever really discussed that in the show now that I think about it," Ellis ponders, before expressing that anyone who Issa is romantically involved with will most likely "have an effect on him."

"Because I think Issa is the one who got away, based on what we've seen so far," Ellis relays. "So I think any relationship is going to rock him at his core a little bit, because that's the woman he thought he was going to spend the rest of his life with, and probably still wants to spend the rest of his life with."

Through the show's writing and relationship between Lawrence and Issa, Ellis says he truly understood what unconditional love is, "because it is two people who have been through all kinds of stuff together, ups and downs together and are able to forgive, clearly not forget it, but they're able to throw all this stuff away and just be like, I love you for who you are."

"I think if this baby is not brought into the picture, there's probably nothing else that could rock this couple. A baby is the thing that would literally rock the couple," he states. But a baby is in the picture and a reunion between Issa and Lawrence is inevitable in the upcoming episodes.

Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Ellis notes that both characters over the course of the past season have bumped into each other at different points in their lives. Each meeting has been significant in the progression of their relationship, romantic or not, and the next encounter will be no different.

"When they end in season 1, there was no closure. In season 2, there was closure to the relationship. I think in season 3 they bump into each other at Coachella and they're like, 'OK, well, we don't have to be weird around each other. We could figure out how to still be friends with common friends and be in each other's orbits every once in a while," Ellis details. "And then obviously, season 4, they come back and they have these beautiful moments of saying all the things that they really weren't ready to say and didn't know how to say when they were younger."

"Now here we are in season 5 and they're bumping into each other for the first time since Issa breaks up with Lawrence at the beginning of the season. And now he's a dad, and it's like, would she ask about the baby? Should she ask about the baby? Should you offer up information about the baby?" he asks. "Like, what exactly is the conversation you're supposed to have with someone who feels like your soulmate, but you're not with them because of this kid that was brought into the world outside of your relationship? So it is definitely heart-wrenching. You want them to just really grab each other and kiss each other and just hold each other."

Ellis admits that during their first encounter post-split, viewers will notice the awkwardness and "weird kind of energy in the air because it's two people who can't be together at that moment."

Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Fans will have to wait and see how the events unfold in this final season, but Ellis is proud of Lawrence's growth, "for a guy who was not supposed to make it past season 1."

"Not a lot of women will say they're Lawrence hive," he cracks. "[At the beginning], he wasn't doing anything. He was just sitting on the couch and being lazy. But there was also a conversation to be had as to why he was doing that. Of course he made a lot of bad decisions. But he made the bad decisions from pain, not from maliciousness."

"And I'm very happy for how this journey of his ends," he says.

New episodes of Insecure air Sundays at 7 p.m. on HBO.