[CAUTION: Don't read this if you haven't seen Episode 4 of Insecure yet!]
Season 3 of Insecure kicked off amid a controversy more intense than the great salt vs. sugar grits debate, as fans of Issa Rae's show revolted against Lawrence (Jay Ellis) leaving the show for good, abruptly. Die hard members of the #Lawrencehive literally protested the change and petitioned to get him back — a fervor that awed and delighted producers of the show, though not enough to resurrect Lawrence from Issa's romantic graveyard.
But Sunday's episode may have squelched IssaLaw shipping for good. After a chance run-in at a taco stand (so LA) Issa reunited with the fine ass dude she met while driving a Lyft in the Season 3 premiere, and she and Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) had one of those idyllic first dates everyone dreams of: spontaneous, easy, exciting, capped with a juicy, lasting kiss. For a girl whose love life has been pure comedy and tragedy since Day One, Issa had a major glow-up moment — one topped off by her decision to quit her lame job and throw out her metaphoric and literal junk. Things are looking up, finally, and Nathan has arrived at just the right moment. Could he be the one to make everyone forget about Lawrence for good?
"I think there will always be die hard Lawrence fans," Sampson told TV Guide via phone, adding that even on set, members of the crew and cast wear their unabashed support for Lawrence, Daniel (Y'lan Noel) and now Nathan on their sleeves. As a former Vampire Diaries star, he's well acquainted with fans' loyalty to 'ships even after the characters are long gone from the series. That said, Sampson is Team Nathan, naturally, and he may stick around for a while. TV Guide has learned he's slated to appear in a total of six episodes, which sounds like Issa and Nathan are a thing for the rest of the season, at least. They're a good fit for each other, Sampson said, and they definitely have a chance.
"Where she lacks he has, where he lacks she has. They kind of fill each other's holes. He needs a guide, someone to help him understand LA and get acclimated. She needs someone who knows what he wants to do. They're very open with each other in a way they haven't been with anyone else, and they bring this sense of adventure out of each other."
Ah yes, that. These two turned a game of Truth or Dare into what's technically breaking and entering — sneaking into Issa's childhood home to skinny dip in the pool. Though the scene looked spontaneous and fun on screen, it took an entire day to shoot, with Sampson jumping into the pool roughly 20 times. Sampson, who says he'd rather "not wear clothes than wear clothes" and is no stranger to a nude beach (I know, take all the time you need to dream; this will still be here when you get back), did have a moment of panic while shooting. After getting his tonsils removed and working hard to put the 15 pounds he lost back on, "I had gotten up to my ideal weight. I was self-conscious. I was trying to work the front really hard." That turned out fine, clearly, but "when I go (to set) they're like, 'We're gonna do a special feature on your butt. I was like, 'Shit! I didn't work that out.'"
Issa didn't seem to pressed about his squats and lunges routine. And anyway, Nathan offers Issa so much more than body and face. Issa's honesty with him about cheating, her new place and new job show she's in a new headspace, and Nathan's practical grit adds the steady rod, no pun intended, her wobbly life sorely needs. Sampson, also from Houston (a coincidence that wasn't planned), said Nathan is pretty much the good dude he seems like, and fans will learn more about him in coming episodes.
"I think he's finding the more intimate side of him through Issa. It's something he doesn't expect and wasn't planning on." Unlike her other partners, their power dynamic is entirely equal. "It's not calculated, just a good fun time with no expectations. They're, 'Hey, let's do this,' not, 'Let me stay here.' He didn't try to jump on her, or get a good quickie one-night stand. I think he has sincere intentions, and she needs somebody to push her."
Steel yourselves, remaining Lawrencehive members: you're in for some rough remaining episodes.
Insecure airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.