The heart of Insecurehas always been Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly's (Yvonne Orji) friendship. From the very beginning, fans have been comforted by the indefatigable bond between two mahogany-hued strivers who all too often fell short in their love lives and professional pursuits but always had each other's backs.
But viewers' faith in the two besties will be tested in Season 4 following the beloved relationship comedy's nearly two-year hiatus. Although the seeds of discord are foreshadowed in the first couple of minutes in the opening installment, nothing encapsulates the mounting tension between them like a scene in Episode 4 when both women are trying to take the same parking spot.
Tiffany (Amanda Seales) has had her baby and Issa and Molly arrive in separate cars within seconds of each other both intending to occupy the only conveniently located space. Issa drives forward in an attempt to back into the spot only to find that someone has pulled up behind her and is trying to roll into the space head first. It's Molly, and after a lot of miscommunication and near fender benders, one friend relents and drives away and the other friend gets the spot.
Without revealing too much more, let's just say the exchanges that follow between Issa and Molly don't get any less uncomfortable and instead lead to a painful and unexpected apex that will undoubtedly inspire endless think pieces and Twitter hashtag wars that could very well tear apart real-world friendships. That's right. Rae and her writers have all the hand cannons and even the most secure among us is about to get triggered.
That said, Issa and Molly's situation isn't without its glitches. For instance, when the two bumped heads in Season 1, it felt more organic. Just as before, both women make noticeable blunders but the slights are so negligible this time that you have to round them up as a whole to even begin to understand why their bond is in trouble. You know how Issa and Molly worked out their differences in Season 2 by prefacing blunt observations with the word "Malibu" as a defense mechanism of sorts? Yeah, they're not doing that anymore.
You could argue that this is how friendships are in real life. A missed call here and blown meet-up there can be all it takes to unravel close connections. That said, a little more exposition surrounding one of the friend's very draconian actions could've made her choices easier to comprehend and believe. But that's always been one of Insecure's most notable flaws -- tiny narrative holes fans fill in when they shouldn't have to.
Such is the case when there is so much going on. Issa is finally making her block party dreams come true, and each week is a countdown to the main event with Episode 1 starting four months before it happens. She's also juggling a new romance and her day job as an apartment manager while trying to embrace a negativity-free life -- almost to a fault. Molly on the other hand, is finally navigating work at her new law firm and love with a new boo with more aplomb. Lawrence (Jay Ellis) finds his groove as he attempts to maintain a genuine friendship with Issa and date Condola (Christina Elmore) even after all three realize she is also working with Issa to pull together her block party. Talk about awkward. One of the best and funniest scenes comes when Issa pictures Lawrence and Condola together.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of signature humor in Season 4. Not only can fans expect brilliant new one-liners from the likes of habitual scene-stealers Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) and Chad (Neil Brown Jr.), but guest stars Wendy Raquel Robinson, as Issa's mom, and Paula Jai Parker, as an event sponsor, also bring their A-games.
Jean Elie, who costars as Issa's brother Ahmal, enjoys his fair share of jokes but also delivers refreshing depth in a Thanksgiving episode. Richard Nevels, who plays Molly's brother Curtis, is equally fun to watch. Although this season's show within a show, Looking for LaToya, brings its own levity and fantastic cameos from Terri J. Vaughn, Ray J, and even Kandi Burruss, nothing will top Season 2's fake show parody, Due North. Nothing.
But it always comes back to Issa and Molly, each of whom has at least one comical love scene and a handful of funny exchanges together. Here's hoping their inevitable path back to each other includes more laughs than tears as well.
TV Guide Rating: 4.5/5
Insecure Season 4 premieres Sunday April 12 at 10/9c on HBO.