Insecure Season 3, Episode 5 Recap: "High-Like"

Photo: Merie W. Wallace/HBO.
I should have known Issa Rae and her team of writers on Insecure were up to something on “High-Like.” A couple of exciting things happen in the 5th episode in this season — there is a sex scene ripped straight from the pages of a young lover’s journal, and even a big fight — because it is Insecure, after all. However, it takes a while for “High-Like” to get to its juiciest part. The inevitable moment that sends one of the main characters into a meta crisis, and leaves viewers completely shook, came at the very end of “High-Like.” Depending on who you ask, the wait was worth it. But first, let’s start at the beginning.
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Things could be worse for Issa (Rae) now that she’s quit working for We Got Ya’ll. She still has a (less than ideal) place to stay and two (menial) sources of income. As she figures out what’s next for her professionally, she has doubled down on her Lyft shifts. One of her passengers is even Thug Yoda (Tristen Winger), her Blood neighbor from the apartment she once shared with Lawrence (Jay Ellis) during the first three seasons of the show. I was hoping we’d see him again. Issa is also still earning extra cash as the property manager at her new apartment complex. I'd say things are going well for her, even if Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) hasn’t reached out after their amazing impromptu date.
Despite her financial situation, Issa is still able to see her Coachella plans through with Molly (Yvonne Orji), Kelli (Natasha Rothwell), and Tiffany (Amanda Seales). In the thick of so many life changes, our leading lady needs a good turn up, and she’s willing to fight for it. Nevertheless, her friends have other plans for their first night in the desert. Molly is still seeking validation at her new law firm and volunteers to write a briefing that her colleague should have handled himself. She shows up to the Coachella rental pad several hours later than the other three women, only to find them already asleep. Pregnant Tiffany needed a nap. Kelli got too high on a weed edible. And Issa was probably just exhausted from arguing with them about it all. Molly uses the quiet time to finish up on work. If this isn’t a perfect example of what it’s like transitioning into your 30s is like — falling asleep and working before midnight on the first night of Beychella — I don’t know what is.
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The next day gets off to a much better start. Issa wakes up the rest of her crew using a cookware technique invented by Tanisha Thomas on Bad Girls Club. She’s created a Coachella schedule and is ready to seize the day, but then she gets a text from Nathan. He’s at the music festival, too, and invites Issa and her crew to a pool party. So much for that schedule she made... But hanging out with Nathan and his friends seems like a better option. The pool party is lit, and Issa’s new boo is about to make things even better. Let’s just say Issa’s best friend isn’t the only “molly” at the pool, and the whole crew (minus pregnant Tiffany) gets really acquainted with her when they take MDMA. The gang finally arrives at the festival itself a few hours later — and just in time to get a decent spot for Beyoncé’s performance. But that’s where their luck runs out. Unfortunately, there will be no Black marching band in their near future, thanks in part to the drugs they’ve ingested.
Nathan and Issa venture off to find some water to drink, probably because one of the symptoms of MDMA is dehydration. They end up talking about their feelings from another and riding the ferris wheel together. Why are their dates always so dope, even though they just met? When the ferris wheel stalls, leaving them stuck hundreds of feet in the air, neither of them panics. Instead, Issa slides her panties to the side — a throwback to my high school years — and they have sex because... drugs.
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Back on the field, Molly can’t find the jacket she used to save their spot; and Kelli returns from a food stand only to find a girl sitting atop someone’s shoulder, in their spot. Words are exchanged, one thing leads another, and a brawl breaks out... because drugs. This scene feels like a fantasy sequence for any Black person who has ever attended Coachella or any music festival where they’ve had to deal with entitlement and microaggressions from white people. Kelli and Molly threw the hands that we’ve had to keep at our sides in real life. But unfortunately, they still get kicked out of the festival. Kelli even gets tasered by security when she tries to run back inside — which wasn’t nearly as funny as the writers probably thought it was, just saying. Issa and Nathan finally make it back to the group from their romantic getaway, and no one gets to see Beyoncé’s game-changing rendition of “Me, Myself & I.”
At their weekend rental house, Issa thinks everyone is mad at her. Tiffany, who was staunchly sober at the beginning of the trip, admits to eating some weed brownie and is freaking out about what it’s going to do to her baby. Molly’s jacket is probably gone forever and she’s stressed out about a work email. Kelli is angry at everyone that they’ve missed the performance of a lifetime. I don’t blame her one bit.
But time heals all wounds, and in the morning, three out of the four women are able to laugh about the previous night’s misfortune. Tiffany is feeling forlorn about the weekend, the pressure she felt to keep up with her friends, and the distance that she’s already feeling between herself and her childless, single friends now that she’s about to be a mom. “Everything is different now,” she tells Issa in the car outside of 7-Eleven. Issa tries to reassure Tiffany, but the vibe I’m getting is that Tiffany has already made up her mind: she can’t keep up with her squad anymore and doesn’t want to. It’s sad to think about these kind of fissures in adult friendships, especially when I’m receiving text updates about my best friend’s labor as I write this. But we can’t worry about Tiffany right now.
Issa enters 7-Eleven trying to find alkaline water, but instead she runs into Chad (Neil Brown Jr.)… and Lawrence. LawrenceHive has risen.
What I would have done if I was Molly: Put my phone on airplane mode. Seriously, stop checking your emails.
What I would have done if I was Issa: Ignored Nathan’s text. When I am feeling that tiny, but acute sense of rejection that comes from being left on read, my natural inclination is to give the offending party a dose of their own medicine. Although, I would have regretted in this case because things turned out great for Issa and Nathan. I’m not perfect. [shrug]
What I would have done if I was Kelli: Sued the security guard that tasered me. Or at the very least, I would have started a viral campaign exposing Coachella for hiring a security team that uses excessive force. I know that it was supposed to be comical, but the officer’s reaction was violent and unnecessary.
What I would have done if I was Tiffany: Stayed home. Coachella sounds miserable even in the most ideal circumstances with the extreme heat, annoying teenagers, and hours on your feet. Taking on the festival while pregnant just seems like a bad idea.
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