‘Insecure’ Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: Bad Habits Die Hard

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

  • Issa opens up to the idea of moving on from We Got Y’all.
  • Molly learns that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the law firm spectrum.
  • Daniel oversteps with Khalil and only has himself to blame.
  • Issa and Daniel struggle to find their footing in their not-relationship.

Prepare for awkwardness, missteps and regret.

issa and molly insecure
Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Episode three of season three, titled “Backwards-Like” opens on Issa (Issa Rae) and Daniel (Y’lan Noel) lying in bed together (regression, indeed). Daniel complains that Issa is encroaching on his side of the bed and she responds, saying that it’s only because he has the good pillows. When they swap, he sees the Flaming Hot Cheeto crumbs under her pillow and calls her out. She jokes that “the heart wants what it wants,” and he asks what else “the heart wants.” In her fantasy, she and Daniel start fooling around and he hands her a bag of Cheetos to enjoy during the act. In real life, she tells him she wants to be on time to work because “time is money.”

Later, Issa accompanies Molly (Yvonne Orji) to the pet spa, where her dog is enjoying a blueberry facial and paw massage (yep). Molly says she’s excited about starting her job at a new all-African American firm and teases Issa for lagging on her job hunt. She says she has both a potential job and new apartment lined up and is pleased to inform Molly that it’s so nice that Postmates drivers will even stop there. Molly says she’s sure it’ll be nice to get off Daniel’s couch and Issa’s reaction makes it clear that she’s no longer couch surfing, but now shares a bed with her old flame. Issa assures Molly they’re not sleeping together, but admits it would be nice if they were.

issa insecure claps
Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Back on the grind, Issa and Frieda (Lisa Joyce) set up for a job fair, and Frieda is clearly having a lot more fun than Issa. “Are we in the North Pole? Because we’re slaying,” she asks. Needing some air, Issa steps away to explore other companies and sees a bunch of kids from a group called The Beat Crew performing a killer dance. She’s captivated and introduces herself to the guy in charge. She learns it’s an after-school program that introduces inner-city kids to different types of music. She seems genuinely interested, until Frieda calls her back over.

Later, Issa meets with the landlord of an apartment complex about a building manager job. He shows her around, asks if she knows how to plunge a toilet properly (nope) and informs her that while the building manager job is part-time, she’ll need to be on call 24/7. When she walks into the apartment she’s unimpressed until she learns the rent is $750 a month.

Meanwhile, Molly arrives at her new gig (looking chic as hell, natch). She’s greeted by the rest of the staff and shown to her huge office. She does a little dance and settles in.

Simultaneously, Daniel is doing a little dancing of his own at Khalil’s (Aaron Jennings) while he gives his old friend a preview of his music. Khalil gives him some feedback on how to make the track more appealing to Spyder (Roshon Fegan), but Daniel’s not having it. Khalil bumps up the bass and drums and says it’s now ready for Spyder.

That evening, Issa and Daniel go to the laundromat and fill each other in on their days. He complains about Khalil dumbing his beats down and she tells him she got a job offer as a building manager. He points out that she’s locked herself out of their place four (no, five) times and that it might be a bit much for her to juggle that job, Lyft and We Got Y’all.

issa molly kelli tiffany insecure girls night
Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Later that night, Issa, Molly, Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) and Tiffany (Amanda Seales) get together for a girls’ night. Molly complains that her new job isn’t as cushy as her previous firm (they don’t use DocuSign or have offsite storage). Issa says, “change is hard,” but that she’s being negative. Tiffany tries to offer her two cents by complaining that they have a group chat without her. They sit down to dinner and Kelli tells Issa she found her an apartment (with no shower), but Issa says she’s planning to stay at Daniel’s longer. They all express their surprise…until Molly outs her and tells them they’re sharing a bed.

Issa tries to say that her relationship with Daniel has changed and that they’re better communicators now, but the women aren’t convinced. She explains, “Y’all this is the first time that there’s nothing in the way of us getting together. So, isn’t that worth exploring?” They answer with a resounding no.

The next day, Frieda and Issa interview candidates for the open We Got Y’all position and Issa is clearly not engaged. When Frieda gives her an opening to talk about the charity’s five-year plans, she responds by saying that “good things come in fives” and proceeds to list some: “five-dollar foot longs, Five Guys” and “toes.” Frieda goes to get Joanne (Catherine Curtin). Issa and the interviewee awkwardly sit in silence until the interviewee compliments her sweater. Issa says she got it outside (ie: a vintage shop). Then the interviewee asks her on the real how she likes the job and if it’s difficult to work there as a black woman. Issa gives her a cop-out answer (“You know how they are”). It suddenly dawns on her that she’s been at We Got Y’all for five years and she can’t even say she really enjoys it. So, when she gets back to her desk she takes a look at The Beat Crew’s website.

daniel insecure looks mad
Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Meanwhile, Daniel, Khalil and Spyder get together to listen to the new beats. Daniel is supposed to play the version of the track that he and Khalil worked on together, but instead he plays his original. There’s immediate tension between him and Khalil. Spyder says he really likes it, but Khalil insists that Daniel play the version with more bass. Daniel does and Spyder finds it too hard to decide which is better. So, Khalil moves on to some music he produced himself and it becomes crystal clear that he and Daniel are done.

Later, Issa takes Daniel out for a thank-you dinner, but he’s in a terrible mood after how things transpired with Spyder and Khalil. She gets him out of his funk by saying “Is that Jay-Z and Beyoncé over there? Oh no, that’s a mirror. That’s us. We cute.” He softens at her jokes, but his wall goes back up when she tells him she decided to take the property manager job so they can have their own space to “figure things out.” He doesn’t seem all that thrilled for her, so she asks him what the deal is and he flippantly responds that he and Khalil are no longer working together. She suggests he apologize after he explains the situation, but he just laughs and says, “I just think it’s funny you’re giving me career advice…You don’t really know what it’s like to really care about what you do…Your life is all over the place, all right. I mean I always save you from some s**t.” Issa is stunned, but thankfully the waiter comes over with some alcoholic beverages to take the edge off.

Later in bed, they lie awake with their backs to each other. Daniel says, “You know I was just upset about the Khalil thing,” and although she says it’s fine, her expression says it’s not. He cuddles her, and they start hooking up just like in her fantasy (minus the Hot Cheetos). But before they get really busy, Issa stops him and says she can’t do it because “it doesn’t feel right.”

My how things have changed in the blink of an eye episode. So does this mean Issa is finally moving out and on with her life? T-minus seven days until season three, episode four premieres on Sunday, September 2, at 10:30 p.m. PT/ET.

RELATED: ‘Insecure’ Season 3 Recaps: The Good, the Bad and the Hella Awkward

Lex Goodman

Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.
read full bio