Here's where everyone ended up on the series finale of 'Insecure'
Share this article:
By Helena Andrews-Dyer
To quote the kids, Sunday's "Insecure" series finale was giving exactly what it was supposed to have gave.
Over five hilariously frustrating seasons of highly questionable life choices, bad rap lyrics, overdue breakups and messy makeups, the beloved HBO comedy - about a group of young Black professionals navigating the highs and lows of living and loving in South Los Angeles - offered both hope and validation for its 20-something-turned-30-something cast, as well as its devoted fan base.
"I just want to fast-forward to the part of my life where everything's OK," Issa tells her mirror self (a frequent scene partner) as her character once again weighs the forks in the road.
Will she take the big corporate job with NBW or go for broke with Crenshawn? Will she end up with Lawrence or Nathan or some other L.A. dude?
Will Molly finally get out of her own head and find lasting love? Will Tiffany become a "Real Housewife of Denver"? Will Kelli . . . still Kelli? All the questions that have been up in the air finally float down to earth.
Written by series creator and star Issa Rae, the last episode, "Everything Thing Gonna Be, Okay?!," revolves around each central character's birthday.
It's a full-circle ending: Viewers were introduced to Issa on her 29th birthday, when she was in a dead-end job, her live-in boyfriend Lawrence was an unemployed couch potato and her bestie Molly was "crying tears of singleness." The show once again uses the annual milestone to take stock and look ahead.
While "Insecure" has always been about relationships - how we get them, how we grow them, how we keep them - the finale proved that everything begins and ends with the relationship you have with the person in the mirror.
Did Issa and Nathan finally break up for good?
The episode opens with Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) dropping Issa off at her place after Tiffany's (Amanda Seales) disastrous going-away party. You know, the one where Lawrence (Jay Ellis) confessed his undying love to Issa, she looked gobsmacked and Nathan heard the whole thing. Lots of pushing, loud voices and testosterone ensued.
Nathan has never been one for drama or conflict, but more importantly, he's also never been secure about his place in Issa's life. The Lawrence showdown was the last straw. "I've been ignoring this feeling that I've had all along but I gotta take a step back . . . I'm good," Nathan tells Issa in their final breakup. To her credit (and pretty indicative of her true feelings), she doesn't beg. She hops out of the car and spares just one look back.
The two don't meet again until Issa's birthday some time later, where their relationship is wrapped up with the most mature post-breakup conversation in television history - the kind that anyone who's been dumped has spent many a sleepless night going over and over in their heads.
"People come in your life for a reason," a very grown-sounding Issa earnestly tells Nathan, "and you made up so many good reasons for me. And I hope that I did the same for you because I don't want you to regret anything." Happy birthday to Issa, and cheers to closure.
Is Tiffany living out her bougie dreams in the Mile High City?
"Everything Thing Gonna Be, Okay?!" finds Tiffany and her husband, Derek (Wade Allain-Marcus), the first couple of the show, living in Denver after a big move.
They are "for-real homeowners," as Issa calls them during her visit with the rest of the girl gang.
Tiffany is living in the kind of Barbie Dreamhouse filled with the creamy Pottery Barn furniture and soft lighting that Nancy Meyers movies are made of, but she's far from happy.
"I . . . hate it here," she admits to the surprise of no one. Sure, she's got the McMansion, but even as the slightly aloof fourth in the friend group, Tiffany was attached at the hip to her pals, especially best friend Kelli (Natasha Rothwell).
These are the women who saved her from a deep postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, Simone.
“And Denver isn't all it's cracked up to be: Tiffany tells the girls she isn't working and hasn't met any new friends and that her daughter is the only Black child at her preschool. "We'll figure it out," she says halfheartedly.
Jump ahead to Kelli's birthday in L.A., and it appears as if they have. Tiffany is missing her signature blond look, trading it for layered black locks. We also get a brief glimpse of her pregnant again.
Here's hoping she and Derek came to their senses and moved back to Los Angeles, specifically into a mid-century ranch in Ladera Heights.
What is Kelli's life about?
Y'all. Y'all. Kelli is pregnant. Had to rip the Band-Aid off on that one. Kelli started this season six feet under - sort of.
At the foursome's 10-year Stanford reunion, which served as the backdrop of the first episode, there was a mix-up and Kelli got listed in the weekend's program as deceased.
The fake death sent Kelli, who often serves as the group's comic relief with an unmatched deadpan delivery, into a tailspin.
"When I died," she explained, "I started asking preguntas."
She stopped drinking (except champagne) and started a podcast.
She even switches jobs, moving from wealth management to estate planning at Molly's (Yvonne Orji) law firm. But the biggest life change, of course, is the baby on the way.
Kelli announces the pregnancy at her birthday party, and everyone is understandably shocked (she rarely keeps a boyfriend for longer than an episode), but it's a happy surprise, and not a terrified one.
Did Condola and Lawrence figure things out?
It appears so. In the penultimate episode, Lawrence and Condola (Christina Elmore) show up to Tiffany and Derek's goodbye party in a much different place than a few episodes back when they fought publicly at Simone's first birthday party over how to care for their young son Elijah.
Now, some months later, the co-parents look at ease with one another, having fallen into a familiar child care rhythm.
On Lawrence's birthday, we learn he celebrated first by having lunch with Condola and Elijah, whom Condola then took for the night so that Lawrence could ring in the rest of his bday with a lady friend. That's growth, okay?!
Does Molly finally get the guy?
There are not enough praise dances in the world to fully express the joy of how far Molly has come.
After Jared, Dro, Andrew and several fools in between, she is in a delightfully easy relationship with Taurean, a fellow lawyer at the all-Black law firm she joined after enduring micro- and macro-aggressions at her former employer.
Initially work frenemies at best, the two warmed to one another after Molly opened up about her mother's illness, though she's still terrified she's going to mess things up even after years of therapy and self-work.
She spends her 32nd birthday with Taurean, their families (including Issa and the girls), and she's nervous.
"I want to come correct," she tells Issa after changing outfits for the umpteenth time.
Time skips ahead to Molly's next birthday, which Taurean is planning.
There's a surprise coming, and it's not hard to guess what: Time jumps again and we're at their dream wedding - that looks at lot like the real-life Rae's own nuptials.
But instead of a tight shot on the couple at the altar, the real love scene happens later in the bathroom as Issa helps Molly out of her wedding dress.
This scene in the bathroom was the final scene I shot as molly. During one of the takes, @The_A_Prentice told me to go off script and thank @IssaRae for how she changed my life. We were crying for real FOR REAL. #InsecureHBO pic.twitter.com/ZsjrpDkDLo— Yvonne Orji (@YvonneOrji) December 27, 2021
"Thank you so much for everything, Issa . . . For everything, just for being you, for loving me for being me," a teary-eyed Molly tells her sniffling pal.
Their friendship, the show's longest love letter, has seen them both soft and hard on one another.
Both confrontational and avoidant. But despite everything, it endures.
"I don't know where life is going to take us," she continues, "but I just know that as long as you're around I'm gonna be okay."
Do Issa and Lawrence end up together?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Whether you've been Team Issa or Team Lawrence or Team Nathan (no one was Team Daniel), there is zero denying the crackling chemistry between Issa and Lawrence.
Whether they were good for one another was one thing, but whether they loved one another was never in question. In the penultimate episode, Lawrence delivers one of the show's most iconic "choose me" monologues, asking Issa at Tiffany's going-away party: "Are you happy, yes or no?"
Nathan, Issa's then-boyfriend, kills the vibe when he interrupts. We never get to find out what she would have said.
But the finale makes her reply pretty plain. Issa has been going back and forth on Lawrence all season.
They've played phone tag, had a showdown and, in true awkward Issa fashion, she asked him out on his birthday (girl, of course, he had plans).
But when they finally get together at Issa's newly leased office space (yes, she struck out on her own and didn't take the soulless corporate gig), Issa dives into a memorable speech of her own.
"I know it's not done yet and there's still a long way to go, but I keep thinking about what it took to get here . . . Being scared to waste my time and look stupid in case none of it worked out.
“And then I realized that it was all in my head. No one was doubting me except for me," she tells Lawrence, ostensibly talking about her new community events business but obviously referring to the two of them, too.
She eventually comes to the conclusion that for "it" to work, she had to believe it would.
And then Lawrence goes in for the kiss and, of course, the two knock over a mug filled with coffee as they engage in a passionate desk makeout session. It's Issa, after all.
The pair are still together at Molly's dream wedding a year later.
What happens to Mirror Issa?
In the final scene of the final episode of "Insecure," it's Issa's birthday once again. She leaves her boss-lady job for the night, hops in her car (she's no longer driving Lyft), and rolls home through her beloved South Los Angeles streets.
She passes her old apartment building, the Dunes.
Thug Yoda is still there. She passes the Rite-Aid where Lawrence found her five years ago buying panties because she didn't want to go home to him.
She passes the old We Got Y'all offices, and the after-school program is still in business.
She comes home to Lawrence, a toddler Elijah and a birthday cake. Before the couple head out, she goes to the bathroom to get ready - a familiar scene.
Molly calls from her Greek honeymoon to wish Issa "happy birthday" and that's when we learn Issa is engaged.
The show ends with Molly and Issa declaring how much they miss one another. Issa puts on her lipstick and checks herself in the mirror.
The image staring back at her doesn't clown her or give her props on a life well-done. It's just her. Then she walks out to the rest of the future.