After Insecure launched last October following the success of co-creator Issa Rae’s hit web-series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, the show immediately garnered a lot of critical acclaim and a cult following, which helped propel the show into a second season. Running from July to last week, the second season of Insecure is just as funny, just as complex and just as compelling – if not more so – than the show’s first season.

My obsession with Issa Rae began when I watched her web-series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl so as soon as she landed Insecure on HBO (Sky Atlantic in the UK) last year, I was beyond excited. Rae has this special way of making comedy seamless and subtle in a very intelligent way, but it doesn’t seem to stifle the laughter. I still find myself roaring hysterically whenever I watch an episode of Insecure, be it for the first or the fourth time of me watching it, and that did not change with the show’s second season. I think this is a rare example of when a show gets better as time goes on and as the story progresses, we discover so much more to these characters that we didn’t even know existed. Issa Rae has crafted a complex and multi-faceted half-hour comedy series here, but she makes it look totally seamless and easy; this is exactly what comedy should be.

The second season of Insecure opens immediately with Issa (Issa Rae) back on the dating scene following her messy break-up from Lawrence (Jay Ellis) at the end of season one. It’s in these moments when we see Issa face-on with the camera that Rae’s acting and writing chops are in top-form. It’s Issa’s awkwardness that she has built her entire brand off of that makes her so funny and these angles and moments really give that time to shine. We were also immediately reminded of Issa’s (the character, not the actress – yes, they both share the same name) passion for rapping her troubles away, an idea that Rae introduced in her web-series ABG. This nod to her previous work never ceases to make me laugh out loud and is proof of how fantastic she is.

Sky Atlantic

Sky Atlantic

The first episode also brings us back to Molly (Yvonne Orji) who is now in therapy sessions in a bid to sort her life out, something that was also set up at the end of last season. These first few scenes of the first episode are a brilliant example of how clever Rae’s writing is on this show: it’s fascinating to see these two best friends cross paths as they go up and down the ladder of success. Molly started the first season as being a woman who seemed to be put-together on the exterior, but was very clearly a total mess on the inside. Now, she’s getting the help she needs for her interior to catch up with her exterior. Issa is the complete opposite: she’s always seemed to be dishevelled and a bit messy from the outside, but the comfort and security of her relationship with Lawrence always made that appear to be a sense of homeliness. That’s gone now though and at the start of season two, Issa is slowly spiralling out of control; the two ladies are heading towards their destinies and appear to be crossing paths along the way.

Lawrence, on the other hand, fast became my favourite character this year (along with Molly, who I just love). In the first season, he was nothing short of a bum and a loser, which Issa liked to remind him of regularly, especially when it came to their break up. He’d been staying with Issa, unemployed, for two years by that point and his dreams of working in the tech business were something he thought about doing, but he never had the drive to persue. Now that he’s split from Issa, Lawrence has been forced to grow up and get moving with things and it makes him so much more of an admirable person. The show’s marketing has really been pushing for a #TeamIssa vs. #TeamLawrence thing all season and while I started on Team Issa in the season premiere, Lawrence’s changing attitude made me side with him more and more as the season progressed. While he’s not always right, he has quickly become the most level-headed and charming character on the show and I couldn’t get enough of him.

As a matter of fact, all three of our lead characters have grown and changed for the better as Insecure season two progressed and that was highlighted beautifully in the season finale which aired last week. While Molly has always had a troublesome time when it came to men, it was nice to finally see her come into her own this season. When the show addressed the fact that Molly was being paid less than her white and male colleagues at her law firm, I could see where the writers were going. The knowledge of this not only gave the show room to talk about problematic issues like this one, but it also gave Molly as a character some time to support herself in the best way she possibly can. For the first time in the series, Molly was the head of her own fan club and it was empowering to watch her be like that. Her relationships – while continuing to be difficult – also seemed to go on an upwards incline, too. Her relationship with Dro (Sarunas J. Jackson) is very tricky to work out, but the Molly we met in season one would’ve been much less mature and adult about it in comparison. Yes, she is still doing the same shit that she did last season, but her change in attitude has altered her course slightly and made her so much better.

Sky Atlantic

Sky Atlantic

Issa may well be slowly spiralling out of control and losing everything that she’s ever held dear, but her growth is equally evident. One of my favourite moments of change for her in the season was when she was working at the school with her colleague Frieda (Lisa Joyce) and the school’s headmaster, who is black, intentionally segregated the Mexican kids out of the program the two of them were running. To Issa, as a woman who is used to experiencing racism, she failed to see the flaws in this because the headmaster was black too; whenever Frieda tried to bring it up as being a “racist” move, Issa would immediately knock her down again, reminding her that she was white and moving on. It wasn’t until much later in the series that Issa finally realised that her views should not be as cookie-cutter as they are and she acknowledged her mistakes, apologising to Frieda. It might not have seemed like anything major in the context of the plot, but for Issa as a character, it felt like a real turning point for when she started to realise that there are other ways of looking at a situation.

In my eyes, the series came to a perfect close. In the eighth and final episode (entitled “Hella Perspective”), the episode is cut up into three chunks: Lawrence’s story, Molly’s story and Issa’s story. In each part of the episode, we see the same 30 day period from each of the characters’ perspectives. We start by seeing Lawrence come to terms with his new relationship, job and lifestyle now that he’s away from Issa; we see Molly trying to iron out her confusing relationships and finally start putting her foot down at work; and we see Issa force herself into new beginnings by moving out of her apartment to try and start a new life. The coda that follows this is, in my opinion, the best part of Insecure so far. After Issa finishes packing up her apartment ready to move, she heads back to the apartment one last time to check everything is clear and to hand the keys over to the landlord. While Issa’s spontaneous mention of her moving earlier in the episode was clearly her idea of making a new start, which felt incredibly forced, I started to accept and realise that this was the best decision for her. When she gets into the apartment though, she’s greeted by Lawrence who is stood inside waiting to talk to her – he’s ready to iron things out once and for all. The rest of the scene is not only beautifully written, but the direction and performances are wonderful as well. For the first time all season, we finally see Issa and Lawrence together, alone, in a setting that feels familiar, but for some reason, it feels so alien. Suddenly, the power couple that we’d been following all season didn’t look right together – they’d grown apart. The conversation that they had highlighted that too, with the two of them admitting their continued love for one another and ultimately parting ways. It was the most heart-breaking part of the episode despite almost nothing changing narratively as a result of this conversation, for the first time this season, we could finally see that this was never going to work again. It was a poignant and subtle end to a brilliant season that not only rounded it all off, but set season three up well, too.

Sky Atlantic

Sky Atlantic

Catch up on the second season of Insecure on Sky, now.