Ironically, that Best Buy job brings him closer to Tasha (Dominique Perry), the friendly, bodacious bank teller who works in the same shopping center. While Issa is waiting for her man to make something of himself, Tasha looks at Lawrence and sees a decent man with ambition, savings, and no kids — “a good black man,” as she tells him. But when Tasha strolls into Best Buy in a pair of tight jeans and a cleavage-baring top, inviting Lawrence to join him for a drink after work, he lets her down gently: “I have a girlfriend, Tasha.” Our sympathy for him only deepens when Issa succumbs and sleeps with Daniel in that same episode.
But Insecure doesn’t treat Lawrence as a milquetoast sap, and in the season finale, he behaves as if he’s taking revenge on behalf of every nice-guy character who lost the girl to the leather-clad bad boy. While Issa is off celebrating her friend Kelli’s (Natasha Rothwell) birthday, Lawrence heads to a strip club with his boys, determined to prove that he’s not the “R&B-singing-all-your-feelings-type-of-nigga” that his friend Chad (Neil Brown Jr.) says he is.
Despite his best efforts, Lawrence is a Girlfriend Guy; he looks at a stripper gyrating in a bejeweled thong like she’s Venus in a clamshell. When he buys a private lap dance and the stripper gets him all hot and bothered, calling him “cute,” he’s obviously flattered and turned on. But his face falls when she starts naming prices. After, he immediately calls Issa and tells her he misses her, and that he wants to talk.
The final moments of the finale are brilliantly structured so as to pack a devastating emotional punch. They also complete a season-long reorientation of the show’s point of view — where the early episodes favor Issa’s perspective, by the end, the show gives equal if not greater weight to Lawrence’s side of the story. The finale even renders Issa speechless before her bathroom mirror, where she usually goes to work out her inner turmoil. Suddenly, it’s Lawrence we’re rooting for, at Issa’s expense.
In the end, we feel Issa’s crushing loss just as she experiences it, when she comes home early from her trip to find Lawrence’s keys on the kitchen counter and all his clothes and belongings — including the pillow from his side of the bed — gone. He leaves one item: his Best Buy t-shirt, a painful symbol of the sacrifices he made in the name of his and Issa’s relationship. The final uppercut? A shot of Lawrence pounding Tasha-the-bank-clerk like there’s no tomorrow. And director Melina Matsoukas doesn’t cut away in a hurry, giving us an extended glimpse of Lawrence pulling Tasha’s hair and holding her down — as if granting him permission to prove his dominance after a season of noble submission.
Lawrence doesn’t really want to be bad; he wants to be wanted. One of Insecure’s savviest accomplishments in this first season is not only to illustrate how a man wants to be desired just as much as a woman, but to insist that this need doesn’t make him any less of a man. If Lawrence’s version of rebellion means laying waste to a girl who adores him, well, is that so bad?