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‘Insecure Season 5 Episode 10 Recap: “Everything Gonna Be, Okay!?”

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‘Insecure Season 5 Episode 10 Recap: “Everything Gonna Be, Okay!?”

Since finding her webseries The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl on YouTube in 2011, I’ve been a fan of Issa Rae & her work. I’d rarely seen such specific Black female characters portrayed on screen so fully. Most portrayals I’d seen of awkward Black girls up to that point were typically as the butt of jokes told from someone else’s perspective, not as the narrative agents in their own stories. 

For that reason, watching the series finale of Insecure felt like putting down a great book. From the characters’ long-running inside jokes to appearances from actors fans have been with for over a decade, “Everythings Gonna Be, Okay?!” has created a visual and emotional shorthand, crossing very nearly every “t”, dotting every “i”, & putting a bow on the story we’ve been enjoying for five seasons in a way that reminds me of the Jane Austen quote: “My characters shall have, after a little trouble, all that they desire.” I’m very grateful to see stories like this populated by characters who look like me.

The finale opens just after the fight at the end of the last episode. Nathan breaks up with Issa while dropping her off from Tiffany & Derek’s going away party, mirroring Issa ending things with Lawrence at the end of the season opener. This is the first of many callbacks in a very satisfying episode. 

I’m also proud of Nathan for not being avoidant with his feelings and letting Issa know that their relationship messiness and toxicity wasn’t good for him. Yes. Focus on yourself, King. Mirror Issa does not let Issa off the hook for this one & plays the role of the nagging voice kicking her while she’s down.

INSECURE SERIES FINALE RECAP
Photo: Raymond Liu

From here, the episode keeps to the main characters’ promise from the last episode to get together for each of their birthdays, which works as a great narrative time travel device. We cover almost two years in 40 minutes. And we get the answers to (some of) Molly’s edible-induced questions: “Can you just imagine how much we’ll change like… in 2 years. Who’ll have another baby? Who’ll get a new job? Who’ll be taller or smaller? Or both?”

Molly’s birthday is up first. Tiffany’s back in town. Kelly’s got a new man. And Issa & the birthday girl continue to be amazing friends to each other. Meeting Andrew’s family went left leaving Molly with anxiety about Taurean’s who are there for Molly’s party. Issa comforts her friend, helps her pick a bomb outfit, & lets her know “tonight we’re focusing on you, and having fun, & nothing else.”

We hear that refrain again at Issa’s surprise birthday party and fundraiser for The Blocc at Crenshawn’s workshop – planned by Quoia. And Molly. TOGETHER! Molly & Issa are quoting each other’s quotes. Kelly & Ahmad still have beef – very immovable object versus unstoppable force energy. And Nanceford (a call back to Issa & Nathan’s second meeting) shows up with a donation from the shop and parts ways with Issa feeling no regrets about their time together. 

Next the squad’s in Denver where Tiffany confides in her friends that she’s frustrated and isolated in her new home. But at least her friends are there for her birthday, whereas Derek’s friends from LA haven’t because by his admission “men suck”. Issa plays down the significance of her new romance with Nasir (“He’s cool.” … “It’s not like that. I’ve got way too much going on.”). And just as Molly’s giving Issa some great advice about Lawrenceand not overthinking her happiness  – and boy have the tables turned! – she gets a call from her brother Curtis that her mother has died. 

As soon as I realized Lawrence’s birthday was included, I knew what was coming…. Because why are we here? He wasn’t a part of the pact! Regardless, Lawrence’s family is always a treat and feels so familiar. I know it’s original but the “Happy Birthday in Jesus’s Name” song feels like it’s always existed. And Lawrence’s mom’s appraisal of Condola cracked me up. “She’s a great mom. Dresses Nice. One Braid. I like it!” Just then Issa calls as awkwardly as ever, rambling & delving into a Louis Armstrong impression before Lawrence can get out a full sentence. When Lawrence has plans (and another date whose name we never learn!), Issa hangs up before getting any resolution. A grieving Molly sends Issa to voicemail.

Kelly is glowing in kelly green and a high side pony at her birthday dinner – probably because she’s pregnant! By Desmond! Whoever he is! However they met! I’m glad Kelly gets her happy ending (including helming the new estate division at Molly’s firm!), but as usual, her story is used as more of a foil for Issa’s development. She shows up with Nasir, an off-Broadway Handsome Squidward iteration of fan-favorite Daniel & seems happy but stunned at Kelly’s news.

Later, in some beautiful lingerie, Mirror Issa starts in on her again – attacking Issa at her most vulnerable – and comparison is the thief of joy! She all but blows off Nasir, who as Mirror Issa puts it is “a fine ass man ready to dick [her] down!”, when Lawrence calls. I’ll be hearing “BITCH! DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE!” in my head for … a while. Again, Molly, in her grief, is unreachable.

But her birthday is up next, which means we’re at a year and some change out from the last episode. Molly’s working to cover grief AGAIN & Issa reminds her it’s ok not to be okay. In return, Molly hits Issa with this nugget: “You can make all the plans you want but it’s always gone be some shit.”

For reasons I still can’t quite figure out, Issa’s called Lawrence to come to The Blocc’s new office space later that evening. Is he a new investor? Is The Blocc making an app? Under what pretense are they bringing this two together? Did they start hanging out after his birthday? Honestly, it doesn’t really matter because seeing them in the two shot separated by the pole in muted earth tones brought the whole thing home & evoked the infamous red & blue shot from Season 4’s “Lowkey Happy.” Issa’s professional confession that she  “believes that it would work out for it to work” functions like so much dialogue in the show in that it means multiple things…. And in this case, it means she & Lawrence are about to hook up right there on the desk. 

The show then takes a break from birthdays and treats us to a wedding! We’re introduced to Mr. & Mrs. Taurean Jackson in a scene that brought me to tears. There’s a memorial to Molly’s mother, Tiffany is pregnant with her second child, and Issa is there. With Lawrence. As anti-Lawrence as I’ve been, this scene felt like a true family affair. And when you think about it, Issa & Lawrence were together five years before the pilot started and that depth is apparent.

YVONNE ORJI ISSA RAE INSECURE FINALE
Photo: Raymond Liu

Issa helps Molly out of her wedding dress & the two share words that just as easily could have been exchanged between Yvonne Orji & Issa Rae. “Thank you so much for everything, Issa. Just for being you. For loving me while I was me.” In a show that showcases so many nuanced relationships so beautifully, the friendship between these two women remains the central love story of Insecure. 

Finally, it’s Issa’s birthday again and she’s leaving The Blocc’s new office space in a Lexus red power suit for a literal drive down memory lane. She passes The Dunes where she lived with Lawrence and sees Thug Yoda and his daughter. Fans will remember actor Tristen Winger as Baby Voice Darius from Awkward Black Girl. Driving by We Got Yall, Issa sees old coworkers including another OG ABG alum, actress Sujata Day. After passing most likely the Rite Aid where Lawrence confronted her while she was buying panties, she smirks at a man in a Best Buy shirt. 

Her home with Lawrence is stunning! And Issa is in full stepmom mode with Baby Jah & their blended family. We don’t see Condola in the finale but I think it’s safe to assume their co-parenting skills are a well oiled machine by now. The couple get a sitter as Lawrence prepares to take Issa out for her birthday – coming full circle from him forgetting her birthday in the pilot and wanting to eat take out on their couch instead. 

I almost missed Issa’s engagement ring in the series’s final scene. It’s never explicitly stated but when Molly calls from her honeymoon, Issa asks if that’s what she has to look forward to – which I’ll take as confirmation. In a bold move, the show ends with a broken pussy callback joke – again from the pilot, an empty mirror, and Kelis’s “Bossy.” No Mirror Issa with her nagging doubts. No decisions to regret or overthink. Just Issa Dee as a fully formed and secure grown ass woman with her whole life ahead of her. Again, I’m very grateful to see stories like this populated by characters who look like me. 

On to Rap Sh*t!

Rebecca O’Neal is a stand up comedian and writer in Brooklyn. Check out her jokes onComedy Central.

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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