Insecure S3E2: The Book Of Daniel

Lara been Croft and Daniel been... well Daniel. From viewer's first introduction to Daniel we see a confident, brash man with the world at his fingertips. As a professional music producer, Issa Dee’s natural ear for music align with his desire to create. Since insert time we are shown a Daniel who commands attention, yet his manhood took a blow. Daniel’s character on Insecure has evolved from the man Issa cheated with to insert yet his demeanor rang mysterious. “Familiar Like” explored the makings of Daniel, exposing the insecurities  beneath his (fine ass) surface.

 

An episode nuanced with references to viral memes and videos, "Familiar Like" took a different approach than we normally see from Insecure. We learn more about the insecurities haunting Daniel’s (Y'lan Noel) ego through social, familial and flirty interactions. Still playing it cool as roommates, Issa and Daniel continue to platonically exist under Daniel’s roof. Exchanging nonchalant text messages, viewers learn that Daniel has spent the past three nights with a social media-absorbed fling and lover of “light skin love”.

Issa, dealing with her own professional and personal struggles, plays keen to Daniel, pretending not to be bothered by his physical and mental absence. Their dedication to not exploring their mutual romantic feelings for each other holds strong. While the two toy with each other's (and their own) emotions, we learn that Daniel is just as awkward and insecure as Issa, and watch how her charisma and his passion balance them out. 

Daniel, invited to a club to check out an artist by his sketchy friend Seven, ultimately changed his mind. Seven, not able to attend anymore, discouraged Daniel, placing his drive on the bench. Issa convinces Daniel to go out by joining him. At the club, we would think that Daniel, a music producer (and we now know a former drug dealer) would have all of the juice yet that cup runs dry. 

Before the two enter the club, there's trouble at the door. Daniel, assuming they would gain entry on Seven's word, was denied, thus beginning his downward spiral. Issa, reconnecting with one of their childhood friends Khalil (Aaron Jennings) at the door ,got them into the club.  Inside, Daniel's solid swagger began to disintegrate. From getting approached by women only to get curved when they learn he is no longer in the weed game, and fumbling through conversation with Spyder, (Roshon Fegan) the artist he attended to see, I thought the episode would end with Daniel crying in the car. 

My pessimistic vision came partially true. After the club is shut down by gun fire, Issa and Daniel go for a late night meal where things get real. We see what makes Daniel and Issa friends beyond sex and physical attraction. Daniel reveals his professional frustrations with being an unknown Soundcloud producer. 

I ain’t trynna hate or nothing, but it’s like I got good and Khalil got famous
— Daniel

His insecurities on the table, Issa not only offers encouragement and sympathy but also solutions. Daniel's vulnerability to Issa shows his true passion for his music and the amount of weight her word means. Every step of the way, Issa had Daniel's back emotionally while he looked out for her physical well being. Issa's advice did not fall on dead ears. Daniel puts his pride on hold and reaches out to Kahlil for professional advice and possible collaboration. Shots rang out at the club, Daniel immediately scooped Issa, complaints about neck pain, he gives her a massage and offers his bed. 

Sharing multiple intimate moments this episode, the two never actually have sex. By the time it is over, viewers are just as confused by their situation as the characters themselves. Having watched Issa and Lawrence's relationship fail, the hope for Issa and Daniel is a slippery slope. In ways, Daniel is everything Issa hated about Lawrence, but now homeless and working two terrible jobs, Issa too shares these personal and professional gripes. As Issa continues to stay on Daniel's couch, will their relationship blossom? 

Elsewhere, episode two continues to explore the dangers of We Got Yall as Issa seems to be near breaking point as the token black women at work. Called on to call-out the companies problematic ways by her non-black co-workers, Issa explains how awkward it is to be expected to perform "angry black woman" on cue. 

Hopefully episode three involves professional growth for Issa, clear and precise communication between Daniel and Issa and of course, more Kelli. 

#TeamKelli

Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) is Issa's "tell it like it is friend" who never holds back. A financial advisor, Issa seeks Kelli's advice and guidance as she continues her search for a place to live.  Kelli, who is not only good at her job but a good friend, advises Issa to halt frivolous spending and ultimately pushes her to ask Daniel to stay longer.  Kelli keeps Issa in necessary check. Her aggressive demeanor is cloaked with kindness and humor, leaving Issa with some serious advice. 

Kelli: Don’t look a gift horse in the dick.
Issa: That’s not a saying.
Kelli: It is. My grandmother said it to me.