On May 17th, Issa Rae announced the premiere date for Season 3 of Insecure, satisfying fans who were wondering when the show was returning. During an interview, soon after it was confirmed that production was well underway, actor Jay Ellis revealed that he hadn't shot any scenes. Ellis plays Lawrence, who starts off season 1 as the significant other of the main character, Issa, but who becomes her ex by season 2. It seems that on this upcoming season, Issa Rae and her team of writers plan to teach us a lesson on how to actually move on from an ex.
The last time viewers saw Issa and Lawrence, they were saying a heart-breaking farewell while moving out of the apartment they shared while dating. Throughout the second season, the pair was navigating being newly single and venturing out into the dating world while still engaging in the same social circles. Both characters struggled with moving on and during that final scene, Issa even imagined what life would be like if they rekindled their love. It was however, all a fantasy, and the two parted ways. Issa ended up moving in with Daniel, her long-time crush and the same guy that she cheated on Lawrence with. It was unsure where Lawrence would end up, but the interview with Ellis confirmed that he ended up leaving the storyline altogether - atleast for this part of the story.
Fan's of Ellis' character, otherwise known as #LawrenceHive, did not take the news well, and even started a website (whereslawrence.com) with a petition advocating for his return to the show. The writers of the petition believe that Lawrence's absence is "Not cool! Not only because Jay Ellis has a huge and devoted fan base - but because Lawrence is an awesome complex character that we want to see more of." They insist that Lawrence is an invaluable character who deals with "difficult and rarely explored issues for men." They end of the petition, which was posted July 1st, by stating, "while we are excited to see what's in store for Issa, we refuse to allow this to be the end of Lawrence's story. We know if we can get enough fans to sign, we can convince HBO to finish Lawrence's story on Insecure! Sign our petition to HBO pleading for Jay Ellis to return as Lawrence - then SHARE far and wide so that everyone who loves Lawrence can have their voice heard. We want Lawrence back! #WheresLawrence" The petition has 9,998 signatures so far.
Leading ladies Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji both responded to the dramatic (and funded) fan-response on twitter, but Rae had also given an explanation a week earlier at Insecure Fest. Issa told Vulture, "we want to stay as true to life as possible. They had a great conversation at the end of season two and it was just about like, hey, she's moving on Daniel, sometimes we have those conversations. You never see the exes again. And its okay! You gotta explore life without Lawrence." Showrunner, Prentice Penny, added, "at the end of the day, we're always trying to tell stories that are true and authentic. We were in the writers room and we were initially talking about, okay, well what us he doing?... Well, he's not in her life right now. It was hard to make stories around that. We just said, well, if he's not around, he's not around. Let's just deal with the reality of what her life is now. Let's be true to that, when you breakup and you have closure." Rae and Penny essentially express the same thing - by no longer being part of Issa's life, Lawrence has to move on, a realistic consequence of ending a romantic relationship.
Throughout season 2, viewers watched (and sometimes cringed) as Issa and Lawrence still interacted, both in friendly and not so friendly ways. The possibility of them getting back together still lingered because they had the chance to run into each other. They are achieving the amount of closure that we all hope to achieve. Removing Lawrence as a central character allows them both to move on in a healthy and mature fashion. The show is about Issa and now she may get the chance to seriously consider other relationships and put her hoetation to work!
This, however, is not a plot that we are used to. Shows like Friends, Living Single, Scandal, A Different World and Grey's Anatomy retain the same actors for the most part. This creates a cycle of romantic relationships between multiple characters (the entire cast of Grey's Anatomy) or between two that are constantly on-and-off (also the entire cast of Grey's Anatomy) . The back-and-forth can be exhausting for viewers to keep up with, and additionally, represent unhealthy decisions by characters to return to toxic people/relationships. During their time together, Issa was supporting an unemployed lawrence who spent most of his time on the couch. It was the resulting feeling of stagnation/loneliness that led Issa to show more interest in Daniel. Though she shouldn't have decided to cheat, she was unhappy in her relationship and it probably would've ended regardless of her infidelity. Unlike popular characters like Meredith Grey or Olivia Pope, Issa Dee will be shown living outside of the relationship in a way that removes the ex altogether, reinforced with the removal of the actor. Instead of sidelining him within the plot and remaining slightly invested, the writers have made the choice to move on without him. The beauty of a show though, is that there is always another season for Lawrence to come back, we'll just have to tune in and see!