And Just Like That
Well, this is certainly not the show I thought we’d be watching when they announced the Sex and the City revival. Let’s get the, um, Big news out of the way up front: By the end of this episode, Mr. Big — Carrie’s soul mate, her forever, the person who loves her and whom she loves — has a heart attack and dies in Carrie’s arms on the floor of their shower. “And just like that, Big died,” she says. And just like that, this show has taken a huge creative swing and sets out on a trajectory most people probably wouldn’t have guessed based on all the hubbub around the series.
Within the episode, though, Big’s death is pretty telegraphed from the jump. Anyone who came to And Just Like That … hoping to watch Carrie and Big live happily ever after gets a few moments of that here. All of their scenes together are so blissful you know it’s too good to be true. There’s no conflict. They’re cooking dinner together (yes, Carrie cooks now!) and dancing in the kitchen, and Big is serenading his wife. They’re cute and loving in bed. They just seem so happy. Those scenes — paired with the emphasis on Carrie changing her and Big’s plans to drive out to the Hamptons so she can go to Lily Goldenblatt’s piano recital and the repeated talk of Big staying home that night so he can hop on his Peloton for his 1,000th ride with his instructor, Allegra — point to something terrible happening. When will we all learn that Pelotons are evil and exercising is dumb?
But the real kicker is, of course, the last real moment between Carrie and Big. She’s about to leave for the recital and notes that Big is smoking his “weekly cigar” on the same night he’ll be doing his Peloton workout, then asks if he notices anything special. He does, of course: She’s wearing her blue Manolo Blahniks — her wedding shoes. If that isn’t a big enough sign for you that something’s going down, Big gazing at Carrie on her way out should 100 percent give it away. Listen, any time a loved one says, “I’m just looking at you” as you walk out the door, that person is going to die. It’s science. Just, like, never say that to people, okay?
So it’s not surprising that while Lily kills her piano recital (she’s a musical genius, and we are all very proud), we keep cutting back to Big doing his workout and then again as he drops his phone in the shower and collapses in pain. You can see in his face he knows this is the end. Knowing this was going to happen doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking when Carrie walks into the apartment, ready to leave for the Hamptons, only to find Big sitting against the wall of the shower. He’s still alive, but barely, and there is no saving him. He’s alive just long enough to look into Carrie’s eyes. She’s screaming and holding him, and then it’s over. All I can think about are those shoes. Those fucking shoes! Now she’s worn them on both the happiest and saddest days of her life. Honestly, I cannot emphasize this enough but with all sincerity: Fuck you, Peloton.
And so it turns out the Sex and the City revival will be less about what Carrie and Big’s ever after looks like and more about what Carrie does after a loss like this. While people are certainly going to be a little angry, taking this kind of massive risk in the premiere does a couple of smart things for the show. First, it gives And Just Like That … incredible momentum for the season. It gives Carrie so much to do, not to mention seeing how Big’s death will motivate or change other characters and couples. Second, it makes a definitive statement on this show standing alone and moving forward from the original. This isn’t Sex and the City 2.0; it’s something that has matured with its characters. This is a brand-new world, baby, whether you like it or not.
But the premiere isn’t all Carrie and Big. It’s actually a pretty solid pilot episode. There aren’t any major, major story lines, but it does do a nice job of dropping us into the lives of Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte and introducing several new characters who seem like they will be getting some significant screen time. It feels familiar, but yeah, things have changed — and more than just Miranda’s hair color (as Carrie notes, the gray looks fabulous). Let’s run through some of the other changes.
Miranda is headed back to school. Inspired to leave corporate law after being inspired by her time assisting those affected by the Muslim ban, she’s getting her master’s in human rights. The intensity of that tracks for Miranda, but the way she completely humiliates herself on the first day doesn’t completely ring true. Would Miranda really be so nervous about saying the wrong thing “in this climate” that she’d have this wild case of verbal diarrhea in which she goes on and on (and on!) about the braids of her professor, Dr. Nya Wallace, and being excited to have a Black teacher for this course? She’s typically much less bumbling than this. It’s clear this Miranda story line is attempting to deal with the fact that the original series was so out of touch when it came to race, so … maybe it’s this cringey on purpose?
Over on Park Avenue, Charlotte seems pretty happy and lives a life you’d expect after all these years. Her world is consumed by her daughters, Lily and Rose, and living that Park Avenue private-school mom life. The big to-do with the York-Goldenblatt contingent of the show at the moment is Lily’s aforementioned piano recital. It’s taking place at the Manhattan School of Music. THE MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC, CARRIE. It’s a big deal, and Charlotte and Harry are beyond proud of their musical-genius eldest daughter. It seems, however, that there might be some conflict brewing when it comes to their younger daughter, Rose, who would very much rather be skateboarding with Harry than fawning over the Oscar de la Renta dress Charlotte bought for her to wear to the event. It’s clear Charlotte and Rose just don’t understand each other. Keep a note of that.
Elsewhere in Charlotte’s life, she has made a new friend she’d like to introduce into the proceedings: Lisa Todd Wexley, or LTW, should you prefer. Lisa is another mom at school, and her son, Henry, has the same piano tutor as Lily. Lisa seems cool: She eats fries, wears giant necklaces, and she and her husband are very pro-smuggled-purse-wine during children’s musical recitals. We like her, and she and her tale of woe regarding her overbearing, world-renowned pianist mother-in-law will fit in just fine with the other women.
And what of the fourth member of our quartet? It’s old news by now Kim Cattrall will not be a part of this season of And Just Like That …, and the show deals with her absence right away: We learn that after Carrie decided to let Samantha go as her publicist because of the ever-changing nature of the publishing industry or whatever, Samantha was so hurt she stopped talking to Carrie and eventually took a job in London. Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte have all tried reaching out to her, but she’s completely cut them off. Do I believe Samantha would be so wounded she’d run away? Not completely, but there needed to be some reason she wouldn’t be around — especially after Big dies, which leaves the door open for a return should things change. The lack of Samantha energy can be felt for sure, but it’s fine. We’re all going to be fine. I mean, maybe. Once I can stop thinking about those damn wedding shoes.
This and That
• Aside from the Big of it all, Carrie’s current life includes a popular Instagram account (she’s just out there taking pictures of fashionable strangers and posting them without consent, I guess) and a co-hosting gig on XY and Me, a podcast about gender roles and sex. Carrie offers the cisgender, hetero female perspective, and the lead host, Che Diaz, offers a queer, nonbinary perspective. Che needs Carrie to start upping her game, though — Carrie seems to be uncomfortable getting too raunchy when talking about sex. Carrie blushing? Things really have changed!
• Don’t worry, Stanford and Anthony have already made their grand entrance onto the revival scene. They are forever fighting. Part of it is over Anthony’s new business venture, Hot Fellas Baked Goods, a sourdough delivery service in which all the delivery people are superhot dudes. Listen, I don’t hate it.
• As you probably know, Willie Garson, the Stanford Blatch, passed away this summer while the series was filming — in a very tragic, meta turn of events, it will undoubtedly cast a pall over the season, which will have a lot to do with the grieving process.
• It seems like we’ll be getting to know Nya Wallace as more than just Miranda’s professor — we get a quick phone conversation between Nya and her husband in which they mention “another round of IVF.”
• And in the first of what is sure to be many familiar faces popping up all over New York City, we have Bitsy von Muffling! It still remains an A-plus name.
• Steve is dealing with some major hearing loss, which is possibly why Brady having so much sex at home with his girlfriend doesn’t seem to bother him as much as it does Miranda. But he’s not the one who stepped in the used condom, now is he? We’re all for sex positivity here but, come on, the teens need some boundaries.
• Are we supposed to make something of Miranda needing a glass of wine at 11 a.m. before her first class and sneaking in a bottle for the recital? Let’s hope it’s nothing bad because, honestly, I’m very much with her when she tells Charlotte to buzz off about her DIY refreshments for the recital: “I had a rough first day of school, and I’m looking at two hours of tween Mozart. Let it go.”