And Just Like That … Season-Finale Recap: One Year Later

And Just Like That

Seeing the Light
Season 1 Episode 10
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

And Just Like That

Seeing the Light
Season 1 Episode 10
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max

And just like that … I think I’m extremely onboard with the full trajectory of Carrie’s arc this season? Have I just been worn down by ten episodes chock-full of moments of complete nonsense? I don’t care; I love rom-coms, and I am open to any and all story-ending elevator makeouts. And after the show bafflingly balked at giving us Miranda’s big Cleveland moment after building up to it for an entire episode, honestly, I’m just happy to see that it didn’t let us down here. Just to be clear, I’m speaking specifically about Carrie’s storyline — the Miranda of it all remains absolutely wild.

“Seeing the Light” is an apt name for this final episode, after a full season in which the Widow Bradshaw has been doing her best to wade through her profound grief. She’s talked about glimmers of hope before; she has been able to see the glimmer; and in this episode, that glimmer becomes more substantial. Not that she won’t carry her grief and heartbreak with her, but now she — and we! — can see something on the other side of all the sadness. Some light in the form of super-hot podcast producer Franklyn, who has been waiting behind that glass all season long to come in and sweep Carrie off her feet. Or, at least, smush faces in an elevator.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: What of Peter?? Peter and Carrie go on that date, and it is, as Carrie later describes it to Seema, both lovely and awkward. He walks her home, and as their conversation winds down, he tells her he’d like to kiss her and asks if he can. She nods yes, and they share a small, soft kiss to end a night that they both agree was not so bad for “two brokenhearted people.” As nice as it was and as nice as Peter is, Carrie wanted more spark than a “contract” between two people to put their mouths on one another could offer. There was no surprise there. So maybe Peter isn’t the guy for her (at least right now), but I’m glad her first toe-dip into dating was with someone who had some idea of what she was feeling. They should at least stay friends, right? I mean, don’t let that head of hair out of your life, you know?

With that big step forward, Carrie walks right into the one-year anniversary of Big’s death. If you had told me it had been ten years since he died, I would’ve believed you. But no! Just one! Anyway, she meets up with Big’s brother Richard for lunch, who is like, Where’s John?, and I wish I were joking, but Carrie’s legit first response is to assume Richard has some sort of dementia and that he forgot Big was dead. I can’t even comment on this reaction. I have no words. I need smelling salts. To most human beings, he was obviously talking about Big’s cremains. He wants to know where his brother’s final resting place is and suggests the family crypt. There’s even available space for Carrie, so that’s nice and not terrifying to think about. She is not interested but politely tells Richard that she wants to take some time to figure out where Big would want to be.

Thanks to a reading-light malfunction that has Carrie convinced Big is talking to her (the other light Carrie sees that the episode title is referring to) and a trippy dream set to the soundtrack of “Hello, It’s Me,” Carrie realizes that Big would want to be tossed into the Seine over the bridge in Paris where they reunited in the Sex and the City finale. I mean, I don’t know how the people of France feel about it, but sure, why not? So off she goes on her own to that bridge. She dons a giant orange gown, and she says good-bye. I know we joke a lot, but I was very moved!! Sarah Jessica Parker is turning in some great dramatic work here.

With this trip to Paris, you can feel a chapter closing. She survived the first year without the love of her life. But wait! There’s another way Carrie moves forward in Paris: After her kiss with Peter, she texts Samantha to tell her, and the two go back and forth in what is their longest text convo that we’ve seen. Carrie asks if they can talk, and Samantha texts, “soon.” In Paris, she writes her again: Could they get a drink? Samantha asks if tomorrow night is okay. Carrie’s response: “FABULOUS.” The reason they invented for Samantha being gone was silly and pretty insulting to the character, but that doesn’t take anything away from this moment, which feels so nice! I don’t know! Again, I was moved! Still, it all feels like one big tease. And Just Like That … needs Samantha, and texts, no matter if they signal an off-screen reunion for Samantha and Carrie, just won’t cut it.

After Carrie has found this sort-of catharsis in Paris, she heads back to NYC to start her new gig. That’s right! More change is in the air. In this case, after Che Diaz announces they are headed to the City of Angels to become “the next Roseanne,” or whatever, the most handsome podcast producer there ever was, Franklyn, tells Carrie that he thinks she should have her own podcast in which she’s answering calls and doling out relationship advice, and he would like to produce it. He has been watching her grow, he says, but, like, not in a creepy way. In a way that a handsome person says it. And this new podcast is called Sex and the City, guys! The first episode goes well-ish. So well-ish that after Carrie thanks Franklyn for being her rock throughout the recording after hopping into an elevator with him, those two can’t help but put their mouths on each other’s mouths. And there it is, that surprise that Carrie had been waiting for. Who knows if And Just Like That … is getting a second season, but if it is, this development is a very good start.

Okay, fine, we’ll talk about Miranda and Che Diaz!!! I don’t want to, but I care about you guys, okay? Just remember that. Miranda is all hyped up because Che Diaz wants her to meet their family. But this isn’t a regular family meet and greet. This is a “surprise! Here are all my family and friends, and this is actually a cabaret act in which I, Che Diaz, am informing you that I’m moving to Los Angeles to shoot a TV pilot via a Beach Boys cover” sort of meet and greet. There are lots of phrases like “Hollywood called, bitches!” and “They think I’m the next Roseanne, but the good one from the ’80s” and “What can I say? I’m a fucking narcissist,” in case you’re wondering what the vibe of this party is. Miranda seems hurt and confused for a minute until Che tells her that they want her to come with them. Not surprisingly, Miranda decides to go. There is zero discussion with anyone about this. She even gives up a prestigious human-rights internship to do it. Nya puts up a little bit of a fight about it, but as soon as Miranda tells her she’s following her heart, she backs off. People need to stop backing off.

Carrie does it too, mostly because there is apparently no arguing with Miranda in love. At least Carrie has no poker face, and in the bathroom during the York-Goldenblatt they-mitzvah, they finally get into it a little bit. Carrie is clearly bummed that Miranda can’t come to Paris with her but also very confused as to what her friend plans to do out in Los Angeles for several months while Che works and how she could just walk away from what was at one point a very important internship (the show only introduces this idea in this episode, again sidestepping an obstacle that could create real tension. Show us how important and difficult it was to get this internship, show us Miranda angsting over giving it up, show us what Miranda is willing to sacrifice for Che, and show us why!). Miranda’s big speech about choosing love and how she should be allowed to change as much as she wants and how she feels judged by Carrie seems very pointed — it seems like the show’s justification for Miranda’s arc this season. It doesn’t fully work.

First of all, to hear Miranda take Carrie to task for judging her because she’s changed is laughable, after she spent the first half of this episode railing at Carrie for changing her mind about her beliefs regarding the afterlife — something pretty understandable for a woman whose husband just died. But mostly, the whole thing rings false because Miranda’s changes and her choices haven’t felt well-earned. I hate to harp on the “no consequences” thing again, but it all just seems too easy and superficial. There’s no empathy for anyone around her. There’s no fallout. There is still little to no explanation as to why these two are so into each other. We’re told so much; we need to see it. There’s so much to mine here that remains unmined.

Even the resolution of Carrie and Miranda’s fight is a little too easy: Rabbi Jen comes out of a bathroom stall and tells them that just from the little taste of their relationship she overheard, she can tell how important they are to each other. She knows what they have is worth protecting. And that’s that. Miranda dyes her hair back to red, sends Brady off for a summer backpacking with Luisa — there remains zero mention of how he feels about his parents’ divorce — and heads to Los Angeles for a few months with Che. Will it go as well as Cleveland? Only time and a second season will tell.

This and That

• Oh, Charlotte. She bends over backward to give Rock a perfect and inclusive (and so-expensive) they-mitzvah, and at the very last minute Rock refuses to participate. To watch Charlotte and Harry try to reason with and then bribe this kid is exhausting!! Just go do this for your parents, please, I am begging you. Why are all the children on this show little shits? Alas, Rock doesn’t want any labels put on them about literally anything in their life. But instead of calling the big party a bust, Charlotte gets up there and does a Torah reading and has her very own bat mitzvah. And just like that … Charlotte’s a woman now.

• Wait, I’m dying over the fact that when Miranda finally decided not to go to Paris, Carrie just canceled on Charlotte, too. She could not fathom a four-day trip with just Charlotte.

• Okay, but if there is a season two, Rabbi Jen has to come back. Rabbi Jen is great.

• Hey! Look at Seema getting after it! She and club owner Zed (who, yes, was also Tony from Prada) spend three days having great sex and smoking cigarettes in a fancy hotel. Good for her!

• Of all the new characters, Nya seemed to have the most cohesive storyline this season. She informs Miranda that Andre decided to go on tour and that they’re using the time apart to see if giving each other up is worth “a baby [they’ve] never met.” I’m rooting for both of those two to be happy, however that configuration may look.

• It in no way makes up for that FaceTime breakup “joke,” but many thanks to AJLT for letting Sara Ramirez sing!

• Jackie throws a surprise wedding! His suit is insane, but he is totally pulling it off. I’m adding him to the list of people we need more of if there’s a season two.

• Okay, wow, I was really giving this show the benefit of the doubt in regards to Miranda’s drinking problem, but nope, no mention of it ever again! Truly wild.

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And Just Like That … Season-Finale Recap: One Year Later