This episode is a mess, but at least it confirms they were not doing any idiotic costume trolling. This costume has a context. It’s a ridiculous context, but it’s a context.
Let’s get Carrie out of the way: She’s got all her clothes from her whole life in racks in the apartment, so she can go through and properly archive them, or something. Where were all of these? Storage? We know she left half of them in this closet, but things just seem to have grown exponentially. Charlotte’s daughter Lily has evidently been coming over to help. A different series would have been building that all along, and given Carrie and Lily a relationship that specifically develops who Lily is. But this show can apparently only deal with one of Charlotte’s kids at a time, and much less give its supporting characters depth. Miranda has an arc, of sorts. Carrie has an uneven arc, of sorts. Both are somehow simultaneously rushed and stunted, which is a neat trick. But there is no careful episodic plotting happening with the others, and it really wastes them all. Seema’s personality is Samantha-lite. LTW is, in the show’s own words, Black Charlotte. Nya, who is meant to be the Miranda of Yore analog (career-driven, averse to change), is almost never present. Ditto Rock. Steve is being made half-deaf for little else than cheap jokes and a justification for Miranda dumping him, which totally backfired, and is also a shitty way to portray hearing loss (David Eigenberg actually went through it in real life, and I wonder if he appreciated that partial deafness was treated synonymously with “doddering fool”). There’s no there there with any of these people. Sarita Choudhury recently said to the LA Times, “When you’re added to a show, it’s usually just to help progress the protagonist, but in this show, I don’t feel like I’m ever doing that,” but unfortunately as a viewer that is exactly how it feels. And Just Like That seems actively disinterested in any of them except as props for the main women.
Back to it: Bag Boots here is Carrie’s new downstairs neighbor, about whom Carrie remarks to Seema that she doesn’t understand how “at her age” this woman can afford the nice apartment downstairs. Carrie, you were her age with this nice apartment and no one could understand how you afforded it. Although I suppose prices have only gone up. Seema speculates that Bag Boots is a Russian hooker, but Carrie finds out later that she is a hip jewelry designer from California. But Bag Boots and her friends were out on the stoop talking and laughing at 2:30 a.m., and Carrie wants to speak to her about it without looking like a harpy. Is Carrie, at 55, sincerely incapable of handling something this basic, and can it even be possible this is the first time she’s ever run into this? I guess her place with Big was too high up in the sky. She calls podcast cohost Bobby Lee for advice on how to get Bag Boots to knock it off, presumably just so they can use Bobby Lee again and make it seem like Carrie has actual relationships with people. It goes nowhere, and in the end, Carrie is the only person on this entire street of brownstones who opens up the window and shouts, “COME ONNNN.” Which… come on. This is New York. SOMEONE else would have poked out a head and yelled, “KEEP YA FUCKIN’ VOICES DOWN.” Probably three someone elses.
This leads to a plot that’s about Carrie needing to feel like she is not a curmudgeon. Lean into it, Carrie. It’s very freeing. Although Carrie leans into it in a costumey way: She tells Seema she isn’t allowed to smoke in the apartment because it’ll stick to all the clothes and make Carrie want to smoke all the time, which is when Carrie confesses that she allows herself one cigarette a day, outside, while walking, and while wrapped in like three head kerchiefs and using Playtex rubber gloves so that the smell doesn’t linger. Okay, but a) you live in New York, where I’m sure there are a lot of smells that get in your clothes, like hot dogs and roasted chestnuts and second-hand smoke, b) speaking of second-hand smoke, you’re with Seema a lot, c) the smoke will get on your coat and kerchiefs, which you are then carrying back up into your apartment, d) this is a dumb setup so that Bag Boots can catch Carrie wandering the block looking like a wacky grandmother. But the thing about Bag Boots is, she’s nice. She does not judge Carrie’s kerchiefs, not even a little. And she apologizes to Carrie for being loud and promises it won’t happen again. Carrie decides to buy her a deluxe brownie from a real place called Fat Witch Bakery to apologize for making Bag Boots feel like she had to apologize (huh?), but THAT scene only exists so that Bag Boots’s hot boyfriend can answer the door in a towel and then accidentally drop it and give us our first full wang shot. Yada yada yada, Carrie later catches them in the midst of a howler of a breakup, and is kind to Bag Boots, who proclaims that Carrie is “cool.” This gives Carrie the inspiration to go upstairs, put on the dreamy Paris dress from the original finale, and sit in her window eating popcorn while proclaiming, “And just like that, I realized there are some things that should never be put in storage.” Which was a real record-scratch of an ending. I guess… Bag Boots’s life made her realize… she… should… sit more in couture? Thematically, has Miranda’s vagina been in storage, and is now coming out? Is it Carrie’s sex drive that’s in storage and it will come out next? I don’t even know.
Charlotte: So, you know how I’ve been frustrated that, other than one quick chat with Carrie outside the physical therapist’s office, Charlotte hadn’t mentioned Rock to her friends? And I decided it’s because she secretly knows they’d be annoying about it so she’s clearly texting Samantha for support instead? Sadly, that is not true. Miranda mentions Rock by that name offhandedly at lunch and no one bats an eye, so clearly Charlotte had more conversations with them about this ongoing story and it was just off-camera. In favor of what, you ask? That gripping plot last week about tennis, for starters!!!! And this week, it’s so we can watch Lily catch Charlotte about to give Harry a blow job. Charlotte slams the door in her face and then lies that she was doing a cancer check on Harry’s penis. Now she’s upset with herself, because she was not raised to be open about sex and thus always promised she’d be different with her kids. “But Heather, that sounds like a potentially watchable or useful conversation,” you might say, and sure, it does sound that way, so please know that it’s not the conversation anyone actually has. Instead, Carrie and Miranda chortle repeatedly over the fact that Charlotte still willingly gives blowjobs. Carrie eventually advises her to tell Lily she lied, blame it on her upbringing, and be honest that she regrets it. So Charlotte takes Lily to a fancy lunch so she can explain all about that time she was about to blow Lily’s father, because that’s truly where a girl wants to hear that stuff. If you are going to give a child indelible images of her parents being sexual with each other, absolutely drop the bomb on her over a Cobb salad and steak tartare at, like, Balthazar, or whatever, and not a place where she can run screaming into the sanctity of her own bathroom. (Also, one’s parents not talking to them about sex is not quite the same thing as one’s parents not talking them about their own sex. I’m not sure what Charlotte thinks this is going to achieve ,really, and further, she might want to discuss this parenting decision with… I don’t know, say, HARRY?)
Charlotte sees a notification flash up on Lily’s phone and opens it to find Lily’s fake Instagram, where she has posed a photo of herself in leggings and a sports bra with her butt jutting out slightly. Charlotte freaks out that Colin55 thinks it looks hot (her concern about whether 55 is his age amused me; Kristin Davis is still good with the timing), and Lily does get up and run out… to Carrie’s, where she puts on one of Carrie’s old ponchos, as one would. Charlotte calls and Carrie convinces her that Lily is just being a 15-year old and figuring herself out in the mildest way possible — that being, via athleisure — and that Charlotte needs to unclench. Lily then sleeps over at Carrie’s. This would be more affecting if we’d ever seen them talk before or even be in the same room, other than Charlotte forcing Carrie to go to Lily’s concert the night that Big died. Honestly, a 15-year old girl might have some complicated feelings about being the reason Carrie wasn’t home that evening (not that she SHOULD feel that way; just that it seems logical that she MIGHT). But, whatever, nothing matters, so we truck right on to Charlotte sitting down with Lily and explaining that she was just surprised, because Charlotte was not so free at that age. Lily reassures her that the Finsta is only for like 13 of her friends and one of their little brothers, which is not THAT reassuring honestly, because stuff can be screenshotted and shared that way. Does that come up? Heck no! Nobody is discussing the road down which this could go and how to be careful that it doesn’t backfire, because the show doesn’t care about anything until it has to — so, we’ll forget all about this until they’re low on plot ideas again. Charlotte sees an opening to ask if Lily understands what Charlotte and Harry were doing, and Lily nods quietly until Charlotte hugs her, and then says, “Did you find any cancer?” And Charlotte says no. So… does Lily understand? Doesn’t she? I couldn’t decide if she believed the lie and Charlotte simply chickened out and let it slide, or she didn’t believe the lie but decided she didn’t want to have that chat so she let Charlotte think she bought it and then Charlotte chickened out. Regardless, Charlotte inflated the emergency exit slide and went down it as fast as she could.
Miranda: The short version is, she asks Steve for the divorce. The long version is… long. Miranda is at a rally where Che is speaking, when she spies Brady and his girlfriend. Miranda decides that it will expose her if they see her, because I guess every single person at a pride rally must be LGBTQ+, even though Brady and his girlfriend are not?!? What is the logic there? I’m sure it’s partly that Miranda is paranoid, but honestly, it would be very easy to claim she’s attending more stuff like this as a result of going back to college, or because she’s interested and/or cares and/or knows Che through Carrie, because all of these things can be true without tipping off the affair. It’s not THAT hard to come up with a good lie in this situation. Miranda used to be a lawyer! Presumably thinking on her feet and being selective with the angle of her arguments is an imperative part of that job. Lawyers have to be able to sell a story, with supporting details, even if they don’t believe it. And Miranda was supposedly a good lawyer. The rally, however, is not that good; in fact, it’s really energy-free and terrible and very sparsely attended. So much so that Che can see Miranda hobbling awkwardly out of there on her giant wedge sandals, in her denim capris and an off-the-shoulders top that evokes Sandy from Grease as reimagined by Talbots. She looks like someone’s wacky aunt in Palm Beach. (Sidebar: They’re having Miranda do her hair wavy with Che so that we know she’s being freeeeee, and she’s wearing a bit more eye makeup, but in a way that makes Cynthia Nixon’s eyes look closer together than they actually are. It’s weird.) Che confronts her later, and that is when we learn that Miranda and Che have been sleeping together every day for the past three weeks, and that Che was under the impression Miranda had an open marriage. “New to being queer is one thing. Married and lying is another,” Che says. “I’m a lot of things but I’m not a homewrecker.” Miranda insists her home is wrecked already, but Che says this is over until Miranda figures herself out.
So, Miranda tells Carrie and Charlotte that she’s going to ask Steve for a divorce. And Carrie does not say, “Big is DEAD, now THAT is a divorce!” Miracles do happen. But guess what Carrie DOES say? Under her breath, muttered to her crab leg, she says, “Oh. Well, I guess let’s table my new neighbor for a different time.” YES, CARRIE. LET’S DO THAT. BECAUSE IT ISN’T IMPORTANT, AND IN FACT, IT’S SO UNIMPORTANT THAT I DON’T EVEN GET WHY IT WAS A PLOTLINE. It is not interesting, it is not a trenchant look at aging, it’s not emotional, and it wasn’t funny. Fortunately, Miranda trucks right on ahead — as she should — and explains that she has to do this because sneaking around isn’t fair to anyone. Carrie and Miranda next pick up the thread during the brownie shopping spree, when Carrie jokes that maybe she should splurge on a designer dessert to cushion the impact for Steve. Miranda shrugs that this isn’t going to be a big surprise; she’s not telling Steve anything they don’t both already know. This is such callous magical thinking on her part. She’s wishing an easier reality into existence, at Steve’s expense. Carrie does not point that out, of course, and only asks if Miranda will confess about Che. She doubts it: “Even if Che hadn’t come along, I think I’d have gotten to this place… where I’d rather be alone.” You know what’s coming next. Carrie absolutely says, “Are you sure? Because alone in theory is very different than alone in reality.” Nudge nudge guess who’s alone, that’s right, it’s Carrie. The thing is, she’s right to make sure Miranda isn’t putting the idea of breaking up on a pedestal, but also, I would love for this show to embrace the idea that “alone” is not a death sentence. “Alone” does not mean “lonely.” That could have been a lesson Carrie learned this season. (If it ends up being what she suddenly learns in the finale, it won’t feel earned.)
This conversation makes Miranda realize she should make sure Che even wants her. Miranda waits for Che like a stalker outside their place of work, then blocks Che from getting in an Uber so she can profess her love. Che affirms that they, too, are in love with Miranda. That must have been an epic three weeks of banging. Miranda promises she will leave Steve: “I’m so in love with you and I want us to be together.” Che warns Miranda that being in love doesn’t mean they can offer Miranda anything traditional. “Great, I hate traditional, traditional is what got me here,” Miranda insists, manically. So Che goes off to do a show in Cleveland, and Miranda goes off to dump Steve. We are really being force-fed this love affair, huh? I still want to believe Che only said that to get Miranda to wake up and seize her life, or something. Miranda is so shrieky and shrill and WEIRD around Che, and I cannot for the life of me understand what is in this for Che unless Che is in love with the feeling of being someone’s obsession. Which might be the case. We have two more episodes for that to develop.
So here it is. Steve is watching baseball, on the couch, THE AUDACITY OF THIS MAN to sit in his own home and chill and be partially deaf rather than be elsewhere and exciting and non-partially deaf!!! There is an actual back-and-forth about whether both his hearing aids are in, because she doesn’t want to shout, and so he has to find the second one in the couch, and seriously, CAN WE NOT DO THIS. Hearing aids are great and I loathe how the show has chosen to treat this detail about aging. Every detail, generally — someone last week thought this was a show about 50-year olds being written by 20-year olds, and I sincerely regretted to inform that person that it’s a show about 50-year olds being written by 40- and 50-year olds who just don’t seem to like 50-year olds. Anyhoo, Miranda tries to hold his hands while they talk and Steve jokes that his can’t be good, and what, is she going to ask him for a divorce? Oh, sweet Steve. He is, naturally, shocked as hell when Miranda affirms this: “I’m not happy. I can’t do this anymore. This isn’t enough for me.” Steve is flummoxed, and Miranda is truly surprised that he would ever consider their life happy because she thinks it is hot garbage. She wants more: “More everything. More connection, more energy, more sex, more me.” She further shits all over him by asking if it’s really truly enough for him to sit on their sectional eating ice cream and watching TV until they’re old. Um, that sounds like paradise? “We are old,” he says. “We’re 55, Steve. That’s not old. You want 30 more years of this?” she spits. Steve and I are both offended. Quietly, he says, “Miranda, you and me, we’ve been together for a long time, and it’s always like this. You don’t think that I’m enough, then I’m kind of enough, and then I’m not enough again, and I’m always there. Hanging in there for us. And finally, in the last couple years, we come to a place where it’s not so goddamn up and down every day, where it’s kind of the same, we get up, and we go do our shit and we come back here, home, to each other, we sit on the couch we talk about Brady and we eat ice cream and watch some TV. That’s married life, Miranda. That’s life.” Point of order, Steve: You also cheated on her, and that sucked. All of what he says is true of how Miranda treated him for a long time, and it was frustrating to watch even then, but wishing the movies never happened does not make it so. He cheated on her; he was not always just innocently waiting around for her to come back around. But he’s not wrong that Miranda has often treated him as something she settled for, but still wants to keep because he’s comfy, like a sweater you buy online and it arrives and it’s unflattering and you don’t want to be seen in it in public, but it’s also too soft to return. Miranda says she’s not sure that future is what she wants anymore, “or ever,” which… is she saying she never really wanted their life together? That’s cold, and also not true. Steve replies emptily, “Then I guess this is about you, because I’m fine with this life. In fact I’m good with it. But if you’re not, you’re not. I’m too old to rally for us again.” Part of me thinks the old Miranda would be affronted that Steve gave in so easily, even though he is near tears. But this Miranda doesn’t want him to want her; she wants him to make it easy on her, and he pretty much does. He says he wants Miranda to be happy, although “I don’t know what else you think is out there.” Miranda takes a deep breath, and then tells him she’s met someone.
Next we see her, Miranda is in a cab on the phone with Carrie, and says, “I told him. I said it all. I didn’t blame him and I didn’t make him feel bad.” YES YOU DID MIRANDA. YES YOU DID. You ridiculed the life you’d built together and the routines in which he took comfort — ice cream on the sectional — and you basically made him feel stupid for being satisfied with any of it. SURELY she is not THAT much of an asshole that she really believes she did that in a positive, non-hurtful way? Worse, Miranda had a whole conversation with her husband about her non-binary lover and exploration of her sexuality, and ONCE AGAIN it was off-camera? What is UP with this show dodging so much of the meat? The original Sex and the City often did breeze through the nitty-gritty, but usually let things breathe when there was a really big emotional moment. This show has tried to pride itself on setting a new tone and dealing with bigger issues, but seems confused as to which things need attention and which are disposable. Hell, they could’ve given Miranda and Steve an entire two-hander about this, and if you’re looking for stories that might be relatable to women today as they age into a more progressive (theoretically) world, this is it. Not Carrie dealing with grief by buying and selling an apartment in the course of three days. THIS. So of course we skipped it.
Miranda finishes with, “The headline is, he wants me to be happy,” which is absolutely only the headline inside her own mind. And now Miranda is in a cab heading to the airport; she’s flying to Cleveland to surprise Che and announce that they can be together. “I’m in a rom-com!” she says. And we end it there. Didn’t Che JUST tell her that they can’t do anything traditional? I assume this is setting Miranda up for a fall, and that next week she’ll arrive in Cleveland and find Che having an orgy and Miranda will have to deal with what “nontraditional” would really mean. But who the hell knows. The way this show is going, next week we’ll find out that all did happen, but off-camera, again, always, in perpetuity.
Hero of the Week: When Carrie refers to Scarlett Johnasson wearing Bag Boots’s jewelry, Seema offhandedly mutters, “Colin Jost is a real-estate tease, just FYI.”
Antihero of the week: It’s almost always Carrie, so it should go without saying, but I didn’t find a place up top to complain that when Carrie finishes her outdoor cigarette, she throws the butt into a shrubbery. In freaking 2022, where our planet is dirty and dying, somehow that little thing made me so annoyed. I know people still drop those everywhere, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t always been a gross thing to do. It’s litter just as much as your napkin from lunch and people know better and I wish they did better. Also, Carrie is outside her apartment. If you don’t feel safe throwing it into a city trashcan, stub it out, take it upstairs, wet the end to be sure it’s out, and then throw it in the trash. Are we really still doing this shit? I am going to lean my head out the figurative window of my feelings and scream, “COME ONNNN,” right into her face.