This episode is about solidifying the new friendships: It cements Miranda’s with Nya, Carrie’s with her new Realtor, Seema, and Charlotte’s with Lisa Todd Wexley. But it also bids farewell to an old one. Stanford Blatch is gone, having last appeared in the previous episode, because apparently that’s all Willie Garson was able to do before he took a turn. It seems as though SJP knew about his diagnosis but that he perhaps kept it under wraps to everyone else, and the series definitely does not feel as if they counted on only having him around for three episodes. He seems to have taken an unexpected turn that led them to carve Stanford out of the show here, off-camera, and… I certainly hope they discussed their plans for this exit with him, because I would like to think he at least was satisfied with the way they wrote him out. Personally, I didn’t care for it. I REALLY didn’t, in fact. I thought it did a disservice to an important person.
Here’s how it went down: Carrie finds a note in her apartment from Stanford, in which he tells her he’s run off to Tokyo. Right as she reads it, Anthony knocks on the door, and fills in the blanks: Stanny apparently was managing a 17-year old TikTok star who wanted him to go on tour with her, and he couldn’t bring himself to tell Carrie in person because she’s already lost so much this year. Carrie complains about how dramatic that is, and gets to wax poetic about herself and how much she cares about what’s happening to her friends, even when her own life is hard. “He hates to disappoint people… in person,” snarks Anthony. Then Anthony confesses he also got a letter in which Stanford asked for a divorce. “I don’t get it. We were so happy,” he says. Except he delivers this line with all the emotional weight of, “My dry cleaner closed. I don’t get it. He was so good.”
AND JUST LIKE THAT: Stanford is gone. Am I the only one who really hated that? Whether you liked the character or not (he was a little tricky in this iteration of the series), I think this shits all over him. Carrie, his best friend, was famously dumped by Post-It, and she briefly flipped out and found it kind of hateful; now they make Stanford end his entire MARRIAGE that way? AND skip out on his grieving best friend without even giving her a hug? Plus, Stanford’s letter was even in a yellow envelope, so it’s impossible not to make the visual connection between that and Jack Berger’s fateful note. This makes Stanford cowardly, inconsiderate, unable to read the room (Carrie seems to feel offended that he wouldn’t say goodbye in person), and COLD AS ICE. Could they not instead have cut to a scene where Carrie is finishing a conversation with Stanford wishing him good luck in Tokyo? Does Anthony need to be single for the rest of this season for any particular reason? Or could they just let Stanny be in Tokyo this season, and then in the break between seasons, maybe they get divorced or Anthony moves to be with him and isn’t in season two? I understand that perhaps this had to be handled quickly, but Stanford could so easily have been off doing something exciting without burning the bridges behind him. Ruining Stanford Blatch’s character in this manner IN AN EPISODE DEDICATED TO WILLIE GARSON does not feel the most tender way to honor Willie’s memory. That’s why I say that I hope the show consulted with him about what they were going to do. I want to believe that at least he was pleased. And of course I’m sure the intentions were good, but… phew, again, I often think this show steps on itself, and here was one big way it did.
Carrie: She is back in her apartment, which is very clean. She must have spent a fortune in the last 10 years on a cleaning crew to keep it maintained. There are no rats, roach corpses, or cobwebs in sight. She digs into her old closet and pulls out the long tulle petticoat and striped top for a walk to her old bodega, where the kindly man gives her coffee and pastry when he finds out she’s widowed (bajillionaires do still love a freebie). She’s selling her fancy apartment, and befriends her Realtor, Seema (Sarita Choudhury) After an excruciating conversation about dating apps that feels like those jokes were sitting on someone’s shelf for six years, Carrie tells Seema, “I think it’s great that you’re still putting yourself out there,” and it’s very condescending. I did not trust the show to notice that, but to my happy surprise, Seema later gets the unique joy of calling out Carrie. Basically, Seema accidentally broke the glass on the photo of Carrie and Big at their wedding, apologizes very smoothly, and promises she can fix it because nothing was damaged. Carrie begs to differ: that glass had Big’s touch all over it, and it cannot be replaced, and she thinks Seema is being insensitive about this. Seema eats a lot of crow at first, and then delicately points out that perhaps it can be hard for people to realize it when they’re being insensitive. This lets her note that Carrie’s remark was incredibly patronizing, especially coming from a person who, yes, lost the love of her life, but at least actually found that person first. Seema says that she can at least see that Carrie has a point, in that such luck is indeed worth still putting herself out there. Carrie takes a beat before saying she agrees, and then… offers to share some yellowtail sushi with Seema. “And just like that, our real friendship began,” she voices over. Except Carrie NEVER ACTUALLY APOLOGIZES. Seema says her piece, but then has to bring it back around to Carrie being right about something. Yes, you can argue that Carrie saying, “Agreed,” is her way of validating the criticism as well of the rest of it, and an unspoken apology. But boo to the unspoken part. Seema apologizes to HER repeatedly, and Carrie rejects it, but then can’t muster up the words herself? Just say you’re sorry, Carrie. It’s not that hard.
- The Widow Bradshaw is into hats. To lunch with the ladies, she wears one black one with a black-and-white scarf twisted around it; to an Open House, she wears the lid that’s off-kilter, with one side of the brim much larger than the other, like a fried egg made of straw.
- The Widow Bradshaw is also exploring bright colors. In addition to the striped shirt and long tulle, she’s in this whole rainbow checked ensemble, which you can’t tell on the show is not an actual skirt (the KNEE TIES, my GOD). There’s also the blue and orange outfit I linked above. She’s trying.
- Seema wants to repaint and refurnish the whole place in beige tones, to make it a bland palette for buyers. Carrie mentions that beige wasn’t Big’s style. Honestly, in all these scenes, I kept looking at this place and its wallpaper and its modern pieces and thinking, “NONE of this looks like Big to me at all.” I feel like Big was ALL beige.
- Carrie’s other apartment, where she can see herself all over the place, isn’t NOT beige? It definitely isn’t decorated like the one she just vacated. Whose taste WAS that, then? Really didn’t feel like Big’s.
- Amusingly, Seema walks into the closet/bathroom and announces that a Peloton would really tie it all together. When Carrie returns to the apartment later, she turns on the light and sees it and curses the return of the Peloton with an, “Oh HELL no.”
- Okay, so AFTER the stagers have taken out all her stuff, repainted the whole place, and brought in NEW stuff, Carrie goes there to grab Big’s ashes and go? Her SHOES aren’t even still in the apartment but her husband’s remains are? (She puts him in her closet at home, telling the box that it’s only until she figures out where he really wants to be. I think the answer is, “Inside a cigar.”)
- Also, why was Big’s wedding photo still in the apartment? Seema makes a comment about how Carrie was supposed to take it, or at least not leave it out for an open house, but if it mattered so much to Carrie wouldn’t it have been the FIRST thing she grabbed? And wouldn’t she have taken it out herself?!? It would fit in her purse.
- Seema admits to smoking “when no one can see me,” and Carrie allows herself one, rolling down the window of the car and smoking it with no seatbelt on. Oh, Carrie. I suppose cigarettes are your emotional safe place, but ignoring road safety is no way to grieve.
Charlotte: She and LTW are a united front against the other PTA moms, whom they hate, but who seem kind of reasonable and fine to me? LTW is the obvious Queen Bee and this one woman Deirdre might resent Charlotte’s closeness to her, but otherwise I thought Charlotte and LTW seemed a little mean about them. Anyway, Charlotte and Harry are going to LTW’s for a dinner party, Charlotte wants to reciprocate, and yada yada yada, Charlotte realizes they only have white friends. Char’s party gets cancelled, but not before she turns into a tornado of yikes, first tokenizing her downstairs neighbor — aggressively trying to push her into a dinner party so that she will have another Black guest — and then, when that fails, inviting the dreaded Deirdre. Before LTW’s shindig, Charlotte lectures Harry on how Black writers are all the rage right now, quizzes him on some, and orders him to impress because she thinks it’s bad that they don’t have a diverse friend group. Then, Charlotte and Harry turn out to be the only white people at LTW’s party, and she mis-identifies one of the guests as a fellow parent from school. (She saves herself with a lengthy speech on how exquisite LTW’s taste in art is, which mostly serves to let Charlotte namedrop a bunch of artists of color, which comes off as an effort to absolve her of her other behavior to the audience.) At the end of the episode, she admits to LTW she was embarrassed about how white her circle of friends is, and LTW says she was nervous about Charlotte and Harry being the only white people at her party, and they clink teacups and laugh about Charlotte being so desperate that she invited Deidre. It just… I guess nobody is concerned about Charlotte running around trying to scare up people of color to pretend are her friends, just for show and for head-pats and so she can feel better about herself? It’s insincere and icky, and, as I said, tokenizing, and it was weird watching LTW laugh it off so affectionately. Maybe I’m being a Miranda about it. But in one of the episodes, Anthony refers to LTW as “Black Charlotte” and I didn’t love that, especially because it REALLY feels like that’s all the thought that the show put into her. Nicole Ari Parker deserves more than that.
- The best line in this story came from Deirdre. Charlotte invites her and Geoff to the party, and Deirdre is confused for a second and then says, “Oh, it’s pronounced JOFF.”
Miranda: Miranda’s professor Nya invites her to lunch, ostensibly because Miranda made such a killer argument in class about “motherhood and inequality in the workplace.” They end up talking about Nya’s IVF, and Nya confesses she’s ambivalent at best about it — even relieved when her first try didn’t work — but that she’s scared she’ll regret if if they don’t push hard for a baby. Miranda doesn’t have a lot to say that’s positive. She hates when Brady calls her a bitch (um, yeah), but she loves him, she sometimes envies classmates who didn’t have children, but again, she loves hers… basically she says there are regrets and roads not taken all over the place, and that it’s hard to have it all. Not very conclusive for Nya. Karen Pittman is great, but Miranda cannot help her through this right now when she’s so miserable in her own life. She’s basically still sort of lost — there’s a line where Carrie says her newly beigeified apartment is freaky because she can’t see any of herself there, and Miranda responds, “Sometimes I look around this house and there’s no sign of me, either.”
- The only fallout so far from her night partying with Ché is that Brady notices her reeking of weed the next day. Miranda says she was just around “a bunch of alternative types getting high,” and Brady’s girlfriend snorts, “Alternative to what?” Ten points to her.
- At lunch Miranda wants to order a bottle of wine and Charlotte jumps in to wave that off. Miranda is also drinking a big glass of it when she’s on that phone call with Carrie. So, that’s still happening.
Hero of the episode: Charlotte’s downstairs neighbor, who is having NONE of Charlotte’s obsequious compliments, ignores her pushy texts, gets ambushed by Charlotte at her own front door, gets rid of her as politely as possible, and then texts a final “no” to that dinner party. You are right to skip it, Mrs. Jenkins. YOU ARE RIGHT.