Obviously, if you have not yet watched And Just Like That… and you care about spoilers, a) good luck, because Twitter has been relentless, and b) definitely skip this post. But before you go, we’ll be on the Extra Hot Great podcast next week to talk about these episodes with Tara and Sarah and Dave, so look for that wherever you get your podcasts! I will try not to repeat myself too much, but… I cannot resist screeching about some of this. For example: Samantha.
The opening of the show makes a cheeky reference to Samantha by having Charlotte tell an acquaintance that she’s not with them any longer, and then hastily correct the assumption that she’s dead. She’s not; she just moved to London. Why? GLAD YOU ASKED. Apparently, Carrie told her that because the book business sucks, she wouldn’t need a publicist anymore, and so Samantha picked up and left and has ghosted all of them. Miranda argues that it’s because her pride was wounded, and we hear over and over how they’ve tried to reach out, but Samantha simply won’t engage. She’s done with all of them after a bajillion years of thick-and-thin because Carrie couldn’t sustain having a publicist anymore.
This is… absurd. For so many reasons. First, Carrie is a moderate writer of largely New York-based fame. Would she REALLY have Samantha, or any publicist, on retainer? Wouldn’t it already be an as-needed situation? Carrie would not have been the linchpin of Samantha’s business even so; her livelihood wouldn’t depend on having Carrie as a client. (Personally, I feel like Samantha would’ve given her pal some PR services for free, anyway.) The pride excuse doesn’t track because they’re claiming Carrie simply decided it wasn’t a realistic expense in general, not that she fired Samantha for someone else. Yes, I didn’t have HBO until the last two seasons of the original series, and my rapid re-watch only got me as far as Carrie and Aidan splitting. So it’s very possible I’m forgetting something important. But from what I did see, I do not buy Samantha Jones’s business OR feelings being so affected by this turn of events that she would CUT THEM OUT and DECAMP TO ANOTHER COUNTRY. And then send flowers and a typed card to Big’s funeral and nothing else? Please. Samantha is the woman who, when informed by Charlotte that a pregnant friend had stolen her fantasy baby name, grabbed Charlotte’s arm and hissed, “YOU BITCH,” before stomping them out of there. Samantha Jones doesn’t care about baby names, but Samantha Jones cares about her friends. Samantha wouldn’t start seeing Carrie as business, when she’s been personal for so many years. I know the show is in a pickle because obviously Sam couldn’t be at Big’s funeral and they had to have a reason, but couldn’t you just stick a blonde in a giant black hat and sunglasses in the back of the room to exchange a knowing nod with Carrie before slipping out the back? Because this rang SO inauthentic that it honestly felt to me like SJP and the producers made an excuse to have a meta conversation about Kim Cattrall where they could cast themselves as the good guys: “Whoops, well, we reached out, we tried, but she’s deranged!!!” I think it would have taken a miracle to get Kim Cattrall on board with a second season, no matter what statement they put out about there being room for her; Samantha being alive but not at Big’s funeral, and for such a petty and unbelievable reason, should make it nigh on impossible now. They didn’t kill Samantha Jones, but they sure stabbed her a bunch of times.
Beyond that, the first two episodes are tonally very tricky, because of Big’s death. They are not laugh riots. Whether that will be the tone going forward, we don’t know yet, of course, because we’ve only seen these. Releasing them together makes sense: Most of us had guessed this twist anyway, and the premiere itself felt very much like 45 minutes of preamble to the main event, so it made sense to carry that through the funeral and the whole “what comes next” of it all. I don’t mind admitting that, even though I don’t even care that much about these characters, I cried. Grief is a funny animal, because it demands to be felt, and yet it’s an impediment to everything you have to do in the immediate wake of tragedy. We talked about this in The Royal We a bit: So often, the earliest stage of grief is having sit on yours for a bit, while you comfort other people (as Carrie has to do with an irrationally guilty-feeling Charlotte) or go about the business of death. Watching Carrie switch into project-manager mode, clearly walking the razor’s edge, was familiar. The checklist is a comfort. You keep hoping that it’ll be a road map to feeling better, but really, it’s just delaying the inevitable. I remember when my dad died, we had people who flew in a day or two early before the funeral and my mom wanted to host them, and I decided I absolutely should make like four giant lasagnas and a bunch of garlic bread. Check, check, check. A lot of Carrie’s silent, suppressed agony, and how she had to go hollow in order to go forward, was spot-on in my experience. And SJP was very good in them.
Finally, it was very, very hard to watch both of these episodes knowing that Willie Garson is no longer with us. His energy is all his scenes is so welcome, especially in Kim Cattrall’s absence. He could have done that heavy lifting, and it’s a tragedy that he’s gone.
There’s a lot else to dissect, but since I’m going to be hearing myself talk about them next week on a podcast, I’ll turn the mic over to you guys. Going forward, obviously, that won’t be the case, so I can bang on at tedious length about all the minutiae of the upcoming installments. For now: Let it rip. What did you think?