‘And just like that …’ is Fab

‘And just like that …’ is Fab

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

And just like that Carrie Preston neĆ© Bradshaw is back. In it Sex and the City retaliation And just like that … we have had a Peloton death scene; we have had a return to the great diaphragm retrieval; we’ve had oxy jokes; we even had a diet peach Snapple bottle clumsy filled with urine. There’s no doubt that episode 1 went hard and I was really excited to catch up with old friends. Carrie – whose wardrobe has always been questionable – gave us ensembles that were deliciously crazy, just the right amount of bananas, all the boleroes and flower brooches and wedding shoes. Miranda refused to listen to podcasts and drank on a school morning. Charlotte, a woman who was once crippled by her own politeness for self-excerpt, invited Stanford over for lunch. Stanford, god bless him, gave us huge, cuddly, gay flowers. Anthony gave us weapon quality. Things bubbled up quite nicely, but just like that … Big died. A ballad from the authors who immediately contextualized the repetition: Carrie is single again, why else should we all be here?

So far into the season, we double the continued outcome of Big’s death, Charlotte’s gender dysphoric child, and Miranda’s deep unhappiness. Let’s talk about sex first, because it’s taken five weeks for any of the characters to get laid. (Maybe that’s the brutal reality of being in the mid – 50s?) I’m glad HBO leaned into the queer sex, that Miranda got hard on Che, and the camera did not politely panic away. I personally found the fingering scene and Miranda’s original bark gasm a bit awkward. (If I had to wake up in my apartment to my boss and my best friend wet bumping, I would simply cough loudest.) But the immediate aftermath that Carrie and Miranda emotionally dealt with was frankly devastating – Cynthia Nixon at her very best. . It was a contrast reminiscent of the brilliance of the original series: sexy an exuberant interlude followed by a sharp emotional shift that I could feel right behind my eyes and in my stomach.

The aging thing plays out strangely. It is as if the casting has one foot in the grave and the other foot in an urn. Does Carrie need a new hip? Steve is deaf as a post? Big’s heart literally gave up? I know the opulence of the second film was beyond grotesque, but in the intervening years we have lost almost all the escapist frivolity, the recreational buoyancy of being a little older and dirty rich. We saw these people live it up because they could actually afford a certain vitality. Looking at the series now, you would be forgiven if you came to think: No one is funny anymore, what happened to fun? There are plenty of problems and a little dance. It’s selfish, but I want Carrie to be 55 and fabulous. Exclamation mark.

Which brings us to Big’s death, a story so great that it may have always felt underplayed. When I think about it, I can feel the objective grief over this loss, over a woman who loses the man she has (and we have) been obsessed with since 1998. The problem is that the feeling of raw, undiluted, insane injustice has not quite hit a scene. (Carrie seemed sadder when she was shaken at the library, TBH.) At lunch, Carrie talked about her melancholy, but without experiencing it on screen, we see Carrie rebuild without ever believing she’s broken. There have been penetratingly sad moments – finding Bigs records, smelling his suit – but the overall tone is post-mourning rather than active mourning. The show I love is still lacking in emotional beats, but I’m still listening to the tune.

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