**Warning: there are massive spoilers in this post. If you have not yet watched And Just Like That… then don’t read any further (but come back when you have!).
We know now for sure exactly how the writers have chosen to address Samantha’s absence — she is, indeed, living in the UK and apparently stopped being mates with Carrie when she decided to stop using Sam as her publicist.
We also know where each of the women is in their lives. Miranda is getting a masters and has developed a seemingly incurable form of politically incorrect Tourettes, Charlotte is as hysterical and dithering as ever and Carrie now co-hosts a podcast about dating in 2021 and runs an Instagram account where she documents people’s style.
As for all the rumours surrounding her relationship with Big, we finally got the answer to that one too. No, they are not divorced or separated, quite the opposite. They seem settled and content in their luxurious Fifth Avenue penthouse, have started a very cool lockdown tradition of listening to their huge collection of vinyls, in alphabetical order, each night over dinner (I had to giggle at the idea that Carrie, who devolved into a full-blown panic attack when Big wanted to eat at home in the second movie has just endured a year of masticating between the same four walls thanks to the pandemic).
Big, as it turns out, like every other person I know in New York, has purchased a Peloton, loves his instructor Allegra and has celebrated over 1000 classes with the cult exercise bikes.
Apparently, though, Peloton’s are not only expensive, they are also death traps as, in the first episode, Big completes a class, steps off the bike and promptly dies of a heart attack in the shower. Not the best publicity for the brand but still better than when that Crock-Pot killed the dad in This Is Us.
This rather shocking scene (which, I must say, was shot really well and was very moving) was actually not that shocking as it was the leaked plot of the ill-fated third movie which never saw the light of day due to Kim Cattrall’s refusal to take part.
So, here we are. Carrie is a widow and now must, again, navigate life as a single person in Manhattan and each of the people in her life must navigate how best to help her.
Charlotte, plagued by guilt that she persuaded Carrie to attend Lily’s piano recital instead of leaving for The Hamptons with Big as she had planned, blames herself for his death and has a breakdown in a funeral parlour so Carrie ends up comforting her.
Miranda acts like Miranda — she sleeps over at Carrie’s so that her friend doesn’t have to be alone and probably helps out with all of the pesky paperwork involved when someone passes away.
At the funeral, which looks more like an NYFW event had a baby with an avant-garde art installation at the Whitney, some familiar faces pop up. There’s Bitsy Von Muffling, the lady who married Bobby the Broadway guy even though he was clearly gay. He’s now dead too, Bitsy has affected a real Long Island accent that she definitely did not have in the original series and she also makes the day all about her by talking loudly (in her new accent) about what kind of funeral her hubby would have loved were it not for COVID restrictions.
Susan Sharon is also there, but there is no sign of the Stalin-esque dictator she was married to when we first met her. She looks amazing, is chaotic as ever, and delivers my favourite line of the episode when she whispers “am I the only one who remembers what a prick he was to her?” to her seatmate at the funeral.
The one person who is not there? Samantha. And this is where I think it may have been better to have written her character out via death as well. For starters, ditching your friend of 30 years because she no longer needs your professional services is weak and petty — especially seeing as Carrie has done way worse (remember when she sex shamed Sam for giving the UPS guy a blow job?). Secondly, when your former friend’s husband suddenly drops dead after a vigorous workout, you reach the fuck out, you don’t just send flowers to the funeral when the widow has specifically requested that none be present.
Now, we are only two episodes in, so perhaps they will incorporate Sam getting in touch with more appropriate condolences later in the season, but for a show that championed female friendship and celebrated the fab four’s bond as one that no man could compete with, it feels counter-intuitive for Carrie to not hear from her properly and right away.
It will be interesting to see how And Just Like That… handles the themes of loss, grief and moving on as the series progresses but two things are for sure.
One, I will never hire one of my friends in case I one day have to fire them and two, my partner is never getting a Peloton.
And Just Like That… is now streaming on BINGE.